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How to search for something in all backups? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,
    I have a huge problem :)
    There is a video file somewhere on my WHS that was on one of my client computers once. I know it got backuped and I know the backup is still on the server. However there are hundreds of other backups as well and I don't know in which backup the file is located. Is there any possibility to search within those backups without mounting every single one of them?

    Andreas
    __________________________ Andreas Balzer Microsoft Student Partners email: andreas.balzer@studentpartners.de
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:12 AM

Answers

  • Hi,
    I have a huge problem :)
    There is a video file somewhere on my WHS that was on one of my client computers once. I know it got backuped and I know the backup is still on the server. However there are hundreds of other backups as well and I don't know in which backup the file is located. Is there any possibility to search within those backups without mounting every single one of them?

    Andreas
    __________________________ Andreas Balzer Microsoft Student Partners email: andreas.balzer@studentpartners.de
    No.  The backup database is designed to be a quick restore to a "last known good configuration" (which is usually the previous night's backup), not an archival tool.
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 3:58 AM
    Moderator
  • A more accurate statement would be to say something like:
    While it's possible to use Windows Home Server to keep 'point in time' backups of home computers for an arbitrary period, such use isn't recommended. The backup database has no internal redundancy and isn't duplicated, so any server issue which results in needing to repair the backup database will result in the loss of some or all backups. Steps the end user can take to reduce the risk if they choose to use their server for archival storage include turning on duplication for the backup database (not supported) and copying the backup database to external storage (unsupported but documented in the Home Computer Backup and Restore technical brief, and automated in the Backup DataBase Backup add-in).

    That said, the backup feature also lacks other features that would make it useful as an archive (such as the ability to search backups without mounting them and using built-in Windows functionality to search the file system), and based on my research into the internals of the feature I doubt that it would be possible to add those features without major redesign.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:07 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,
    I have a huge problem :)
    There is a video file somewhere on my WHS that was on one of my client computers once. I know it got backuped and I know the backup is still on the server. However there are hundreds of other backups as well and I don't know in which backup the file is located. Is there any possibility to search within those backups without mounting every single one of them?

    Andreas
    __________________________ Andreas Balzer Microsoft Student Partners email: andreas.balzer@studentpartners.de
    No.  The backup database is designed to be a quick restore to a "last known good configuration" (which is usually the previous night's backup), not an archival tool.
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 3:58 AM
    Moderator
  • No. 
    True.
    The backup database is designed to be a quick restore to a "last known good configuration" (which is usually the previous night's backup), not an archival tool.
    NOT true. You said this before but it's just not so. 1) If it was only meant to restore to the "last known good" state they wouldn't have made an adjustable retention policy nor the ability to mark individual backups to keep forever. 2) If they didn't mean to be able to restore individual files they wouldn't have given the option to mount backups and restore files. They could have made it so you have to boot to the restore CD only...but they didn't. You DO have a WHS, right?
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 4:42 AM
  • A more accurate statement would be to say something like:
    While it's possible to use Windows Home Server to keep 'point in time' backups of home computers for an arbitrary period, such use isn't recommended. The backup database has no internal redundancy and isn't duplicated, so any server issue which results in needing to repair the backup database will result in the loss of some or all backups. Steps the end user can take to reduce the risk if they choose to use their server for archival storage include turning on duplication for the backup database (not supported) and copying the backup database to external storage (unsupported but documented in the Home Computer Backup and Restore technical brief, and automated in the Backup DataBase Backup add-in).

    That said, the backup feature also lacks other features that would make it useful as an archive (such as the ability to search backups without mounting them and using built-in Windows functionality to search the file system), and based on my research into the internals of the feature I doubt that it would be possible to add those features without major redesign.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:07 PM
    Moderator
  • I completely agree that there are some lacking features, such as search and a redundant BU DB, but to say that using an included feature is unsupported is a bit of a stretch. I'm not saying it's full-featured.

    If they didn't want us to use the BU features they simply could have removed them from the WHS console. I have to believe that they *want* us to use the various features of that console, if we want. The fact is; WHS backups can be mounted to restore individual file(s), BY INTENTIONAL DESIGN, which is a basic form of archiving.

    Likewise, there is nothing but the repeated misstatement from one member that claims the BU/Restore feature is only to restore to the "last known good" state. Ken, I know that even *you* don't believe that because you said so in another thread where the same claim was made, not that long ago.
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 8:25 PM
  • Yes, there's a difference between "not supported" and "not recommended". There are also nuances to "not supported". Some things in Windows Home Server work, but are not supported, usually because there is no way to access that feature in a supported fashion. (Remote Desktop is the root of almost all user-inflicted evils.) Other things are not supported in the same sense as dynamic disks, which (per this KB article ) are guaranteed to cause serious issues.

    As a practical matter, I recommend people not try to keep long-term archival backups of PCs using Windows Home Server. Because of the fragility of the backup database, doing so is likely to result in disappointment down the road. I have never recommended using Windows Home Server's backup feature for long-term archival storage, as far as I can recall (and as far as searching here tells me...).

    And I make that recommendation even though I have a backup database on my production server which hasn't had a problem in over two years. Any issue is likely to cost me the backup I would need the most (whatever that might be).
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 11:47 PM
    Moderator