Use Multiple Disks to Store Backups

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use multiple external disks to store backups, and you can rotate the 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.

For the best protection, we recommend that you follow this practice of disk rotation. To accomplish this, you would visit the offsite location to drop off the most recent backup and retrieve the oldest backup. When you return to your onsite location, insert the disk that you brought from the offsite location.

To configure a backup schedule for multiple disks

  1. Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Windows Server Backup.

  2. In the Actions pane of the snap-in default page, under Windows Server Backup, click Backup Schedule. This opens the Backup Schedule Wizard.

  3. On the Getting started page, click Next.

  4. On the Select backup configuration page, do one of the following, and then click Next:

    • Click Full Server to back up all volumes on the server.

    • Click Custom to back up just certain volumes, and then click Next. On the Select backup items page, select the check boxes for the volumes that you want to back up and clear the check boxes for the volumes that you want to exclude.


Volumes that contain operating system components or applications are included in the backup by default and cannot be excluded.
You cannot use Windows Server Backup to back up volumes that are more than 2043 GB.

  1. On the Specify backup time page, do one of the following, and then click Next:

    • Click Once a day, and then enter the time to start running the daily backup.

    • Click More than once a day. Then, to select a start time, under Available time, click the time that you want the backup to start, and then click Add to move the time under Scheduled time. Repeat for each start time that you want to add.

  2. On the Select destination disk page, select the disks that you want to use to store backups, and then click Next.


If the disks that you want to use are not listed on the Select destination disks page, click Show All Available Disks. Then select the check box next to each disk that you want to use.

  1. A message informs you that any one of the disks that you selected may be chosen to store the first backup. Click OK.

  2. A message informs you that the selected disks will be formatted and any existing data will be deleted. Click Yes.


Do not click Yes if you have data on the disk that you need. To use a different disk, click No, and then select a different disk under Available disks.

  1. On the Label destination disk page, each disk that you selected is listed. A label that includes your computer name, the current date, the current time, and a disk name is assigned to each disk. Click Next.


We recommend that you record and then physically attach the label information to each external disk. If you need to recover data from the backup stored on the disk, you will need this information to identify the disk.

  1. On the Confirmation page, review the details, and then click Finish. The wizard formats the disk, which may take several minutes depending on the size of the disk.

  2. On the Summary page, click Close.

Additional considerations

  • To configure a scheduled backup using Windows Server Backup, you must be a member of the Administrators group, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • To force a backup to be saved to a particular disk, you can detach or disable all other disks in the backup series.

Additional references