How to Restore NTBackup .BKF in Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista?

There are so many users who back up their data using the NTBackup Tool in Windows XP, then clean install or upgrade to Windows Vista, 7, 8 or Windows 10 and later realize that the newer version of Windows doesn’t include the NTBackup Tool. This post explains how to restore data from a .BKF archive, after upgrading. The instructions work for Windows 10 as well.

Method 1 (Windows 7): Microsoft has now released the Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7 to restore data from .BKF archive. See the article How to Restore .BKF Files Using Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7 for a walkthrough.

Method 2: Using Windows XP’s NTBackup Tool to restore data

Windows XP’s NTBackup executable runs just fine in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10, provided that the supporting DLLs (given below) are available in the same folder where NTBackup.exe is present. The two DLL files are:

  • ntmsapi.dll
  • vssapi.dll

If you run NTBackup.exe without these two modules, these errors would pop-up.

The program can’t start because NTMSAPI.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.
The ordinal 3 could not be located in the dynamic link library VSSAPI.DLL.

After searching the web, I came across the NTBackup files which were packaged within a .cab file meant for use as Bart PE Plugin.

Restoring a .BKF File Using NTBackup

1. Download from Plugins by STSanford.

2. Extract the files inside the cabinet file to a folder of your choice.

3. Right-click NTBackup.exe and choose Run as Administrator.

4. NTBackup will indicate that Removable Storage service (removed in Windows Vista & higher). Never mind! This is required for tape backups. Click OK.

5. In the Welcome to Backup or Restore Wizard page, click Next

6. Select Restore files and settings, and click Next

7. Click Browse. Locate the .BKF file that you want to restore, and click OK.

8. Expand the catalog, select the files/folders you want to restore, and click Next.

9. Click the Advanced button

10. Select Alternate location from the dropdown, and mention the destination path.

Configure the restore options accordingly.

Click Next, and then click Finish.

Whew! You’ve now restored the contents of NTBackup .BKF file.

This procedure works in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.

41 thoughts on “How to Restore NTBackup .BKF in Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista?”

  1. Thank you. Like so many people, I backed up my files before upgrading as per instructed only to find I couldn’t access my backed up files.

  2. You have saved me from a world of pain! Thank you, thank you for being altruistic enough to post this solution – I was one of the many who thought my XP backup would just work, but for course…

    If you’re reading this to see if it’s the right solution – it works!

    Many thanks, Andy

  3. Fantaistic – works a treat and I was just starting to worry that I had lost my backup. Thanks again

    Much better than all those useless reg fix tools that tell you that you have 100’s of reg errors. I am still in the process of loaing a brand new laptop, with only data and yet I had 577 errors !!

  4. Thank you so much, I thought my backup was lost. I tried to install all those fixes MS provided and it wouln’t do.I set up a virtual machine, but that said, the backup was corrupt. Now I followed your advice and it worked. I am so happy. Thanks a lot.


  5. I did this:
    Press the right key on your mouse on the file ntbackup.exe
    and choose properties,
    and then compability,
    and there you check the “Run this program in compability mode” or something like that, and choose Windows XP service pack 3
    now you don’t need to copy the dll-files into windows 7, it should run in windows 7 now.
    I use this program to backup, couse windows 7 built in backup just sucks, it takes forever to do a backup

  6. THANKS!!! your explanation is excellent!

    I spent hours to look for a way to restore my XP data on the new Win7 PC, and to download the original KB974674, and to look for answers why that did not work, and to try and create a “EasyTransfer File” (forget it, that needs days for larger data!). Finally I found this thread and now, after some minutes, my data are rolling from the old to the new PC 🙂

    Why does not Microsoft give a link to this thread?

  7. Just what I needed! Thanks for excellent instructions =) Finally some useful help, after wasting time on Microsoft’s sites (including KB974674), among others.

  8. thank you thank you thank you. Worked like a charm. The hardest bit is locating the file. A bit of google searching turned up a copy.

    Such a simple solution you would think Microsoft would include it by default in their Windows 7 releases. The fact that there is no default way of reading .bkf files from WinXP in Win7 goes to show how much of a toy system Windows really is.

    I can still read my old .tar .cpio and backup files from my antique SunOS 4 (showing my age) SS2 box (yes I have one still in service with 64MB of ram!!!). Way to go Unix. Shame on Microsoft.

  9. You use the term “image” in regard to the NTBackup .bkf file. It is not a disk-image but rather an archive of files & settings. It should not be confused with tools from Acronis or “Backup and Restore” found in later versions of Windows.

  10. This is fine except if you have used the time honoured method of backing up to tape! Twhilst my tape drive is listed in the device manager (its a Seagate running under a SCSI interface), NT backup does not recognise or identify the tape in the restore option…only recognises hard drives. dvd, cd or usb type storage cards etc.

  11. Wow! I’ve been working on this a good portion of today and portions of several other days and this is the first success I’ve achieved. THANK YOU!!!!!!! PS: 99% of my time was spent before I came across your article. It was a breeze thereafter.

  12. Wow, was a little bit upset after changing to windows 7 an I could not restore afterwards my tax software outside a bkf . So I searched about that stuff and found at microsoft site: ntbackup can be installed on windows 7 enterprise or ultimate edition with laguage package english. Very nice when you are in Germany and you have to pay more than 200$ for backup.
    So many many thanks to reuse data outside an bkf file under windwos 7 without paying any “royalities” taxes.

  13. GraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaCiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsss

    quien iso esto debo decir que le estoy eternamente agradecido 😀

  14. Great help, Information was very useful better than microsoft corp. i have no words to express altide of happy i got after opening BKF.
    Thanks a lot guys

  15. The walk through for using NTbackup with Windows 7 was excellent. Thank you for the links to Plugins by STSanford. You saved me It worked!

  16. Nice method for showing about Restore .BKF Files Using NTBackup in Windows by manually. There are also some third party applications which help to repair corrupt BKF file & restores the data from BKF archives. Kernel for BKF Recovery Software repair corrupt BKF file and also restores MS exchange backup of EDB, STM and Log file data

  17. Dear Ramesh,

    i found a problem with it. even though the b.bkf file comes from windows xp, and i haven´t done anything with the file, after following your steps (which where really hepful but), a window poped up saying: “the data file contains unrecognized data and cannot be used”

    what could i do?

    many thanks in advance!

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