Windows Server 2008 - backup and restore problems and their solutions

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Windows Server Backup Feature

Windows Server backup is a feature that allows you to manage backups for both local and remote systems. It provides you with set of tools to perform a backup and recover data. It also allows you to schedule a backup to run automatically at a specified time.

In this article, I will present to you solutions to backup and restore problems in Windows Server 2008. I will also introduce you to some useful Command Prompt tools that you can use during the process of troubleshooting backups

Note: Windows Server Backup is available in all editions of Windows Server 2008 except for the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008. To run backups for computers with a Server Core installation, you need to use either the command line or manage backups remotely from another computer

Backup/Recovery Problems And Their Solutions

Problem: You can not recover from .bkf file that was created using an earlier version of Windows

Solution: In Windows Server 2008 it is not possible to recover from backup files created in earlier versions of Windows. However, there is a workaround for this – You can download a version of Ntbackup.exe (Backup program used in earlier versions of Windows) to run on Windows Server 2008 for recovering data from backups created using ntbackup.exe.

Problem: In Windows Explorer, I am not able to see the disk that I used to store my scheduled backups.

Solution: The disk that you have once specified for the backup storage is not mounted to a drive letter, hence not visible in Windows Explorer.

This drive can only be viewed in the “Disk Management" console. If you want make this drive visible in Windows Explorer, you must cancel all the scheduled backups first.

Microsoft has made the backup drive invisible to prevent accidental data deletion.

Problem: When you create a System state backup in Server 2008, it takes longer than it used to in earlier versions of Windows and the backup file is also much bigger.

Solution: This is not due to any problem but this is due to the fact that Windows Server 2008 has much more files than those in earlier versions. It takes longer to back up and the file size is also bigger.

Problem: Backup does not back up data onto a CD.

Solution: Since Backup does not support the use of CD or DVD, you can back up onto a hard disk or external storage device. However, if you want to have your backup on a CD then create a backup on a hard disk or external device, and then copy it onto a CD/DVD.

Once you have copied the backup file onto a CD or DVD, it is now possible to restore directly from the CD/DVD.

Problem: You can not locate one of the backup files.

Solution: This is because Backup only saves the last 10 backup files. It is not possible at this state to create a backup from a past date.

If you are unable to locate any of the backup files, look for these in the “Documents and Settings\userName\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\NT\NTbackup

Useful Commands For Troubleshooting Problems

You must be a member of the “Administrators” group to configure a backup schedule. To perform any other task, you must be a member of either the “Backup Operators” or the “Administrators” group. If you have been delegated an appropriate permission, you can then perform these tasks without a problem.

The following are the most common Commands that you might need during the backup or restore operation:

Wbadmin stop job - Stops either the running backup or recovery process.

Wbadmin get items - Shows all the items includes in a backup.

Wbadmin get status - Shows complete status of either the currently running backup or recovery process.

Wbadmin get disks - Shows the disks that are currently online.

Wbadmin disable backup – Disables any scheduled backup.

Wbadmin start sysrecovery - Runs a recovery operation of the full system.

Wbadmin delete catalog – Deletes a backup catalogue. It can be used if the backup catalogue has been corrupted on a local machine.

Wbadmin start recovery - Runs a recovery operation of a volume(s).

For syntax and uses examples, click here.

Event IDs

Looking at events ID in the Event Viewer program is always useful for determining a casue of an error or a problem.

Windows Server 2008 Backup uses the Event Viewer program to list all the operations, errors, etc produced by backup or recovery process.

To run Event Viewer, press Win Key + R together, type in eventvwr.msc then click “OK”.

Windows Server backup lists many events in the EventViewer alongwith its unique ID.

To find out complete list of Event IDs, click here


Although Windows Server 2008 Backup is very reliable and stable for backup and recovery operations, you might fall in any sort of problem anytime during the process. The aforementioned commands are the best tools you need if you ever need to fix any backup or recovery problem.