Tutorials

How to backup and restore your Windows Server Essentials 2016

How to backup and restore your Windows Server Essentials 2016

In this tutorial, we learn how to backup and restore our Windows Server 2016 Essentials Server. When you add USB backup drives I suggest you make sure they are at 2.5 the size of the data you want to include. That way you are assured that if the amount of data growth on your server it will always be included in the backup routine.

It is considered best practice to have at least 3 backup drives and you rotate those every day. One is connected to the server, one you carry with you to change daily and one is stored in a safe offline remote location.

I am always surprised if I ask SMB owners about their backup routine. Most of them tell me that they have not changed backup drives for some time and if I ask if they ever tested a restore it remains silent.
  1. From the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard choose ‘Set up Backup for the server’.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  2. Next
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  3. Make sure you check ‘Show all drives that can be used as backup drives’ and choose the drive you want to use.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  4. You are warned that anything on the drive will be deleted.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  5. Give it a name and put a sticker on the USB drive so you know which drive is which.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  6. The default schedule runs twice per day. That is good enoigh for me, click next
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  7. I choose the defaults and click next
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  8. Click ‘Apply settings’.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  9. Close
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  10. Click ‘View the server properties’.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  11. I ran already a backup on this server so there is one entry in the log. But if you want to know more about your backup routine and the amount of (free) space on your backup destinations read on.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  12. From the Start Menu choose Server Manager
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  13. Choose ‘Windows Server Backup’.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  14. In the list, you see my previous backup listed and also the amount of free space on my backup drive.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  15. Click ‘Configure Performance Settings’.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  16. You will see that it is set to ‘Faster backup performance’. This means that the first time the backup is run it will perform a FULL backup but subsequent runs will be incremental. Click Cancel.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  17. But there is another way of getting information on the status of your backups and free space. This is really the ‘Essentials’ way and that is the path you should follow. Click on ‘Generate Health Report’.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  18. There is our Health Report. Open it.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016
  19. Scroll down and see what you get! A nice status update on Used Percentage, Free space, and capacity.
    How to configure your backup drives in Windows Server Essentials 2016

To be honest, this could not be easier. From the Essentials dashboard you can restore Files and Folders and follow the wizard.

  1. Click Restore files and folders.
    How to restore files and folders
  2. Click Next
    How to restore files and folders
  3. If your backup is on this server (means USB connected) click Next
    How to restore files and folders
  4. For explanation purposes I choose ‘Restore from a backup that I select (advanced) but if you only want to restore your latest backup choose ‘Restore from the most recent backup (recommended).
    How to restore files and folders
  5. Choose the date and time, click Next
    How to restore files and folders
  6. Click Files and Folders
    How to restore files and folders
  7. Choose the files and/or folders you want to restore.
    How to restore files and folders
  8. You can choose to restore to the original location and create copies of the existing files and folders. If you want to test a restore I would choose ‘Another location’ and do a compare of the restored folders/files with the original versions.
    How to restore files and folders
  9. Click restore now.
    How to restore files and folders
  10. Click Close
    How to restore files and folders

In this example, we restore the whole server from a backup and we boot from USB stick. If you don’t know how to create a bootable USB stick I suggest you read Create a bootable USB pen drive for your Windows 2012 R2 installation. You can also start a disaster restore without USB pen drive if your server is still able to boot. Have a look at the method I choose to reboot the server in the next chapter ‘How to restore system state’.

  1. Once the server is started from the USB drive choose next.
    How to recover from a disaster
  2. Choose ‘Repair your computer’.
    How to recover from a disaster
  3. Choose Troubleshoot
    How to recover from a disaster
  4. Choose System Image Recovery
    How to recover from a disaster
  5. If there is still a drive with a readable Operating System the wizard will detect that and give you a choice but if this is a new drive this will not be shown.
    How to recover from a disaster
  6. Choose the image you want to restore.
    How to recover from a disaster
  7. You can choose to format and repartition the disks in your server. I would do that just to make sure everything is deleted before restoring. You must choose this when restoring to a new drive or array in the case your server was lost due to a fire or theft.
    How to recover from a disaster
  8. Click Next
    How to recover from a disaster
  9. Click Finish
    How to recover from a disaster
  10. Click Yes.
    How to recover from a disaster
  11. Work in progress
    How to recover from a disaster
  12. Click Restart now
    How to recover from a disaster
 
Restoring system state from a backup made with the backup routine set on the essentials dashboard does not work and renders your active directory useless. if you need to restore system state without a bare metal restore you must make a separate backup to separate media with windows backup. How to make a system state backup

Restoring System State on a domain controller can only be done in Directory Restore mode. If you try to start a System State from within Windows Server Backup while the server is started with all Directory Services started it will tell you that it failed. A System State may be needed if your server has  some corruption in System Registry, COM + Database, Certificate Services, Active Directory, SysVol or the IIS Metabase. System State restore does not restore any user files.

  1. From Windows Settings choose Update & Security.
    How to restore system state
  2. On the left choose Recovery
    How to restore system state
  3. Click Restart now
    How to restore system state
  4. Choose a reason and click Continue.
    How to restore system state
  5. Click Troubleshoot
    How to restore system state
  6. Click Startup Settings
    How to restore system state
  7. Microsoft seems to not list Directory Services Repair Mode in this list but later we will see this in the list we can choose from, click Restart.
    How to restore system state
  8. One the server has been restarted choose Directory Service Repair Mode.
    How to restore system state
  9. This can take some time…be patient.
    How to restore system state
  10. Your domain administrator account cannot be used because Directory Services are not started. We will need to use the local administrator for this procedure.
    How to restore system state
  11. Logon with your local administrator account. That is the account you used to initially installed the server or if you have migrated from an older OS you were asked to set a password as soon as you ADDS on the new server. In another tutorial I will explain how we can sync the Domain Admin (the one you use to normally logon to the server) with the account that owns the DSRM password.
    How to restore system state
  12. Choose Administrative Tools
    How to restore system state
  13. Choose Windows Server Backup
    How to restore system state
  14. Choose Recover
    How to restore system state
  15. Choose This server and click Next
    How to restore system state
  16. Choose the date and time, click Next
    How to restore system state
  17. Choose System State and click Next
    How to restore system state
  18. Choose Original location and click Next
    How to restore system state
  19. Check ‘Automatically Reboot and click Recover.
    How to restore system state
  20. Read the warning and click Yes.
    How to restore system state
  21. System State restore is running.
    How to restore system state
  22. Once this is done and the server has rebooted I would DCdiag to check the health of your Active Directory
    How to restore system state

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.

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