Learn more about setting up server backup

Updated: March 30, 2011

Applies To: Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

Server backup is not enabled during server setup.


To configure server backup, you must connect an external hard drive to the server to use as the backup target hard drive.

Server backup schedule

You should protect your server and its data automatically by scheduling daily backups. It is recommended that you maintain a daily backup plan because most organizations cannot afford to lose the data that has been created over several days.

When you use the Windows SBS 2011 Essentials Set Up Server Backup Wizard, you can choose to back up server data at multiple times during the day. Because the wizard schedules differential-based backups, Backup runs quickly, and server performance is not significantly impacted. By default, Set Up Server Backup schedules a backup to run daily at 12:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. However, you can adjust the backup schedule according to the needs of your organization. You should occasionally evaluate the effectiveness of your backup plan, and change the plan as necessary.

Backup target drive

You can back up your data to any external storage drive that supports USBĀ 2.0, IEEEĀ 1394, or eSATA. Drives 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 storage drive manufacturer to ensure that your backup drive is supported on computers running Windows SBS 2011 Essentials.

You can use multiple external storage drives for backups, and you can rotate the drives 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.

When choosing a storage drive for your server backup, consider the following:

  • Choose a drive 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 drives should also be large enough to accommodate the future growth of your server data.

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


The Set Up Server Backup Wizard formats the storage drives when it configures them for backup.

Items to be backed up

By default, all hard disks, files, and folders are selected for backup. You can choose to back up all the hard disks, files, and folders on the server, or select only individual hard disks, files, or folders to backup. To add or remove items for the backup, do one of the following:

  • To include a data drive in the server backup, select the adjacent check box

  • To exclude a data drive from the server backup, clear the adjacent check box

To minimize the amount of backup hard disk space that your server backups use, you may want to exclude any folders that contain files that you don't consider valuable or particularly important.

For example, you may have a folder that contains recorded television programs that uses a lot of hard drive space. You may choose not to back up these files because you normally delete them after viewing them anyway. Or you may have a folder that contains temporary files that you don't intend to keep.