Using Windows Home Server

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

Posts Tagged ‘Restore

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:

Pic0

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.

Pic1

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.

Pic3

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.

Pic4

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.

Pic5

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.

Pic8 

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.

Pic7

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…

Pic6

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