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How to do a Server Back Up in Task Scheduler? RRS feed

  • Question

  • 'WHS Unleashed' (Sams, 2nd ed., 2010), p455-56 mentions using Task Scheduler for regular maintenance, including 'Back up Windows Home Server' (after PowerPack 3 has been installed, apparently). McFredies notes that 'some programs... can't be scheduled in their GUI form. You need to use the command-line vesion instead' (p456).

    Is this how the WHS back up feature is made to work? I can back up the system manually but I'd prefer it done every night and automatically. What have I missed?

    Cheers,

    Chris

    Friday, April 8, 2011 9:11 AM

Answers

  • I've taken the plunge and gone with SyncToy. Not ideal as I hate downlaoding ever more programs (especially for the server) but it does the job.

    First backup took about three hours, fair enough, and Task Scheduler did the backup - or synchronisation - last night as planned. Super. I wanted to keep everything within the WHS OS but since that's not possible, this will suffice. I loose the all important Restore button & funcionality but since the Shares folder is copied verbatim, the file structures are familiar so I can easily find the bits I need in the event of a disaster. Indeed, I think it would be possible to use the synced Shares folder to copy everything from in case a complete (re)installation was required - but I hope not!

    The most irritatng thing? It took me ages to find Task Scheduler in WHS. Why? Because for no good reason at all, in WHS it's called Scheduled Tasks. Not a big deal perhaps, but still very annoying when you're scanning every menu under 'T'...

    Thanks again activoice. I'm marking this post as the specific answer (All the glory goes to me! Mwahaar...!) to my specific situation:

    Q. How to do a Server Backup in Task Scheduler?

    A. You can't. The free MS utility SyncToy copies the whole shares folder to another location/drive, which isn't perfect but is close enough for me.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    • Marked as answer by ChrisOfTheOT Thursday, May 5, 2011 9:12 AM
    Thursday, May 5, 2011 9:12 AM

All replies

  • Shameless bump.

    Chris

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 11:44 AM
  • Many days searching hasn't really helped (other than to emphasise that everyone wants this function but can't find out how to do it).

    Cougar at MediaSmartServer has a... macro-based thing (?)... which he says will do the job but it seems to have problems: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3035. As a regular whoos, I'm not brave enough to try it. Has anyone else given it a go? Or improved it (and made it simpler!)?

    (Wiki entry here: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/wiki/index.php?title=Automating_the_Windows_Home_Server_Shared_Folder_Backup)

    Cheers,

    Chris

     

    Saturday, April 16, 2011 9:30 AM
  • So are you basically trying to perform a backup of your shared folders to an external drive?  Couldn't you use a 3rd party utility like Syncback to do that?
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 8:00 PM
  • Thanks for the reply. I'd never heard of SyncBack until you mentioned it but many seem to find it works okay (though not necessarily in WHS). Is that what you use? I've never used a file synchronisation program and especially in WHS, I want to keep 'extras' off the system, if possible. (I've also now seen MS SyncToy which sounds similar.)

    However, don't these products avoid using the built-in WHS back up feature? I want to keep back ups & restores within the OS for simplicity & saftey - if ever (another) complete system restore is required, through the 'official' channels is bound to be easier, isn't it?

    It just seems daft to have a back up feature that you can't set to run when you want.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    Monday, April 18, 2011 2:10 PM
  • Syncback isn't just synchronization, it also does backup...

     

    What I did with mine is I connected a USB drive to my WHS, and created my first server backup.  So that backup was really large and took a long time (maximum of 2tb I guess since that's the maximum drive size that WHS will accept for a single disk)  I usually backup all of my shared folders except for the one I keep my movies in.. it's over 6tb on its own.

     

    After that I disconnected the USB drive from the WHS in the basement and connected it to my PC in my home office upstairs.

     

    I add files to my WHS Share folders on a daily basis.  But once a week I turn on the USB drive connected to my PC, and just run a set of jobs I created in syncback that copies files from certain shares on the WHS to the USB drive connected to my PC over the network.  From what I can tell Syncback has a scheduling feature, but I don't use it, I'd have to make sure the other PC is turned on at the scheduled time, that the drive is powered up etc... too much trouble.

     

    Technically you could just turn on folder duplication and you would have a redundant backup located on your server.  (this is the supported method by Microsoft for file redundancy) 

     

    The only real point of backing up to an external drive is for security, you could take that second drive and file it away in a fire safe, or at a friend's house.  Or you could even have two backup drives that you alternate (make a backup one time, make a copy of that on another drive, then just run syncback every week alternating drives)

     

    I recently had a 1.5tb drive start to fail with a bunch of corrupted files, I was able to successfully remove the drive, delete the corrupted files, then restored the corrupted files from my offline backup over the network.  (my storage pool is about 10tb, so it's too large for me to use folder duplication, as I would need 20tb connected to the server directly)


    Monday, April 18, 2011 3:16 PM
  • Thanks activoice - very informative indeed!

    I didn't know that WHS only recognises HD up to 2TB - not that it'll affect me at all just yet, but good to know. And your system is 10TB - whoa! I feel so inadequate with just 3.5TB...  ;-)

    I do have folder duplication on but also wanted everything in one place for easy restoring, if needs be. (My understanding is that folder duplication will not necessarily put everything in the same, convenient, drive.) Having said that though, the re-installation I've just done found all the information & folders easily enough without a pukka back up.

    I'm not sold on SyncBack - which is a bit tight or me since it's Freeware! - but I may give it ago just to see. It must be fairly good or no-one would use it... I may also try SyncToy as it's MS (so should avoid compatibility & conflict issues - in theory, at least) but I really, really don't want to dump any extras on the server.

