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I would like to have an disk image backup of Exchange, before doing some significant upgrades and expanding a too-small C-Drive. Can I use something like Acronis Backup & Recover 10 Server (price on 11/11/2010 $860) and not use Acronis Backup for Exchange which is like 50% more expensive? Or is there a better alternative to get a disk image backup?

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Keep in mind that much of the Exchange configuration is in AD, back that up too. – Chris S Nov 15 '10 at 3:12
Good point. My domain servers live on other hardware, but you certainly need AD working so no point in just having an Exchange backup. – Knox Nov 15 '10 at 12:52
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes you can do an image backup with exchange,(as Mfinni said, just ensure all services are down). Remember that before you do image based backup ensure that the image you are making is from a clean exchange server (e.g. do exchange database maintenance and verify that the filesystem is clean). I would still have a normal exchange backup on the disk as well as a precaution.

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+1 Belt and braces is good. – John Gardeniers Nov 12 '10 at 0:00
Thank you. but can I go with the cheap Acronis product to do the image? – Knox Nov 12 '10 at 15:01
@knox, yes any image based backup will work with the noted caveats – Jim B Nov 13 '10 at 13:21

If you turn off all Exchange services before you start your backup, then an imaging backup should work fine.

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Don't need to spend money or do anything special. Download GPartedLive, build you a boot CD from it. GParted lets you do anything with a partition you want, including copy, resize, create, destroy. Play with it on a nonproduction workstation so you're comfortable with it. Perform your full backup of the production server. Shut down, install new hard drive, boot up to the GpartedLive CD. Set up your new partitions on new hard drive. (Reboot might be required at this point, but I doubt it) Using Gparted, copy your old partitions to the new partitions. Remove GParted CD. Shut down. Remove old hard drive. Do not discard. Put in protective wrap. Boot to new hard drive. Windows will want to run a CHKDSK on boot up. Skip this the first time by pressing a key. You can run a CHKDSK later. Let Windows Server come up and spend some time reviewing logs, verifying connectivity and all services operational. You know what to do from there. P.S. This is supposed to be a list of steps; not sure how to format it as such.

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Very interesting. I think the extra stuff that Acronis helps avoid is the CHKDSK and other hardware specific stuff that windows wants when it suddenly finds itself on a new hard drive. – Knox Nov 15 '10 at 12:54

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