Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do not use Windows Backup!

At the time we speak this application is FUBAR, or in other words "fucked up beyond all repair".


  • I never saw a completely successful backup, neither on my Vista Box nor on my Windows 7 box.
  • You only waste hours or days running backups that are never successful, scanning your disk with chkdsk of sfc, searching the net, searching the registry, screwing up your systems registry, or formatting your disk.
  • The errors are just cryptic hexadecimal numbers like 0x80070057, 0x80070570 without any reference to the cause of the error.

When I first started Windows Backup on Windows 7 I kept getting error 0x800700002 which quite obviously means, that a registry key named ProfileImagePath below HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList was pointing to a directory %systemroot%\system32\config\systemprofile that did not exist on my machine. In this case I could convince Windows Backup to go on after I manually created this directory for Windows Backup.
That was it? No. After that I got some obvious 0x80070570 followed of course by a 0x8007000D and on my Vista Box all I naturally get is 0x80070079. In the meantime I ran hours of chkdsk /r or sfc /scannow. In the end I assumed that maybe my backup hard drive had some kind of problem and reformatted it.

What I did not know at this point was that this meant the end for my "Windows Backup" on my machine. When I now start Windows Backup all I get is 0x80070057:

It took Microsoft half a year of investigation to find out that this error in fact is related to some problems they have with non-US locale settings.

The closest I ever got was a single unreproducible backup that ended "successfully with errors". But when I checked the log I found this error message:

Error while backing up "C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\myFolder". The system cannot find the file specified (0x80070002))

The surprising part is, that this folder never existed and never will exist on my system. This raises the question, why a *backup* program starts seeing ghost files, which of course it later fails to find??

It also raises the question, what specifications, development and quality assurance process they have at Microsoft, that allows them to ship *twice* a solution that throws hexadecimal errors messages in a users face? From a software engineering perspective this is bare amateur level. If Microsoft wants to know, why the people love Apple, then here you got the answer. They would not ship crap like this once.

The reason could be simple. Because it feels like the core of Windows Backup is some component Microsoft bought and then tried to cram somehow into Windows. I would not wonder if there is just some sort of (former) third party backup.exe running under the hood.

As we speak of backup, means the security of your data, using Windows Backup you must ask yourself the following questions:

Do you really want to trust your data to a backup program
  • that is incapable of giving a useful error message?
  • that needs folders to be manually created to work at all?
  • that tries to backup files that do not exist?
  • that is dependent on US locale settings?
  • that even after the Vista desaster, Microsoft itself was unable to fix in the 3 years time until Windows 7?
So the conclusion is simple:

If you love your data,
do not use Windows Backup!


Anonymous said...

Sounds reasonable to me. I have other backup software which seems to work just fine. And to think I fled from Apple for this. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

great post !! thanks !

Pat said...

Error 0x80070057

I am running W 7(64-bit) OS.

Today I am trying to "send" a folder ca 78GB in size (It is located directly on my C drive (C:\XFOLDER)and contains many, many subfolders, subsubfolders, etc. (which in turn contain both document &/or picture files). I am trying to send this XFOLDER to an external hard drive. (F:\ [WD My Book Essential]). I am told will take > 4 hours. A short time after I had begun, I began getting Error 0x80070057 messages, at first for .jpg files, then for an .odt file.

I did a search for that error on the Windows 7 website and found a tool that I could download to correct the error -- BUT it turned out (AFTER I had done a scan with the tool that it would cost $30.00 to repair it -- so I said OK, then it turned out AFTER entering the charge info it would cost me almost $40!!

To say that I am frustrated is an understatement. I would really appreciate some advice on this matter. I see no reason why I should have to make this purchase for Windows to operate properly.
So I am trying to find another solution.


Anonymous said...

Great post - you did things for me))

Anonymous said...

I've been using backup, ever since I installed Win7 and never had a problem, which is a couple of month now. Sorry dude!

elLoco said...

I assume you use american local settings on your windows 7 box?

Anonymous said...

Hi. Agree to use another backup program, in place this "fubar" which does not work and wasted our time.
What is even more unacceptable is this famous error 0x80070057 preventing us also to burn the recovery CD Windows 7.
Without DVD Windows (only the "factory DVD" HP), what happens when it crash?
I think I'm soon be ready for Linux...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have several windows 7 machines. All created with clean installs. Some 32 bit some 64 bit. Everyone that I've tried windows backup on has failed to complete without errors. I'm using the default "let windows backup decide what needs backing up" option. Currently I'm (not) figuring out this one:

Backup encountered a problem while backing up file C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Local\Temp. Error:(The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002))

I'm going to use rsync instead !!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have several windows 7 machines. All created with clean installs. Some 32 bit some 64 bit. Everyone that I've tried windows backup on has failed to complete without errors. I'm using the default "let windows backup decide what needs backing up" option. Currently I'm (not) figuring out this one:

Backup encountered a problem while backing up file C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Local\Temp. Error:(The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002))

I wonder if Backup is using the NTFS directory to determine what files to backup (makes sense) and if it is finding a directory error (dir entry without the file existing). This could be a larger problem than just Win Backup not working !! ??

