We recently set up a Windows Server 2008 box, and attached two external hard drives to it to use as backups.

The idea is, the backups go to drive one nightly during the week, then someone takes drive1 home over the weekend and the backups go to drive2 while drive1 is not connected. They come back, drive1 is plugged back in, and the backups direct back to drive1.

Unfortunately, after I plugged drive1 back in, last night's backup still went to drive2.

This is the current setting setup for the backups:

  • Backup configuration: Full server
  • Once a day at 11:30pm
  • Backup destinations: drive1, drive2

Is the above setup actually possible? What do I need to change?


It's not at all clear from the Microsoft documentation (what else is new!) but I believe having two backup destinations doesn't split the backup over two drives (which I kinda like) but actually writes the same backup to both drives. So in theory, if you have both drives plugged in, both should be getting a nightly backup and your plan should work. After you plug the drive back in after the next night does it get written to? I'm not surprised that drive2 was still written to, but according to MS docs, drive1 should have had the same data written to it as well.

  • Correct. We have a few external disks on rotation. If a disk is missing, it will just be skipped. When the disk comes back online, Windows backup will start writing to it again. – Mark Henderson Jul 21 '10 at 2:30
  • It doesn't look like that's what happens either though. Backups are only going to one of the drives at a time - I had to unplug disk2 to get it to write to disk1. Tonight I'm going to plug disk2 back in and see where things wind up. Could it be a setting somewhere or something? – Margaret Jul 22 '10 at 5:38
  • After you plug the disk in you might want to make sure it is OFFLINE (Computer -> Right Click -> Manage -> Storage -> Disk Management). If it isn't you can click on "Online" for the disk and pick "Offline". I'm pretty sure Windows wants the disk to be Offline in order to use it. When you setup the backup to use both drives, the Windows Server Backup should start writing to the disk if it (or both) show up again. – janoah Jul 22 '10 at 21:07

The only way I've found to do this is to unplug disk2 as I plug disk1 back in. It starts sending backups to disk1, then the following morning I can plug disk2 back in...

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