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  1. Using the Microsoft Backup Program Using the built-in Backup program is the officially recommended method of backing up Windows registry. The Backup version supplied with Windows NT 4.0 required a Windows NT-compatible tape device to be installed in the local system, which represented one of the most serious shortcomings of this utility. Furthermore, the list of supported tape devices that could be used with Windows NT Backup in Windows NT 4.0 is also quite limited. Moreover, this utility doesn't allow you to perform registry backup of remote systems, even if the user attempting to perform this operation has all the required access rights to the remote system. The Backup version included with Windows 2000 has improved and extended functionality, including support for various types of backup media. This allows the user to back up information using any media supported by the operating system, including floppy disks, hard disks, floptical media, or other supported devices besides streamers. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, in turn, provide several new technological improvements and enhancements. Note Starting with Windows XP, Microsoft has introduced volume snapshots, a technology that provides a copy of the original volume at the instant a snapshot is taken. A snapshot of the volume is taken at the time a backup is initiated. Data are then backed up from the snapshot rather than from the original volume. The original volume continues to change as the process goes on, but the snapshot of the volume remains constant. This is helpful if users need access to files while a backup is taking place, since it significantly reduces the time required to accomplish the backup procedure. Additionally, the backup application can back up files that are kept open. In previous versions of Backup, including the one supplied with Windows 2000, files open at the time of the backup were skipped. Besides working with the integrated Backup application, the Volume Shadow Copies function in Windows Server 2003 provides snapshots ("point in time copies") of files on network shares. To enable Volume Shadow Copies, right-click a drive or volume in Windows Explorer or My Computer, select the Properties command, and go to the Shadow Copies tab (Fig. 2.2). Select a volume from the Select a volume list, then click Enable and confirm your choice by clicking Yes in the Enable Shadow Copies window.
  2. Figure 2.2: The Shadow Copies tab of the disk properties window Note Volume Shadow Copies are enabled only in shared folders, since the feature is designed primarily for documents, which often happen to be accidentally deleted or overwritten with other versions. Besides this, it also provides you with version- checking capabilities while working with documents. However, the usage of this new feature also has some limitations: • Client workstations that can benefit from this feature must run the Windows XP operating system. The client software for Volume Shadow Copies is located in the \\%systemroot%/system32/clients\twclient directory on the file server. After installing the twcli32.msi package, clients working with corporate documents will be provided with the Previous Versions functionality, allowing them to access shadow copies from their desktops. This software can be distributed to clients by a variety of means, including Group Policies, Microsoft Systems Management Server, or another third- party software management product. • Shadow copies are read-only, and can be enabled on a per-volume basis. This means that you can't enable shadow copies on specific shares. • Saving your work frequently is still the best way to ensure that your work is not lost. Furthermore, this feature isn't a replacement for regular backup.
  3. Despite its convenience, the Volume Shadow Copies functionality is not a substitute for regular backups. To start the Backup utility in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, select the All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Backup commands from the Start menu. If you use this utility often (and you should do so), create a desktop shortcut for this program. Note Like in all Windows NT-based systems, in order to backup and restore files, the user must be assigned appropriate privileges. For example, members of local Administrators or Backup Operators groups can back up and restore any files on a local computer. Users whose accounts don't belong to these groups must have at least read access permissions to the files that they need to back up. For computers participating in Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 domains, these abilities are greatly influenced by Group Policies. Detailed information on this topic will be provided in Chapters 9 and 10. Besides the traditional method of starting the Backup utility, you can also start it using the right-click menu. Open the Windows Explorer or My Computer window, right- click on the disk that you need to back up, and select the Properties command from the context menu. A tabbed window will open. Navigate to the Tools tab, click the Backup Now button in the Backup group, and the Backup or Restore Wizard window will open (Fig. 2.3). The Backup utility can run in two modes: the wizard mode (in which it starts by default) and advanced mode, recommended for power users. If you want to change the default settings, clear the Always start in wizard mode checkbox and select the Advanced Mode option. The Backup Utility window will appear, opened at the Welcome tab (Fig. 2.4). Figure 2.3: The Backup or Restore Wizard window
  4. Figure 2.4: The Welcome tab of the Backup Utility window Note Before proceeding with a backup operation, check the file system of the disk you need to backup. This is important, because you need to have a usable backup copy. Remember that the backup software (including the Backup tool supplied with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and products of the Windows Server 2003 family) can't recognize errors and inconsistencies in user data. Note that the method we just described provides a convenient way of performing this operation - you simply need to click the Check Now button on the same tab. You also need to consider the defragmentation software used to defragment your hard drives. Microsoft recommends that everyone use the built-in defragmentation software supplied with the operating system. If you're planning to use a third-party defragmentation utility, make sure that this software is compatible with Windows Server 2003 and holds the "designed for Windows" status. Detailed information on software tested for compatibility with Windows 2000/XP or Windows Server 2003 can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com. One of the most important goals of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 development was to create an operating system, which would combine all the advantages of Windows 9x/ME with the traditional strong points of Windows NT/2000. Most of the attention was paid to tasks such as making the new operating system easy to use even for beginners, simplifying administrative tasks and making the system more reliable. Most tools and utilities were rewritten, and the Backup tool is no exception. Besides the traditional functionality of backing up and restoring data, the new version of this utility supplied with Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 includes a function for preparing the Automated System Recovery (ASR). Although Automated System Recovery (ASR) actually debuted in Windows XP, it is new to Windows Server platform. ASR lets you backup operating system, system state, and hardware configuration so that they can be recovered in case of a system emergency. Automated System Recovery is a two-part recovery system that allows you to restore the operating system states by using files saved to tape media and hard disk configuration information saved to a floppy disk.
  5. Note Most experienced users will recall the ERD functionality that existed in Windows NT/2000. In earlier versions of Windows NT, there was a special Rdisk.exe utility used to perform this task. Windows 2000 combines the functionality of the Backup and Rdisk utilities, and in Windows XP/Windows Server 2003, as was already mentioned, ERD functionality was replaced by ASR. Preparing for Automated System Recovery The easiest method of using the Backup program is with the special wizards, which are similar to all other programs of this type. These wizards display dialogs prompting users to select options and provide instructions on selecting the options. Normally, these windows contain the following three buttons: Back, Next, and Cancel. When the user clicks the Back button, a window appears, allowing the user to correct the data entered after completing the previous step. To open the next window, the user needs to click the Next button. To cancel the whole operation, the user needs to click the Cancel button. This method is the easiest one for novice users who have little or no experience of working with the system. Note The materials provided in this section shouldn't be considered a complete description of the Backup program functionality, and in no circumstances should these materials be considered as a replacement for the user manual. This book is intended to describe the system registry. Because of this, this chapter provides only the most basic information related to using the Backup program for backing up and restoring the system registry. If you are interested in a detailed description of the Backup program or step-by-step instructions on performing typical tasks, you can find this information in the Backup Help system. Any user who intends to edit the registry should read this information very carefully. To prepare for Automated System Recovery, proceed as follows: 1. If your computer is equipped with a tape device, prepare the backup media. If this is not the case, you will have to perform the backup operation on the hard disk. Therefore, make sure that you have sufficient disk space. In any case, you'll also need a blank formatted diskette.