Safeguarding your system

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Safeguarding your system

To safeguard your system against a serious failure, you can use the Backup tool to create an Automated System Recovery (ASR) set on a regular basis. The Automated System Recovery Wizard creates a two-part backup that you can use to recover your system after all other recovery attempts have failed, or after you have replaced the hard disk. ASR backs up the system state, system services, and all disks associated with the operating system components. It also creates a startup disk that contains information about the backup, the disk configurations (including basic and dynamic volumes), and how to accomplish a restore. You should create a new ASR set after any major change to the system and also on a regular schedule as part of a comprehensive backup plan.

Some of the most common tasks are creating an Automated System Recovery set using Backup and recovering from a system failure using Automated System Recovery. For more information about other system recovery tools, see Repair overview.

To create an Automated System Recovery set using Backup

  1. Open Backup.

    The Backup or Restore Wizard starts by default, unless it is disabled. You can use the Backup or Restore wizard to create an ASR set by answering All information on this computer in the What do you want to backup? section. Otherwise, you can go to the next step to create an ASR set in Advanced Mode.

  2. Click the Advanced Mode link on the Backup or Restore Wizard.

  3. On the Tools menu, click ASR Wizard.

  4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.


  • You will need a blank 1.44 MB floppy disk to save your system settings and media to contain the backup files. If your computer does not have a floppy drive, see Backup Troubleshooting.


  • You can use Backup to back up and restore data on FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS volumes. However, if you have backed up data from an NTFS volume, it is recommended that you restore the data to an NTFS volume of the same version to prevent losing data. Some file systems might not support all of the features of other file systems.

  • To start Backup, click Start, point to All programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup.

  • This procedure will only back up those system files that are necessary for starting your system. You will need to backup your data separately.

  • After creating the ASR set, label this floppy disk and backup media carefully, and keep them together. In order to use the backup media, you must have the floppy disk that you created with that set of media. You cannot use a floppy disk created at a different time or with a different set of media. You must also have your Setup CD available at the time you perform Automated System Recovery.

  • Keep the ASR set in a secure location. The ASR set contains information about your systems configuration that could be used to do harm to your system.

  • If you are backing up a server cluster, run the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard on all nodes of the cluster and make sure that the Cluster service is running when you start each Automated System Recovery backup. Make sure that one of the nodes on which you run the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard is listed as the owner of the quorum resource while the wizard is running.

To recover from a system failure using Automated System Recovery

  1. Make sure you have the following on hand before you begin the recovery procedure:

    • Your previously created Automated System Recovery (ASR) floppy disk.

    • Your previously created backup media.

    • The original operating system installation CD.

    • If you have a mass storage controller and you are aware that the manufacturer has supplied a separate driver file for it (different from driver files available on the Setup CD), obtain the file (on a floppy disk) before you begin this procedure.

  2. Insert the original operating system installation CD into your CD drive.

  3. Restart your computer. If prompted to press a key in order to start the computer from CD, press the appropriate key.

  4. If you have a separate driver file as described in step 1, use the driver as part of Setup by pressing F6 when prompted.

  5. Press F2 when prompted at the beginning of the text-only mode section of Setup. You will be prompted to insert the ASR floppy disk you have previously created.

  6. Follow the directions on the screen.

  7. If you have a separate driver file as described in step 1, press F6 (a second time) when prompted after the system reboots.

  8. Follow the directions on the screen.


  • Physical access to a server is a high security risk. To maintain a more secure environment, you must restrict physical access to all servers and network hardware.

  • ASR will not restore your data files.

  • If you are restoring a server cluster in which all nodes failed and the quorum disk cannot be restored from backup, use Automated System Recovery on each node in the original cluster to restore the disk signatures and the partition layout of the cluster disks (quorum and nonquorum).

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.