We'll see here the essentials of Windows Server 2008 R2 System Backup and Restore.
Adding the Server Backup Feature
First, we need to add the Windows Server Backup Feature :
Server Manager ) add features ) Windows Server Backup Features ( including both subordinate items : Windows Server Backup, Command-line Tools
Doing a Full Server Backup
The Full Server Backup is performed using Administrative Tools ) Windows Server Backup :
Then, we can do a first backup of our server, using either a local HDD or a Network Share. Of course, in the case of a local HDD, as we're doing a full server backup, the local HDD has to be excluded from the save.
The Server Backup Feature offers many backup types, options, and fine-grain. Here we want to perform a System Backup, so we choose ' Full Server Backup '. It's a complete server image, ie like a Norton Ghost.
Doing a Full Server Restore
To perform a Full Server Restore, we need to boot with the Windows Recovery Environment. It can be done either by :
. using the OS Install DVD
. or rebooting and pressing F8 ) Repair Your Computer
Please note that the Full Server Restore will replace all folders and documents with the one being present at the time of the backup. It's a time machine, so remember to save and export current important datas.
Doing a System State Restore
System state seems to recover the system, in a close to ghost way, but doesn't change the installed softwares, their settings and the user documents.
MS is not very clear about the level of system restoration of this recovery. It does seem to fit between restore-point and ( bare-metal / recovery of the Operating System )
System State Restore is usefull when you're using Remote Desktop to the Server and/or need a quick fix.
To do a System State Restore, we use the same Administrative Tools ) Windows Server Backup :
and choose Recover :
The different restore levels in details
Here is a sum-up of the different levels of system restore :
Online ( Using the booted Windows Server OS ) :
. System State recovery
Offline ( Using either the install DVD or F8 ) :
. Bare metal Recovery
. OS Recovery
. Full Server recovery
Full Server Recovery is a 'all Server Disks ' imaging including documents and applications.
The difference between Bare metal Recovery and OS Recovery is not clear
System State Recovery seems even less complete than the two laters, but the difference is still not clear.
Here is some official Microsoft Documentation :
What doesn't help to sort all of this out is that MS documentation lists what System State Recovery saves, instead of what it doesn't save. I'll add better infos here as soon as I'll manage to clear all this up