Windows Backup Tips

windows backup with windows7/server2008r2 uses the disk guid so you can use either wbadmin to change the backup when you change disks and yes it does try and do incremental backups at least for the ‘file backup’ part..  Windows backup has 2 parts (file and image) . Image for system/boot drives and file for the rest is the normal backup scenario. Images are always full backups, depending upon how you have configured Windows Backup
You have two options: you can use the command-line WBADMIN to perform backups to a drive letter and schedule it via task scheduler, and you can swap drives out as much as you want, or you can configure the GUI with a backup schedule and add the extra targets via a command at a prompt.
To use the GUI + adding targets via command line:
1.) Label your drives starting from 1 with some fancy stickers using hearts and stars.
2.) Attach drive 1 to the server.
3.) Configure the WSB GUI to use your drive 1 as the target, specifying whatever source needs you have.  (Note it will format the drive and label it Servername_BLAHBLAH_Disk_01.)
4.) Safely remove drive 1 from the server, then attach drive 2 to the server.
5.) Make sure disk management is able to see the drive.
6.) Jump to a command prompt, and type: wbadmin get disks > c:\disks.txt.
7.) Open c:\disks.txt and check for the GUID of the disk you want to add as a target, highlight the GUID, then copy it to clipboard.
8.) Go back to your command prompt and type: wbadmin enable backup -addtarget:GUID  (Note: immediately after the colon, paste in your GUID including the squiggly brackets.) and push enter.
9.) It will verify that you indeed are adding a target, and indeed do want to format this next drive and it will label it Servername_BLAHBLAH_Disk_02.
10.) Repeat steps 4 through 9 for all your drives.


1.) The first drive it finds at time of backup, it will use for its backup, then consider the job complete; don’t plug in two USB drives and expect WSB backup to both of them one after the other.
2.) It will maintain full/incremental status on each target drive independently, and they’re never reliant on each other AT ALL.  It doesn’t care if you leave the same drive connected for a year then swap out to a different disk, or never even use one of the drives you’ve added to the target pool.  (This makes month-end or yearly drive rotations insanely easy to implement.)
3.) If you need to perform a restore, you go to recover and pick your date/time, and it will display which drive is needed, so if you’ve labeled your drives correctly, then it’s very simple to find which drive has your goods.
4.) If a drive dies in your rotation, you have to relabel them all when you replace the drive from what I understand.  (If you need them to be sequentially labeled because you’re OCD like me.)  Perhaps it’s possible to use the powershell commands to fix the naming schemes of the target drives, but it’s never been that big of a deal for me to do, so I’ve relabelled them all.
5.) If your target drives are nearing capacity, it’ll automatically purge old incremental history (effectively moving the last ‘full’ date to more recent and removing the previous incremental) and it does this well.  However, if you make significant changes to your server while your target disks are near capacity, WSB will only purge up to 1/8 of your target disk capacity before it will fail with an ‘out of drive space’ message, and you’ll have to manually purge the VSS copies on the target.  (This is extremely rare, but I have seen it on small target drives.)
My solution is as follows. I delete ALL of the VSS copies on the volume on a schedule. It’s a shotgun approach but I’m not using VSS for anything else on the machine the backups are performed on. If the backup shadows always have the same identifier you can probably be more specific.
Another way to force a full backup is to delete the VSS shadow copies
Step 1: Create a script for DISKSHADOW. I called mine delete_shadows.dsh and placed it in the root of C:\
Step 2: Place "delete shadows all" without the quotes in that file and save it.
Step 3: Create a new scheduled task and set it to run as SYSTEM. Set it to trigger daily on a schedule that’s convenient.
Choose "Start a program" as the action. Set it to run "diskshadow" with the arguments "/s c:\delete_shadows.dsh".