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How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

About a week ago, my wife's computer started acting up.  After some initial verrification, it was determined that the main drive, a Western Digital 450AA IDE drive, was starting to fail.  I attempted to back it up to another drive using NTBackup, but before the job was 100%, the drive made its final attempt at life and rolled over not-so-gracefully.

Long story short, the drive is dead, and I am now looking at a 27gb BKF file that does not work.  I have been doing research for serveral days, and the only solution I can find is a program from E-Tech called BKFRecovery.  The problem...its $1099 for a license to do 25gb+ files...just a little much to pay for something that I only plan to use once.  I also tried this Linux MTF reader, compiled on XP using Cygwin, but it reads the header info and does little more with a good backup file, and careens off the cliff with the broken file.

My question is very simple...is there a way for me to get what files are backed up in the BKF file out?  Using the demo version of BKFRecovery, I can see that all of what I really need is backed up, and the only think I can see that is not was the Windows directory stuff, which I don't really care about.  Please, please, please...someone come to my rescue!!!

Thanks in advance,

Mike Bauer

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Seams like I got the same problem as you guys.

A week ago I made a full backup of my 160GB HD in order to make a fresh installation after changing some of the hardware. I put the bkf file on a brand new HD and also made a verification of the file. Some days later the OS failed to read the disc and I had to run chkdsk. As you can guess some data got lost. Even that my bkf file still got it's original size, windows reports it as corrupted.
I downloaded the demo of BKFRecovery and it managed to solve all of the file (112GB) but no way I will pay more than 1000 USD for a program that looks like crap and is written in VB.

I am highly interested in buying a "share" in such prog...
When running the demo it produces a temporary txt file with all the file sizes. This file is deleted when the program is finsished but it's possible to make a copy of it in the last minute so to say. This would help if you only got the "lite" version of BKFRecovery if I understand you right?

Any new suggestions??

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Well, to be honest, I am fed-up with E-Tech, and would refuse to pay my hard earned money to a company that:
   1) Rips people off in time of need
   2) Advertises a "service", but does not respond to email inquiries on that service.

On their site, they clearly say they can recover BKF files as one of their File Recovery services.  I sent them several emails reguarding this, and got nill respose.

The solution is very simple.  I am a developer, mainly in Java.  I found a PDF file on the web, released by Seagate, that describes the file format of for BKF files (its actually called MTF, or Microsoft Tape Format).

As such, I have started an Open Source project (http://sourceforge.net/projects/jmtf/) to address this need for the public.  The code is in Alpha right now, and can successfully restore small files.  What I am working on now is to try and get it to successfully restore larger, more complex files.  Because of the VERY simple layout of MTF, its not super-duper hard to do, its just a lot of reading, seeking, and keeping the file pointers straight.

On E-Tech's site they claim "BKF Recovery uses advanced techniques to recover data...", which is utter bulls$%t.  MTF format is block-based, I.E. data is situated with a block header, followed by some stuff, then the next block header followed by that stuff.  The bottom line...there "advanced technique" boils down to a linear search for "VOLB", "DIRB", and "FILE", which are pretty much the only 3 blocks necessary to restore your files, outside the "TAPE" block that gives you the Format Logical Block size (TAPE is the VERY first block, and starts at offset 0).  Whats even better is that the block, by definition in the MTF Format whitepaper, are supposed to be aligned on the Format Logical Blocks, which in my file is 1024, meaning that they are aligned to some easy-to-seek number!

As stated, my app is doing very small files (~10-20 files backed up) just fine.  Best of all, its GPL, which means its free!  Heck, I've even thrown in the source so you can play around with it all you want!

I hope to have something a little more "Beta-ish" very, very soon.  I am using my jacked-up 27gb backup file,  but am running into some issues restoring it properly.  Also, as I don't have any suedo code yet, the app does not handle encrypted or compressed data, so if your file has either, you are outta luck.  As this is Open Source, I am not making a dime on it, but I do accept donations :), and would love to let others muck with the code a bit to help get it working.

Anyway, I hope this helps you out.  I will try to post here when I get something that works a tad better than what I have now.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

I just found a great way to restore a corrupt bkf file. You will have to have system suite (4.0 or 5.0) from ontrack. This costs less than $50 and is way less than the BKFrecovery program that is $400 for the lite version.(what a rip-off!!). Just load the zip fixer and where the dropdown is for the extension (.zip),change it to all and load the broken bkf file. It will put your bkf file into a zipped file called salvaged. Open this up and Voila! All your files are restored and ready to use!!
NOTE: Occasionally, the salvaged zip file will be corrupt. Just rename it to salvaged2 and run the fix zip on the salvaged2 file. Then it will work correctly.
Man, I just couldn't beleive that I would have to pay a $1000 to get my bkf file back.
I am so excited!!!!!
Good luck and hope this saves you from going gray and hours of investigation on bkf files only to find BKFRecovery in every search result.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Thanks for the useful information in this thread. It's helped me evaluate my options in retrieving data from a corrupted, 20-GB BKF file.

