Fixing the Vista backup error "the system cannot find the specified file"

I’ve been getting an error “when using the Vista Backup tools the last few days “the backup did not complete…the system cannot find the specified file”. As it turns out this seems to be a Vista “issue”. Apparently this is because a shadow copy created by Vista is conflicting with the backup process. Here’s what I did to fix the problem:

    1. From Control Panel, select “System”
    2. In the System Protection tab, uncheck all drives listed under “Automatic Restore Points”
    3. Click OK to save the settings–this deletes all existing shadow copies
    4. Go back into the System settings and reselect the drives that you unselected

Next time you run a backup, you shouldn’t experience this problem again!


Kevin McNeish
INETA Speaker
Microsoft .NET MVP
President, Oak Leaf Enterprises, Inc.
Chief Architect, MM .NET Application Framework

4 thoughts on “Fixing the Vista backup error "the system cannot find the specified file"

  1. I did a backup to a usb drive, reinstalled vista an it says there is no backup on this computer even though it sees the drive. How can i restore files?

  2. I used this information to help cure the same problem on my Vista system, and would like to add that I suspect another issue contributes to the same problem: I continued to have intermittent difficulties with the same error on a removeable USB Drive, and have since disable disk cascheing in computer mangement, by selecting “Optimize for quick removal”, rather than “Optimize for performance”. I suspect that the disk cascheing does not work well with the large files in the disk images.

    I would also like to recommend an outstanding disk imaging program that is easy to use, inexpensive and versatile. Macrium Reflect. Go to for info or a free trial.

    Regards, Vista User999

  3. I used the advice about how to backup as described having experienced problems trying to backup for weeks and this worked! The advice was actually given by someone else online but was the same as this. The reason I’ve gone to find this information again is that I have to do this again as there are problems witht he computer.

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