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I have a Windows 2012 server that is running a daily system state backup. My question(s) are:

  1. Would the system state backup normally include c:\windows\winsxs?
  2. Can I exclude this folder and still restore using the system state backup?

I'd like to exclude it if I can, as it's quite large in size.

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2 Answers 2

No, no, no. Just... no.

The WinSxS folder (also known as the Windows side-by-side assembly folder) is required if you want your server to work.

If you want to try to reduce its size, you can run a cleanup on it, but I'm very concerned for your data. A dozen GB is not big - and having lots of data is all the more reason to back something up, not an excuse to exclude it. Losing more data is worse than losing less data, after all.

If you fail to backup this directory and need to restore your server, you won't end up with a working server after you're done. Just back it up, and buy an extra LTO tape/external hard drive/whatever you put your backups on. They're cheap enough, and certainly cheaper than having a bricked server.

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+1 for No, no, no. Just.... no. – BigHomie Apr 1 '14 at 12:46
Thanks. We have limited backup space available on a web server, hence wanting to exclude. Sounds like it's not worth the grief ;-) Thanks for your advice – fistameeny Apr 2 '14 at 12:09

If we have 10000 Win2012 servers (usually enterprise has), solution you proposed to buy more LTO tapes is costly.

Instead I would suggest to keep ready ONE clone of a machine with latest OS+Antivirus patches.

If there is a need to bring up a crashed machine, just we need to bring up OS from clone, deploy application, restore application data.

OS data is important but just configuration data , not antivirus and system patches. particularly in Windows systems cannot be brought back online easily with system state without manual intervention.

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Recovery is important , but not all information is important. – Mahendra J Jul 11 at 3:00

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