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Restoring PC client backups if the home server has been destroyed RRS feed

  • Question

  • My question concerns what happens to the PC client backups if the system drive fails or if the entire WHS dies or is destroyed. I currently copy all of my PC clients backup database to an external drive every night, and rotate that disk out every few days.

    Let's imagine that the system drive fails. I put in a fresh drive and do a system re-install. I tell WHS about the PCs in my house. But the client backups are gone, because they were stored on the system drive. I copy the PC client backup database from my external drive back to WHS. Does the new install of WHS recognize this old database? Does it associate the PCs that were backed up in this database with the PCs that I just had to tell it about all over again?

    Let's imagine an even worse situation. My entire WHS system gets fried by a lightning strike. It's an HP MediaSmart EX475. I go out on eBay and buy another EX475, format the drives, reinstall WHS. Tell it about the PCs in my house. Copy the PC client backup database from my external drive back to this new WHS. Does the new WHS recognize the old PC backups? Does it associate the PCs that were previously backed up with the PCs that I've just told it about? Can I keep on going as if nothing ever happened?

    Thursday, October 21, 2010 5:54 PM

All replies

  • It isn't possible to restore from a Windows Home Server backup, other than by using Windows Home Server to do so.

    While backing up and restoring the backup database isn't, strictly speaking, supported, you can do so following the instructions in the Home Computer Backup and Restore technical brief, or by using the Backup Database Backup add-in.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 21, 2010 6:20 PM
    Moderator
  • I've done both, although no lightning strikes or anything. 

    I use the BDBB add-in to backup my backups. If I recall correctly the procedure was the same in either case.

    Install a new instance of WHS on existing or replacement box.

    Make sure WHS is fully patched but do not add any computers.

    Add your users.

    Add the BDBB addin (which I keep with my external backups)

    Plug the external backup drive into the server. (also supposed to work over network but I've never tried)

    1.       Plug in an external hard drive to your home server (do not add it to the Server Storage through the Windows Home Server Console).

    Run the BDBB utility and select your backup images.

    Select restore (maybe it's a START) button

    wait a few hours, the computers will auto populate the server as the backups are read back in.

    I run the backup repair utility right after a restore so I know if I was successful or not.

     

     

     

    Thursday, October 21, 2010 8:49 PM
  • Ken - Thanks, but you didn't really answer my question. I already follow the instructions as outlined in the Home Computer Backup and Restore technical brief. I'm wondering what happens if I restore the backup database (as backed up in the technical brief you mentioned) to a NEW instance of WHS. Does the new instance of WHS have any trouble recognizing the backup database that was created with another instance of WHS?

     

    MyAvatar - Thanks. It sounds as if it would probably work for me too, but I follow the technical brief that Ken mentioned rather than using the BDBB add-in. I wonder if the BDBB add-in provides additional functionality that makes everything place nice together.

    Friday, October 22, 2010 2:15 AM
  • The steps you need to go through are, I believe, detailed in the technical brief under restoring a backup database.

    You should practice the procedure; it's not a good idea to implement a disaster recovery plan for the very first time in the midst of the disaster you're trying to recover from. If there are problems, you'll be hitting them fresh, and won't have a clue how to solve them.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, October 22, 2010 3:09 AM
    Moderator
  • My understanding is that BDBB just automates the procedure that Ken is talking about. It's been a while since I did a server swap but I'm sure I put my backups onto the new server without a problem. 

     

    If you've got an old computer you might experiment and install WHS on it and try to recover. Ken has a good point that the time of failure is not a fun time to be learning how it all works.

    Friday, October 22, 2010 3:55 PM
  • BDBB: that's correct. It automates the backup/restore, and does a couple of other useful things.

    If you've got an old computer you might experiment and install WHS on it and try to recover. Ken has a good point that the time of failure is not a fun time to be learning how it all works.

    Trust me on this. I've lived through the successful implementation of a disaster recovery plan of my own devising, when large sums of money (and incidentally my job) were riding on the results. There are likely to be bugs in any untested plan, and bugs in a data recovery plan will almost always result in lost data.

    Option B is to structure your backup strategy such that you don't care if the backup database is lost. In that scenario, you just join your home computers to the new server and go from there. This is really how Windows Home Server is designed to be used; the storage efficiency of the backup database leads to a certain fragility if a component is corrupted..


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, October 22, 2010 5:13 PM
    Moderator