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Can't remove a server backup disk RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have successfully backed up my WHS2011 server, but I now want to remove the external drive on which the initial backup was located, and replace it with another drive now that I'm happy with my overall server setup.

    However, when I go through the steps of the "Remove hard drive from server backup" wizard, I hit a problem. I get to the "Select backup destination" step and deselect the external drive from the list (it's the only drive listed), but the 'next' option then immediately gets greyed out, so that I can't finish the removal process - what on earth am I missing here?

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:27 AM

Answers

  • To be honest, I'm not clear in my own mind about what some of the options actually mean, and the documentation is usually zero help in clarification.

    If you "Stop the backup for the server" - that will just stop the current backup operation. Indeed, you can then just remove the drive. As long as that backup operation was not a Full backup, but an Incremental backup, then you should have backup files on the drive from previous backups. These can indeed be seen if you mount the VHD on a Windows 7 machine.

    That drive is also still known to WHS 2011 - so if you re-attach it, WHS 2011 will recognize it, and use it for the next scheduled backup.

    To completely remove a drive from WHS 2011 (so that WHS forgets that it was using it as a backup device), you have to go through that badly-designed "Customize" wizard.

    It's not clear to me what the "Disable Server Backup" option will actually do. It claims to "turn the server backup off and cancel all scheduled backups", but it doesn't specify what happens to the existing backups, and to WHS 2011's backup history. Do these also get wiped? I don't know, and I haven't dared find out.

    With regard to the UEFI/GPT issue - yes, it's been fixed for Windows Server 2012 Essentials (cost: an order of magnitude higher than for WHS 2011). There's also been a hint that the fix may come in a future Update Rollup for WHS 2011, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    What almost certainly won't be retrofitted is the ability to take a server backup that exceeds 2TB.

    • Marked as answer by HWJones Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:24 PM
    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:32 AM

All replies

  • You're not missing anything - this task is badly designed. You have to first add a new drive before you will be able to remove the old drive.

    I rant about this, and other backup issues, here: http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/server-backups-in-windows-home-server-2011/

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 9:52 AM
  • Many thanks Geoff - but now my first thought is 'what in hell have i got myself into'? Note to MS - this is meant to be a HOME server guys - you may just have forgotten what that means...

    But - if I've understood your travails correctly, couldn't I just stop the backup process (i.e. the other principal option in that wizard) and remove the drive? Which raises another question - despite the fact that the drive did in fact contain a valid backup, would the act of choosing 'stop backing upthe server' mean that it would no longer be recognized if I tried to actually use it to restore files later on?  Presumably I'd still be able to mount it as a VHD on a windows 7 machinie and find files though?

    I assume that all this follows from the logic of the 'change server backup settings' choice - the assumption is that I will still be doing some sort of backup if I choose this, which is why it won't allow me to remove just the only disk that I could back up onto - which sort of makes sense. But how confusing if you're a non-techie.

    One other thing - I note that WHS2011 won't back up UEFI boot drives - is that going to change at all, or do I need to think about forking out yet more hard-earned dosh for server 2012 essentials? I'm beginning to wish I hadn't started out down this WHS thing all those years ago - if I'd known what issues it was going to throw up...

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 10:11 AM
  • To be honest, I'm not clear in my own mind about what some of the options actually mean, and the documentation is usually zero help in clarification.

    If you "Stop the backup for the server" - that will just stop the current backup operation. Indeed, you can then just remove the drive. As long as that backup operation was not a Full backup, but an Incremental backup, then you should have backup files on the drive from previous backups. These can indeed be seen if you mount the VHD on a Windows 7 machine.

    That drive is also still known to WHS 2011 - so if you re-attach it, WHS 2011 will recognize it, and use it for the next scheduled backup.

    To completely remove a drive from WHS 2011 (so that WHS forgets that it was using it as a backup device), you have to go through that badly-designed "Customize" wizard.

    It's not clear to me what the "Disable Server Backup" option will actually do. It claims to "turn the server backup off and cancel all scheduled backups", but it doesn't specify what happens to the existing backups, and to WHS 2011's backup history. Do these also get wiped? I don't know, and I haven't dared find out.

    With regard to the UEFI/GPT issue - yes, it's been fixed for Windows Server 2012 Essentials (cost: an order of magnitude higher than for WHS 2011). There's also been a hint that the fix may come in a future Update Rollup for WHS 2011, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    What almost certainly won't be retrofitted is the ability to take a server backup that exceeds 2TB.

    • Marked as answer by HWJones Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:24 PM
    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:32 AM
  • Thanks again Geoff - you have been very helpful. I think the simplest course of action is to stop the backup process and unplug the drive. I'll check it to see what's on there to be doubly sure, but I think that should be sufficient for my needs for now.

    I'm sure I'm not going to be the first person to suggest this, but WHS2011 really looks like an unfinished product. I know a bit of the background re merging development teams etc, and the removal of technologies such as DE, but I hadn't realised that so many rough edges would still be there over a year after launch. For those of us without fast broadband, cloud backup is not really feasible (yet) and WHS filled a gap in the market (I know there are other products out there, but in my opinion none were as straightforward for a home user as WHS - until WHS2011 anyway!)

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:56 AM