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Using the Windows NT Backup Utility

Archived content. No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.

Archived content - No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.

from Chapter 11, Windows NT Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek.

Windows NT provides a backup utility, called Backup, for creating backups on a local tape drive. You can't use this utility to create backups on a device other than a tape drive. You access Backup by going to Start, selecting Programs, then Administrative Tools (Common), and then Backup. Only Administrators and Backup Operators can run the backup utility.

Figure 11-5, on the following page, shows the main window for the backup utility. Here, Backup has a control window with a main menu and two smaller windows labeled Tapes and Drives.

The Tapes window is used

  • To select the desired tape drive for backup

  • To view backup sets and their contents

  • To select backup sets that you want to recover

The Drives window is used

  • To select the file systems/drives that are being backed up

  • To drill down to the folders and files contained on a drive so they can be individually selected or deselected for backup

Note: On your system, you may see additional windows. For example, if you have installed Exchange Server, you'll see a window for Microsoft Exchange Server.

Cc722506.11wnta05(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

Figure 11-5: The Windows NT backup utility has subwindows for working with tapes and drives.

Backing Up File Systems, Directories, and Files

You can back up files with the Windows NT backup utility. Start the utility by going to Start, then choosing Programs, then Administrative Tools (Common), and then Backup. In the Tapes window, select the tape drive you want to use for the backup. In the Drives window, select the files you want to back up.

  • You make selections by selecting or deselecting the check boxes associated with a particular file system. When you select a file system's check box, all files and directories on the file system are selected. When you deselect a file system's check box, all files and directories on the file system are deselected.

  • If you want to work with individual files and directories on a file system, double-click on the drive's icon. This opens a folder view such as the one shown in Figure 11-6. You can now select and deselect individual directories and files by clicking on their associated check boxes. When you do this, the file system's check box becomes shaded. This shows that you haven't selected all the files on the file system.

Configuring the Backup

When you are finished selecting the files you want to back up, click on the Backup button or choose Backup from the Operations menu. You can now configure the backup using the Backup Information dialog box. Table 11-3 shows how the fields in the dialog box are used as well as the corresponding flag for Backup's command-line interface (if available). Running Backup from the command line is covered in the section of this chapter titled "Automating and Scheduling Backups."

Cc722506.11wnta06(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

Figure 11-6: The Folder view lets you select and deselect individual folders and files for backup.

Note: The Backup button is only available if the Drives window or one of its subwindows is open. Select a related window to enable this option.

Table 11-3 Options in the Backup Information Dialog Box

Field

Usage

Command- Line Mode

Current Tape

Displays the name of the tape that is currently installed in the tape device. If the tape is blank or not available, the field displays an appropriate value, such as The Tape In The Drive Is Blank.

N/A

Creation Date

Displays the date the backup set was created.

N/A

Owner

Displays the name of the person who created the backup set.

N/A

Tape Name

Allows you to enter a name for the tape. Tape names can contain up to 32 characters and are set by default to the creation date.

N/A

Verify After Backup

Instructs the tape device to verify data after the backup procedure is completed. If selected, every file on the backup tape is compared to the original file. Verifying data can protect against write errors or failures.

/v

Backup Local Registry

If selected, the tape device backs up the Windows NT registry on the local system. The utility can access the registry files even when they are in use.

/b

Restrict Access to Owner or Administrator

If selected, only the tape's owner, Administrators, and Backup Operators can access the tape to view its contents, recover files, or write new backup archives. Use this option to provide additional protection to data.

/r

Hardware Compression

If selected, data is compressed as it is written to the tape. However, the option is only available if the tape device supports hardware compression. Only compatible tape drives can read the compressed information on the drive, which may mean that only a tape drive from the same manufacturer can recover the data.

/hc:on –
Turn on
/hc:off –
Turn off

Operation

Lets you specify how data is written to the tape. If you select Append, data is added to the end of the tape, preserving any current contents.

/a – append
/r – restrict

Drive Name

The designator(s) for the drive(s) you are backing up.

/tape:n where n is the number of the drive you are backing up. You can view drive numbers using the Properties button of the Tape Devices utility.

Description

Allows you to enter a description of the backup set. If you are creating more than one backup set, you'll be able to enter additional descriptions using the scroll bar provided. Descriptions can be up to 32 characters long.

/d description where description is the text of the description.

Backup Type

Allows you to specify the type of backup using a drop-down menu. The utility supports the following types of backups: Normal (Full), Copy, Incremental, Differential, and Daily. For details on these backup techniques, see the section of this chapter titled "Creating a Backup and Recovery Plan."

/t type where type is either normal, copy, incremental, differential, or daily.

Log File

Determines where the log file for the backup is stored. If you select an existing log file, the data is appended to the end of the file. Click on the button showing the ellipses to browse for a location or existing log file.

/l filename where filename is the full path to the log file.

Log Detail

Allows you to select the detail of the logging. Full Detail provides detailed entries for each file including path, file name, file attributes, file size, and file modification date and time. Summary Only entries only provide path and file name information. Don't Log turns off logging.

 

When you are finished selecting options for the backup, click on the OK button to begin the backup. The backup utility creates one backup set for each file system you've selected. The backup set is contained in a single file. Later, you can access the backup sets to recover files, directories, or even the entire file system.

During backup operations, the backup utility behaves differently depending on the type and status of a file. If a file is open, the utility generally attempts to back up the last saved version of the file. However, if the file is locked by an exclusive lock, the file is not backed up at all. The utility also doesn't back up certain system files, such as temporary files being used for paging in virtual memory.

