70-240 in 15 minutes a week: Monitoring and Optimizing System Performance and Reliability Page 4

Data Backup and Recovery

Data backup and recovery in Windows 2000 is accomplished via the Backup program, ntbackup.exe. The new program includes the ability to backup up to different types of media (tape drive, CDR, zip drive, etc), as well as the ability to have backups span media (multiple zip drives, etc). Perhaps the greatest benefit is the ability to schedule a backup - something that was sorely missing (unless you wrote a batch file and scheduled it with the AT command) in NT 4 - in Windows 2000 this is done via integration with the Task Scheduler. Backup and restore operations can be carried out by explicitly choosing files and folders if you're familiar with the process, or by a wizard if you are not.

In order to backup files and folders, you must have appropriate rights and / or permissions. Users may back up their own files, as well as those to which the have the NTFS Read permission. Users may only restore their own files or ones to which the have the NTFS Write permission. Administrators and members of the Backup Operators group have the right to backup and restore files (as do Server Operators on a server), including those to which they have no access.

There are 5 different types of backups you should know about. Note that some backups set or clear a 'marker'. The marker is the archive attribute on the file or folder being backed up. The 5 types of backups are looked at below:

Normal: Backs up all selected files and folders, and clears all markers.
Differential: Backs up all selected files and folders that have changed since the last Normal backup, and does not clear markers. 
Incremental: Backs up all selected files and folders that have changed since the most recent Incremental or Normal backup. It does clear markers.
Copy: Copies all selected files and folders, and does not clear markers.
Daily: Backs up all selected files and folders that have changed on that day, and does not clear markers.

Remembering the backup types is easy. Using a Differential backup strategy means that backups take a little longer, but restores tend to be quicker. An Incremental backup strategy generally means faster backups and a lengthier restore period.

Windows 2000 also allows you to backup all of the critical system files by choosing to backup something called System State. System State is just another option to choose within the backup program, as shown checked below:

System State can only be backed up for the local machine, since the Backup program does not allow for remote System State backups. System State includes the registry, system startup files, and COM+ objects on any system. On a system running Certificate Services, it also includes the Certificate Services database, and on a domain controller, it includes the Active Directory database, as well as the Sysvol folder. 

One last thing you should be aware of with the Backup program is that this is where you now create an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD). These are no longer created with the Rdisk.exe command as in NT 4. Note that the ERD is not bootable. It is also worth noting that the ERD does not contain a copy of the local registry. This is stored in the local repair directory, and can be updated as part of the ERD creation process. To begin the emergency repair process, start the Windows 2000 installation process, and choose R to repair a damaged or corrupt system. The two repair options include Fast Repair and Manual Repair, as outlined below.

Fast Repair: this option requires no user interaction. Any errors relating to the startup environment, registry, or system files are fixed automatically. This option restores the registry from the repair directory. If the registry stored here is an old version, newer changes may be lost. 

Manual Repair: This option requires user intervention, and allows you to choose to repair the startup environment, system files, or the boot volume. Note that this option does not allow you to repair the registry. 

This article was originally published on Mar 22, 2001

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