So far, I have not been able to locate on the web the software called 'system suite' from Ontrack. I've attempted using a trial version of Ontrack's 'EasyRecovery' software. But salvaging my 20-GB BKF file seems to put EasyRecovery in a loop. It runs for 8+ hours without updating its status message of "Beginning salvage operations...".

If anyone has advice on other inexpensive (<$200 USD) solutions for salvaging corrupted BKF files, please let me know.

In the absence of an inexpensive solution, I've downloaded mbabauer's Java MTF software. As a novice Java programmer, my contributions may be limited to alpha/beta-testing.

- Dan

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Looks like there are two different tools:
 1. Made by ontrack.com Easy Recovery Professional
 2. Made by VCOM System Suite 5.0
Which one should we use?

I have a 26Gb file to recover. Will spend $300. Will happely share with someone the cost of a software.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

I have just had to recover a corrupted 7GB BKF file and found this thread as well as a great utility NTBKUP.EXE at http://www.fpns.net/willy/msbackup.htm.
I tried it, it worked try it. I could recover specific files from my backup file using a filter. Saves a lot of time and money.

Don't forget to drop Will (the author) a thank you if it does the trick.
Just sharing the joy.


RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Michael -

Can you tell me the command line parameters you used?

I tried "NTBKUP Monday.bkf -xdata.xls" with no luck.

I just want to retrieve one file (or even one whole directory) from a corrup 23GB bkf.

Thanks for the help -

I'm also trying the zip file repair - it is in progress now...

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

i too could use some assistance. cant afford to get pricy bkfrecovery program, and system suite/ easy recovery only restores partialy (the parts of the backup that are least important to me) from a 6 gig file (very small compared to the costs of some software) and then loops without any real progress( left it running for a day and nada). another site (officerecovery.com) offers a program as well for considerably cheaper (99 bucks) but its in beta right now.

this ntbkup utility looks promising, although i too am having some problems getting it to work right. basically i just want to recover certain directories and files within it. maybe even the whole backup file as well. if someone could provide some insight on correctly getting the utility to recover a whole bkf file or directories within it, please provide some instructions. i'm half asleep right now, so dont spare the details please. thx.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Hi Im having the same problem. My laptop hard drive died a few weeks ago, and I lost all my school projects.
And guess what - when I try to restore from my .bkf file that I made to CD just a few weeks ago, it comes up with the message "the file contains unrecognised data and cannot be used."
I just cannot afford to buy Bkf recovery pro.
Can anybody help

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Many thanks to Michael (aka mpears) for referring me to the free NTBkup software at http://www.fpns.net/willy/msbackup.htm. Using this software, I was able to recover thousands of files from a corrupted, 20-GB BKF file, saving hundreds of dollars and an untold number of hours in re-creating various documents.

I struggled for a few days in learning to use the NTBkup program. Specifically, I could not get it to automatically create directories using the "-p" or "@" options. (NTBkup consistently gave me a "chdir()" error message, perhaps because my directory names contained weird characters.) But the software successfully could restore files from a single directory in the BKF file into a pre-existing directory on my hard drive. My work-around, therefore was to use the "NTBKUP -d" option to list the directories in the BKF archive. A BATCH file was then created to create these directories and then execute the NTBKUP program within each newly created directory. An example of the batch file follows:

========== Start of DOS batch file ===============
REM ** Restore files from the "files" directory:
mkdir C:\RESTORE\files\
chdir C:\RESTORE\files\
NTBKUP.EXE C:\Mondays.BKF -l\files\
REM ** Restore files from the "files\Excel" directory:
mkdir C:\RESTORE\files\Excel\
chdir C:\RESTORE\files\Excel\
NTBKUP.EXE C:\Mondays.BKF -l\files\Excel\
--- etc., etc. for each of several thousand directories ---

========== End of DOS batch file ===============

Again, many thanks to Michael, and (of course) to NTBkup's author, Will Kranz.

- Dan

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

I am pulling my hair out.
I have read through numerous threads re: this issue. my laptop had to be rebuilt/reinstalled and after the fact i decided i just needed My Documents retrieved, not the entire 4GB backup file.  I can't access it at all, and I've tried the MSBackupRecovery demo... which says its saving restored files but nothing appears... and the BKFRecovery demo...which shows you the file you want but you can't save/retrieve it.
I am way of limited means, i certainly can't afford BKFRecovery, and right now I don't think OnTrack etc is an option... and i'm sorry but i'm not technically savvy enough to understand the free NTBackup thing.
I am completely at a loss and ready to put my head through a brick wall...
Are there any other options that someone can point me towards? at all?

