We were delighted to receive the following email from one of our managers who is now our biggest fan of the File Backup program in Windows Vista. Though we’ve heard plenty of feedback about the lack of location-based backup in Backup, this is one scenario that illustrates why backing up by file type, rather than location, can be a job saver.

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On a recent recruiting trip, I used OneNote to write down my feedback for all of the candidates that we’re going to extend offers to (16 in all). This morning, I wanted to extract all of the feedback from OneNote so I could send it to the other interviewers. And I nearly fainted when I saw that I only had feedback of 6 of the 16 candidates in my notebook. I’d thrown away my paper notes, and reconstructing the feedback for the other 10 candidates would be nearly impossible. My memory has already faded.

Here’s what happened: When I got back from my trip, I did a clean install of the latest Windows Vista build. But what I forgot is that my Offline Files cache was not synchronized when I wiped my machine. I’d forced Offline Files into offline mode while at the remote Microsoft office so access to my redirected Documents folder would stop trying to hit the Redmond server. That was very cool, but I forgot to disable this mode when I got back to Redmond. Consequently, I lost my feedback for 10 candidates – the 10 I’d typed up after I’d forced Offline Files to offline mode.

But I was smart enough to update my Windows Vista file backup before doing the clean install. Though I knew that files cached while offline are not backed up, I was happy to discover that OneNote squirrels away backup files in AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote\12.0\Backup. Would I have ever thought to include that folder if I was picking folders to back up? Of course not. But Backup saw there was interesting data there, and it backed it up for me. I was able to use the Advanced Restore functionality to do a foreign restore, grab the backup notebook, and suddenly I had all of the candidate feedback again.

Thank you, team. I’ll buy you all drinks at the ship party :-)