Using Windows Home Server

All about Windows Home Server, the Digital Home and Security.

Posts Tagged ‘Backup

10 things I learned about Windows Home Server the hard way (on a Friday night)

with 4 comments

  1. If you really want to learn about Windows Home Server build your own
  2. It was about the same cost to build my own WHS as it would have been to just buy one (but not anywhere as fun)
  3. Advanced Admin Console should be your first Add-In
  4. Disk Management should be your second Add-In
  5. Gigabit, gigabit, gigabit
  6. Get a Router with UPnP
  7. Get the RSS feeds from the five blogs listed at Microsoft WHS (at least these five)
  8. You cannot use Restore to a change to a different size hard drive
  9. Backup WHS regularly
  10. Backup WHS regularly, again 

Blogs listed at:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/community.mspx 

See you next Friday night

Timothy Daleo

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Written by Timothy Daleo

April 11, 2009 at 6:39 am

Backing up Windows Home Server on a Friday night

with 2 comments

Equipment Needed:

External Hard Drive

WHS BDBB Add-In available at http://www.mediasmartserver.net/downloads/WHSBDBB.zip or http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php?autocom=downloads&showfile=90

Advanced Admin Console Add-In or remote desktop connection

2 Beers (optional)

Home Server Show Podcast #37 playing on iTunes (you can also substitute any episode of Jericho Season One)

Background

So I love the automated backup function of WHS. We all do. In addition to the regular backup of my networked computers, I run the folder backup of the WHS server to my external USB drive. We all do. I take an additional step to secure my data. On the weekends, usually every Saturday morning while I browse the discount tech sites and the wife is still sleeping, I copy the backup database to another hard drive that I take off-site. The backup database contains all of the files WHS would use if I needed to restore any PC backed up from the network.

I do this backup each weekend for three reasons:

  1. If the server ever goes tits up I have everything I need to do a complete and easy restore
  2. I enjoy saying that I have “off-site backup” protocols
  3. Saying “off-site” is cool. 

The Process

Let me start by saying that you might have a different order of doing this same process. The important thing is that you follow some sort of plan on a regular basis. Seriously. How much easier can MS make it? Keeping your data safe is the whole reason we do this, right?

Since I run the regular backup every few days all I need to do is copy the remaining backup database files to the same external hard disk. My typical WHS folder backup look likes this:

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The WHS backup database is not duplicated by this standard WHS folder backup process. For this reason, according to MS, “you may want to periodically copy the entire backup database from your home server to an external hard disk that you attach to your home server. The external hard disk should not be added to the Server Storage on your Windows Home Server.” I found this information at:

Home Computer Backup and Restore

I followed the MS directions and start by accessing the Command Prompt from within Advance Admin Console and using the directions listed in the link above.

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Mental Note: Disable the Remote Notification (if you have it installed) before you stop the backup service to avoid the extra SMS messages.

Once you have stopped the pdl and backup service, access your external hard drive from the Advanced Admin Console and create a folder on the external hard drive in which to copy the backup database as shown below:

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Give your folder a name that makes sense to you (preferably with the date) and is easy to recognize.

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The WHS backup database is stored entirely in the folder D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}. We are just going to copy it. Use the Advanced Admin Console and navigate to that folder. Once you are in the folder, select all, and then copy those files to the new folder you created.

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This is the point where Jericho and the beers come in to play. You now have some free time. I have Netflix on the second monitor and the wife is watching her shows in the living room. I wonder if I could EMP-proof my server? A ruggedized Windows Home Server? Could I successfully build a Faraday cage in the server closet? Faraday is also the guy on Lost. Maybe he is the great great great great great grandson of Michael Faraday who developed the electromagnetic field concept in physics and the cage. I love Wiki. I love Lost. I love WHS. Seriously.

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My files took 56 minutes to copy during the manual process. There are some massive files sizes so be patient. You mileage will vary depending on the speed of your external hard drive. I keep a special USB drive in a small fire-proof safe. My safe was $100 on sale at a local retailer and the drive is a little 320GB Seagate for about $80. This ends up being cheaper than some of the dedicated fire-proof drives and lets me expand and change drives easily. An additional added benefit is that it is USB powered and does not constantly run off of AC power. Find the right combination that suits your needs and budget.

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Installation of the WHSBDBB Add-In – An Easier Way to Backup

There is an easier way to backup the backup database. I found a file during my adventures that automates this process for you. I had probably looked at this Add-In before but since the name was WHSBDBB I just kept going. It was only until I read a related article on accident that I gave it a second look.

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/downloads/WHSBDBB.zip

Once you download the file install the WHS BDBB Add-In by copying the WHSBDBB.msi file to the Software\Addins folder of your Windows Home Server. Start the Windows Home Server Console, click on Settings, then select Add-Ins. Choose WHS BDBB from the Available tab, and click "Install". The Add-In installation is a standard install although I had to reboot twice to get the Add-In to work.

Automated Backup

Ready? Open the Add-In click on Backup and choose your drive.

