First, let me apologize for not submitting any blog posts in the last two weeks. I have been extremely busy writing articles, putting the finishing touches on my next book, and preparing for The Experts Conference (www.tec2009), which I am scheduled to speak at next month. Sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day.
At any rate, I wanted to use today’s blog post to talk about the backup program that comes with Windows Vista. If you have read the various articles that I have written, then you know that I have been critical of the Windows Vista backup application, because it lacks the flexibility of the NTBackup program that came with previous versions of Windows. Even so, I had to use the Windows Vista backup application for the first time in a real life situation, and I wanted to share my experiences with you.
I tend to travel a lot, so I’ve got a ton of stuff on my laptop. My primary drive contains the Windows Vista Ultimate operating system, a bunch of applications, and four virtual server instances. My second hard drive contains an offline copy of all of the data from my primary file server.
Well, all of the work that I have been doing lately caused my data drive to run out of space. My system drive was also starting to get a little bit low on space too, so I ordered two 500 GB hard drives to replace the existing drives with.
I used Windows Backup to perform a full system backup to an external USB hard drive. When the backup completed, I replaced the drives, and installed Windows. I have to admit that I was used to the way that NTBackup worked in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. In those operating systems, you generally have to install Windows, install the latest service pack, and then restore your backup.
After I had Windows installed, I plugged in my external hard drive and tried to restore my backup. Although Windows could detect my external drive and read the data, Windows Backup refused to recognize the backup. Just as I was about to rip my hair out, I remembered that Windows Vista uses a different technique for performing a bare metal restore.
I booted the computer off of the Windows Vista installation disk, and then chose the Repair option, followed by the option to restore a backup. Windows Vista then asked me to specify the location of my backup, which it acknowledged with no problems. Finally, it warned me that the volumes that I was restoring would be formatted if I continued. I accepted, and away it went. I am happy to say that the restoration was flawless.