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I am in a situation where i have limited time to pull of an exchange backup and i wont make it if i wait till the closing off business. Does the NTbackup utility bring down exchange while backing up or can it be ran without bringing anything down?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

NTBackup can do online ("hot") backups of Exchange Server 2003. You really want to be doing hot backups because, by default, the database engine uses a non-circular transaction logging mode that causes transaction log files to build up on your server computer's hard disk drive. The only safe, "supported" ways to flush these transaction log files are either to run online backups, or to put the database into circular logging mode (which defeats much of the purpose of the database engine having transaction logging in the first place).

Have a look at the "MDBDATA" folder in your "\Program Files\exchsrvr" folder. If you're not running online backups you'll see a lot of ".LOG" files there (or, rather, in whatever path the storage group's transaction logs are being saved into). Left unchecked, eventually you will exhaust all your disk space and have a mess to deal with.

I'm going to recommend the Exchange 2003 Disaster Recovery Operations Guide from Microsoft as some light reading material. It will give you a lot of practical information about backing-up and restoring Exchange 2003.

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No, it doesn't. It was used here prior to me switching to another backup system and users were active while backups were being taken.

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You can do an online or offline backup using NT Backup. Have a look at this article from MSExchange.org.

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