Tutorials

How to backup and restore SBS 2003

How to backup and restore SBS 2003

Windows Small Business Server 2003 provides a reliable way to perform regular server backups for small companies. After a system failure or other disaster, you can restore your server from your latest backup. You can also restore individual files and e-mail messages, and files and list items from your company Web site, in the event they are permanently deleted. As a matter of fact you don't need anything else, no 3rd party software is needed to create a reliable backup for your server.

Table of contents

TERMS This document and what comes with it are provided as-is with blunt warning: Use at your own risk, buyer beware. You break your system; you own the resolution as well. We have no liability for what you do, or can't do, or fail to do with this information. Your entire protection is to start over again with a protected backup, or from protected system. If you don't want to accept this idea, please don't use this document.

This article gives you in depth information about all the aspects of restoring your server after a disaster, restoring Exchange data stores, restoring Sharepoint and individual files and folders. If you follow the instructions in this article your server can be up and running in less then 4 hours (depends on the speed of your backup device and the amount of data you have) after a complete failure.


What device should I use for my backups

To make reliable backups you have several options:

  • Tape streamer
  • Portable hard drives
  • DVD writables

In the table below you see the advantages and the disadvantages of the several backup devices.

Device Advantages Disadvantages
Tapestreamer Reliable, easy to take off site Expensive and compared to portable drives slow.
Portable harddrive Fast and cheap They are bigger compared to tapes. Transportability is less.
DVD writables Very cheap Too small for a normal server. Burning DVD's is not something you should do on a server. Unsuitable for servers.

It is clear that the tape streamer is still the most popular device but portable hard drives are getting more popular because they are cheap compared to tapes.


How to backup your server

The official Microsoft document can be found here Backing Up and Restoring Windows Small Business Server 2003. Many people ask us if you need third party backup software on your SBS 2003. The answer is simple, you don't need anything. SBS 2003 backup does backup open files using a new feature in Windows Server 2003 called Volume Shadow Service. At the time NTBackup kicks in and you have it configured using the backup Wizard a snapshot will be made and all your open files will be included in the backup.

  1. Open the Server Manager from the Start Menu.
    How to backup your server
  2. Choose on the left side of the page 'Backup'.
    How to backup your server
  3. You see that on this server SBS Backup has not been configured. Choose 'Configure Backup'.
    How to backup your server
  4. The Server Backup Configuration Wizard starts. Click Next.
    How to backup your server
  5. The wizard asks you where you want to put your backups. In my case it warns me that it did not find a tape drive. That is because these screen shots are made in a Virtual Machine that has no tape streamer installed. We are going to put the backups on another hard drive.
    How to backup your server
  6. In this window you can exclude folders you don't want to be included in the backup. You cannot exclude folders that are part of system folders which are required for a system restore.
    How to backup your server
  7. Here you can set the schedule for your backups. When you backup to a hard drive you can set the number of backups stored on the portable drive. When you set it to 5 you need 5 times the amount of space one backup takes, to fit all backups on your portable drive. Be sure to have a big drive!
    How to backup your server
  8. Now we come to an interesting part of the Backup Wizard. Here you can set 'Deleted retention time' for your email messages and you enable 'Periodic snapshots of the 'Users Shared Folders'. Both are really handy and you check the two.
    How to backup your server
  9. A summary of your settings.
    How to backup your server
  10. A summary of the status of the backup program can be viewed in the Server Manager.
    How to backup your server
  11. And this is what you see when the backup starts. You see it is using Shadow Copy. This means it will also backup open files.
    How to backup your server
  12. Once the backup has finished you can view the results in the Server manager. Click on 'View Last Backup Log' for details.
    How to backup your server
    As you see the configuration of the SBS Backup program is not difficult at all. In the previous screen shots you saw that you could set 'Deleted retention time' and 'Periodic snapshots of the 'Users Shared Folders'. I would like to explain this a little more.

    Deleted retention time for email messages.
    Many people ask me if the SBS Backup can restore individual mailboxes. This is not possible with SBS Backup but you do not really need that if you set 'Retain copies of permanently deleted messages' in the Backup Wizard. The user will have the possibility to restore email messages from within Outlook. Take a look here for details on this subject.

