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I have a single SBS 2003 that is a domain controller, and file server, MSSQL db's, and some other things. I am looking for a back up solution (local to external HDD) in the situation where the server crashes.

Is there a build in full system back up tool that can be scheduled? If so is it any good? Is restoring from it painless? Are there any other things to consider? Thanks.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The built in tool is NT Backup and you can set it up to run on a schedule via the built in SBS Server Manager.

As backup tools go it's not the most comprehensive but generally works ok. I've set up a couple backing up to external drives without any real problems and recovered ok from that setup as well.

If you're prepared to pay there's better solutions out there with more sophisticated GUIs to manage things but for basic backup and restore jobs the built in product should be fine.

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Thanks guys, all pretty much the same so I'll go with the first - but appreciate all your input! – bMon Aug 17 '11 at 16:35
Glad to help, bMon. – joeqwerty Aug 17 '11 at 21:05

You can use the built in NT Backup program. It's Exchange aware but it's not SQL aware. You can create your own SQL backup job to backup the SQL Server databases and then use NT Backup to backup these SQL backups as well as backing up the server, Exchange, and the System State. You can use this to recover/restore the entire server if needed but it will be a more tedious process than if you used a commercial backup product.

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As everybody else has said so far, there is a built-in utility for backing up SBS 2003. You should configure it using the SBS management console and not try to configure it directly. There is a whitepaper from Microsoft that details how to backup and restore SBS2003. It is available here:

You'll notice that the restore procedure is not exactly quick. Here's a quick summary:

  1. Install SBS from media
  2. Download and install all drivers
  3. Download and install latest service pack
  4. Restore all files and system state
  5. Restore SQL database

If you don't want to deal with all of that, spring for an image based backup option. Most vendors will provide a lower cost SBS license of their software. My current favorite is StorageCraft's ShadowProtect but you can find any other number of options.

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