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  • Question

  •  

    For me backup using WHS seems to be a long and anoying process in terms of choosing what to backup or not. Or is it just me?

     

    Is there any 3rd party programes which does this better and smoother?

     

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:24 PM

Answers

  • You're probably trying to control what WHS backs up, so you only get critical files. WHS is designed to allow that, but it's primarily designed to allow you to easily restore a PC with a completely failed HD to operation through something similar to an image-based restore.

    You should let WHS back up everything; it won't waste as much space as you probably think because of the way the WHS backup database is designed. It only holds one copy of each unique "cluster" of data, and then has pointers to that from the individual backups of all your client PCs. If a cluster is determined to already be in the database, another pointer is stored, but no additional data. This allows the keeping of a dozen or more backups in (usually) little more than the space that you would expect a single full backup of your largest machine to take.
    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:47 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • You're probably trying to control what WHS backs up, so you only get critical files. WHS is designed to allow that, but it's primarily designed to allow you to easily restore a PC with a completely failed HD to operation through something similar to an image-based restore.

    You should let WHS back up everything; it won't waste as much space as you probably think because of the way the WHS backup database is designed. It only holds one copy of each unique "cluster" of data, and then has pointers to that from the individual backups of all your client PCs. If a cluster is determined to already be in the database, another pointer is stored, but no additional data. This allows the keeping of a dozen or more backups in (usually) little more than the space that you would expect a single full backup of your largest machine to take.
    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:47 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken, You're absolutely correct about the designed-in assumption of WHS's PC backup - that it is easiest to let it back up entire drives, and that it will do so with impressive (very impressive) efficiency.

     

    But when folks like myself (and possibly Pierce007 ? (the OP)) have multiple large HDDs in multiple PC's; and where I (for example) prefer to store my thousands of digital images in my Shared folders rather than 'buried' in the reputedly fragile (and slow to 'browse') WHS backup database, then making those folder exclusions in the Console is undeniably tedious.

     

    Also, the UI for that feature is still flawed, error-prone, and worryingly uncertain.  As I think has already been mentioned in other threads, the UI repeatedly offers me multiple "(Unknown)" folders to deselect (if I'm brave), and where experience has taught me that I need to commit the selections on one volume, before I can get the dialog to 'populate' itself with the selectable folders on subsequent volumes ...

     

     Pierce007 wrote:
    For me backup using WHS seems to be a long and anoying process in terms of choosing what to backup or not. Or is it just me? [....]

     

    Nope!  It's not just you.

     

    OK - on the scale of 'issues' with WHS, this is maybe a minor one, but I too am hoping this backup-selection UI will be hugely improved in the anticipated smaller fixes in PP1. (I'm almost afraid to ask if this is actually due for improvement in PP1. I'm not in a hurry for bad-news (if it isn't) ... ).

     

     Pierce007 wrote:
    Is there any 3rd party programes which does this better and smoother?

     

    Good question.  Maybe there's an opportunity here for someone to write an add-in to improve on it.  (I'm a programmer, but not with Microsoft's compilers & tools so I can't afford the new learning curve just yet, otherwise I'd have a go!)

     

    I'd be pleased even if I could get an export of the currently (de)selected Backup folders, because so far, the (de)selection dialog isn't highlight+Copy enabled!  Frustrating!

     

    Colin P.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:00 AM
  • I don't see the exclusion as being tedious. I have one root folder which encapsulates all of my digital photos, organized by date. I just exclude that. No folder under it is included in the backup. Do you organize your photos in some other fashion? Multiple top level folders per camera? Per subject?

    Where it's tedious is when a user tries to get "just the important stuff". That's usually only a few folders, and is extremely painful to configure. But that's not how WHS is designed to work.
    Thursday, March 13, 2008 3:46 PM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
    I don't see the exclusion as being tedious.

     

    Good! I'm pleased for you Ken.

     

     Ken Warren wrote:
     I have one root folder which encapsulates all of my digital photos, organized by date. I just exclude that. No folder under it is included in the backup.

     

    Do you organize your photos in some other fashion? Multiple top level folders per camera? Per subject?

     

    Per Year.

    Per Camera.

    Per Image Library (photo agency) with which I work.

    My Nikon Capture NX (Editor) image cache

    My Nikon Capture NX 'Temporary' folder

    My JungleDisk cache folder

    My C++ development trees

     

    And many more 'Folder' contexts, spanning hundreds of GB, some carried over since my NT4 days and which I won't expand upon here except to say that -

     

    • I don't want them all backed up by WHS.
    • I employ a folder organisation which keeps common or root folders per context to a minimum - in other words, I avoid putting temporary and cache workplaces under a common root folder.
    • With a view to an eventual PC restore / rebuild from a WHS backup, I'm deliberately keeping the 'selected' folder population to a moderate number, otherwise the restoration becomes (would become) unnecesarily long-winded and - given the multiple volume scenario - more prone to errors than is already evident.
    • In other words, I'm adapting my use of WHS backup as I think is best for my system.

     Ken Warren wrote:
     Where it's tedious is when a user tries to get "just the important stuff". That's usually only a few folders [....]

     

    A "few folders" - no!

    Multiple folders on multiple volumes on multiple PCs - yes!

    Which is what prompted my reply to Pierce007, and which very likely prompted his original post.

     

     Ken Warren wrote:
      and is extremely painful to configure.

     

    Indeed it is.

     

     Ken Warren wrote:
     [....]  But that's not how WHS is designed to work.

     

    Exactly my point.  It (the folder de-selection dialog) is a simple setup. Obviously an early implementation. Obviously aimed (IMO short sightedly) at an assumed lightweight user, and which is exactly why Pierce007 and I both hope that it will improve in time.

     

    Not all setups are as simple as the example you give Ken.  Please allow us to voice our considered opinions.

    [biting tongue in restraint]

     

    Colin P.

     

    Thursday, March 13, 2008 6:59 PM