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Sorry if this question has been asked already, but I couldn't find anything on this aspect.

I need to figure out a back up solution for our Windows Shared Folders. Nothing else needs to be backed up on these servers except for the Shared Folders. We also want the back up to just be in a folder on a NAS.
Example : \NAS -> \Server1 -> \Share1 -> \finance -> \Document1.txt

Something that if someone lost something, they can just go to the back up folder and easily find. We like that Windows Server has a backup utility that comes with it, but we seem to only be able to created VHD or VSS Drives with that utility. Does anyone know of a Windows utility that would do what we are looking for? If not, I think we are going to try and use something like rsync, we are hoping to do this without 3rd party applications though.

Thank you

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up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. As previously mentioned, the built-in ROBOCOPY command can do what you're asking.

  2. There is a free Windows implementation of rsync called DeltaCopy.

  3. Many of my clients have adopted a commercial product called BackupAssist. Among other things, BA adds very powerful, fully monitored/alerted file replication features to Windows Server. This is a good option to consider if you prefer to have commercial tech support available, and/or if don't want to do command-line scripting; it's ridiculously user-friendly. BackupAssist also does far better than robocopy at maxing out available bandwidth: for example, at a company that ran a nightly 30GB backup over a 100Mbps fiber link between two offices with about 10ms latency, the backup took all night with robocopy and it would sometimes run into the next day's business hours. After we switched to BackupAsssist, the same operation would finish within an hour or two.

  4. No matter what you do for your file replication, you really should enable VSS (Previous Versions) immediately, unless you have a compelling argument against doing so. In a typical environment, this will take care of 90% of what would otherwise be "restore from backup" scenarios.

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This is a tad off topic, but you could always set this up:

  1. VSS Copies 1x or 2x a day. Nothing easier than right clicking a folder or file and restoring previous versions. Can be set to whatever the business needs are.

  2. Windows Server Backups: Can use this to image the server to the NAS device. I believe Windows Server Backup only allows 1x copy of a backup to a network location.

I setup most clients with something similar like this. I usually never get a call to restore info from a Windows Server Backup, as most people just use shadow copies/previous versions.

Here is a link with some info/best practices from MS

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Shadow copies/previous version is something I was going to start taking a look at tonight. Is that an effective way of restoring deleted, lost, or corrupted files? – Patrick Oct 23 '12 at 20:49
Updated with a link to some info about it. – MJ. Oct 23 '12 at 21:01

Have a look at RoboCopy. It sounds like the perfect cheap and effective solution to your problem. It does logging but not alerting (you'd have to have a wrapper script to send an E-MAIL). The backup won't be compressed so you will need to allocate enough storage to the backup area.

That said I strongly recommend you look at some more robust alternatives if you are relying on this for a production environment. Post in the comments if you want some suggestions.

A simple script would be:

set dtStamp24=%date:~-4%_%date:~4,2%_%date:~7,2%_%time:~0,2%%time:~3,2%

set log1=c:\backups\logs\nas_share1_%dtStamp24%.log.txt
set source1=\\nas\share1
set destination1=c:\backups\nas\share1

robocopy %source1% %destination1% /e /zb /copyall /purge /r:2 /w:10 /NFL /NDL /NP /LOG+:%log1%
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We would like something reliable for our environment. We prefer to stick with windows products for everything, but then if it doesn't have something that will be reliable for this then we are willing to look at other alternatives. – Patrick Oct 23 '12 at 20:37
Robocopy is made by Microsoft and should be included with the server and windows 7 out of the box. Pop open command prompt and type robocopy /? – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 23 '12 at 20:38
Also when I said reliable earlier I meant in the sense if your scheduled task doesn't kick off there isn't any built in alerting or much to say why it didn't run. If your invoke the command it will reliably copy data. Robocopy also can be configured to only copy changed data making backups after the first very effecient. – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 23 '12 at 20:40
I do like the idea of an email alert of a backup not taking place when its supposed to. One of the reasons why I like the Windows Server backup application is that there's a chart of the backups and when they took place and if they failed or not. Does robocopy make something like that easily viewable in its logs? What are some alternatives you would recommend? – Patrick Oct 23 '12 at 20:47
If you run the short script I made in my original post it will log the start and stop time along with any files copied to that text file each time it is run. That is about the best RoboCopy does. I think it was more intended to be used as a quick one off backup copy tool or something to be used during migrations. It is really nice because it will keep the file information and permissions intact unlike a normal copy. As far as recommendations for a simple and cost effective backup application it really depends on your environment. ShadowProtect or Symantec SSR are nice though! – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 23 '12 at 20:51

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