First look: back up files and folders in Resource Manager deployment

This article explains how to back up your Windows Server (or Windows computer) files and folders to Azure using a Resource Manager deployment. It's a tutorial intended to walk you through the basics. If you want to get started using Azure Backup, you're in the right place.

If you want to know more about Azure Backup, read this overview.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account that lets you access any Azure service.

Create a recovery services vault

To back up your files and folders, you need to create a Recovery Services vault in the region where you want to store the data. You also need to determine how you want your storage replicated.

To create a Recovery Services vault

  1. If you haven't already done so, sign in to the Azure Portal using your Azure subscription.
  2. On the Hub menu, click All services and in the list of resources, type Recovery Services and click Recovery Services vaults.

    Create Recovery Services Vault step 1

    If there are recovery services vaults in the subscription, the vaults are listed.

  3. On the Recovery Services vaults menu, click Add.

    Create Recovery Services Vault step 2

    The Recovery Services vault blade opens, prompting you to provide a Name, Subscription, Resource group, and Location.

    Create Recovery Services Vault step 3

  4. For Name, enter a friendly name to identify the vault. The name needs to be unique for the Azure subscription. Type a name that contains between 2 and 50 characters. It must start with a letter, and can contain only letters, numbers, and hyphens.

  5. In the Subscription section, use the drop-down menu to choose the Azure subscription. If you use only one subscription, that subscription appears and you can skip to the next step. If you are not sure which subscription to use, use the default (or suggested) subscription. There are multiple choices only if your organizational account is associated with multiple Azure subscriptions.

  6. In the Resource group section:

    • select Create new if you want to create a new Resource group. Or
    • select Use existing and click the drop-down menu to see the available list of Resource groups.

    For complete information on Resource groups, see the Azure Resource Manager overview.

  7. Click Location to select the geographic region for the vault. This choice determines the geographic region where your backup data is sent.

  8. At the bottom of the Recovery Services vault blade, click Create.

    It can take several minutes for the Recovery Services vault to be created. Monitor the status notifications in the upper right-hand area of the portal. Once your vault is created, it appears in the list of Recovery Services vaults. If after several minutes you don't see your vault, click Refresh.

    Click Refresh button

    Once you see your vault in the list of Recovery Services vaults, you are ready to set the storage redundancy.

Set storage redundancy for the vault

When you create a Recovery Services vault, make sure storage redundancy is configured the way you want.

  1. From the Recovery Services vaults blade, click the new vault.

    Select the new vault from the list of Recovery Services vault

    When you select the vault, the Recovery Services vault blade narrows, and the Settings blade (which has the name of the vault at the top) and the vault details blade open.

    View the storage configuration for new vault

  2. In the new vault's Settings blade, use the vertical slide to scroll down to the Manage section, and click Backup Infrastructure. The Backup Infrastructure blade opens.
  3. In the Backup Infrastructure blade, click Backup Configuration to open the Backup Configuration blade.

    Set the storage configuration for new vault

  4. Choose the appropriate storage replication option for your vault.

    storage configuration choices

    By default, your vault has geo-redundant storage. If you use Azure as a primary backup storage endpoint, continue to use Geo-redundant. If you don't use Azure as a primary backup storage endpoint, then choose Locally-redundant, which reduces the Azure storage costs. Read more about geo-redundant and locally redundant storage options in this Storage redundancy overview.

Now that you've created a vault, configure it for backing up files and folders.

Configure the vault

  1. On the Recovery Services vault blade (for the vault you just created), in the Getting Started section, click Backup, then on the Getting Started with Backup blade, select Backup goal.

    Open backup goal blade

    The Backup Goal blade opens.

    Open backup goal blade

  2. From the Where is your workload running? drop-down menu, select On-premises.

    You choose On-premises because your Windows Server or Windows computer is a physical machine that is not in Azure.

  3. From the What do you want to backup? menu, select Files and folders, and click OK.

    Configuring files and folders

    After clicking OK, a checkmark appears next to Backup goal, and the Prepare infrastructure blade opens.

