Best Practices for Backing Up and Restoring Server Data

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

Follow these best practices to help manage your server backups.

  • Monitor the network report for backup-related information.

    You should routinely review network reports to ensure that backups complete successfully and that no backup-related warnings or errors occur. By monitoring network reports, you can catch and correct backup issues before they result in loss of data.

  • Use external storage drives that are compatible with your server.

    Compatible drives support USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, or eSATA. You should visit the Web site for your storage drive manufacturer to ensure that the drive is supported on computers running Windows Server 2008.

  • Use an external storage drive with at least 2.5 times the storage capacity of the items that you want to back up.

    Using an external storage drive with extended capacity helps ensure that you do not have to replace the drive too soon while the amount of stored data grows. Because server backups are incremental, an external storage drive of 300 GB or more can hold months of backup data.

  • Use an external storage drive that is empty or contains data that you do not need to keep.

    The Configure Server Backup Wizard automatically formats external storage drives during the backup configuration process. Therefore, you should only use the wizard to configure a storage device that is empty or that contains data that can be replaced.

  • Use multiple external storage drives and rotate them.

    You should back up server data to multiple external storage drives and rotate the drives between onsite and offsite storage locations. Doing so can improve your disaster preparedness planning by helping you recover your data if physical damage occurs to the hardware onsite.


Windows SBS 2008 can recognize multiple external drives that are connected to the server at the same time. However, the server can only perform a backup to the external drive that is identified in the Windows SBS Console as the Active drive. The server identifies a connected drive that is not the Active drive as Online. If a configured backup drive is not connected to the server, it is identified as Offline.

  • Delegate user authority for rotating backup drives, and assign a user role that provides the necessary permissions for authorized users.

    The task of rotating server backup drives is often assigned to information workers who do not have administrative permissions. If you give information workers broad administrator permissions, you increase the risk to your server and business data.

    To help improve network security and integrity, it is recommended that you delegate specific users with the authority to manage server backups. You should assign a user role to them with the permissions necessary to manage the rotation of backup drives.

    To add a user role and a user with permissions to rotate backup drives

    1. Log on to the server as an administrative user.

    2. Open the Windows SBS Console, and navigate to the User Roles tab in the Users and Groups section of the console.

    3. In the Tasks pane, click Add a new user role. The Add a New User Role Wizard appears.

    4. Type a name for the new user role (for example, SBS Backup Operators), and then provide a description for the role.

    5. Select the Base defaults on an existing user role check box (if it is not already selected), choose Network Administrator in the list, and then click Next.

    6. On the Choose user role permissions (group membership) page, click Add.

    7. In the Security group membership list, select all of the security groups, and then click Remove.

    8. In the All security groups list, select Backup Operators, and then click Add.


At this point, the only security group that should appear in the Security group membership list is Backup Operators.

9.  Click **OK** to accept your changes.

10. On the **Choose remote access for this user role** page, clear the **Remote Web Workplace** and **Virtual private network (VPN)** check boxes, and then click **Next**.

11. Click **Add user role**.

12. From the Windows SBS Console, navigate to the **Users** tab in **Users and Groups** section of the console.

13. In **Tasks**, click **Add a new user account**. Fill in the user information, and choose the user role that you created for managing the backup rotation.

14. Follow the remaining instructions in the wizard to add the new user.
  • Rotate backup drives on a regular basis.

    Establish a backup storage plan that includes the regular rotation of your external storage drives. To help protect backups in case of disaster, you should store at least one backup drive at a secure offsite location.

    To safely remove an external backup drive from the server

    1. Log on to Windows SBS 2008 with a user account that has permission to remove backup drives.


It is recommended that you create a user role that is specific for this purpose, and assign authorized users to the role.

2.  In the Windows SBS Console, click the **Backup and Server Storage** tab and ensure that a backup or restore operation is not currently in progress. If a backup or restore operation is running, you should wait until that process is complete.

3.  In the notification area of the server desktop, double-click the **Safely Remove Hardware**![](images\Cc527493.3b950c21-f664-42bf-b242-051d21efdc05(WS.10).gif) icon. The **Safely Remove Hardware** dialog box appears.

4.  In the list, select the external storage drive that you want to remove , click **Stop**, and then click **OK** in the confirmation dialog box.

5.  After you stop the operation, you can physically disconnect the external storage drive from the server.

    If you need to connect a second external backup drive to the server, you can do so at this time.

6.  In the Windows SBS Console, click **Backup and Server Storage**, clickthe **Backup** tab, and then click **Refresh**. The newly connected external storage drive appears in the details pane with a status of **Active**.


It may take a few minutes for the server to recognize and display a newly connected external storage drive.

  • Move data folders to non-system drives.

    During your server installation, all server and application files are installed in directories on the C drive. After the installation, you should move the data folders to a different drive. Doing so provides the following benefits:

    • Disk space on the system drive decreases rapidly due to increases in data storage.

    • Server performance is enhanced because tasks associated with data access are processed on drives other than the system drive.

    • In the event of data loss or corruption, you can recover data more efficiently by restoring a volume instead of the full server.

    For more information about moving data folders, see “Moving Data on Windows Small Business Server 2008” at the Microsoft Web site (

  • Do not use the Recover Files and Folders option in the Recovery Wizard to recover a server application.

    Instead of using the Recover Files and Folders option, if the server application that you want to recover uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) technology, use the Recover Applications option.

    For more information about recovering server applications, see “Recover Applications and Data” at the Microsoft Web site (