Optimizing Backup and Server Performance

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

You can use the Optimize Backup Performance dialog box to improve the performance of backups for full volumes, which can improve server performance. It is available from the homepage of the Windows Server Backup snap-in. However, these settings apply only if you are including entire volumes in the backup. The performance settings will not be applied if you specify a file or folder backup (in this case, backups will be created using the file backup engine and these settings will not be applied.)

To adjust performance settings for Windows Server Backup

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

  2. In the Actions pane of the snap-in default page, under Windows Server Backup , click Configure Performance Settings . This opens the Optimize Backup Performance dialog box.

  3. In the Optimize Backup Performance dialog box, do one of the following:

    • Click Normal backup performance . Choose this option to specify that the backups you create are full backups. During a backup operation, Windows transfers all the contents of the volume being backed up, but the space used on the backup storage location is only for the changed blocks on the source.

    • Click Faster backup performance . Choose this option to specify that the backups that you create are incremental backups. Windows will leave a shadow copy on the source volume to use to track the changes. During next backup operation, only the changes since last the backup are transferred (by reading from the “diff area” of the shadow copy)—as compared to the Normal backup performance option, where the entire source volume data is transferred. (Because only changed blocks are written, there is a performance increase.) The space used on the backup storage location will still only be for the changed blocks detected on the source. Use this method for servers that are less I/O intensive because shadow copies can degrade the performance of write operations for the volume they are on (read operations are not affected).


Choosing the option to create incremental backups does not stop full backups. To reduce the risk of data loss associated with disk corruption, Windows Server Backup automatically creates a full backup when both of the following conditions are true:

  • 14 incremental backups have occurred since the last full backup

  • More than 14 days have passed since the last full backup

  - Click **Custom** . And then for each item under **Volume** , select either **Full backup** or **Incremental backup** from the adjacent drop-down list.  

Additional considerations

  • To use Windows Server Backup, you must be a member of the Backup Operators or Administrators group, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority.

Additional references