    Restoring individual files from users in the Users Shared Folders
    If you right click 'My Documents' on a users desktop and choose properties you will see a tab called 'Previous versions'. From there you can easily restore deleted or previous versions of your files. Take a look here for details on this subject.

Disaster restore of your server

  1. Before we can do a disaster restore of the server we need to install a basic Windows 2003 server installation. For this we need the first SBS CD or the DVD and boot from it. The following screenshots will show you exactly what happens.
    Disaster restore of your server
  2. If you have a server with special hardware like SCSI or Raid cards you probably need to install drivers at this point of the setup. Consult the manual of your Raid card for details. The option to 'Press F6' will only be there for a few seconds, so make sure you press it if you need additional drivers to be installed from a floppy disk.
    Disaster restore of your server
  3. Hit Enter to continue.
    Disaster restore of your server
  4. Press F8 to accept the EULA.
    Disaster restore of your server
  5. On our setup whe have one hard drive.
    Disaster restore of your server
  6. Create the first partition for the Windows Server 2003 install. You must create a partition that is at least the same size as the old boot partition.
    Disaster restore of your server
  7. Hit Enter to continue the installation.
    Disaster restore of your server
  8. Choose Quick to format the partition.
    Disaster restore of your server
  9. Setup is formatting the partition.
    Disaster restore of your server
  10. Setup is copying the installation files to your drive.
    Disaster restore of your server
  11. You can hit Enter to restart your server or just wait.
    Disaster restore of your server
  12. After the server has been rebooted installation will continue.
    Disaster restore of your server
  13. You can click Next to accept the default settings or customize the settings.
    Disaster restore of your server
  14. Fill in the Name and Organization.
    Disaster restore of your server
  15. Fill in the product key of your SBS 2003 license.
    Disaster restore of your server
  16. Now this point is extremely important. You must use exactly the same computer name as the old server had. If you name it differently you have a 'show stopper' and you can start over.
    Disaster restore of your server
  17. Set the correct date, time and time zone for your location.
    Disaster restore of your server
  18. This part of the installation is going to take a while. Depending on the hardware you have this can take from 35 minutes up to several hours. Get a cup of coffee or take a bath :-)
    Disaster restore of your server
  19. After the installation of the Windows Server 2003 basic install has been completed the Small Business Server Setup wizard starts.  Cancel this!
    Disaster restore of your server
    Open Computer Management. Right click My Computer and choose Manage. Choose the Disk Management hive. What we are going to do is extremely important. You must create ALL partitions you had on your server before you do the disaster restore and those partitions MUST HAVE THE SAME SIZE OR LARGER as the partitions on the server before you do the disaster restore. The partitions MUST HAVE THE SAME DRIVE LETTERS  as in the old system. If you fail to do this the disaster restore will fail completely.
     
    If SBS 2003 SP1 was applied, you MUST now install Servicepack 1 for Windows 2003 Server. If you don't install it, you won't be able to restore from the backup, and you might even encounter a Blue Screen.
  20. Next you must check if the drivers for your backup device are installed. If those are not installed you will see a device with a question mark in the device manager. Take a look at the manual of your backup device and/or server for details about drivers. If this is done reboot the server. If you have SP1 installed you don't need to boot into Directory Services Restore Mode, you can restore from a normal running Windows 2003 server.
    Disaster restore of your server
  21. As soon as you see the Bios screen of your server hit F8. This is the way to get into the 'Windows Advanced Options Menu' where you can choose the option 'Directory Services Restore Mode'. Choose this option.Disaster restore of your server
  22. Windows is starting in 'Directory Services Restore Mode'.
    Disaster restore of your server
  23. Start the Backup program from the Start Menu.
    Disaster restore of your server
  24. Choose from menu Tools -> Options and choose the tab Restore. Set 'Always replace the file on my computer'.
    Disaster restore of your server
  25. Choose the last backup you have and choose all drives to restore. DO NOT CHECK THE HIVE WITH YOUR SERVER NAME for restoring Exchange. Hit the button 'Start Restore'.
    Disaster restore of your server
  26. You are informed that the System State will always be restored to the original location. That is default behavior.
    Disaster restore of your server
  27. Click 'Advanced'.
    Disaster restore of your server
    Disaster restore of your server
  28. Check all 4 options.
    Disaster restore of your server
  29. Check that 'Restore files to' is set to 'Original location'. If you choose to restore to a different location your disaster restore will fail.
    Disaster restore of your server

