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Scheduling Regular Full Server Backups of a Domain Controller

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use these procedures to schedule daily backups of the full domain controller with Windows Server Backup or the Wbadmin.exe command-line tool. This backup operation captures all volumes on the server.

Requirements for scheduling daily domain controller backups

The following conditions are requirements for scheduling daily domain controller backups:

  • The destination volume for the backup must be on a separate hard disk from the source volumes. You cannot perform a scheduled backup to a network shared folder.

  • The external storage device for the backup must be connected to the domain controller that you are backing up.

Membership in Builtin Administrators, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete these procedures. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (

To schedule daily backup of Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) by using the graphical user interface (GUI)

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

  2. Click Action, and then click Backup Schedule.

  3. Review the information on the Getting Started page, and then click Next.

  4. Click Full Server (recommended), and then click Next.

  5. Specify a backup time, and then click Next.

  6. Click the check box for your destination disk, and then click Next.

  7. Click Yes to confirm that the destination disk will be reformatted.

  8. Verify the label for the destination disk, and then click Next.

  9. Verify the information on the Summary page, and then click Finish.

  10. On the Confirmation page, click Close.

To schedule daily backup of AD DS by using the command line

  1. Click Start, click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  2. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  3. Obtain the DiskIdentifier value to use for the backup target, as follows:

    1. To view the disk identifiers for all connected hard disks, at the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

      wbadmin get disks

    2. Select and copy to the Clipboard the value in DiskIdentifier for the correct external disk.

  4. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

    wbadmin enable backup -addtarget: <DiskIdentifier>

    -schedule:<HH:MM>,<HH:MM>,... <HH:MM>

    -include:<sourceDrive_1>:,<sourceDrive_2>:,... <sourceDrive_x>:


    • <DiskIdentifier> identifies the copied value from the wbadmin get disks command that provides the external storage location for the scheduled backup.

    • <HH:MM> identifies the time or times for the backup to occur on a daily basis, separated by commas and no spaces.

    • <sourceDrive_x> identifies the critical volume or volumes to be backed up, separated by commas and no spaces.

  5. If you are creating the first backup of the domain controller, type Y.

  6. To enable backups with the settings that you have configured, type Y.

  7. To format and use the volumes on the specified drive as the location to store scheduled backups, type Y.

  8. Label the backup disk as specified in the response, so that you can identify the backup disk.

    The wbadmin command provides label instructions. The wbadmin command confirms that the scheduled backup is enabled.

The following Wbadmin.exe output shows the commands and responses for scheduling a daily backup of the C: and E: volumes at 20:00, beginning with the request for the connected disks:

C:\Users\Administrator>wbadmin get disks

wbadmin 1.0 - Backup command-line tool

© Copyright 2004 Microsoft Corp.

Disk name : HDS72808 0PLAT20 USB Device

DiskIdentifier : {018230e0-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}

Total space : 76.69 GB

Used space : 92.93 MB

Volumes : G:[G:]

Disk name : IC35L040AVER07-0 ATA Device

DiskIdentifier : {4e1224e4-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}

Total space : 37.27 GB

Used space : 17.80 GB

Volumes : C:[C:],F:[F:],E:[E:]

C:\Users\Administrator>wbadmin enable backup -addtarget:{018230e0-0000-0000-0000

-000000000000} -schedule:20:00 -include:c:,e:

wbadmin 1.0 - Backup command-line tool

(C) Copyright 2004 Microsoft Corp.

Retrieving volume information...

Scheduled backup settings:

Volumes in backup: C:,E:

Location to store backup: HDS72808 0PLAT20 USB Device

Times of day to run backup: 20:00

Do you want to enable backups with the above settings?

[Y] Yes [N] No y

Do you want to format and use HDS72808 0PLAT20 USB Device (having volumes G:) as

the location to store scheduled backups?

[Y] Yes [N] No y

Please label the backup disk as MH4-5/26/2006-14.08-Disk01. This information must be used to identify this backup disk.

Scheduled backup is enabled.


Use the following procedure to disable a scheduled backup.

To disable a scheduled backup

  1. In Windows Server Backup, click Backup Schedule, and then click Stop Backup.

  2. Click Next, and then click Finish.

  3. To confirm that you want to stop the backup schedule, click Yes, and then click Close.


As an alternative, you can disable a scheduled backup at the command prompt: type wbadmin disable backup, and then press ENTER.

Additional considerations

Be aware of the following issues when you perform scheduled backups:

  • The target drive is reformatted the first time that you schedule a backup.

  • You cannot schedule weekly or monthly backups by using Windows Server Backup. However, you can use Task Scheduler to schedule manual backups that are performed at different times of the week.

Additional references

For more information, see the Step-by-Step Guide for Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 (