Why consider System State Backup and how to do it with BluVault?
A robust business continuity strategy should not just include file-level backups but should also incorporate System State backup where necessary. System State Backup lets IT admins back up the configuration of the Windows Server operating system and critical system components such as the Windows Registry, boot files, the SYSVOL directory, and Active Directory – to mention just a few.
Why consider System State Backup?
A system state backup can help organizations recover from situations where crucial OS components essential for the operation of systems go missing or get corrupted. Not having a way to recover one or more critical servers in such a scenario can impact a business significantly.
Here are a few key reasons to strongly consider a system state backup of Windows servers:
1. Robust solution for disaster recovery
With secure System State backups in place, businesses can quickly and efficiently restore system settings in the event of system failures or corruption. This makes System State backup particularly important for disaster recovery plans as it eliminates businesses having to reconfigure a Windows server back to its original state before the system failure occurred.
2. Quick and easy restores
System state backups when restored on a new device, can restore critical files, settings, and configuration from an older device without having to wipe out everything on the new computer. And having all system files, directories and settings backed up together also offers the flexibility to restore to multiple different Windows operating system versions and devices.
3. Higher Data Protection
Having a recent backup of System State automatically increases your level of data protection. Companies can mitigate risks related to intentional or unintentional business-impacting changes that are made to the business servers with a backup ready to be restored anytime needed.
BluVault’s System State Backup feature
Parablu’s BluVault offers a System State backup feature that enables IT admins to back up exact copies of all of a Windows Server’s system files, startup files, Registry, AD information, boot records, OS/apps files, and more. This feature leverages a built-in Microsoft backup tool to create a System State backup and store it in your choice of storage targets including OneDrive for Business.
How to backup Windows System State using BluVault
To back up the System State of a Windows server using BluVault, the following actions need to be performed:
- Download and install the Parablu Server Agent
- Login to the Parablu Server Agent
- Perform the steps described in the Configuration Settings section below to get your Windows Server and the Parablu Server agent ready to perform a System State Backup
1. Configuration Settings
Configuring settings includes the following two steps:
i. Adding a target drive in the pre-scan script already provided by Parablu
ii. Enabling the option of Windows Server Backup from the Server Manager
i. Adding target drive in pre scan script
A bundled Pre-Scan Script should be available already in the Parablu Agent Installation folder i.e. C:\Program Files (x86)\ParaBlu
- Right click on the file and click Edit
- Look for the line that says SET dest=f:. Here, f is a drive letter. Please change this drive letter to a drive you desire. Please note that this drive should be a drive that does NOT contain any Windows System State components on it. It therefore cannot usually be the C: Drive on a Windows Server. In some cases, if the System State components have been installed on more than just the C: Drive (like C: & D: for instance), it is possible you will need to select a drive letter like E: or F: which does not contain any system state components.
- Save the file
Note: The Windows Backup utility creates WindowsImageBackup on this target drive.
ii. Enabling Windows Server Backup option from the Server Manager
Next, we need to enable the option of Windows Server Backup from the Server Manager. To enable the option, open Server Manager and enable Windows Server Backup from the Add Roles and Features Wizard.
Create a System State backup policy
1. Login to the Parablu portal as admin.
2. Click the icon to view and manage Policy settings. Click on the Backup Policies
3. Click on the Create New Policy button. The Backup Policy page will be displayed.
4. Name the policy (e.g. SystemStateBackup_Policy)
5. Under the Backup Information section, Select schedule from the drop-down list. You can also create a new schedule using the Create New Schedule
6. Under the Device Information section, Click the Red button in the Default Folders box to delete any pre-assigned default folders.
7. Type in <driveletter>:\SystemStateBackup\ (ex: Ex: F:\systemstatebackup\) on the Default Folders to Backup
Note: Here drive letter should be target drive which you selected above in the pre-scan script
8. Navigate to the Advanced Enable both the Pre-Scan Command and Post Backup command fields. You will next need to populate these with the respective commands.
9. The pre-Scan and post Backup Scripts (*.bat) files are both available in the ParaBlu Agent Installation folder i.e. C:\Program Files (x86)\ParaBlu.
10. The pre-scan script is named bat. Take the entire file path pointing to this file, and copy it under the Pre-Scan command option. Example – C:\Program Files (x86)\ParaBlu\SystemstateBackup.bat
11. The post-backup script is named bat. Take the entire file path pointing to this file, and copy it under the Post Backup command option. Example – C:\Program Files (x86)\ParaBlu\SystemstateRemoveDump.bat
12. Click the Save button to save the Policy.
Backing Up Windows System State
1. Right-click on the server agent and select the Initiate Backup option to start the backup process from the server. When the backup process gets initiated, the icon will indicate that the backup is in progress.
a) A Pre-scan command executing status will display on the agent when you hover your mouse over the system tray icon. This will ensure that you know the system state backup is running.
b) Backups automatically happen based on the schedule that is configured in the policy. The Initiate Backup option is used only to start an on-demand backup.
2. To view the backed-up system state folders –
a. Login to the Parablu Portal with the same credentials which were used to login on the agent.
b. Go to the My BluVault tab
c. Click the Name of the Server to view the hierarchy of the System State Backed up folder.
There are several other such built-in features in BluVault and each of them can be leveraged using a handful of simple steps as we have described above.
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