After the restore is finished you need to reboot the server. It can take several hours for the server to respond after a disaster restore, specially when you restore to different hardware or changed network adapters. Just let it sit and come after a few hours to see how the server is doing. If you are restoring to different hardware make sure that you boot into safe mode the first time.

After this procedure you do not need to restore Exchange anymore as described in the next page!

Steps to do after the server has been rebooted:

  1. Check the event logs and check if all services, that are set automatic, have been started,
  2. Delete the VSS scheduled tasks.
  3. Click Start, click Server Management and then click Internet and E-mail. Click Connect to the Internet, and follow the instructions in the Configure E-mail & Internet Connection Wizard
  4. Rerun the RRAS wizard.
  5. On the server, click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, type %sbsprogramdir%\backup\prestore.exe, and then click OK. This will enable Power Users to add users after the restore.

How to restore Exchange databases

Do not do this if you just did a disaster restore as described on the previous page!

  1. Before we can restore the Exchange databases we need to change some settings in Exchange. Start the Exchange System Manager from the start menu.
    How to restore Exchange databases
  2. We need to set the option 'This database can be overwritten by a restore'.
    How to restore Exchange databases
  3. Do the same for the Public store if you need to restore this also.
    How to restore Exchange databases
  4. (You might need to dismount the stores by right clicking the store and select 'Dismount' before using NTBackup.)
    Start the backup program from the start menu.
    How to restore Exchange databases
  5. From the menu in the backup program choose Tools -> Options -> Tab Restore and set 'Always replace the file on my computer'.
    How to restore Exchange databases
  6. Now you must select what you want to restore. In our case we choose to restore everything. Notice that restoring Exchange is not done directly from files stored on disk but that a special plugin in Exchange is used. This is the proper way of restoring Exchange databases. Do not try to restore Exchange databases from the Exchange server folder in Program Files if you do not have a very good reason to do so.
    How to restore Exchange databases
  7. Here you can set the options for the restore. Important is that the temp directory on the drive used for the restore has enough free space. The minimum is at least the size of the databases but better is to double this.
    How to restore Exchange databases

The alternative way of restoring Exchange data

If you had to reinstall the server from scratch and only want to restore Exchange, you can do that if you have the complete MDBDATA folder from the old server. This folder holds the priv1 and pub1 and the log files (unless you have changed the destination of the log files) which are containing the contents of the private and public mailboxes.

PLEASE BE AWARE: Restoring the Public store using this method can have an unwanted effect. When SBS 2003 SP1 is being applied, this will fail because of the GUID of the Public Folder. The solution is to repair that GUID before you apply SBS 2003 SP1 and is described by Jeff Middleton http://www.sbsmigration.com/content.php?display=sbs03_sp1. You can only restore the MDBDATA folder from a backup, if the reinstalled server has the same server name and domain name as the crashed server. Also make sure that the new installed server has the same Exchange service packs and hot fixes applied as the original one. The last thing is to make sure that no external mail can flow into Exchange before you have finished this exercise. The simplest method is to just stop the SMTP service from within the services applet.

