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How do you actually test your server backups?


oj88
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We all know that it has to be done every now and then. In fact, almost all the articles I've read about the need to make backups mention it. They go as far as setting a cadence (ie. once a year) but missed out on a very important thing... How do you do it, exactly?

 

I've restored several client PCs to know well enough that it works. Not so with the WHS2011 server backup. To be honest, I'm sort of glad that I haven't had to go down that road, but in case I have to, I'd like to do a test restore of the system disk (C: and D:) without messing up the production one.

 

How do you actually do this? Overwrite the production disk or do it on a different one? What are the risks involved?

 

Ok, the thing about overwriting the production disk was rhetorical....

 

but, is it?

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Yeah, it is rhetorical :)

 

I test it by restoring to a spare drive. I also disconnect all my data drives before starting the process. Then, I boot the WHS2011 Server Install, from a DVD or USB drive or USB flash drive or, in my case, from my Zalman VE300. Once the install boots up, you pick the Restore or Recovery (can't remember which it is, but something like that).

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And to add to this, an untested backup is worthless to you.  I like ikon's "offline method".

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Umm.... tested? No, not really.

have actively used it several times recently. :)

 

You could also test in a VM, if you absolutely had to. But that may or may not work, depending.

Edited by Drashna (WGS)
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Appreciate the insights.

 

I only asked because my server has been running the same OS install instance since I assembled it some 3.5 years ago. I've occasionally ran into bumps (BSODs) but they're mostly due to faulty drivers/apps or hardware... something that I was able to recover from. Frankly, I never had a need to reinstall the OS.

 

I recall now that I did tried using Microsoft's Disk2vhd last year when I was contemplating on making it virtual. It booted up nicely in Win2k12 Hyper-V but since it detected a new hardware, some apps complained of issues with the licenses/keys. I'm sure I could've fixed them but then decided to no longer pursue it and just settle with it running in a physical box.

 

I've managed to fill up a 2TB disk with untested backup images of the system drive. :D Anyway, I've resolved to hook up a spare drive and do a test restore this Easter.

 

Thanks!

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I know you would. :)

 

I've too much time invested making it the way it is now. I'd clean install as a last resort or if I decide to upgrade to a newer OS.

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