Use Windows Backup To Back Up Windows Server 2012

WIndows Server’s ntbackup tools have become easier and easier to use over time. But there’s no more ntbackup. Well, there’s wbadmin, which is very similar. You can still restore data by downloading ntbackups restore tool at http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=974674. 

Windows Backup is now capable of backing up a system with the same ease of use that Apple brought to automated backups with Time Machine and Time Machine Server. In fact, providing access to only a few more options Microsoft’s tools provide access to some pretty nice options, easily configured.

To get started, you’ll first need to install the Windows Backup Role. To do so, use the Add Roles and Features Wizard in Windows Server 2012 to add the Windows Backup role. Once added, open Server Manager and then click on the Tools menu, selecting Windows Server Backup.

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From Windows Server backup, you can enter the name of an Azure account to configure cloud based backups. However, in this walkthrough we’re going to choose local backups, which really for us means to a network share rather than the cloud, although we could back up to a USB drive or some other internal drive as well. Click Local Backup, then click Configure. Click on Backup Schedule… to bring up the Backup Schedule Wizard. At the Getting Started screen, click on the Next button.

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At the Server Backup Configuration screen of the Backup Schedule Wizard, choose whether to back up all the data or perform a custom backup, which allows you to define only certain files to back up. I like to back up all the data for the most part, so we’re going to go with the full server and click Next.

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At the Specify Backup Time screen, choose the appropriate times of the day to back the server up and click on the Next button.

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At the Specify Destination Type screen, choose where you’d like to back your data up to and then click on the Next button. As mentioned, we’re going to back data up to a network share.

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At the Specify Remote Shared Folder screen, provide a path to the network path that you’d like to back your files up to.

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The backups should then be tested and validated before putting a system into long-term production. The command line tool used to manage backups is wbadmin. The wbadmin has the following verbs available to it:

  • enable backup – modifies existing backups or makes new schedules
  • disable backup – disables a backup schedule
  • start backup – starts a one-time backup job
  • stop job – stops running recovery or backup jobs that are currently in progress
  • get versions – shows the details of backups for recovery
  • get items – lists the contents of a backup
  • start recovery – runs a recovery job
  • get disks – shows online disks
  • get virtualmachines – shows Hyper-V VMs
  • start systemstaterecovery – recovers the system state backup from a valid system state backup
  • start systemstatebackup – makes a system state backup
  • delete systemstatebackup – deletes a system state backup
  • delete backup – deletes a backup
  • delete catalog – used if a catalog gets corrupt usually, to delete a catalog of backups
  • restore catalog - only use this option to attempt to fix corrupted catalogs, restores a catalog

Note: In addition to these options, there are even more commands available to Powershell. These are pretty well documented at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee706683.aspx.

So while you will still need a 3rd party tool if you wish to backup to tape or you need very complex features, there’s now a very easy to use tool, that integrates cloud and local storage backups for Windows Server and is just about as easy to manage and configure as Apple’s Time Machine is on OS X or OS X Server.

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