NTBackup is retired in Vista and Server 2008. The new name is Windows Server Backup.

We can take backups of Windows components individually.

1. Registry.

Run -> regedit -> File -> Export

Registry backup

2. System state

In the Windows ntbackup, we can take the backup of system state. System state backup consists of:

  1. Boot files (boot.ini, NTLDR,
  2. Windows Registry including COM settings
  3. SYSVOL (Group policies and Logon scripts)
  4. AD
  5. NTDS.DIT (AD database)
  6. Certificate store
  7. IIS
  8. Cluster service information

Note: The above will be backed up only if the server has those services / roles.

For Windows 2008 R2 and above, use wbadmin to take systemstate backup. ntbackup command would not work.

To take system backup, Run -> ntbackup (Windows 2003)

To restore system backup, reboot the server and boot into Directory services restore mode (F8 key).

3. Group policy backup

In the Group policy management console, right click the group policy and select backup.



4.  Volume Shadow Copy (VSS)

Volume Shadow Copy is a mechanism where the contents of shared folders can be automatically backed up.

In 2008 server, 64 previous versions can be taken backup. Shadow copy performs twice a day at 7am and 12pm. VSS is enabled / disabled for a volume. Right click a drive -> Properties -> Shadow Copies. Here we can set Shadow copy size limit, Location and schedule.

Run -> vssuirun


5. Other windows backups

Incremental, Differential, Copy and Normal backups.


  • To restore a backup made on XP or 2003 to Vista or 2009, you need NTBackuprestore msi file. It is available in Microsoft site.
  • WBAdmin.exe is a command line utility available for backup for OS from Vista, 2008 and above. WBAdmin.msc is a GUI.


Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)

VSS in short is used for backup. Many backup tools today relay on VSS to effectively take backup.

Before VSS, Backup and restoring data was complex due to the following issue:

  • The data usually needs to be backed up while the applications that produce the data are still running. This means that some of the data files might be open or they might be in an inconsistent state.

VSS was introduced in Windows server 2003. It facilitates conversation between components to allow them to work better together. When all components supports VSS, you can use them to backup your application data without taking application offline.

VSS coordinates the actions that are required to create a consistent shadow copy (also known as a snapshot or a point-in-time copy) of the data that is to be backed up.


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