The efficient recovery of lost data is the goal of all backup jobs. A backup job is a single process of backing up data. Regularly backing up the data on server hard disks and client computer hard disks prevents data loss caused by disk drive failures, power outages, virus infections, and other such incidents. If data loss occurs, and you have carefully planned and performed regular backup jobs, you can restore the lost data, whether it is a single file or an entire hard disk.
Windows XP Professional provides the Backup or Restore Wizard, shown in Figure 16.1, which allows you to easily back up data. To access the Backup or Restore Wizard, on the Start menu, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup. Alternatively, on the Start menu, you can click Run, type ntbackup, and then click OK. You can use the Backup or Restore Wizard to back up data manually or to schedule unattended backup jobs on a regular basis. You can back up data to a file or to a tape. Files can be stored on hard disks, removable disks (such as Iomega Zip and Jaz drives), and recordable compact discs and optical drives.
Figure 16.1 The Welcome To The Backup Or Restore Wizard page
On the Welcome To The Backup Or Restore Wizard page, click Next. The Backup Or Restore page allows you to specify whether you want to back up files and settings or restore files and settings.
To successfully back up and restore data on a computer running Windows XP Professional, you must have the appropriate permissions and user rights, as described in the following list:
You should plan your backup jobs to fit the needs of your company. The primary goal of backing up data is to be able to restore that data if necessary, so any backup plan that you develop should incorporate how you restore data. You should be able to quickly and successfully restore critical lost data. There is no single correct backup plan for all networks.
Consider the following issues in formulating your backup plan.
Always back up critical files and folders that your company needs to operate, such as sales and financial records, the registry for each server, and if you are in a domain, the directory service files based on Microsoft Active Directory service.
If data is critical for company operations, back it up daily. If users create or modify reports once a week, backing up the reports weekly is sufficient. You only need to back up data as often as it changes. For example, there is no need to do daily backups on files that rarely change, such as monthly reports or the Windows XP Professional operating system files.
With the Backup Utility, you can back up to the following removable media:
If you use a removable media device to back up and restore data, be sure that you verify that the device is supported on the Windows XP Professional Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).
A network backup can contain data from multiple network computers. This allows you to consolidate backup data from multiple computers to a single removable backup medium. A network backup also allows one administrator to back up the entire network. Whether you perform a network or local backup job depends on the data that must be backed up. For example, you can only back up the registry and Active Directory at the computer where you are performing the backup.
If you decide to perform local backups, you must perform a local backup at each computer, including servers and client computers. There are several issues to consider for performing local backups. First of all, you must move from computer to computer so that you can perform a backup at each computer, or you must rely on users to back up their own computers. Most users fail to back up their data on a regular basis. A second consideration with local backups is the number of removable storage media devices. If you use removable storage media devices, such as tape drives, you must have one for each computer, or you must move the tape drive from computer to computer so that you can perform a local backup on each computer.
You might also choose to use a combination of network and local backup jobs. Do this when critical data resides on client computers and servers and you do not have a removable storage media device for each computer. In this situation, users should perform a local backup and store their backup files on a server. You then back up the server.
The Backup Utility provides five types of backup operations that define what data is backed up, such as only those files that have changed since the last backup (see Figure 16.2).
Figure 16.2 Available types of backup
Some backup types use backup markers, also known as archive attributes, which mark a file as having changed. When a file changes, an attribute is set on the file that indicates that the file has changed since the last backup. When you back up the file, this clears or resets the attribute.
During a normal backup, all selected files and folders are backed up. A normal backup does not rely on markers to determine which files to back up. During a normal backup any existing marks are cleared and each file is marked as having been backed up. Normal backups speed up the restore process because the backup files are the most current and you do not need to restore multiple backup jobs.
During a copy backup, all selected files and folders are backed up. It neither looks for nor clears markers. If you do not want to clear markers and affect other backup types, use a copy backup. For example, use a copy backup between a normal and an incremental backup to create an archival snapshot of network data.
During an incremental backup, only selected files and folders that have a marker are backed up, and then the backup clears markers. Because an incremental backup clears markers, if you did two consecutive incremental backups on a file and nothing changed in the file, the file would not be backed up the second time.
During a differential backup, only selected files and folders that have a marker are backed up, but the backup does not clear markers. Because a differential backup does not clear markers, if you did two consecutive differential backups on a file and nothing changed in the file, the entire file would be backed up each time.
During a daily backup, all selected files and folders that have changed during the day are backed up. This backup neither looks for nor clears markers. If you want to back up all files and folders that change during the day, use a daily backup.
An effective backup strategy is likely to combine different backup types. Some backup types require more time to back up data but less time to restore data. Conversely, other backup types require less time to back up data but more time to restore data. If you combine backup types, markers are critical. Incremental and differential backups check for and rely on the markers.
The following are some examples of combining different backup types:
The Backup Utility allows you to change the default settings for all backup and restore jobs. These default settings are in the tabs in the Options dialog box. To access the Options dialog box, in the Welcome To The Backup Or Restore Wizard page, click Advanced Mode, then on the Tools menu, click Options.
The following list provides an overview of the settings for the Backup Utility:
Figure 16.3 The General tab of the Backup Utility's Options dialog box
Figure 16.4 The Restore tab of the Backup Utility's Options dialog box
You can modify some default settings in the Backup or Restore Wizard for a specific backup job. For example, the default backup type is normal, but you can change it to another backup type in the Backup or Restore Wizard. However, the next time that you run the Backup or Restore Wizard, the default backup type (normal) is selected.
The following questions will help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers for these questions are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."