How to Restore NTBackup BKF Files in Windows 10

Summary: This post explains how to successfully run NTBackup on Windows 10 and restore data from a .BKF file easily!

There are many users who have got backups done using the NTBackup Tool (also known as “Windows Backup Utility”) in earlier versions of Windows. After upgrading to Windows 10, they find that the NTBackup tool doesn’t exist on Windows 10. Also, Microsoft has taken down the Windows NT Backup Restore Utility (KB974674) from their servers.

Even if you have the NTBackup.msi setup package in hand, installing it and running ntbackup.exe may cause the following errors in Windows 10.

ntbackup.exe - Entry Point Not Found

The procedure entry point SetCatalogState could not be located in the dynamic link library C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ntbackup.exe.
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.

The good old NTBackup utility runs perfectly fine on Windows 10 if the supporting DLLs (below) are available in the same folder where NTBackup.exe is present. The three DLL files are:

  • ntmsapi.dll
  • vssapi.dll
  • Query.dll

Windows 10 already includes an updated copy of Query.dll, but it doesn’t have the function or entry point named SetCatalogState in it. So, we need to use the Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 version of Query.dll (32-bit) module. The Windows 7/8/8.1 version of the file has the SetCatalogState entry point.

How to Restore NTBackup BKF File in Windows 10

Follow these steps to run the NTBackup tool in Windows 10 and extract the contents of a .BKF file:

  1. Download and extract the contents to a folder — e.g., D:\NTBackup. The D:\NTBackup folder should have the following files now:ntbackup files list
    ntbackup.chm - SHA1: e6954cac72e4732d4e0d331df80cc947551c739a
    ntbackup.exe - SHA1: 9904bbce6d19b343e879a4d6d02fbe978624265b
    ntbackup.hlp - SHA1: 016cb814d9a91575f24668f14c0d2b934b1cd6d1
    ntmsapi.dll - SHA1: df897f116f23a1424879d4c44cd064ca27d549e4
    Query.dll - SHA1: fc6371f8992b85cec0c782f02a60cad3d5790d21
    vssapi.dll - SHA1: 8d597a3765bda18396df0c0e8337e1f33a16c3b6
  2. Double-click ntbackup.exe to run it. NTBackup will indicate that the Removable Storage service (removed in Windows Vista & higher) is not running. Never mind. This is required for tape backups. Click OK.restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  3. In the Welcome to Backup or Restore Wizard page, click Next.restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  4. Select “Restore files and settings”, and click Next.
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  5. Click Browse. Locate the .BKF file that you want to restore, and click OK.
  6. Expand the catalog, select the files/folders you want to restore, and click Next.
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  7. By default, NTBackup restores the files to the original location. If you need to choose an alternate path or configure advanced restore settings, click Advanced.
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  8. Mention the directory path where you want to restore the files.restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  9. You can choose one of the three options in this dialog:
    • Leave existing files (Recommended)
    • Replace existing files if they are older than the backup files
    • Replace existing files
  10. Select the recommended option and click Next.
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  11. On the Advanced Restore Options page, if you don’t want to restore the security settings, uncheck the option.
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10

    Restore security settings: Restores the access control lists (ACLs) and ownership data on files backed up from an NTFS volume.

    Restore junction points, but not the folders and file data they reference: Required for restoring data on mounted drives. Junction points are physical locations that point to the mount point located on another hard disk. If you do not select this check box, the junction points are restored as common folders, and data pointing to these points becomes inaccessible.

    Preserve existing volume mount points: Restores empty NTFS folders to which you have mounted volumes.

  12. Click Next.
  13. Click Finish when you see the “Completing the Backup or Restore Wizard”
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10
  14. You’ll see the Restore Progress window. Once the restore is complete, click on the Report… button to know the detailed status.
    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10The reports are also stored in the following folder:

    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\data

    Here’s how the Advanced mode (versus “Wizard mode”) looks like. It presents a unified dialog where you can select the required tab (backup, restore, schedule) and select the output location.

    restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10

Whew! You’ve now restored the contents of an NTBackup .BKF file in Windows 10.
restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10

Issues running NTBackup? Run in compatibility mode

Some users have indicated that they had to use compatibility mode to successfully run ntbackup.exe on their Windows 10 computers. To enable the compatibility mode, right-click ntbackup.exe and click Properties.

restore bkf ntbackup in windows 10

In the Compatibility tab, select Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows 7 or Windows 8 from the drop-down list, and click OK.

Alternately, you may use your old Windows 7 DVD or ISO and run NTBackup on a virtual environment like Hyper-V or Oracle VM VirtualBox (Free). Once done, you should be able to run NTBackup or the NTBackup Restore tool from the virtual environment running Windows 7 or Vista, on a host computer running Windows 10. Your data inside the .BKF file(s) can be easily recovered.

[This article has been rewritten on May 24, 2021. Tested (and works perfectly) on Windows 10 version 21H1 build 19043.985.]

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

49 thoughts on “How to Restore NTBackup BKF Files in Windows 10”

  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. 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?

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

  7. 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.

    • Isn’t that the truth! I may make my living in the Microsoft world, but having experienced “real” servers before getting dragged into toyland — I have to say Microsoft STILL does not make a real server…

      …but they have been headed in the right direction, and I will say what we have today is at least somewhat close to standard features on the real servers outside toyland.

  8. 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.

  9. I am getting the message when trying to restore from bkf file: the backup file contains unrecognized data and coannot be used.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. GraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaCiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsss

    quien iso esto debo decir que le estoy eternamente agradecido 😀

  13. 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

  14. As of early 2020 this process no longer works with Windows 10 because it now produces the following error –
    ntbackup.exe Entry Point Not Found
    The procedure entry point “SetCatalogState” could not be located in the
    dynamic link library
    Based on a previous post I have seen this error could be caused by recent Windows 10 updates pushed by Microsoft – any ideas for a work around?

    Any suggestions for a work around?


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