Backing Up Applications and Data

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

You can use Windows Server Backup to create backups to recover applications and application data from. To do this, the application must contain a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer so that it can register with Windows Server Backup, and the application and VSS writer must be running at the time the backup is created. For instructions to register an application with Windows Server Backup, see For instructions for working with VSS, see

Then, to back up a supported application, you will need to first:

  • Identify a location for storing your backups—backups of applications must be stored on attached disks or remote shared folders, not on optical or removable media. (For more information about choosing a storage location, see Backing Up Your Server.) Make sure that any hard disks for storing your backups are attached and online. As a best practice, if you are using an external hard disk, make sure that it supports either USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394. The disk should have at least 2.5 times the storage capacity of the set of items that you want to back up. If you a dedicated disk for storing backups, it should either be empty or contain data that you do not need to keep because Windows Server Backup will format this disk as part of preparing it for the backup. If you store your scheduled backups in a remote shared folder, the backup will be overwritten each time you create a new backup. Do not choose this option if you want to store multiple backups.

  • Decide what volumes to include in the backup—to be able to recover an application from a backup, you must have backed up the full volume or volumes that contain the application. (For more information about choosing what to back up, see Backing Up Your Server.)

  • If creating a scheduled backup, decide whether to run backups once a day or more often.

  • After the backups start running, monitor the status using the Messages , Status , and Scheduled Backup sections of the snap-in default page.


  • You can use the Backup Once Wizard to create a one-time backup for application recovery.

  • You can use the Windows Server Backup cmdlets for Windows PowerShell to create one-time or scheduled backups. For more information, see Using Windows Server Backup Cmdlets.

  • You can use the Wbadmin enable backup command or Wbadmin start backup command to create backups for application recovery. For examples and syntax for this command, see

  • To create a scheduled backup to use to recover applications

    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 Backup Schedule . This opens the Backup Schedule Wizard.

    3. On the Getting Started page, click Next .

    4. On the Select Backup Configuration page, do one of the following, and then click Next :

      • Click Full server (recommended) to back up all volumes on the server, including the volume or volumes that contain the application. This is the recommended option.

      • Click Custom to back up just certain volumes, and then click Next .

        1. On the Select Items for Backup page, click Add Items . In Select Items , select the check boxes for the volumes that contain the application. Click OK .

        2. On the Select Items for Backup page, click Advanced Settings , click the VSS Settings tab, and then select either VSS full Backup or VSS copy Backup . Click OK and then click Next .

    5. On the Specify Backup Time page, do one of the following, and then click Next :

      • Click Once a day , and then select the time from the drop-down list to start running the daily backup.

      • Click More than once a day . Then, to select a start time, under Available time , click the time that you want the backup to start, and then click Add to move the time under Scheduled time . Repeat for each start time that you want to add.

    6. On the Specify Destination Type page, do one of the following and then click Next :

      • Select Back up to a hard disk that is dedicated for backups (recommended) .

        1. On the Select Destination Disk page, select the check box for the disk that you attached for this purpose, and then click Next .

        2. By default, the likely disk or disks are shown in the list. These disks are external disks that can be used for moving backups offsite for disaster protection. If the list is empty, or the disk that you want to use is not listed, click Show All Available Disks . In Show All Available Disks , select the check box next to the disk that you want to use to store the backups, click OK , and then on Select Destination Disk , select the check box for the disk again. This disk will no longer be visible in Windows Explorer—to prevent data from accidentally being stored on the drive and then overwritten, and to prevent accidental loss of backups.

        3. A message informs you that the selected disk will be formatted and any existing data will be deleted. Click Yes . Do not click Yes if you have data on the disk that you need. To use a different disk, click No , and then select a different disk under Available disks .


    We recommend that you record and then physically attach the label information to any external disks that you are using to store backups. If you need to recover data from the backup stored on the disk, you will need this information to identify the disk.

      - Select **Back up to a shared network folder** .  
        1.  On the **Specify Remote Shared Folder** page, type the path to the folder. In this folder, a folder named **WindowsImageBackup** will be created. The backup that you create will be saved at: \\\\\< *RemoteServer* \>\\\< *SharedFolderPath* \>\\ **WindowsImageBackup** \\\< *ComputerBackedUp* \>.  
        2.  Also on the **Specify Remote Shared Folder** page, click **Do not inherit** if you want the backup to be accessible only for the user credentials used to create the backup, and then click **Next** . The **Register Backup Schedule** dialog will appear. Type a user name and password for a user account that has write permissions on the computer that is hosting the remote folder, and then click **OK** .  
    1. On the Confirmation page, review the details, and then click Finish . If you have dedicated a disk for storage, the wizard formats the disk, which may take several minutes depending on the size of the disk.

    2. On the Summary page, click Close .

    Additional considerations

    • To create one-time backups, you must be a member of the Administrators group or Backup Operators group, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority.

    Additional references