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I'm working on a way to restore a Windows Server machine to a particular point in time without using an image (there are organizational reasons why we can't just image the system drive), and since I'm working with a Windows Server 2008 R2 environment I've been investigating the Windows Server Backup. The server is a SQL server, running SQL 2008 R2 and nothing else, but what I'd like to restore is:

  • Windows Server configuration (what roles are installed, services are active, logins configured)
  • SQL Server configuration (what logins are configured to the instance, how SQL options are configured)

I do not need Windows to backup or restore actual databases, as I'm handling that as a separate step.

My question is that if I only have a C: that SQL and Windows are installed on, will a System State restore cover both of the above objectives?

Or do I need to somehow recover the entire C: volume?

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Will a "system state" restore cover both objectives? No, the system state includes:

enter image description here

See here for another SF question related to the System State: What is a system state backup for?

Most roles and services can be restored with a System State restore, but certain configuration settings, 3rd party services, features, etc. may not get restored with a System State recovery like a full volume restore would handle.

In regards to SQL, it's an application and would need to be backed up and restored using the application level aware backup. See here for more info on restoring SQL through WSB: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc725726

However, I'm not a DBA, but my advice to you would be to use the tools built into SQL to back it up to the disk and then let the Windows Server Backup grab those backups. This way you can restore information directly within SQL and have the SQL community be able to assist with restore issues, etc.

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That answers my question beautifully. Looks like I've got more investigation to do before I'm done with this particular project. Thanks! –  Sean Long Aug 13 '13 at 13:35

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