    Still, if I want to schedule server back ups, I fear I'm going to have to bite the bullet. How annoying!

    Thanks again activoice,

    Cheers,

    Chris


    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:54 AM
  • Synback is really good... although I do use the free version, there are paid versions with more features.  You could also give Synctoy a try.. doesn't cost anything.

     

    My question to you is if you do manage to get some sort of scheduled server backup working, won't that just be short lived?  IE what happens when your shared folders exceeds 2tb, at that point you won't be able to backup everything onto one drive anyway.

     

    The benefit of the way I do my backups is that even if my shared folder exceeds 2tb, I can use synback to select certain folders to be backed up to one drive, and select other folders to be backed up to another drive. In syncback I can also use wildcards to select files.... so even if a single folder were to exceed 2tb, I could also just tell syncback to sync all files from A*.* to M*.*, and create another job from N*.* to Z*.* etc.

    If you happen to have a desktop in the house that's always on, or on on weekends. then really you could just leave a USB drive or ESATA drive connected to that PC, and schedule syncback or some other backup program to backup your shares from your WHS to the external drive attached. (Or you could just add the drives internally to the desktop).  In my opinion (opinions are going to vary here) this is a better solution than WHS folder duplication... although it will take longer to restore files if I have a drive fail in the server, my backup will protect me in case there is some physical damage to the WHS server.  

    If you ever get this up and running, I'd like to hear what your final solution was.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:56 PM
  • Well I've downloaded SyncBack & am now downloading SyncToy. Who knows? I may even give them a go!

    Interesting about the 2TB issue - it never occured to me that when the shares become larger than that, then one drive will not suffice. Still, I don't imagine it's too short-lived for us it should be at least 18 months before we get to 2TB of shares .(We don't use WHS as a media hub for TV/video - it's too much of a pain, especially as so much Xbox media guff is incompatible or bizarrely complex. One day I'd like to copy all our CDs over but that'd be a killer, long job!).

    The only downsides with the SyncBack free seem to be lack of incremental backups & slow backups - one user claiming 'one file per second', another saying '45GB in 20 mins'. Not sure this would be much good for half-TB shares backups... Maybe SyncToy is better here, I'll have to check.

    For us, the most convenient & cost effective option was to put another drive in the server and mark it for backups (not pool). It's not ideal in as much as it's in the same physical case but it does offer a seperate container for a backup. One day an external 2TB USB or Firewire drive may be an option but for now, internal will have to do. (Not least because I jsut spent £210 rebuilding the WHS system!)

    I'll try the free Sync options & let you know...

    Cheers again activoice,

    Chris

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:21 AM
  • Sounds good Chris, like I pointed out earlier, I connected the drive to my server for the first backup because that is going to be the largest.  After that I connected the drive to my client PC, and setup syncback, and created seperate backup jobs from each of the shares on the server, to the local folder on the backup drive.  If you are not adding much every week then you won't really notice much of a speed issue, you are going to be limited by your network speed anyway... in my case my router is only 10/100 so I only get 11mb/s  but I usually only save 1-2gb to the server per week in the folders I backup.  Or sometimes I save a copy to the server, and at the same time I save the same file to the USB drive connected to my PC saves time later when syncing.

    I currently store most of my video collection on my WHS, and use a WDTV Live Plus to stream it.  In the near future I plan to put together an HTPC, and use XBMC as the interface.

     

    Best of luck

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:13 PM
  • I've taken the plunge and gone with SyncToy. Not ideal as I hate downlaoding ever more programs (especially for the server) but it does the job.

    First backup took about three hours, fair enough, and Task Scheduler did the backup - or synchronisation - last night as planned. Super. I wanted to keep everything within the WHS OS but since that's not possible, this will suffice. I loose the all important Restore button & funcionality but since the Shares folder is copied verbatim, the file structures are familiar so I can easily find the bits I need in the event of a disaster. Indeed, I think it would be possible to use the synced Shares folder to copy everything from in case a complete (re)installation was required - but I hope not!

    The most irritatng thing? It took me ages to find Task Scheduler in WHS. Why? Because for no good reason at all, in WHS it's called Scheduled Tasks. Not a big deal perhaps, but still very annoying when you're scanning every menu under 'T'...

    Thanks again activoice. I'm marking this post as the specific answer (All the glory goes to me! Mwahaar...!) to my specific situation:

    Q. How to do a Server Backup in Task Scheduler?

    A. You can't. The free MS utility SyncToy copies the whole shares folder to another location/drive, which isn't perfect but is close enough for me.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    • Marked as answer by ChrisOfTheOT Thursday, May 5, 2011 9:12 AM
    Thursday, May 5, 2011 9:12 AM
  • I take the SyncToy bit back - it's not really top-drawer stuff. (For me, the scheduled tasks stopped performing - though I can still do it manually - and there's no help as to why.) Also, as jshurak notes in the SyncFx fourms (http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/synctoy/thread/8dcb5ae4-9d6c-48f2-b937-d62b6f28c284), it's not an especially good backup option.

    I will (have to) try SyncBack, but with so many features disabled in the free version I'm going to have to try Schedulted Tasks again. Not perfic at all...

    Cheers,

    Chris

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:47 AM
  • So far, SyncBack is much better - it does actual proper backups too. The free version misses incremental backups and stuff but on the server I think I can get away with that. (But it does check for changes so maybe it'll skip files that haven't changed?) We'll see.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 5:15 PM