...I ended up going and buying a new dell with windows 10 pro and was finally able to get my back-up to work. I had a simpletech back up drive that had no support available as the company has been sold twice and there was no way to get any information about it. The files were encrypted in an .nbz extension and so I couldn't just go in and see the files. I thought everything was lost. I finally figured out how to download the files and they are all now back on my new computer. They did not reinstall like the old drive, so I have been working diligently at getting everything back and organized....
That sounds like a wise decision, and I hope you enjoy your new Win 10 computer. More and more software manufacturers are dropping support for Vista SP2 since Microsoft stopped releasing security updates for this OS on 11-Apr-2017, and even though Mozilla will continue supporting the Firefox ESR v52 browser for XP SP3 and Vista SP2 until June 2018 it's not advisable to be using a Vista SP2 machine to connect to the internet, especially if you use your computer for financial transactions like online banking and shopping.
I've never tried to perform an in-place Upgrade install of Win 7 that attempts to keep all your Vista settings, installed programs and user data but I gather the upgrade failure you encountered is fairly common. If you ever want to try to recover missing documents from your old computer the Microsoft support article Windows 7 upgrade fails and then results in a reboot loop with the message "The upgrade was not successful" has instructions on how to use the Windows 7 installation disc to access the Windows Recovery Environment and roll back to Vista - or at least allow you to retrieve your original files in C:\Users\<yourusername>\Documents and other personal folders.
PCWorld's Fix the Most Common Windows 7 Upgrade Problems includes a section title Endless Reboots that might also help.
It's important to back up your important user documents and personal files on a regular basis, but you might also want to occasionally create a full disk image for your new computer for disaster recovery. These full disk images are similar to a Windows restore point but are more like one giant zipped file of your entire hard drive that you can save on external backup media (e.g., a "regular" removable 1 TB USB hard drive that is not bootable) and if your system is ever infected with malware or your Windows operating system is corrupted you can use one of those disk images to restore your entire hard drive (including your Windows OS, installed programs and personal files) back to a previous date. You can use the built-in backup utility in Windows 10 to create backup images as well as an emergency Recovery Drive on a USB stick that you can use to boot your PC if Windows won't boot normally - see Lincoln Specter's PCWorld.com article How to create an image backup in Windows 10 and restore it, if need be for instructions. The Backup and Restore Center that came with my Vista SP2 Home Premium can't create these full disk images so I use Macrium Reflect Free.
32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.5.3 * Norton Security Premium v126.96.36.199 * MB Premium v3.3.1 * Macrium Reflect Free v7.1.2801
Edited by lmacri, 08 January 2018 - 04:17 PM.