I have a single server, Win 2003 Server and would like to setup a system to be able to perform a bare bones restore if needed. (just plug in a cd or smth and get everything back).
Ideally the backup could be performed while the is powered so that i don't have to support downtime during this, and in order to restore i would reboot and use some sort of liveCD
Any ideas on this, software and all... ?

(backup will be done to a remote FTP server with plenty of bandwidth).


I'm not sure if I understood your question properly, but I'll try to answer anyway. I think you're talking about a bare metal restore. If you are, then you will have to restart any OS just to do a restore. If you don't want that, then maybe you are talking about volume shadow copy service.

You can do this using the built-in NTBACKUP software of Windows 2003. You simple select "Automated System Recovery" and it will make a full backup your system (while it is serving to your users) to a disk you specify and then it will as you to insert a floppy disk that will serve as a boot disk.

If in the case that you need to do this, just plug the backup disk and insert the floppy and then boot it all up.

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  • i need to be able to make the restore from a FTP source, will NTBACKUP be able to do this ? – s.mihai Feb 14 '11 at 2:11
  • will NTBACKUP restore my MBR and partition table also ? – s.mihai Feb 14 '11 at 2:17
  • Honestly, I dont know if NTBACKUP can do it from an FTP source. But if you want to do a bare metal, how can you do an FTP source without any kind of driver? This will have to be like a FOG Server setup... – Jared Feb 14 '11 at 5:14

NTBackup will give you the full backup of the entire system. It will create a huge file. You can offsite this file via FTP, but NTBackup will not work with an FTP URL as its target. You need to copy it to local disk first to do a restore.

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The vendor's procedure to achieve is either;


  1. use the built-in system backup
  2. do a fresh install on your bare metal, bring it up to the right service pack level
  3. restore system backup

    B. maintain a system image, and roll it out when needed. A bit of overkill for an individual or a non-virtual server, as keeping the image up to date takes work.

But what you seem to want is more of a unix-style block-level partition backup, which requires the system to go offline during the backup. This can be achieved with many tools such as dd, but less efficient things sych as norton ghost might be your cup of tea.

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  • interesting the case A. i think i would live with that, what do you mean by "built in system backup" would this also take care of my files and folders, user righs and settings? – s.mihai Feb 18 '11 at 9:47
  • Yes, it's called 'system state' in the windows backup thing (on Windows server), just go through the wizard, and you'll come across it. – DutchUncle Feb 18 '11 at 17:27

http://www.symantec.com/business/backup-exec-system-recovery-server-edition You can use Backup Exec System Recovery 2010 Server Edition

It can restore baremetal (similar or different hardware), convert the backup sets to Vmware, HyperV or XEN based virtual hard disks.

I know that it stores offsite backup copy to a ftp location (if configured properly and appropriate firewall ports allowed) - I haven't done a ftp restore, but you can try, few things to note :

a) When you do a baremetal restore, you need to boot with the BESR SRD (system recovery disc), once that is loaded and network drivers loaded (most famous NICS are supported or you can add drivers), I would assume (NOT Sure) that as long as it can browse the ftp from within the SRD environment, it should be able to restore.

They offer a trial version (full functional) so you can test it out.
Hope that helps

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  • does it needs a Backup server to take care of all the tasks? , since i only have 1 server and can't bare getting another one just to take care of the backups... – s.mihai Feb 18 '11 at 9:49
  • NO, you can install BESR 2010 right on your Windows server, you can either backup to a disk attached to the server, a rdx, or a network share or ftp. I will suggest giving it a try first on the ftp option as I haven't tried the ftp myself -but it does give one. – rihatum Feb 18 '11 at 10:26

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