How to disable Client Computer Backup in Windows Server Essentials

How to disable Client Computer Backup in Windows Server Essentials

If you have setup several clients on your new Windows Server Essentials network but you find that all those Client Computers are included in the backup routine to the server but you don’t want that there are two ways of disabling this. We can do that manually or we can run a Powershell script that will disable Client Backup for all connected clients.

Just save the little Powershell script to the Admins Document folder on your server so you can run whenever needed. Below you will find the Powershell zipped. Download it if you wish.

On a default Windows Server 2012 R2 you will see that Client Computer Backups will start automatically as soon as they are joined. One simple registry setting can prevent that from happening. Windows Server 2016 already has this setting though it is named a little bit different 'ClientBackupDefaultOff'. On WSE 2012 R2 it should be named 'ClientBackupOff'.

  1. Open the Dashboard and you will see that a connected client is always included in the Client Backups
  2. On the right side click ‘Customize Backup for the Computer’.
  3. Choose ‘Disable’.
  4. Click ‘Save Changes’.
  5. Client Backup is Disabled now.
  1. From the Start Menu start an elevated Windows Powershell ISE
  2. Accept the User Account Control
  3. Now paste the Powershell script in the Window as in the screenshot.
    $wssComputers = (Get-WssComputer)
    foreach ($client in $wssComputers)
    If ($client.OperatingSystem -match "Server") {
      Write-Host "Skipping Server" $client.DeviceName }
    Else {
      Write-Host "Disabling backup on" $client.DeviceName
      Disable-WssClientBackup $client.DeviceName }
  4. Click the run button.
  5. I had only one client connected and the script disabled the backup. Note that it will also run for clients that are ‘joined’ to the domain but currently not online like laptops of sales people who are not connected. It will possibly throw an error but you can ignore that. As soon as the client is connected to the domain they will receive the new setting and backup will be disabled.
  6. Open the Dashboard to verify that backups are indeed disabled.

One of the things you would really want to do if you are adding more clients to your new WSE domain is that the default behavior of Client Computer Backups is changed to ‘do nothing unless the administrator wants it’ instead of the automatic backup. Open an elevated command prompt on the server and type reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\Deployment" /v ClientBackupOff /t REG_DWORD /d 1. This should disable automatic Client Computer Backup on Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 only. WSE 2016 does have this registry setting already so there is no need to add it again.

reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\Deployment" /v ClientBackupOff /t REG_DWORD /d 1


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