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but at least it will be a smooth ride

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Recent efforts by Will have improved the free "MSBackUp" software suite. Using the latest version of one of these tools -- 'ntbkup', I was able to restore nearly all the files from a 20-GB BKF archive file. (Microsoft's software would not even read this BKF file.)

As a result of the recent enhancments to NTBKUP, the user no longer needs to write any complicated DOS batch scripts to retrieve multiple directories. Instead, simply follow the instructions at the following two links:

Overview of NTbkup:

Useful examples:

I suggest first using the "-d" option to view the directories that are archived within the BKF file. Then, I suggest using the "-p" option to extract the directory of interest (and all of its sub-directories).

If all goes well, don't forget to send a 'thank-you' to Will. (See http://www.fpns.net/willy/contact.htm.)

Best of luck,

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

I've been reading this thread for quite some time now.  I had a 13GB .bkf that got corrupted so started exploring my options.  I simply thought BKFrecovery was too expensive so I bit the bullet and bought MSBackupRecovery from OfficeRecovery for $150.  It worked reasonably well and I was able to retrieve about 75% of my lost data.  I was wondering if any of you guys bought the BFKRecovery solution and are willing to trade to see what product works better.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Well, I did use the NTBackup, and i did email willy because some of his documentation confused me. The major issue for me actually ended up being his archiving scheme, because I was having difficulty finding an LHA client that I could use.  

As a result, he was kind enough to put executable versions of his NTBackup software on his site:


i got it to work, tho in the end my solution ended up being a little sloppy but effective ;)

thanks to all for your suggestions.

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but at least it will be a smooth ride

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

WOW awesome, thanks to this thread. I downloaded ntbkup.exe and within two hours of reading the doc and and messing around with the syntax I had my file back from a 12 gig bkf file. THANKS WILLY!

One little hiccup...
I can copy/burn the file from one physical drive to another on any one machine. I cannot copy the file from one machine on the network to another. I get "Access Denied. File may be in use." I finally just burned the file in question to a cd-r and used sneaker net to get it to the user's machine. Any ideas ?

I would be glad to help anyone who has had any trouble with this. It actually turns out to be really easy to use.



RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Thanks so much for this thread and the ntbkup link. I thought I was sunk, but downloaded the program, and with a VERY limited knowledge of using the Windows Console, was able to extract virtually ALL of my 40 GB backup that NTBackup couldn't even read!!!!!

Thanks again.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Has anyone here used the jmtf utility?  I can't find any documentation on using it.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Interesting prg....

"NT-Backup" is made by VERITAS software who make BackupExec and NetBackup. The #1 & #2 backup software.

BackupExec produces *.BKF

Stomp BackupMyPC (BumPC) produces *.QIC (use to be called BackupExec Desktop Edition) but was sold to Stomp Inc., about two years ago.

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...

Thanks a great deal!  (Especially DanielMark above!)

Thought I was lost with the backup I had prior to my laptop being stolen, and didn't want to spend >$300 to get my data.  A wonderful utility ntbkup.exe!

Here's the command line entry that worked for me (same as above).  Make sure you do a directory (-d) command prior to the extract, to limit the extract to those files that you want.

D:\temp>ntbkup backup.bkf -p"D:\Documents and Settings\bp329\My Documents+"

Genius begins great works,
     LABOR ALONE finishes them.
                 - Joseph Joubert

RE: How to restore from a corrupt BKF file...


first... sorry for my bad english!
i've read your discussion on how to restore files from a .bkf file.
i know that it's more than a year ago that this discussion finished. but maybe some other people are searching for a solution to the same problem.

i don't have a .bkf file that i needed to restore, i had a dds-4 tape which windows won't read. if i want to catalog it it says that i have to insert the tape named 'vollsicherung'. but this tape was inserted. i have only this one tape (i don't know it is a part of a set, or not).

i've made a dump of this tape (with mmpc - but maybe it works with dd too) cause mmpc couldn't restore the files on it (read error fm: 2, blk: 2).

than i've tried ntbkup. i've got more files with ntbkup than with mmpc. that ntbkup could handle this dump was "very nice". but ntbkup has produced an errormessage by windows xp. sorry, but i've only the german errormessage. it calls something like: the order in "0x004016fd" points to memory at "0x00417f8d".

after that i've tried not to copy the files out, just only listing them.
ntbkup xxxx.dup >content.txt and
ntbkup xxxx.dup -d >directories.txt

then i've tried e-tech's bkf recovery. it listed me more files than ntbkup. hmmmm.

i've found a program called advanced bkf repair. it "only" cost's 149$ (some people here would spend 300$ for a tool like this) and has a very good logging option.

jmtf didn't work for me. i couldn't start the .jar file. if i double klick on it, nothing happens. i've installed jre-1_5_0_04-windows-i586-p.exe. i don't know, why it doesn't start.

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