NT backups

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tzar

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Mar 11, 2004
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Hi there...

I can be considered a newborn when it comes to network administration. In fact I've just been thrown into the fire 1 month ago when the IT guy at my office left us in a hurry.

Now you guys at this forum are my best teachers.

Here, I've got a question about NT server backups.

I am running NT Server 4.0 in the office, with tapes as my backup media.

I am beginning to find that backing up my data with tapes are getting more and more tedious, not to mention the hassle when trying to restore my server if it happens to crash.

My question is, are there any other options for backup, apart from using tapes?
I was thinking of simply plugging in a large-capacity External HDD via USB or Firewire to my server and copy all the files and directories, from my server to the Ext HDD. Will that work? And will I be able to restore my server easily from the Ext. HDD if it ever crashes?

Also, I have heard that doing what I just described above is not possible because my OS is NT. Is that due to any incompatibility issues?
I have also heard that those who performed this operation in NT will frequently experience the Blue Screen of Death (the fatal blue error screen in Windows).

Can anyone who have had prior experience wth this please help?
I thank you way, way in advance.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
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I agree that backing up and restoring with a tape drive is tedious at best. The good thing about doing that is that you can take the tape off site (definately a good practice) just in case of some sort of catastrophe at the office. I think that you discovered what a lot of us have, hard drive space is cheap. Doing a data backup on a PC other than the server can save a lot of time and headaches just in case something needs to be restored quickly. Security can be an issue...be careful where you put the data. The blue screen that you heard of may come from "data locking" issues although I haven't encountered any issues on a W2K network. If you are a little handy with scripts, you can write a FTP script to copy the data to another PC in the office and set it up at a scheduled time.
 
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I realize that backing up with tapes is tedious. However, I would continue to do so. It's very important that the backups are completely automated and the tapes can be taken off site to be used for disaster recovery.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
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An alternative to using tapes is removable media. This can come in two forms.

1. Internal removable IDE drives.
2. External USB drives.

Because you have NT4 you will need to put these on a user's workstation that has rights to whatever needs to be backed up. But unless you have some tremendous amount of files to backup, I have yet to see this be a problem.

Then you have all the advantages of being able to take the backups off-site with none of the hassles of tapes. I don't even use backup software. Just XCOPY what you need. Even restores are simple that way. Just write a batch file with all the directories you need to backup and then schedule it to run whenever you want.

Typically the batch file is something like:

xcopy \\server\share x:\backup\share /s /y /c /d /i
xcopy \\server\share1 x:\backup\share1 /s /y /c /d /i

share and share1 are different directories to backup. Another possibility here is to share the beginning of where all the data is stored with a $ at the end of the sharename so it doesn't show up when you browse. Then you can just have that single share to backup. It all depends on how well your data is organized.

x: is the drive you want it to backup to
share and share1 would be directories you want it to backup to
/s - subdirectories
/y - yes on overwrite
/c - continue on errors. so if a file is locked it will at least continue. Likely this file wasn't being backed up to tape either.
/d - only backup new or changed files. This saves a lot of time after the initial backup is done
/i - creates a directory if necessary
 
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