Recovering Data from Backups

You can restore files with the Windows NT backup utility by doing the following:

  1. Insert the backup tape into the tape drive. This tape should contain any files or directories that you want to recover.

  2. Display the list of backup sets (called catalogs) on the tape by double-clicking on the tape's entry in the Tapes window or by selecting Catalogs from the Operations menu. The tape device will go out to the tape and find all of the available catalogs.

  3. Using the right-hand pane of the Tapes windows, browse through the available catalogs. Double-click on a catalog to access its contents. Afterward, designate files and directories for recovery by selecting or deselecting their check boxes.

    Tip The tape logs provide another way to find files you want to recover. These files are written as standard ASCII text and can be searched in a word processor, like any other text file. You can also use the Find feature of Windows NT Explorer as described in the "Searching by File Size and Contents" section of Chapter 9.

  4. When you are finished selecting files, click the Restore button or choose Restore from the Operations menu. You can now specify how the selected files and/or directories are to be restored.

    Note: The Restore button is only available when you are working with tapes or catalogs. Select a tape or catalog window to enable this option.

Table 11-4 provides details on the options in the Restore Information dialog box. By default, the backup utility restores files to their original location. If you aren't entirely sure that you want to overwrite the files in the original location, use the Alternate Path field to specify a new location for the files, such as C:\temp. Once the files are in the temp directory, you can compare them to the existing files and determine if you want to recover them. Other options of the Restore Information dialog box let you customize the backup process.

Table 11-4 Options in the Restore Information Dialog Box

Field

Usage

Tape Name

Displays the name of the tape that is currently installed in the tape device.

Backup Set

Displays the name of the currently selected backup set. This is the backup set that will be used to restore files and directories.

Creation Date

Displays the date the backup set was created.

Owner

Displays the name of the person who created the backup set.

Restore to Drive

Allows you to specify the drive where the files and directories will be restored. This defaults to the location specified in the catalog.

Alternate Path

Allows you to specify an alternative file path for recovering files, such as C:\temp.

Restore Local Registry

If selected, the tape device restores the Windows NT registry on the local system. The utility can restore the registry files even when they are in use.

Restore File Permission

If selected, file access permissions and ownership are restored with the files. Otherwise, permissions are assigned according to the directory in which files are restored and ownership is assigned to the person restoring the files.

Verify After Restore

Instructs the tape device to verify the data after the restore procedure is completed. If selected, the restored files are compared to the files on the backup tape to make sure that they are written properly. Verifying data can protect against read errors or failures.

Log File

Determines where the log file for the restore is stored. If you select an existing log file, the data is appended to the end of the file. Click on the button showing the ellipses to browse for a location or existing log file.

Log Detail

Allows you to select the detail of the logging. Full Detail provides detailed entries for each file, including the restore path, file name, file attributes, file size, and file modification date and time. Summary Only entries provide only the restore path and file name information. Don't Log turns off logging.

Backing Up and Restoring the Windows NT Registry

The backup utility can be used to back up and restore the Windows NT registry. You can back up the registry by doing the following:

  1. Follow the instructions in the section of this chapter titled "Backing Up File Systems, Directories, and Files."

  2. Make sure that the Backup Local Registry check box is selected before you begin the backup operation.

You can restore the registry by doing the following:

  1. Follow the instructions in the section of this chapter titled "Recovering Data from Backups."

  2. Make sure that the Restore Local Registry check box is selected before you begin the backup operation.

The backup utility can back up and restore the registry while the registry files are being used. This allows you to better manage the registry of a live system.

Backing Up and Restoring Data on Remote Systems

The Windows NT backup utility can be used to back up data on remote systems. To do this, you must create network drives for the remote file systems before you begin the backup or restore procedure. You create network drives by following the instructions provided in the section of Chapter 10 titled "Mapping a Network Drive."

Automating and Scheduling Backups

The Windows NT backup utility has a command-line interface, which makes it possible to automate and schedule backups. The command-line interface for backup uses the following syntax:

ntbackup operation path [options]

where operation is either backup to begin a backup procedure or eject to eject a tape, and path is the list of file systems and/or directories to be backed up. The options for the command-line interface correspond to fields in the Backup Information dialog box. Use Table 11-3 to help you determine which options to use for your backups.

The following command tells Backup to back up the C and D file systems and append the files to the end of the tape:

ntbackup backup C: D: /a

You automate backups by placing commands to the backup utility in batch files and then executing those batch files. If you want, you can use the Windows NT scheduling service to schedule unattended backups. Here, you set up an At command to run the batch files containing the backup commands.

The following At commands schedule incremental backups for Monday to Thursday and full backups on Fridays:

AT \\ZETA 00:05
/every:Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday INC.BAT"
AT \\ZETA 00:05 /every:Friday "FULL.BAT"

Note: If you find the At command difficult to use, you're not alone. Most administrators have problems using the At command; this is why Microsoft developed the WINAT utility—a GUI version of At. WINAT is available in the Windows NT Resource Kit.

The corresponding entry in the incremental batch file might look like this:

ntbackup backup C:/working/docs D:/employee/records /a /d "Daily Incremental" /b /t 
incremental /l "D:\logs\backuplogs\inc\inc.log"

The corresponding entry in the full backup batch file might look like this:

ntbackup backup C: D: /a /d "Friday Full Backup" /b /t normal /l 
D:\logs\backuplogs\full\full.log"

As you can see, the combination of batch files and the Windows NT scheduler allows you to schedule unattended backups on a regular basis. To learn more about the scheduler and the At command, see Chapter 3.

from Windows NT Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek. Copyright © 1999 Microsoft Corporation.

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