This is a great article on using Windows 7 Backup and Restore.
However, I found an little known error. The Restore wizard will not show your backup files IF YOU MOVE THE SPECIAL BACKUP FOLDER & MediaID.bin FILES FROM THE ROOT DIRECTORY OF THE EXTERNAL DRIVE!!!
Here is what I did to uncover this hidden behavior.
1. Use Backup to save files onto an external hard drive
2. Assuming your PC is named MyPC, it will create a special backup folder called MyPC and a file called MediaID.bin in the root directory
This next 2 steps is what caused me hours of frustration later when I tried to do a restore.
3. Create a folder called Backups to organize the backups
4. Move MyPC and MediaID.bin to the Backups folder
So there comes a time you try to do a restore. Normally you do this.
1. Goto your Backups folder
2. Double click your MyPC special backup folder
3. Follow the wizard's directions to select and restore your files
However, since the MyPC folder has been moved from the root directory, the Restore operation will not be able to find any files in the backup folder. NO WARNING IS GIVEN, i.e. the software appears to be working but just cannot find the files.
I spend hours trying to find an answer to this, but its hard to research since no error message is given and none of the Microsoft pages mention any warnings about moving the special backup folder. I finally came across some random comment on a geek blog that led me to:
4. Exit the Restore wizard
5. Move the MyPC special backup folder and MediaID.bin files back to the root directory
6. Restart the Restore wizard and follow the directions
7. YOUR FILES WILL MAGICALLY BE THERE!
IMHO, whoever designed the Restore software should be shot. Why should the special files have to be in the root folder? Why not give an error message if they are not there? And why not document the need to be in the root directory in MSDN, etc.?
Hopefully this article will help some poor soul who re-organized his folders and suddenly thinks he lost all his backup data.