  1. First we will have to dismount the current new stores. Server management -> Advanced Management -> First Organization (Domain name (Exchange)) -> Servers -> Server name -> First Storage Group. Dismount the Mailbox store and the Public Folder store by right clicking the store and choose Dismount Store. 
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  2. Because dismounting the stores will have an effect on current users attached, you will get the next message.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  3. Click Yes to confirm.
  4. Copy the contents of the original MDBDATA folder from the backup over the new MDBDATA folder and make sure you replace all files. If you only want to restore the Mailbox Store (because you didn't use the Public store yet at all or you want to prevent that SBS 2003 SP1 might fail), you can skip the Pub files. Now we will have to make sure that we can restore the original mdbdata files before we mount the stores. Click right again on the stores, and choose Properties, tab Database, check ‘This database can be overwritten by a restore’.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  5. Click OK.
  6. Now we can mount the stores. Right click the stores and choose Mount Store.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  7. You should get the message that the mount was successful.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  8. If you get the following error, you have forgotten to check the ‘This database can be overwritten by a restore’.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  9. The following error can have several causes. One of them is that the restored mdbdata doesn’t have the same servicepack level as the new installed server. Another cause can be that the restored mdbdata folder came from a CD, which by default will have the ‘Read only’ bit set.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  10. After a few refreshes you will see all the mailboxes. The ‘Run Cleanup Agent’ however will show exactly which mailboxes are connected and which not. Right click the Mailboxes and choose ‘Run Cleanup Agent’. The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  11. If the users were already created, you will have 2 mailboxes for each user now, but only one is connected to the user account. The other one will have a red cross, and this is the mailbox from the restored store. You will also see 2 mailboxes for the SMTP (Servername), System Attendant and the SystemMailbox. We will delete the old mailboxes with the red cross as they are of no use to us at all. Right click on the SMTP, System Attendant and SystemMailbox and choose Purge.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  12. Of course you will get a warning which you will confirm by clicking on Yes.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  13. In the mean time you will now see 2 mailboxes for the Administrator. The Administrator’s mailbox with the red cross is the one we will want to restore, but we will first have to delete the current new mailbox.  Right click on the Administrator's mailbox without the red cross and choose Exchange Tasks.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  14. The Exchange Task Wizard will start.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  15. Click Next. Choose Delete Mailbox.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  16. Click Next after which you will get a warning.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  17. Click Next after which you will get the result.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  18. Click Finish. The result will be that both mailboxes for the Administrator are disconnected. We will first Purge the just deleted mailbox. Click right on the just deleted mailbox and choose Purge.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  19. Click on Yes to confirm the deletion. We can now reconnect the restored mailbox to the Administrator’s account. Click right on the Administrator’s mailbox with the red cross and choose Reconnect.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  20. You will get the next dialog to choose the account.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  21. Type in ‘Administrator’ and click OK or use the Advanced button to select the Administrator’s account. You will see 2 accounts and you select the Administrator.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  22. Click OK after which you should get the successful message.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  23. The user accounts for several people haven’t been created yet or there hasn’t been sent any email yet to them. So create the accounts (which will send the welcome email) or send an email to them with OWA from the Administrator’s account (you might have to turn on the SMTP service for this and then stop it again).
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  24. You then delete the newly created mailbox as stated before by right clicking on the new mailboxes (without the red cross), choose Exchange tasks, Delete mailbox. After that run the ‘Run Cleanup Agent’ again (right click Mailboxes).
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  25. The screen will have updated immediately. Then right click on the mailbox that has to be restored, and choose Reconnect. 
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  26. The last step is to delete the new mailboxes. Right click and choose Purge.
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  27. The final result where only the mailboxes for mssbs and paula have not been restored yet (the user accounts haven't been created yet). 
    The alternative way of restoring Exchange data
  28. When all mailboxes are restored and connected to the proper users, you can restart the SMTP service and set it to Automatic so email will flow into Exchange again. A reboot of the server should show that everything is fine and that everyone can access the mailboxes.

How to restore Sharepoint databases

  1. Start the backup program from the start menu.
    How to restore Sharepoint databases
  2. From the menu in the backup program choose Tools -> Options -> Tab Restore and set 'Always replace the file on my computer'.
    How to restore Sharepoint databases
  3. Choose the last backup set listed on the Restore and Manage Media tab and browse to the folder called 'MSSQL$SHAREPOINT'. Check this folder, this will restore the complete Sharepoint database. Choose to start the Restore with the original location as the destination.
    How to restore Sharepoint databases
  4. You will be asked to set some specific settings and in this case you can just accept the default. Click OK to start the restore process.
    How to restore Sharepoint databases
    If the restore is finished it could happen that you are asked to reboot the server. If you are asked to reboot please do.

