I'm setting up a Windows Server 2003 for my network. The server has two harddisks, the first will hold the system as well as a data partition, the second should have a copy of the data partition. Is there a tool which can automatically backup all data from the data partition to my backup partition?

The computer does not have RAID and the harddrives do not have the same capacity, but both data partition and backup partition are exactly the same size.

Best Regards
Oliver Hanappi

PS: It would be nice if the software is free or even Windows built in (I'm on a low budget).

  • I'm on the fence about "belongs on superuser" on this one (though I'm sure there will be 3 other people who won't be in short order). It is a question about a home network, but it just as easily applies to someone coming to the site searching about a business network, too. (It's not a lofty conceptual systems administration / analysis question, so ultimately I expect it'll get the boot to superuser...) – Evan Anderson Nov 15 '09 at 13:47
  • If you got rid of the words 'little home' this question would be perfectly acceptable as a serverfault question, personally I think it's a reasonable question and should stay here, but I imagine it will get closed, due to the word 'home' and the fact it already has 2 close votes. – Sam Cogan Nov 15 '09 at 13:57
  • I also think it's a reasonable question, and I've edited to stand a better chance of lasting the course. – Maximus Minimus Nov 15 '09 at 14:23

If you're talking about backup, then you can use the built-in NTBackup tool. You can schedule jobs to run automatically (via 'Scheduled Tasks'). If you're not taking the data offline or off-site, though, it's not a real backup. Assuming you're just playing around at home with unimportant data, though, it's a fine training exercise.

If this is going to be "serious" data, you should look at using Windows software RAID and purchasing one or more external disks to use as destinations for backups. RAID, of course, is not backup, but rather is a fault tolerance mechanism. Since you already have multiple internal hard disk drives in the computer you can use Windows software RAID (at no additional expense) to get protection from disk failure for both the operating system and the data. Then, you can use one or more external disks to create backups that you can take offline and off-site.


I'd recommend an external (USB) disk to hold the copy of data, simply because if your server fails you'll find it easier to restore to a new box. Backup and restore are about more than just individual files, after all.

I'm not sure that something like NTBackup is what you're asking about, and I get the impression that what you're really after is a way to get back files that have been overwritten or deleted by accident (although you should also consider a proper full backup too). NTBackup comes with Windows and is great for basic backup and restore, but won't be as convenient as copy and paste for getting individual files back.

I'd suggest a 2 layered approach. Look at the Volume Shadow Copy "previous versions" feature to get your individual files back easier (configure it to store the previous versions on the 2nd disk maybe): plenty of info on that in the Windows help files. Then use NTBackup to take a full backup of everything (including OS, programs, etc) to the USB disk. Full backups once a week, differentials once a night and you should be good.


Simple .bat script and scheduler will mostly do the job.

Also, as you said that you don't have RAID installed, you can try Software Raid on Windows, which, of course, is NOT a back up solution, but a way to increase reliability.

  • 2
    RAID isn't backup. – Evan Anderson Nov 15 '09 at 13:45
  • @Evan Anderson: Please, don't comment, if can't add smth useful. – TiFFolk Nov 15 '09 at 13:55
  • I think you'll find that a lot of people on here thing the phrase "RAID isn't backup" is a very useful comment. I'd argue that your answer is actively unhelpful to the poster since, read in isolation, you seem to be implying that software RAID is backup. Edit your answer to say that RAID isn't backup, and I won't have any reason to comment. Otherwise, it's in the interests of the poster's knowledge that I make the comment so that the myth of RAID being a suitable replacement for backup doesn't get into the poster's mind. – Evan Anderson Nov 15 '09 at 13:58
  • Evans comment is quite useful, we shouldn't be telling someone who's looking for a backup solution, to use RAID for this, its not a backup solution and making someone think that it is could lead to disastrous consequences later down the line when and if they need their backup. Sure RAID will provide some redundancy, but should the worst happen, RAIDs not going to help you recover the file server that exploded. – Sam Cogan Nov 15 '09 at 14:00
  • Nope, I added quote about RAID to another paragraph, to reply authors quote "The computer does not have RAID". But I have edited my answer, and you can delete your comments now. – TiFFolk Nov 15 '09 at 14:11

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