Backup and Restore

Windows Server 2003's built-in Windows Backup application hasn't changed much from Windows 2000, which is to say you still need a third-party backup application if you want to manage backups on more than a couple of servers.

Figure 14.10 shows one of Windows Backup's most important features: the capability to back up the server's system state. The system state includes the server's Registry and, on a domain controller, a copy of the Active Directory database. Even if you're not worried about managing backups on your other servers, you must make a backup copy of the system state on your domain controllers; otherwise, you won't have any recovery options in the event of a total Active Directory failure, accidental deletion of an Active Directory object, and so forth.

Figure 14.10. Windows Backup provides entry-level backup and restore capabilities.


Popular alternatives to Windows Backup include Veritas's BackupExec ( and Computer Associates' BrightStor ( Both provide support for managing backups on multiple servers, utilizing robotic tape drives that hold multiple backup tapes, support for magneto-optical backup devices, and so forth. Windows Backup, on the other hand, supports only directly attached single-tape devices or backups to a file. Windows Backup supports only backing up the local server or network file shares; you cannot back up the all-important system state of a remote server.


For a quick tutorial on Windows Backup, visit and enter this book's ISBN number (no hyphens or parentheses) in the Search field; then click the book's cover image to access the book details page. Click the Web Resources link in the More Information section, and locate article ID# A011401.

One important feature that's unique to Windows Backup is Automated System Recovery, Windows's built-in last-resort recovery system.