My test backup process involved backing up all files in the "My Documents" folder and I used a Zip drive as my preferred storage medium.
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is launch Microsoft Backup from its Start-Program Files-Accessories-System Tools location. From the ensuing screen, launch the Restore Wizard to initiate data recovery. A tree view will emerge in the "What to Restore" screen that shows you all the files and folders that you have backed up. You can browse this tree view in much the same way that you browse Windows Explorer. In my scenario, this view lists "No entries found" because the backup was made from a previous installation, so to restore my files I will need to click on the Import File button. A new window will appear asking for the path of a .bkf file - which is called a backup set.
After clicking the Browse button, select the location of your backup set and proceed to open the files. I have located the backup set on my Zip drive, and it has been recognised. The left-hand pane will now allow me to select the files I want to restore, and I do this by placing a check mark in the related box. As this is done, a new window will pop up that will catalogue these files. A catalogue is just a summary of all the files that are in your backup set, and you can proceed by clicking OK.
Clicking on the Next button gives you a rundown of the restore process up to this point, and the Advanced button, when pressed, will allow you to select a destination for the restored files. You can place them in their original location, in an alternate folder or in a single folder if you wish. There is always a risk of overwriting existing files when using the Original location setting, but the ensuing "How to Restore" screen will ask you what you want to do if these files already exist. You can either replace existing files, leave them alone or replace them only if they are older than the backed-up files. If you are restoring files on a system configuration different to that on which the backups were created, then it is best to choose "Alternate location" so you can easily find the files after they have been restored. In particular, this option should be used if the drives are mapped differently to the way there were on the original system. In this exercise, because I am restoring to a new system I can simply tell the program not to replace all the files on my disk, and am restoring them to a new location.
Depending on the amount of data you are restoring, the process shouldn't take too long.
If you are restoring data on the configuration on which you originally created the backup, then you will not need to click on the Import File button, as is the case in this scenario. All the backups that you have made will already be listed on the right-hand pane of the "What to Restore" screen and it just becomes a matter of selecting the right one.
It is also important to make a note of the type of file system you are using. Backing up files on a Windows 2000 system that uses NTFS and then restoring these files onto a system that uses FAT32 could mess up your security attributes and file permissions, and in some cases you may lose data altogether.