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Why can't I access Documents and Settings in my Windows 7 backup image?

Hi. I’ve made a Windows 7 image backup using Macrium Free, but when I try to
browse the Documents and Settings folder, and one or two others, they’re
padlocked so that I can’t open them to verify the content. When I run Verify,
it states that the backup was successful. But it would be reassuring to be able
to read my own files. Can you help?

In this excerpt from
Answercast #28
, I look at the way folders are set up in Windows 7 and the
various folder settings that will help in locating your backup files.

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Macrium Reflect Documents and Settings

There are two possibilities here. One is:

  • In Windows 7, Documents and Settings isn’t the folder anymore.

There is a folder in its place for backwards compatibility for some programs.

  • What you should be looking for instead is the Users Folder.

In there, you’ll find a folder with your username that contains everything that used to be contained in Documents and Settings.

So Documents and Settings itself isn’t really a folder anymore. There are a couple of other folders like that.

I’ve actually got an article, “Why can’t I access the documents and settings or local settings folder in Windows Vista?” The same technology issue applies to Windows 7 as well.

So, that’s the first thing. I think that you’re just looking at a folder that isn’t really there. That isn’t what you want to be looking at anyway.

  • Have a look at the Users Folder instead.

Viewing restricted folders

The other option, the other possible problem, is that when you mount an image in Macrium Reflect, there is an option near the bottom of the backup selection dialog that says, “Enable access to restricted folders.”

That might be something that you’ll want to look at as well.

I don’t think it applies in the Documents and Settings case under Windows 7 (because I really do think that’s a different issue). But in other cases, when you’re browsing a backup in Macrium Reflect, sometimes that’s a checkbox you need to make sure is checked: so you can actually get at all of the folders that may be contained within that backup image.

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