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I actually perform this backup twice; once to a hard drive in my little safe and once to the off-site hard drive that I switch out. Switch out? Yeah, when I drop off the hard drive I backed up today I pick up the hard drive from last week. I rotate two drives that I got from the Western Digital outlet. Can you ever backup too much? Well maybe…

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The manual copy of 73GB took 56 minutes total while the WHS BDBB took 60 minutes. I am not sure why there was a delta (I used the same drive) but the simplicity of the Add-In offsets any extra time.

For more information about Windows Home Server Home Computer Backup and Restore, and why you should look into it, go to the Community Forums at the Microsoft Web site ( http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=100263).

We are all done and backed up. Nice.

See you next Friday night.

Written by Timothy Daleo

March 21, 2009 at 9:37 am

Backing Up a Mac with an HP MediaSmart EX470 or EX475

with 2 comments

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article called Backing Up a Mac with an HP MediaSmart EX485 or EX487. The article explained how to back up a Mac using Time Machine to your HP MediaSmart EX485 or EX487. This was possible due to some added software that HP included with the new MediaSmart Servers.

Now for all those people who don’t yet have either the EX485 or the EX487, but still have either the EX470 or EX475, MediaSmartHome.com has a detailed article on how to do pretty much the same thing using SMB Shares.

To read the article, click here.

Written by Andrew Edney

March 6, 2009 at 6:25 am

Backing up a Mac with an HP MediaSmart EX485 or EX487

with 2 comments

Now that the new HP MediaSmart Servers are shipping, I thought I would post something on how to configure your Apple Mac to use Time Machine to back up to your Windows Home Server.

Time Machine is an application that comes preinstalled on a Mac that allows you to backup everything on your computer – a bit like WHS. This includes documents, photos, applications, and more. Time Machine takes hourly backups of your computer and will keep those backups for 24 hours, daily backups for a month and weekly backups until your backup disk becomes full up.

This is essentially a walk-through from installing the software on the Mac, to performing your first backup.

There are a few important things to note however before continuing on.

1 – the Apple Mac needs to be running Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

2 – you need an HP MediaSmart EX485 or EX487, the for previous versions will not work until HP release the software update and there is currently no dates for this.

3 – Backing up a Mac doesn’t work in quite the same way as a Windows client, which I will come onto in a moment, and there is no way to do a complete system restore onto a Mac from WHS, again which I will cover in a moment.

4 – it is assumed that you have already set up your Windows Home Server and configured it just as you would have previously.

Ok, so here goes….

The first thing you need to do, is check that you have Administrator rights on the Mac. To do this, click System Preferences, Accounts and ensure that the Allow user to administer this computer is checked.

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Once this is done just pop the Software Installation Disc that came with the MediaSmart into your Mac. Double click on the Install HP MediaSmart Server Software.pkg icon.

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Click Continue on the Welcome Screen, then read the EULA and click Continue again, then assuming that you agree with the EULA (you have to otherwise you cannot continue) click Agree.

You now have the option to change the install location should you really want to. When you have changed it, should you want to, click Install.

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You will need to enter your Mac account password and then click OK.

The installation will now commence and should only take a moment or two. When it has completed you will see the Installation completed successfully screen – just click Close to finish.

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This will bring up the Preferences windows. Enter the name of your WHS and also the Server password.

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If it connects successfully you will see the word Authenticated appear above the Apply button. If it fails you will see Validation Error. Just enter the details again. If it still fails, and you are sure that the details are correct, just check that the WHS is online and that your Mac is connected to the network.

The next step is to configure the amount of space that will be used to backup your Mac.

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Enter the amount of backup disk space you want to use in GB and click the Apply button. This will then prepare your WHS. Depending on the size you selected this might take a few moments.

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You will the be asked if you want to use “Backup to HP MediaSmart Server” to back up using Time Machine. Click Use as Backup Disk to continue.

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And that is is – Time Machine will now be used to backup your Mac to your WHS.

There is nothing else you need to do, the first backup will start within an hour. When your Mac is backing up, you will be able to see the progress.

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Just as you had with backing up your Windows clients, the first time you backup your Mac it could take a long time, so be patient.

If you want to see information about your backups, for example, when the last backup took place, or when the next backup is due, just open Time Machine.

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Time Machine will just continue to run in the background for you.

When you want to restore from Time Machine, you get a cool looking view which allows you to switch between backups and select the files you want to restore.

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As I mentioned earlier, you cannot restore the entire computer in the same way as you can with Windows clients and WHS. If you want or need to restore your Mac, you must first install the Mac OS, then the HP MediaSmart Server Client software, select the disk called Backup to the HP MediaSmart Server in the Preference window and then run Time Machine, selecting the backup you want to restore.

It is important to note as well that the backups are stored on your WHS in a shared folder called Mac, your Mac doesn’t show up on the Computers and Backups tab. It is also important to note that by default, the Mac shared folder has duplication turned off, so if your backups are important to you, you should consider switching on folder duplication for the folder.

If you open the folder, you will see a file the size that you created earlier.

mac folder

And that is pretty much it. It is simple to install, configure and use to make sure that your Mac clients are backed up, and the restore process is straightforward as well. It is a shame that it doesn’t work in quite the same way for the Mac as it does for Windows, but at least you have everything you need to get your Mac back up and running in the event of a major problem.

Written by Andrew Edney

February 16, 2009 at 8:42 pm