Backup And Restore Windows Home Server?

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Backup And Restore Windows Home Server?

by MGD King December 21, 2009 9:12 PM

Back in June I set up a Windows Home Server (WHS) on my network out of the necessity of needing to backup the three machines that we have. Plus the laptop, with its paltry 20GB drive, just didn't have the space the kids needed for all of their pictures and music files so WHS just made too much sense given all that it does. The ability to store everyone's "My Documents" folder on the server plus the ability to share images, music, and videos on the network as well as a means to back up each machine daily were what sold me. I loved how easy it was to set up and how it basically took care of itself with little or no interaction required to keep things in order. And as an added bonus, the ability to log into the WHS from anywhere via a web interface made getting to our files painless when we're away from the house. Trust me, you don't know how much you would use that feature until you have it at your disposal! 

Everything was running smoothly until my in UPS went haywire and when it did, it shut down the WHS unexectedly. This happened in November and since that time the WHS would reboot itself at random giving the dreaded Blue Scree of Death sometimes as often as 4 times a day. I suspected a piece of hardware was damaged when the power shut down and rather than troubleshoot to find out if it was the memory, CPU, motherboard, or the power supply, I decided to replace the whole machine with one that I had laying around. WHS doesn't need a lot of horsepower to run so a 2.8 GHz Pentium IV with 2GB of RAM would be more than addiquate seeing as how it was replacing an Athlon 2400 (2.0 GHz) with 1 GB of RAM. I used the 2 existing 320 GB drives I had in my first incarnation of WHS in the new box and added an additional 160 GB drive that I had laying around collecting dust. WHS's ability to configure hard drives in a software RAID setup in a JBOD configuration is impressive and easy so I knew it would be a breeze to add the extra drive.

So I sat down one Saturday and dove right in. After getting the drives installed in the case I installed WHS and made all of the configuration settings (which aren't much) and applied all of the updates, including Power Pack 3. I recreated the user accounts using the same usernames and passwords as I had previously (because those accounts are used by the family for each of their "My Documents" folders) and then restored from the USB backup of the WHS Shared Folders. After reinstalling all of the WHS server connectors on each of the PC's, the user's "My Documents" folders were back up and running just like before. It doesn't get any easier than that!

A friend of mine, who also runs a home server, and I were debating on whether or not it's necessary to backup the server itself using NTBACKUP. He thinks it's a good idea to backup the PC backups and database and I can't say that I disagree with that. However, after performing this server restore I've come to the conclusion that it would be redundant to do that because as long as the PC is in good health, when the WHS is rebuilt (it would have to be reinstalled from scratch before running NTBACKUP to restore a backup anyway) then the backup that night will be the starting point.

I've really come to like WHS and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of more of its features. One thing that I really would like to do is install a TV tuner card in the home server and record TV shows and then share them on the network, especially with Windows 7 workstations. Hopefully I can blog about that soon!

Comments (1) -

Sam-I-Am
1/26/2010 10:45:57 PM #

mate, a tv tuner card connected to the home server connected over HDMI to the Plasma is ultra awesome. It's like moving from dialup to broadband!

also, i highly recommend you back up your backup. At least monthly. And then store that backup offsite. Your memories are too precious to have it lost.

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