Windows 2003 Server

Chapter 12

Managing and Implementing Backups and Disaster Recovery

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At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • Plan for disaster recovery of Windows Server 2003 systems

  • Back up and restore data

  • Implement shadow copy volumes

  • Understand the purpose of the Automated System Recovery feature

  • Understand Windows Server 2003 advanced startup options

  • Install and use the Recovery Console

Planning for Disaster Recovery

Windows Server 2003 includes a number of tools that will assist you in getting you server back online and/or recover data.

  • The Backup Utility - Allows you to backup and restore data, including the System State.  This also supports scheduling backups and gives you access to Automated System Recovery.

  • Shadow Copies of Shared Volumes - This is a new feature to Windows Server 2003 that saves previous versions of files and allows the user to revert to them.  This is turned on at the volume level and effects all shares on that volume.

  • Automated System Recovery (ASR) - Stores information about the system on a floppy disk so you can recover the server.

  • Advanced Startup Options - These options allow you to boot in Safe Mode or Last Known Good Configuration.

  • The Recovery Console - A command line interface that allows the administrator to attempt to repair key system files.  It provides access to the NTFS partiotion.  (But only the root of the boot drive and the system folder.)

Backing Up and Restoring Data

The backup program that comes with Windows Server 2003 allows you to:

  • Backup and restore data

  • Schedule a backup

  • Backup the System State

  • Restore all or portion of the Active Directory database

  • Create an Automated System Recovers backup

Backup and Restore Concepts

The amount of data you need to backup will depend on your organization.  You may be able to backup your data to another hard drive in a server, or a NAS.  You also may want to invest in tape drives to store your backups.  This gives you the ability to store your backups offsite.  By default, there are three groups that have the right to perform backups.

  • Administrators

  • Backup Operators

  • Server Operators

You can add a group to the list with a Group Policy.  In the Computer Configuration - Windows Settings - Security Settings - Local Policies - User Rights Assignment - Backup Files and Directories.

In order to backup data the user needs the following rights.

  • Read

  • Read and Execute

  • Modify

  • Full Control

Backup Types

There are five types of backups that can be performed. 

  • Normal backup - Backs up all data and turns off the archive bit.

  • Incremental backup - Backs up all data with the archive bit turned on; it will turn the bit off when complete.

  • Differential backup - Backs up all the data with the archive bit turned on; it will leave the bit on.

  • Daily backup - Backs up data that was created or changed that day; it does not affect the archive bit.

  • Copy backup - The same as a normal backup but doesn't affect the archive bit.

Using the Backup Utility

We will look at the backup program.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 488. (15 Minutes)

LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 491. (10 Minutes)


Scheduling Backups

You can schedule the backups to happen at regular intervals.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 493. (10 Minutes)


Backing up and Restoring System State Data

The System State on a domain controller contains the following.

  • Registry

  • COM+ Class Registration

  • Boot Files

  • Certificate Services database (If Certificate Services is installed)

  • Active Directory


  • Cluster service (If server is a member of a cluster)

  • IIS Metadirectory (If IIS is installed)

  • System Files

Windows Backup allows you to backup the System State.  If you are restoring a deleted item from Active Directory you will need to enter Directory Services Restore Mode, perform the restore, and use NTDSUTIL to perform an Authoritative Restore. 


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 496. (15 Minutes)

Shadow Copies of Shared Folders

Shadow Copy allows the user to recover files that have become corrupt or accidentally deleted.  This is not meant as a replacement for your normal backup, but should be used as a supplement.  Shadow Copy is turned on at the drive level.  Once turned on, it will create a shadow copy of all data in any folder that is shared.  View more information from Microsoft.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 499. (15 Minutes)


Previous Versions

The Previous Versions program needs to be installed on the clients computer in order for the user to be able to revert to a previous version of a file.  This program is installed in the %systemroot%\system32\clients\twclients\x86\ and is called twcli32.msi.  This will add a Previous Versions tab to the properties page of a file or folder when viewed through the network. 


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 501. (10 Minutes)

Automated System Recovery

ASR replaces the Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) from previous versions of Windows.  It will backup your system and create a repair disk.  It will not backup your data and doesn't replace your normal data backups.

Advanced Startup Options

Windows includes a number of modes in which it can run.  In order to select the desired mode you hit the F8 key during startup.  It will display a menu and allow the user to select the mode.

  • Safe Mode - Loads only the bare minimum drivers and services, this will allow the user to repair programs that may be cause problems in the operating system.

  • Safe Mode with Networking - Same as Safe Mode, with the addition of network drivers.

  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt - Start the computer in a command prompt only mode.

  • Enable Boot Logging - Logs everything that happens during the start of the system.  The log file is called ntbtlog.txt and is stored in %systemroot%.  This log can be used to show you what fails to load.

  • Enable VGA Mode - Starts windows with a basic VGA driver.  This can help if you have installed a new video driver and it isn't working properly.

  • Last Known Good Configuration - This boots with the setting that were used during the last logon.  Every time you logon that logon becomes that last known good.

  • Directory Services Restore Mode - Allows you to restore the Sysvol and Active Directory.

  • Debugging Mode - Sends debugging information to another computer through a serial cable.

LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 505. (20 Minutes)


Last Known Good Configuration

If a change is made to your system and the computer fails to boot you can us the Last Known Good Configuration to boot.  This will load with the settings that existed the last time you logged in.  If you believe there is a problem don't try and log in, you will lose your Last Known Good Configuration.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 507. (15 Minutes)

The Recovery Console

The Recovery Console is a tool that gives you low level access to the OS if you need to fix problems or if Windows won't start.  You can:

  • Start and stop services

  • Format drives

  • Read and write data on the local hard drive

  • Copy files from a floppy or CD to a local hard drive

  • Perform administrative tasks

You can get to the Recovery Console during the install (If the OS already exists) or you can install it yourself.


Installing the Recovery Console

The Recovery Console is installed with a switch on the winnt32.exe program that resides on your Windows Server 2003 CD in the i386 folder.  Run winnt32.exe /cmdcons to install the Recovery Console.

More Information


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