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Microsoft's Tool to Restore a Windows Live OneCare Backup

Why would anyone care how to restore a Windows Live OneCare backup? Well, after downloading some files from Face Book for one of my in-laws (something I never do because I avoid Face Book) I discovered the files that she wished me to save for her had in fact infected my laptop with a virus; a nasty little creature that refused me even the slightest appearance of access to the Web, or anything else for that matter.

No problem, I thought. I have had to restore systems numerous times over the years. Starting over from scratch and re-installing the operating system normally eliminates the little creatures. So I wiped everything out and started over. I reinstalled Windows without any problem. I loaded my copy of Office 2007 so I should be set to go. The only activity that I frequent on my laptop is writing, normally for school.


I pulled out my copy of Windows Live OneCare, which was my general everything protection for the laptop.  I cannot say that would I be Microsoft’s best promoter concerning Live OneCare but the product worked.  I rarely had problems with viruses or malware, unless I invited them onto my notebook like I had this time.  So I put the CD in the tray and started the install.

Oh no!  I received an error message stating that my subscription to Windows Live OneCare had expired.  The subscription had always auto-renewed in the past but then I remembered that Microsoft was discontinuing the product.  This would normally not have been an issue except that the install routine on the CD goes to the Windows Live OneCare website to perform the install.  The utility downloads the application from Microsoft’s web site; the installation files were not contained on the CD.

Microsoft had already stopped supporting the application and updates were not available.  Antivirus and antimalware were not my concern.  I had changed over to the Computer Associates (CA) security suite anyway when we moved.  CA is provided through our ISP as part of our Internet subscription.  My problem was that I used Windows Live OneCare to perform my last backup.  I would not be able to restore my data files without the Windows Live OneCare software.  All my e-Books from my undergraduate and graduate studies were contained on the backup along with all the papers I had written.


I visited the Windows Live website and located a page dedicated to Windows Live OneCare containing the following advisory:

Windows Live OneCare sales have been discontinued in all markets as of October 15, 2009 and product support will be ending soon; active subscribers will receive several in-product and email communications advising them of the ending subscription and support dates. In addition, billing support will end three months following the date support ends for each subscriber. This page is intended to provide guidance and answer questions for customers as we complete this process. We will continue to update this guidance page as new information becomes available.

Well, the page goes on to advise consumers who had backed up systems using Live OneCare to use the Windows Live OneCare Backup Restore Tool to recover files backed up using Windows Live OneCare. The tool is available from Microsoft.

Download and Install the Windows Live OneCare Restore Tool

Click the "Run" button to download and install the utility, then follow th instructions. As an alternative, you can save the file to a directory then install at a later time. However, this alternate procedure lends little benefit unless you plan to download and install the utility on multiple machines that were backing up files using Live OneCare.


The first step in the install procedure is to chose the language the restore utility will run under.  If English is acceptable then click on the "Next" button.  Otherwise, click the text-box select arrow and chose the appropriate language before clicking the "Next" button.


In order to install and use the software you must agree to the terms of the End User License Agreement.  When this dialog-box appears, make sure to select the "I accept..." check-box then click next.


At this point, the software is in the process of installing.  Two progress bars show the approximate stage of the install process.  When both bars progress to the far right, the process has completed the installation process.


The "Complete the OneCare Restore Installation" dialog-box informs you that the computer must reboot to complete the procedure.  Make sure that you close any running applications then click the "Finish" button.  The computer will re-boot and the restore utility will be ready to use.

The following steps guide you through starting and running the Windows Live OneCare Restore Tool.

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Running the Windows Live OneCare Restore Tool

Click the "Start" button at the bottom left corner of the screen. Choose "All Programs" and a selection  to run the Windows Live OneCare Restore Tool will appear.  Click on the selection and the utility will launch.


Live OneCare performed two types of backups.  One type was the online photo backup, which is beyond the scope of this hub and comprises connecting with the service that backed up the photos.  The other type of backup was the local file backup and is the subject of this hub.

Click on the selection that states "Restore files from a local backup."


The "Select the backup location" dialog box appears and prompts for the location of the files to restore. This would be the device that contains the media used for the original data backup. The system displays the possible locations, which depend on whether devices are connected and powered on.

If you do not see the device in the selection list that contains the files to restore, then make sure the device is in fact connected to the computer and that the device is powered up. Highlight the device and click start.


From this point on, the Windows Live OneCare Restore Tool should act like any other restore utility. Choose the directories and files that you wish to restore and the locations to restore the files to.

The preceding procedure should permit you to restore files originally backed up using Windows Live OneCare. I wish you all the success afforded to your efforts.

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I would appreciate any comments or suggestions.


Microsoft (2010). Windows Live®™ OneCare® End of Sale Guidance Page.  Available from


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DJ7 on February 22, 2018:

Why is this article date marked 2018? It's an outdated old article.

This Old Guy (author) from Somewhere in Ohio on May 09, 2012:

I would be curious to see what Microsoft says.

Sonja on May 01, 2012:

I have started a support with MSE which is supposed to have replaced OneCare. So why doesn't MSE just support OneCare backups? I am not the only person that is having this problem. I really would pay for an answer and don't want to manually restore my files. I got a Trojan and wiped my drive and now restore tool does not work. For a while it was "subscription expired" and now it's "restore cannot start". I have a feeling it's a registry key. We'll see if Microsoft can help. Then I'll post it everywhere.

This Old Guy (author) from Somewhere in Ohio on March 14, 2012:

Keep in mind that the restore tool is only meant to restore backups created using Windows Live One Care. The test machine was running Windows Vista and did not experience any problems.

Jereme on March 13, 2012:

Hey MS fanboy - you are full of it. I have been trying to get this e'ffing application to work for a month and getting the same error as Sonja. I am a lifelong windows user and am ready to make the jump to apple simply because they are more thoughtful and supportive of their products.

Sonja on March 12, 2012:

I keep getting the error message: Restore tool cannot continue. Reboot your computer and contact support if you continue to have an issue. I would pay for the tool at this point.

Kodell on August 08, 2011:

Hello Dumbledore !. Thank you very much for providing the article you wrote and !, the link to this restore program ! :) I have looked all over for it, for over a week now, could not find it again, (did easily 2 months ago, don't know what happened) and was so glad to read your article and am very grateful for the link, directly to the restore tool program !. You saved my day, week ! :) I was at a loss, almost gave up, then I used Bing or Goodsearch search engines, and I found you ! :) Wow !, what a relief !. I could just give you a big hug and kiss !. I am so happy I found what you posted. I wonder, why does Microsoft make finding this program so difficult ?, these days !. One goes to the MS web site for their programs, types in Exactly the name of this program, yet every thing else they are pushing, comes up, but not this one. :( I do not understand this other than they want to get people so frustrated that finally they will just give in and buy something else. Problem is, only this program will open the OneCare Live Restore !. Just does not make any sense to me. These days, nothing much does :) With Kind Regards, Angie L.

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