Backup Strategy – From a Panic Model to WHS

Microsoft employee Raymond Chen gives his experiences of Windows Home Server. From going from a "wait until it breaks, and then panic" model to an Acer Aspire EasyStore H340, Raymond now randomly selects a file from a backup just to make sure the backups are working – Which of course they are.

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  1. Blaine D. says:

    I agree that the automatic backup features of WHS are one of the main reasons to have a home server. Apart from failed disks, I frequently find that I need to revert files on my PC back to a prior version. For example, sometimes a project will accidentally get deleted. Or a file will get overwritten with edits that you later decide you don’t want. Or you might find a program/driver that gets installed and causes problems to the system. In all these cases it is nice to be able to either pull individual files or even a full back-up from some time in the past.

    However, this also points out a shortcoming in a feature of WHS: Duplication of shared folders. With WHS, you can have a centralized repository of photos, documents, videos, etc. WHS has a nice feature where shared folders are duplicated. The only problem is it is a duplication of the current state without backups of prior states. That’s helpful if a disk fails (much like RAID), but it isn’t useful if I accidentally clobber a file on the WHS.

    For example, let’s say someone decides to go through and crop all my photos in the shared folders. Or I mess up something with tagging or other edits. Or I overwrite a critical document… in all cases, unless I am able to catch something before the DE migration process kicks in, I now have two copies of my mistake with no recovery.

    I hope that Microsoft is thinking about this scenario in future iterations of WHS. Or perhaps there is a solution today with versioning? I know I can do backups of shared folders, but that is a manual process. So anyone have a suggestion on this scenario?

  2. Bob Crook says:

    If you make up a spare WHS you can use your spare computer to load different OSes for testing or whatever, and simply restore to whatever you need. I also have an additional spare WHS that I use on service calls so that I can backup clients’ servers or computers prior to making changes. (This Service Call WHS has backups of servers and computers already so that the “new” backups are only of different files and folders making it very fast.)

  3. Dan Kothlow says:

    I use a scheduled task that runs daily to an external HDD that is not added to WHS to backup certain shares. This does provide some measure of protection against deletions
    from the normal shares.
    Batch file follows –

    SET overall=%time%
    REM Copy the WHS “shares” folder to external drive O:
    echo _________________________________________ >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    echo %date% – %time% >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    echo Users Share >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    XCopy D:\shares\users O:\Shares\users /D /E /V /C /I /G /H /R /K /X /Y >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    echo Backup >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    XCopy D:\shares\Third\Backup O:\Shares\Third\Backup /D /E /V /C /I /G /H /R /K /X /Y >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    echo Photos >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    XCopy D:\shares\Photos O:\Shares\Photos /D /E /V /C /I /G /H /R /K /X /Y >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    echo Videos >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    XCopy D:\shares\Videos O:\Shares\Videos /D /E /V /C /I /G /H /R /K /X /Y >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    echo Music >> O:\BackupLog.txt
    XCopy D:\shares\Music O:\Shares\Music /D /E /V /C /I /G /H /R /K /X /Y >> O:\BackupLog.txt

    echo Started Run on %date% – Started at %overall% – Finished at %time% >> O:\Log.txt

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