I'm going to use rsync instead !!

Anonymous said...

Folks, we need answers to resolve the problem, not time wasting bagging M$.
I agree that their products are not up to par,but we still need to resolve the current issue.
I'm running a 2 disks RAID-0 and one of my disks has become corrupted. I have tried to bring back the system form the never-never land and I have been partially successful. My current situation is that I can now boot up my system and get all my data files. However, once my faulty disk gets too warm, then I get the blue screen of death. So, I'm running my machine in "cool environment". I need to get a system image and then restore to a RAID 10 config (4 disks). Unfortunately I only have 6 SATA ports (now all taken by the 6 disks(4x raid10 and 2 x raid0), leaving no room for my DVD/RW which uses a SATA interface. I can't make an image of my existing disks so that I can restore to my new 4xraid 10 disks. I don't want to do a clean install since I have many programs and utilities that were part of various free offers on a limited time - eg giveaway of the day site. So, I don't want to lose these utilities and other programs. I get the same error as the rest of people "the backup failed the system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002". I believe that I have a corrupted volume information (or VSS?) and that's why ALL backup programs fail. Can anyone please assist in helping me to "move" my current programs / system to a new set volume (h/w raid-10). Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Sparkie181 said...

Well folks, I take my hat off to Acronis. Yes it copied/cloned my system off the 2xRaid0 disks onto my 4xRaid10 disks without a hitch. Straight disk to disk copy. I'll report back as soon as I try to create a back-up image of the new volume.

André Didier said...

Try: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/979281

ShelLuser said...

There is one flaw with your comments...

I too stumbled upon this error today, just when I was finally ready moving all my e-mail from my Linux workstation (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS) to my Win7 Professional (Dutch).

Windows backup has been running for weeks here without any problem what-so-ever, and today I too got bitten in the behind.

But it goes a little deeper than you describe here. Yes; I do admit that this problem is a flakey one and should not be possible on Win7, total agree!

Yet to fully blame Win Backup here is also a little bit too much over the top for me.

My problems occurred only after I installed GPG4Win (www.gpg4win.org); I even tested it before installing using the virtual XP mode (love MS Virtual PC btw).

As said: I agree when you claim that such a service should not influence the backup service like this. True.

BUT.. I've also learned that not every piece of Windows software out there plays by the rules. And considering most of this stuff required Admin access to be installed....

Win backup isn't as bad as you proclaim it here IMO. But the whole environment absolutely seems to have some issues.

Just my 2 cents.


Gekko Apprentice said...

I had similar issues. Ultimately I decided to only do a "system image" and skip and file and folder backups. Windows Backup then finally worked. If you want to be able to restore your system from the last good backup in case of a virus attack you don't need to copy files, system image will be just fine.

Anonymous said...

I have bought and installed a copy of W7 because of a few things it handles better than Linux......not many but a few (scanning for one because of better peripheral driver support); and I must admit it’s not bad except..............
If Linux included this sort of rubbish (windows backup as an intrinsic part of W7) in any of the community software people would be screaming crap from the rooftop. How come a business can sell this stuff and not be prosecuted?
Hey try Clonezilla. Free community open source image clone, that just works. And it’s by donation only. Enjoy your computing.

Anonymous said...

fubar - I have the same problem with windows 7-64 prof - the backup sofware is terrible - at the beginning it seeminmgly worked - but offered probs from time to time. Eventually I ended up with the mentioned error. I will use an other backup prog now.

The software microsoft offers is beyond all repair.

Marshall said...


Mickie James said...

this is very nice post thanks.
Backup Software Download, Standard backup tools

Anonymous said...

Micky James, this is not the place for your BS money making schems.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so it's now Dec 10, 2015 and Windows Backup (WIN 7) is still a piece of crap! It used to work ok (most of the time at least) until yesterday when it failed to make a shadow copy (over and over again). Fixed that problem (space on system reserved) then it got part way through another backup and broke again with new error (Windows Backup cannot read the backup destination. (0x8078006F)), so naturally I suspected my backup HDD...scan disk...reformat, etc. ready to have a brain hemorrhage!
That's it, I'm done...going to 3rd party sw that will work.

Dear Bill Gates,
It must be nice to be worth billions of $$$$. Can you at least get your programmers to fix the major bugs in Windows instead of just ignoring them and only promoting the newest product (you know the one with all of the tiles exploding from the start icon)?

Forgive me, I had to vent.