Windows Server Backup Feature Overview
Updated: May 31, 2016
Applies To: Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012
This topic provides information about the Windows Server Backup feature.
Did you know that Microsoft Azure provides similar functionality in the cloud? Learn more about Microsoft Azure storage solutions.
Create a hybrid storage solution in Microsoft Azure:
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Windows Server Backup is a feature that provides a set of wizards and other tools for you to perform basic backup and recovery tasks for the server it is installed on.
You can use Windows Server Backup to back up a full server (all volumes), selected volumes, the system state, or specific files or folders—and to create a backup that you can use for bare metal recovery. You can recover volumes, folders, files, certain applications, and the system state. And, in case of disasters like hard disk failures, you can perform a bare metal recovery. (To do this, you will need a backup of the full server or just the volumes that contain operating system files, and the Windows Recovery Environment—this will restore your complete system onto your old system or a new hard disk.)You can use Windows Server Backup to create and manage backups for the local computer or a remote computer. And, you can schedule backups to run automatically. Windows Server Backup is intended for use by everyone who needs a basic backup solution—from small business to large enterprises—but is even suited for smaller organizations or individuals who are not IT professionals.
Windows Server Backup cannot guarantee all Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) snapshots are retained. In certain situations, after restoring to a new volume, the VSS snapshots may no longer be recognized and appear inaccessible. To guarantee protection of a VSS snapshot, mount the VSS snapshot, and run a backup job on that snapshot.
The following functionality has been changed or added to Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2012:
Previous operating system
New operating system
Backup and restore of individual virtual machines from a Hyper-V host server.
Virtual machines were backed up as part of a volume backup. They could not be backed up or restored separately.
When you select items to backup or recover you can now select individual virtual machines to include in the backup and to restore from a recovery point.
Improvements to managing backup versions and backup retention
Space and version management was not available. Windows Server Backup used space as needed.
If you are backing up to a hard disk or volume you can specify a deletion policy to determine whether backups should be deleted only when necessary to make space for additional backups or if they should be deleted after a certain number of backups have passed.
Ability to backup volumes greater than 2 terabytes (TB) and with 4 K sector sizes.
Backups of volumes greater than 2 TB was not supported and 512 byte sectors were required.
Backup can now support larger volumes and hard drive sectors.
Support for backup of Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs)
Backups of CSVs was not supported.
Limited support for backing up CSVs as follows:
Reporting system state components.
Win32 service files were reported by the System Writer as part of the System Component and were included in the system state backup for both client and server operating systems.
Win32 service files are not reported by the System Writer as part of the System Component for Windows Server 2012.
Win32 service files are reported by the System Writer as part of the System Component for Windows 8.
To include or exclude the Win32 service files in the system state of your computers, set the value of the registry key HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SystemWriter\ReportWin32ServicesNonSystemState.
On the server operating system, deleting this registry key is equivalent to setting it to 1 and causes Win32 Service files to be excluded from System Writer’s system component specifications.
On the client operating system, deleting this registry key is equivalent to setting it to 0 and causes Win32 Service files to be included in System Writer’s system component specifications.
For information on how to improve performance of backups, which can improve server performance, see Optimizing Backup and Server Performance.
Windows Server Backup can be used within a virtual machine environment in the same manner that it is used on a physical server to provide backup and recovery services. It can also be used from within a Windows Azure virtual machine for Bare Metal Backup & Recovery, System State Backup & Recovery, File Folder Backup and recovery.
For more information about backing up or recovering computers using Storage Spaces, see Windows Server Backup and Storage Pools
For more information about backing up or recovering computers running Active Directory Domain Services, see Administering Active Directory Backup and Recovery.
For more information about backing up computers running Hyper-V, see Planning for Backup.