Getting System State Only Backups from Server 2008 / 2008 R2

If you’re like me you’re pretty crazy about backups. I hate not having backups, it never happens that you have an error or a data loss after a successful backup, it’s always after the backup fails. That’s why I always go the extra step and backup core components with their specific tools and then backup those backups with another 3rd party backup software. In server 2000/2003 I used to use NTBackup to make 2 overlapping system state backups, one for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and one for Tuesday and Thursday. That way if Active Directory ever crapped out on me I’d have the last two days worth of system state backups, and in the original Microsoft form to boot. (it always easiest to do the restore with Microsoft tools, ever get stuck between two vendors swearing it’s the other guy’s fault? )

Anyway, so when Server 2008 came out I wasn’t happy with the fact that I had to either backup the entire C: volume, or that I had to backup to another volume other than the once i was taking a backup of, or that the command line option wasn’t automated. Sometimes you’ve got servers in a rack that only have 1 volume, and there’s not room for a USB drive, or if you’re like me you’re backing up with a 3rd party tool and you just want to keep the native format backups on the server as a spare copy. I ended up doing a bit of research and this is how you get it done:

First you’ve got to enable the ability to backup to the same volume you’re making a backup of. In Microsoft KB 944530 it gives you instructions on how to create a registry entry that enables the ability to backup to any volume. Here is the Location and Key:

Name: AllowSSBToAnyVolume
Data type: DWORD
Value data: 1

Or You can download it here: AllowSSBToAnyVolume

Once that’s been done, reboot and then you’ll be able to run a Windows Backup to any volume. Now the next time I do is create two batch scripts, one for MWF, and one for TTh, but again I’m crazy.

MWF’s Backup Batch Script:
Rmdir c:\systemstatebackups\mwf /s /q
Mkdir c:\systemstatebackups\mwf
Wbadmin start systemstatebackup –quiet –backuptarget:c:
Xcopy /s /e /c /h /y c:\windowsimagebackup\*.* c:\systemstatebackups\mwf\*.*
Rmdir c:\windowsimagebackup /s /q

and TTh’s Backup Batch Script:
Rmdir c:\systemstatebackups\tth /s /q
Mkdir c:\systemstatebackups\tth
Wbadmin start systemstatebackup –quiet –backuptarget:c:
Xcopy /s /e /c /h /y c:\windowsimagebackup\*.* c:\systemstatebackups\tth\*.*
Rmdir c:\windowsimagebackup /s /q

Schedule these to run on their proper days and there you have it, the last two days worth of system state only backups, ready to be picked up by a 3rd party backup software, or to be used to restore system state in the event of Active Directory corruption or deletion. It’s maybe a little bit unnecessary, but I’d rather have them and not need them than need them and have to deal with Symantec backup exec support trying to restore a lost CEO user account at 3 in the morning.

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