    Backup goal configured, next prepare infrastructure

  4. On the Prepare infrastructure blade, click Download Agent for Windows Server or Windows Client.

    prepare infrastructure

    If you are using Windows Server Essential, then choose to download the agent for Windows Server Essential. A pop-up menu prompts you to run or save MARSAgentInstaller.exe.

    MARSAgentInstaller dialog

  5. In the download pop-up menu, click Save.

    By default, the MARSagentinstaller.exe file is saved to your Downloads folder. When the installer completes, you will see a pop-up asking if you want to run the installer, or open the folder.

    prepare infrastructure

    You don't need to install the agent yet. You can install the agent after you have downloaded the vault credentials.

  6. On the Prepare infrastructure blade, click Download.

    download vault credentials

    The vault credentials download to your Downloads folder. After the vault credentials finish downloading, you see a pop-up asking if you want to open or save the credentials. Click Save. If you accidentally click Open, let the dialog that attempts to open the vault credentials, fail. You cannot open the vault credentials. Proceed to the next step. The vault credentials are in the Downloads folder.

    vault credentials finished downloading

Install and register the agent


Enabling backup through the Azure portal is not available, yet. Use the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent to back up your files and folders.

  1. Locate and double-click the MARSagentinstaller.exe from the Downloads folder (or other saved location).

    The installer provides a series of messages as it extracts, installs, and registers the Recovery Services agent.

    run Recovery Services agent installer credentials

  2. Complete the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent Setup Wizard. To complete the wizard, you need to:

    • Choose a location for the installation and cache folder.
    • Provide your proxy server info if you use a proxy server to connect to the internet.
    • Provide your user name and password details if you use an authenticated proxy.
    • Provide the downloaded vault credentials
    • Save the encryption passphrase in a secure location.


      If you lose or forget the passphrase, Microsoft cannot help recover the backup data. Save the file in a secure location. It is required to restore a backup.

The agent is now installed and your machine is registered to the vault. You're ready to configure and schedule your backup.

Network and Connectivity Requirements

If your machine/proxy has limited internet access, ensure that firewall settings on the mcahine/proxy are configured to allow the following URLs:

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Back up your files and folders

The initial backup includes two key tasks:

  • Schedule the backup
  • Back up files and folders for the first time

To complete the initial backup, use the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services agent.

To schedule the backup job

  1. Open the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services agent. You can find it by searching your machine for Microsoft Azure Backup.

    Launch the Azure Recovery Services agent

  2. In the Recovery Services agent, click Schedule Backup.

    Schedule a Windows Server back up

  3. On the Getting started page of the Schedule Backup Wizard, click Next.
  4. On the Select Items to Backup page, click Add Items.
  5. Select the files and folders that you want to back up, and then click Okay.
  6. Click Next.
  7. On the Specify Backup Schedule page, specify the backup schedule and click Next.

    You can schedule daily (at a maximum rate of three times per day) or weekly backups.

    Items for Windows Server Back up


    For more information about how to specify the backup schedule, see the article Use Azure Backup to replace your tape infrastructure.

  8. On the Select Retention Policy page, select the Retention Policy for the backup copy.

    The retention policy specifies how long the backup data is stored. Rather than specifying a “flat policy” for all backup points, you can specify different retention policies based on when the backup occurs. You can modify the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly retention policies to meet your needs.

  9. On the Choose Initial Backup Type page, choose the initial backup type. Leave the option Automatically over the network selected, and then click Next.

    You can back up automatically over the network, or you can back up offline. The remainder of this article describes the process for backing up automatically. If you prefer to do an offline backup, review the article Offline backup workflow in Azure Backup for additional information.

  10. On the Confirmation page, review the information, and then click Finish.
  11. After the wizard finishes creating the backup schedule, click Close.

To back up files and folders for the first time

  1. In the Recovery Services agent, click Back Up Now to complete the initial seeding over the network.

    Windows Server back up now

  2. On the Confirmation page, review the settings that the Back Up Now Wizard will use to back up the machine. Then click Back Up.
  3. Click Close to close the wizard. If you close the wizard before the backup process finishes, the wizard continues to run in the background.

After the initial backup is completed, the Job completed status appears in the Backup console.

IR complete


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Next steps