My Windows Home Server: Backup and Restore

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When computers fail, they really fail. They fail hard. Many hours of weekend time is taken up rebuilding, reformatting and redata-ing (?) the broken computer. Time is valuable!

Now I've had a personal experience of the sanity saving Windows Home Server automated backup. In the most recent week, I have been self-building my own Windows Media Center. After a recent misplaced de-install, otherwise known as "user error", it was just easier to roll back to a previous version of the system.

A key selling point of the Windows Home Server in our house: automated backups.



The connector software is pre-packaged, ready for install from the server. Windows XP seemed to not be happy with running the installer from the server, so I copied the install folder to the desktop of the target PC and installed from there.

Windows Home Server backs up works one PC at a time, so I installed the Connector Software one by one on our PCs
After typing in the server password, the PC 'joins' the server, and is ready to gowhs-3
In each instance, I started a manual backup from the client PCswhs-4


The restore process is a little more complex, involving the following steps:

  1. Make a Restore CD from the supplied .ISO file
  2. Reboot the target PC with the new Restore CD
  3. Log into the Home Server using the Administrator password
  4. Select the image from the server to restore (by date of backup)
  5. Choose the hard disk volume to restore the image to
  6. 18 minutes later, reboot the target PC
  7. Now have returned to the previous state of the PC

A key test in any backup environment is the quality of the restore. In fact, before trusting any backup, it is best to test a restore. This is a confidence test which I highly recommend.

It will save your sanity.

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