How to restore user files and email messages

Restoring individual files from the users 'My Documents' folder (if you are redirecting My Documents) or any shared folder has never been easier. If you have followed the advice in "How to backup your SBS 2003 server" and set 'Enable periodic snapshots of users' shared folders' you can restore your files with the following procedure.

  1. Right click My Documents on a users desktop and choose properties, tab Previous Versions.
    How to restore user files and email messages

Recover deleted email messages without restoring Exchange database

  1. From within Outlook select the Deleted items folder and choose on the menu Tools -> Recover Deleted Items.
    How to restore user files and email messages
  2. From here you can choose to recover email messages you have deleted.
    How to restore user files and email messages

Best practice to keep your data safe and secure

When your business runs on a server or computer, backups and reliable hardware are extremely important. In addition to the documents you just read I want to give you some hints and ideas.

Redundancy for your data on the server

When a server has only one hard drive and your drive fails you are immediately out of business. To overcome this there are several options. The most common solution is called Raid. As it was originally proposed, the acronym RAID stood for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. However, it has since come to be known as Redundant Array of Independent Disks. RAID was originally described in the paper “A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)” written by three University of California Berkeley researchers: David Patterson, Garth Gibson, and Randy Katz. The concept was presented at the 1988 conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD). In the original Berkeley paper there were five RAID levels (1 –5). RAID-6 was added later as an enhancement for RAID-5. In time other levels have been implemented by various companies using the concepts described in the original proposal. These include RAID-0 (striping without redundancy), and multilevel RAID (striping across RAID arrays), and other variants.

The most common used Raid configuration for a Small business server

Raid 1

Disk Mirroring - If one drive fails, all the data is available on the redundant drive with no significant loss in read/write performance. Disk Duplexing - In addition to disk mirroring, a redundant controller card is added for additional subsystem fault tolerance. RAID-1 defines mirrored arrays. In a mirrored array a complete copy of all of the data is written to two drives simultaneously. Because data can be retrieved from either drive, RAID-1 provides enhanced read performance. If the controller can perform two simultaneous reads per mirrored pair then a small increase in read performance can be achieved. However, the write performance is slightly less than a single disk because each data write generates two write commands that are directed to separate devices.
RAID-1 provides full fault tolerance for a single drive failure. Should one drive fail in a mirrored pair, then all of the data is still accessible on the duplicate. Because it is not necessary to rebuild data when a drive fails, there is no significant performance degradation when accessing the remaining drive. However, the remaining drive operates without any fault tolerance until the failed drive is replaced and the mirror set is rebuilt. Additional fault tolerance can be achieved through the use of two controllers. This is known as duplexing. The difference between mirroring and duplexing is the number of controllers used. Duplexing uses a separate controller for each drive and the controllers must support having the drives on separate controllers. This adds additional fault tolerance in the event that the failure is on the controller rather than on the drive. If the data path of the disk subsystem is heavily saturated, then duplexing can provide for a moderate performance gain over mirroring. By moving the mirrored data stream to a second bus, the available bandwidth on the first bus will be increased. The most prominent objection to RAID-1 is that it is one of the most expensive methods of using RAID. This is because twice the amount of storage is required for each piece of data that is written. In other words, two gigabytes of storage space is required for each gigabyte of data. For this reason RAID-1 is typically used only for configurations where overall capacity is not a primary consideration. RAID-1 is ideal for financial applications, such as payroll, where data availability and performance are critical. It is also frequently used for the boot device in servers. RAID-1 should be used where cost and overall capacity are not as important as overall performance and fault-tolerance.

