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How To Backup Your Windows Home Server System State

Sometimes when your making tweaks to WHS or installing certain Add-Ins, it can make the system unstable. Here we take a look at how to backup the WHS System State and / or Registry so you can restore it if something goes wrong.

Backup WHS System State

The System State includes the most important system files for WHS such as the Registry, Startup Files, and Protected System files.

The first thing you’ll want to to is log on to WHS either through the WHS Console, Remote Desktop, or through Advanced Admin Console. Now navigate to Start \ All Programs \ Accessories \ System Tool \ Backup.

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The Backup or Restore Wizard launches, but we’re not going to use the Wizard. From here click on the Advanced Mode link instead.

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This opens the Backup Utility and in the left pane expand My Computer and check System State.

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Now at the bottom of the screen click the Browse button to find a destination to save the backup file.

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Note: Don’t back it up to the server’s local drive. Make sure you choose a destination like a shared folder, Flash Drive, or External HD.

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As you can see here we have it set to backup to our shared backup folder…now click on Start Backup.

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You will get an overview of the backup job and can start it right away or schedule it for a later time.

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Now wait while everything is backed up. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on the server configuration. Also keep in mind the file can be large (ours was 627 MB), so make sure you have enough space on the location you’re backing up to.

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When the backup is complete you can view a report for detailed information on the backup or close out of the utility.

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After we completed the System State backup, we brought the file to one of the PCs on our network and backed up the backup file using Carbonite…having redundant backups is always a good idea!

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Backup the Registry Only

If you don’t want to backup the full System State, you can also backup the entire Registry only. Remote into WHS and open the Registry Editor.

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Then click on File \ Export…

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Now select a location and name for the backup. Under Export range make sure to select All to backup the entire Registry. Or you can go through and backup a Selected branch if you’re only making changes to specific parts of the Registry. When in doubt just backup the entire thing.

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Again you’ll want to back it up to a location other than your local server drive. The size of our Registry was around 45 MB, though yours may vary.

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Backing up your server’s System State and Registry is a great idea to incorporate into your backup strategy. If something does go wrong, you can easily restore the settings which should help get your server back to where it needs to be.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/20/10

Comments (5)

  1. Andrew Edney

    Nice article guys – I have posted a link to it from http://usingwindowshomeserver.com

    Andrew

  2. Timothy Daleo

    Did you perform a successful restore? Did you try it after any changes to data files/shares? What were the results of the file structure changes on the OS after the Restore?

  3. welchwerks

    would this backup be useful for a restore say a week later after a few small storage changes, i.e linking correctly to the tomb stones on the server drives

  4. Bryan

    I’d be very interested to know if this backup would be of any use if, for example, the server’s system drive failed. IMHO, the one thing WHS seems to really be lacking is the ability to backup the system drive. There needs to be a way to periodically pull an image of the system drive and a way to restore it and have it rebuild the storage pointers so that you don’t lose any PC backups that were taken since the last time the system image was created. This would also help those who have installed plugins or other software. For example, I have Subversion running on my HP MediaSmart server. I know a couple of folks who have Team Foundation Server on theirs. It would be a real PITA to have to fully reinstall the OS, wait for it rebuild all of the storage pointers, then update itself to the latest power pack, then reinstall any plugins/software, then finally, in the case of those with apps like Subversion installed, hope and pray that your source code repositories survived.

  5. craig

    How do you do this on Win7? I don’t see a box for System State, only System Volume Information. Is this the same thing?

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