How to Restore NTBackup .BKF in Windows?

There are many users who back up their data using the NTBackup Tool in Windows XP, then clean install or upgrade Windows and later realize that the newer version of Windows doesn’t include the NTBackup Tool. This post explains the two methods to restore data from .BKF file format after upgrading.

Editor’s note: If the following methods don’t work on Windows 10, you may use your old Windows 7 DVD or ISO and install it 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.

Method 1: Using Windows NT Backup Restore Utility to restore data from a .BKF file

Microsoft has released the Windows NT Backup Restore Utility to restore data from a .BKF archive. Here is a walkthrough with screenshots on how to restore NTBackup’s BKF archives in Windows, using Microsoft’s Windows NT Backup Restore Utility.

  1. Download and Install the Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7.
  2. Start the Windows NT Backup Restore Utility (via Start menu, Programs, Accessories, System Tools.)

  3. Usually the files are restored to the original location. If you need to specify an alternate location, click the Advanced button.
  4. Click Finish.
  5. To configure advanced options (Restore security, Restore Junction points, Preserve Volume Mount Points), click the Advanced button. To continue with the defaults, click OK.

    The .BKF archive is now restored to the original location or the specified folder.

Method 2: Using Windows XP’s NTBackup Tool to restore data from a .BKF file

Windows XP’s NTBackup executable runs just fine in Windows Vista & 7, 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.

You can download the two DLL files from this link.

Filename: ntmsapi.dll
MD5: C8A1D0DEAFEE5637E22633634AD5D6FF

Filename: vssapi.dll
MD5: 2F529CFEEAE8AD951E355CCE0789CE2D

Restoring a .BKF File Using NTBackup

1. Download nt5backup.msi from this site.

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.

One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?

One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
  • Pin it!
  • Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
  • Tweet it!
So thank you so much for your support, my reader. It won't take more than 10 seconds of your time. The share buttons are right below. :)

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

50 thoughts on “How to Restore NTBackup .BKF in Windows?”

  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.

    • 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. GraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaCiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsss

    quien iso esto debo decir que le estoy eternamente agradecido 😀

  15. 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

  16. 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!

  17. 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?


Leave a Comment