Best practice to keep your data safe and secure

Raid 5

RAID-5 is similar to RAID-4 (see below for the complete document and an explanation about other Raid levels), except that the parity is also striped across all of the drives. For large data read/write functions the performance is the same as RAID-4, but because the parity disk is not a bottleneck, smaller I/O functions do not affect performance. However, because of the parity striping there is significant overhead in doing data rebuilds or reading data from an array with a failed disk. Due to trade off between performance, fault tolerance, and cost, RAID-5 is probably the most common RAID implementation. This RAID level is a good choice for file and application servers. It is also commonly used for Internet and intranet servers. 
Best practice to keep your data safe and secure

When data is written to a RAID-5 array, the parity information must be updated. This is accomplished by finding out which data bits were changed by the write operation and then changing the corresponding parity bits in the following process:

  1. Read the old data.

  2. Write the new data.

  3. XOR the old data with the new data. The result is a bit mask which has a one in the position of every bit which has changed.

  4. Read old parity from the array.

  5. XOR the bit mask with the old parity information. This results in the corresponding bits being changed in the parity information.

  6. Write the updated parity back to the array.

Therefore, for every application write request, a RAID-5 array must perform two reads, two writes and two XOR operations to complete the original write operation.

Best practice to keep your data safe and secure

The cost of calculating and storing parity, rather than redundant data, is the extra time taken during write operations to regenerate the parity information. This additional time results in a degradation of write performance for RAID-5 arrays over RAID-1 arrays. A RAID-5 write operation is 33% to 60% slower than a RAID-1 write operation. Because of this, RAID-5 arrays are not recommended for applications in which write performance is critically important or is the dominant type of I/O operation. Overall performance is also affected by the number of drives in the array, where a larger number of drives can result in lower performance. This is especially noticeable when the array is degraded (a drive has failed), because all the remaining drives must be read and the XOR parity used to reconstruct the missing data. Therefore both read and write operations will be significantly affected when an array is operating in degraded mode.

Common Raid setup

Most SBS servers have either a Raid 1 setup with 2 identical hard drives or a Raid 5 setup with a minimum of 3 hard drives. In both setups you can add an extra drive that will act as a hot spare when one drive in the array fails.

SCSI, ATA or SATA

ATA in a Raid setup are extremely slow and unreliable. ATA hard drives are not made for 24 x 365 performance. Though more and more system builders offer SATA Raid setups in low budget servers there is still a big difference with a SCSI Raid setup. If you have the budget available spend more money on a fast disk subsystem (SCSI Raid) and memory instead of spending money on very fast processors. More information about Raid can be found here: Adaptec Article: What Is RAID? The above text and images are copied from a pdf on the Adaptec site.

Keep your backup media far away from the company

You can spend thousands of Dollars on the best backup device on earth but if you keep the media inside your company building it is totally useless if the building burns down to the ground or a burglar takes the tapes/drives. Also, do not store tapes or portable drives in a hot or freezing cold car. Before you know it these media can no longer be read.


Join our community.

Excellent content,
great people!

Like what you see? Join us for free*

Subscribe and receive ‘how to’ and ‘best practice’ articles on server and cloud maintenance, design and troubleshooting.

  • Monthly newsletter with a summary of all new tutorials
  • Get an email as soon as a new tutorial has been published

About www.server-essentials.com 

www.server-essentials.com is founded by Mariette Knap, a Dutch Microsoft MVP. www.server-essentials.com is a community for IT Consultants and Business Owners who, themselves, take care of the IT infrastructure and Employees who do that little extra in the company to keep things running. Our forum is for discussing all things ‘IT’ and more.  Our documentation is top notch and written by and for the community.

Renew or change your cookie consent


 
Contact Us
(030) 2250455

International: +31302250455

 

Concentrix BV

C. de Rijcklaan 1

3723 PM Bilthoven

The Netherlands

KvK 30202318

VAT Id 814036739B01

This page is intended to be viewed online and may not be printed. You are not allowed to save or print any documentation on www.server-essentials.com. If you save documentation locally or distribute it you are violating the Terms of Service of this website you agreed on when registering an account. You have access to the documentation as long as you have a valid subscription. If you try to download our documentation we will drop Javascript which makes it possible for us to track you.