Backup for Files - What should I do before reformatting my hard disk?

Written By Tami Sutcliffe (Super Administrator)

Updated at March 31st, 2021


In some circumstances you may be in a position where you have to reformat or change your hard disk (for example, to eliminate extremely stubborn viruses / spyware / rootkits, to fix a corrupted windows installation, to upgrade to a new hard disk, etc.). It is imperative that you verify you can restore your data before reformatting.

Important checklist

  • Verify you know your pass phrase: You must know your pass phrase in order to restore your data. When you restore data on the computer that is backing up the data, the pass phrase is stored in your registry, so it does not ask for it. However, if you reformat your hard disk this information will be lost. You must know your pass phrase to recover your data. To do this, open the backup manager and navigate to the Accounts page. Click the Verify button. When you type in the correct pass phrase the box will turn green. We suggest typing it in a few times so that you are sure you know it well.
  • Verify you can restore your data: It is wise to ensure that you can retrieve your data before reformatting. You should use a different computer to login to the web portal (use Internet Explorer), and then click Web Access. You will see the file manager. Restore a few important files to verify that you know your pass phrase.
  • Verify all of your data is backed up: You should use the file manager to browse the files stored on the server and verify that you are actually backing up all of the data you expect to be backed up. It would be unfortunate to discover you accidentally were not backing up some important files.

If you only want to restore your data

Follow the action items in the checklist above. Realize that it is typically very expensive or impossible to recover your data after you reformat your hard drive. Thus, using caution by following the above checklist will ensure that you do not have any unexpected data loss.

If you want to restore everything (OS, applications, etc.)

First, follow our article on how you can backup your OS and applications. Make sure you have a recent .bkf file generated by windows backup (ntbackup) and that it has been uploaded to the server. Follow the checklist above to ensure that you are ready to proceed.

Then follow our article on how you can restore your OS and applications.