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Backing up Windows 8


Poppapete
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Going to retire my Win7 desktop and build a new one with Win8. Is there any reason why my WHS 2011 won't be able to backup my new Win8 and perform a bare metal restore as with Win7?

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Windows 8 is not the issue (my WHS 2011 is handling one of my PCs which is running the Windows 8 Release Preview just fine).

 

The issue is whether your new desktop hardware is based around UEFI/GPT. WHS 2011 cannot backup/restore client PCs that have the system disc formatted with GPT rather than MBR. Since this is a homebuild, you will want to get a motherboard whose UEFI allows you to select either GPT or MBR formatting.

 

There is a possibility that Microsoft may release an update to WHS 2011 to provide GPT support, but I've been warned not to hold my breath...

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Been following you on this point (love your website). Thus I have decided to install as MBR so I can use WHS 2011 as backup. Going for an ASUS P8Z77 motherboard which will give me access to UEFI. Only downside I see is I will only be able to use max 2TB disks (am I wrong?). I know Win8 has all the new backup and restore features such as storage spaces, file history, system recovery, but these will not give me a bare metal restore of my system with all the installed programs restored. This feature has saved me on more than 1 occasion using WHS 2011. PC DOC says the only way to use GPT and get bare metal restore is by backing up with Acronis Pro, in which case I would not need WHS 2011 and I could set up a "server" based on Win8 as described elsewhere on this website. Your thoughts please!

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Yes, if you use discs with MBR, then as far as I'm aware, the maximum size has to be 2TB. If you want to use GPT discs and get bare metal restore, then you'll need an alternative backup solution to the client PC backup feature of WHS 2011. Acronis is one solution, but I believe there are others that support GPT drives. However, as far as I know, these are all PC-centric rather than server-centric.

 

By that I mean that each PC runs its own individual backup function. These backup software applications may all use the WHS 2011 (or a Windows 8 system acting as a repository) to hold the backups, but they don't have the "single-instance" feature of the WHS backup, so that route is not as space efficient as the WHS 2011 approach, which will only store a unique file cluster once, no matter how many PCs have the same cluster present on their individual drives. It also means that you are having to manage each PC individually, rather than centrally, as in the WHS 2011 approach.

 

This GPT issue has been fixed by Microsoft in the client PC backup function that is part of Windows Server 2012 Essentials. There is a faint chance that Microsoft will replace the current Client PC Backup engine in WHS 2011 with the improved engine in a future Update Rollup for WHS 2011. However, no guarantees and no timing.

 

P.S. thanks for the compliment about the website :)

Edited by gcoupe
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