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I have a couple windows servers that I do not have physical access to, but I have remote log in access to. I need to pull down am image of these machine as a backup, what would be the best method of doing this?

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What version of Windows Server are you running? – Wesley Feb 18 '10 at 19:03
I am not sure, the person who owns the servers doesnt really know. I have not gotten the remote access from him yet – trobrock Feb 19 '10 at 17:39
The server is Windows Server 2003 – trobrock Feb 23 '10 at 18:50

If you're running Windows Server 2008, it has built-in backup capabilities that can image the computer while it's running. Open a command prompt and run wbadmin /? for more information. There's also the official TechNet article on the tool. As to how to remotely run it, have a look at WinRM/WinRS which is built in to 2008 and beyond.

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I've touted this product on here before, but I'll say it again. ShadowProtect Server If you can get some type of attached storage connected to the server, you can take an online image of the box. The software simply works.

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Where do you want to store a backup (image)? May be Acronis True Image will be good for you.

Advanced backup scheduling
Live disk snapshots with support for databases and server applications
Recover an entire system, single file or folder
Advanced encryption technology ensures data security
Optimized, image-based backup technology maximizes backup performance

If you want to use an external storage - Script + Windows Task Manager + Ftp (Another storage)

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We used VMWare Converter to create backups of our hosted servers, it gave us the images as VMs. For a once-off project it was very convenient.

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Have you tried performing a restore of those images? Without the ability to restore to the original machine it's not really a backup. – John Gardeniers Aug 6 '10 at 11:03
they were hosted servers that we had no access to, so a physical restore was not our goal. We could start the images in the free VMware ESX environment and access the data, or re-config them and put them on our own internet connection if we had to. After playing with virtual servers we may never bare-metal install an operating sys again, the backup and migration process means never feeding cds into a server again. – james Aug 6 '10 at 14:15

Disk2VHD is a free tool from Microsoft Sysinternals that can create a full backup image of a running server, including the system partition. It works with Server 2003 as well as Server 2008.

I have never tried to restore such an image to bare metal; to try, one would want identical hardware and a tool that can copy a VHD back to a physical disk (e.g. Acronis True Image) or enough Linux-fu to convert it into a raw image and then copy it to a physical disk with dd. Your mileage may vary. I have restored many such images to Hyper-V servers, and that works beautifully.

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I would be very surprised if it could restore the original machine. This is pretty much the same thing as james suggested with VWMare Converter. – John Gardeniers Aug 6 '10 at 11:06

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