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Windows Server Backup and Server Core

Backing up without the benefit of a Graphical User Interface

Microsoft’s Windows Server Backup program, which we’ve been discussing lately, wouldn’t be all that great if it didn’t also support the Server Core versions of the server operating system – the ones that don’t include a graphical user interface. Thankfully, it does! Although (as with many things Server Core-related) it’s a tad tricky. First off, the backup program isn’t installed by default. In “regular” Server 2008, the command is ocsetup WindowsServerBackup or, if you prefer, start /w ocsetup WindowsServerBackup (and you’d better get the capitalization right, because the feature names with ocsetup are case-sensitive, for some reason known only to Microsoft). In Server 2008 R2, Microsoft wants us to use the DISM command, for example: dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:WindowsServerBackup (and, again, the feature name has to be capitalized just right. Send your postcards to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, Redmond, WA.) To run the backup program on a Server Core system, you can just use WBADMIN as you would (for example) in a script on a full server box, for example: wbadmin.exe start backup -backupTarget:\\server\share -allCritical -VSSfull -quiet You can also connect to your Server Core box using a remote command environment like WinRM (Windows Remote Management) and perform a backup that way. Remember also that in the R2 release, you can now store scheduled backups on a remote share or remote volume. (This was one of the more annoying limitations of the straight Server 2008 version… although you could always get around it by creating a scheduled task.)

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