Perform a Backup of Critical Volumes of a Domain Controller by Using the GUI (Windows Server Backup)

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use this procedure to back up critical volumes for a domain controller by using Windows Server Backup. You can also back up critical volumes by using the wbadmin start backup command with the -allCritical parameter. For more information, see Wbadmin start backup (


Windows Server Backup appears on the Administrative Tools menu by default, even if the Windows Server Backup feature is not installed. If Windows Server Backup is not installed, when you open Windows Server Backup, a message appears, saying that the tool is not installed and providing the instructions for installing Windows Server Backup. For more information about installing Windows Server Backup, see Installing Windows Server Backup (

Membership in Builtin Administrators or Backup Operators, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. In addition, you must have write access to the target backup location.

To perform a critical-volume backup for a domain controller

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

  2. If you are prompted, in the User Account Control dialog box, provide Backup Operator credentials, and then click OK.

  3. On the Action menu, click Backup once.

  4. In the Backup Once Wizard, on the Backup options page, click Different options, and then click Next.

  5. If you are creating the first backup of the domain controller, click Next to select Different options.

  6. On the Select backup configuration page, click Custom, and then click Next.

  7. On the Select backup items page, select the volumes to include in the backup. If you select the Enable system recovery check box, all critical volumes are selected.

    As an alternative, you can clear that check box, select the individual volumes that you want to include, and then click Next.

    Your selection must include the volumes that store the operating system, Ntds.dit, and SYSVOL.


If you select a volume that hosts an operating system, all volumes that store system components are also selected.

  1. On the Specify destination type page, click Local drives or Remote shared folder, and then click Next.

  2. Choose the backup location as follows:

    • If you are backing up to a local drive, on the Select backup location page, in Backup destination, select a drive, and then click Next.

    • If you are backing up to a remote shared folder, do the following:

      1. Type the path to the shared folder.

      2. Under Access Control, select Do not inherit or Inherit to determine access to the backup, and then click Next.

      3. In the Provide user credentials for Backup dialog box, provide the user name and password for a user who has write access to the shared folder, and then click OK.

  3. On the Specify advanced option page, select VSS copy backup and then click Next,

  4. On the Summary page, review your selections, and then click Backup.

  5. After the Backup Once Wizard begins the backup, click Close at any time. The backup runs in the background and you can view backup progress at any time during the backup. The wizard closes automatically when the backup is complete.

Additional considerations

The target volume for a critical-volume backup can be a local drive, but it cannot be any of the volumes that are included in the backup.