A catastrophic server hard disk failure is every network administrator's worst nightmare, and many other disasters can result in the destruction of disks or even entire systems. Making sure that you have current backups of your disks is an essential part of any disaster recovery plan, as described in Chapter 33, but other Windows 2000 system elements should also be protected. Windows 2000 Backup includes additional features that enable you to protect the entire system configuration and simplify the process of restoring the computer to its former state.
A separate entry called System State appears with the local drive letters under the My Computer heading on the Backup tab of Windows 2000 Backup. Selecting the System State entry causes the program to back up the components of the local system configuration that aren't directly accessible through the file system. These components include the following:
Backing up these components makes it possible for you to completely restore a system to a new disk, without losing any of the domain and local user accounts or the rights and permissions associated with them. You can back up the system state only for the local machine, meaning that if you have multiple Windows 2000 systems on your network, you will have to run the backup program on each computer to fully protect them. In most cases, however, only Windows 2000 servers will contain system state information that is irreplaceable.
Because of dependencies between the system state elements, you can't back them up or restore them individually; you must treat them as a unified system element. However, you can restore the system state to an alternate location, in which case the program will restore only the registry, SYSVOL, and system boot files.
Even if you can't back up the system state on remote systems, you can back up their disks over the network. You can effectively protect all of your systems by first running a backup job on each Windows 2000 computer; this job saves only the system state to a file on the computer that has the tape drive (or other backup medium). Then, by backing up that entire machine to tape, along with the disks on the remote systems, you'll be protecting all of the disks as well as the system state for each machine.