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Troubleshooting Backup Error Messages

Troubleshooting Backup Error Messages

During the backup process, you might see a variety of error messages. Here's how to deal with them.

"Other people on the network might be able to access your backup"

You will see this message if you select a network location that does not require you to log in to the resource, such as a network location hosted on a Windows XP computer running simple filesharing or a network location hosted on a Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer that does not require passwords for access to shared resources (see Figure 12).

If you are concerned about the security of your backup, disable simple filesharing on a remote system running Windows XP or enable password-protected access on a remote system running Windows Vista or Windows 7. You will then need to set up an account on the remote system that you can use to log in to that system's shared folder, and provide those credentials when you select the folder as your backup location.

"A system image cannot be saved on this location" and "Other people might be able to access your backup on this location type"

You will see these messages in Step 2 of the backup process if you select an external hard disk that uses the FAT32 file system for saving your backup or if you select a recordable/rewritable DVD drive.

You can determine the file system of a hard drive by right-clicking the drive's icon in Computer Explorer and selecting Properties. The General tab (Figure 13) displays the file system used by the drive as well as used and free space. Click OK to close the dialog.

Figure 13 Determining the file system used by a hard disk.

Although you can use the "Create a system image" task in the left pane to save a static image backup to a drive that uses any version of the FAT file system or to a recordable/rewritable DVD drive, you cannot create scheduled backups to such a drive, and you cannot restore individual files from the system image. To enable an external hard disk to store scheduled backups, you must convert the drive's file system to NTFS.

Figure 14 Converting an external hard disk from FAT32 to NTFS.

After you convert the drive to NTFS, you can use the drive for scheduled and secure backups.

"This drive does not have enough space to store a system image"

You will see this message in Step 2 if the selected drive does not have at least as much free space as your system drive (usually C: drive) has in use. Select a hard disk with much more free space than your system image requires (recommended) or, if you have already used this drive for backups, you can manage the space used by the backup image and file backups and free up some space.

To manage the space used by the backup, you can click Manage Space on the Backup and Restore dialog (refer to Figure 6). Alternatively, you can navigate to the backup location in Computer Explorer (as shown in Figure 15), right-click the Windows Backup file (1), select Restore Options (2) and select Manage Space Used by This Backup (3).

Figure 15 Preparing to manage the space used by your backup.

The Manage Windows Backup Disk Space dialog (Figure 16) lists the backup location (1). It also includes a space usage summary (2), which lists the space used by file backups, image backups, other files on the drive, and free space on the drive. To see options for clearing space used by older file backups, click View Backups (3). To see options for clearing space used by older system images, click Change Settings (4).

Figure 16 The Manage Windows Backup Disk Space dialog.

When you click View Backups, you see a list of the backups that have been performed by backup period and the space consumed by each backup (Figure 17). To remove a backup, select it and click Delete. Click Close when finished.

Figure 17 Managing space used by file backups.

When you click Change Settings, you can choose from two options for managing system images (Figure 18). By default, Windows manages system image history. If you don't want to keep older images and thus minimize the space used for backup, select Keep Only the Latest System Image…, and click OK.

Figure 18 Managing space used by image backups.

In Part 2…

In Part 2 of this two-part series, you'll discover how to understand after-backup messages displayed by Windows Backup, how to restore files with Windows Restore, how to restore a system image and the most recent file backups with Windows Restore, and how to restore backups made with Windows Vista and Windows XP's built-in backup utilities.

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