Develop a backup plan

Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

Hardware failure, hardware theft, virus attacks, or even operator error can result in lost data. Depending on the amount and type of data, your company’s bottom line could even be affected, which makes it imperative that you have an effective backup strategy that you can stick to. This article provides an overview of the important things to consider and plan for when mapping out your backup strategy. Consider the following:

  • What should I back up?

  • How often should I create backups?

  • What media should I use?

  • How should I label backups?

  • Where should backups be stored?

The Windows® Home Server 2011 server software provides a reliable way to perform regular server backups to external storage drives. You can use the Set Up Server Backup wizard to easily create and manage backups of server hard drives that you select. In the event of data loss, you can restore the data on those hard drives from a successful backup without restoring the entire server.

You can protect data on the server automatically by running the Set Up Server Backup wizard, which enables you to:

  • Choose the external hard disk that you want to use to back up your data.

  • Choose whether to back up all the data on the server or only certain hard drives.

  • Specify a schedule for when you want server backup to run.

After you configure your server backup, you can make changes to the backup by using the tasks that are available in the Computers and Backup task pane of the Dashboard. For example, you might want to add or remove backup items, or change the backup schedule.

What should I back up?

You should back up the system hard drive (typically, drive C:). You should also back up any hard drives that are used to store business or user information such as:

  • Redirected user's My Documents folders

  • Shared folders on the server

  • The system state of the server

  • The client computer backup database


You can only back up data from a local drive that is formatted as an NTFS file system. Hard drives that are formatted as FAT (including FAT32) file systems do not appear in the list of hard drives to back up.

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How often should I create backups?

You should protect your computer that is running Windows Home Server 2011 and its data automatically by scheduling daily backups. Most organizations and home networks cannot afford to lose the data that has been created over several days. so it is recommended that you also maintain a daily backup plan to ensure your safety of your data.

When you use the Set Up Server Backup wizard that is included with Windows Home Server 2011, you can choose to back up server data at multiple times during the day. Because the wizard schedules differential-based backups, a backup runs quickly, and server performance is not significantly impacted. By default, Set Up Server Backup schedules a backup to run daily between 12:00 am and 6:00 am. However, you can adjust the backup schedule according to your needs. You should occasionally evaluate the effectiveness of your backup plan, and change the plan as necessary.

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What media should I use?

You can back up your data to any external hard disk that supports USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, or eSATA. Hard disks of this type offer large storage capacities and the speed that is necessary to efficiently back up your data. You should visit the website for your external hard disk manufacturer to ensure that your backup hard disk is supported on computers running Windows Server® 2008 R2.


You can back up server data only to external hard disks.

When choosing a hard disk for your server backup, consider the following:

  • Choose a hard disk that contains sufficient space to store your data. Your storage drives should contain at least 1.5 times the storage capacity of the data that you want to back up. The hard disk should also be large enough to accommodate the future growth of your server data.

  • When reusing an external hard disk, make sure that the hard disk is empty or contains only data that you do not need.


    The Set Up Server Backup wizard formats the hard disk when configuring it for backup. You will lose any information that may exist on the hard disk.

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How should I label backups?

Place a label on your backup hard disk to quickly identify the source server and the range of backup dates. Adding a label helps you identify which backup to restore your server data from, and it also helps prevent loss of data due to the accidental formatting of an unlabeled drive.

When you label a backup hard disk, you should label the hard disk in a way that meets the needs of your backup schedule and policy. For example, you might use a hard disk labeled “Disk 1” to back up data on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and a hard disk labeled “Disk 2” to back up data on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. For maximum protection, backups should be kept in a different location from the server.

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Where should backups be stored?

It is recommended that you store your external backup hard disks at a secure offsite location and regularly rotate them to protect your data in the event of theft or a natural disaster. The offsite location should be safe from threat of fire, flood, theft, and other perils.

You can use multiple external hard disks for backups, and you can rotate the hard disks between onsite and offsite storage locations. This can improve your disaster preparedness planning by helping you recover your data if physical damage occurs to the hardware onsite.

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