TechSoftwareLearn More About WHS Vail Backups

Learn More About WHS Vail Backups


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Do you want to learn more about the new backup features of Windows Home Server Vail? If so, you should read this.


Over on the Microsoft Forums, Bodhi Deb from the Microsoft team has posted more information about backups in Vail, and it is worth reading.


Here is what Bodhi posted:


Backing up client computers for file or folder or a full system restore was a feature introduced in Windows Home Server V1. Significant portion of the features and technology have been carried forward in the Vail product as well.


Backing up your server


Ability to backup the server and restore both data and the full system from a disaster was one of the #1 asks from our customers. In Vail we have provided ability to do automated backups of the full server to externally attached storage. Features include:

· Full VSS based backup of the server to externally attached disks using Windows Server 2008 R2 backup technology

· Ability to back up to multiple targets for offsite storage. You keep one external disk onsite for your most recent backups, and the other disks offsite in case of disasters

· You can back up the Operating System, Data, Shared Folders, and even the Client Backup Database for future recovery

· Select what you want to protect using the server backup configuration wizard on the Computers and Backup tab

· Schedule automatic backups multiple times a day upto half hour intervals

· Backups to external disks are incremental for storage optimization but each back up version is fully restorable

· Restore scenarios include restoring individual Files or Folders, Full system restore through Bare Metal Restore, and Factory Reset


Note: Not all features stated above have been fully developed in the product yet. For details about what is and is not available please refer to the Getting Started guide.



Backing up the client computers


Centralized backup of client computers to the Windows Home Server storage was a feature introduced in Windows Home Server V1. The basic technology and the features have been carried forward with some key feature updates.

Features from Windows Home Server V1


· Automatic daily backups of network joined client computers to centralized storage on Windows Home Server

· Backups are single instanced and incremental over the network. This provides storage and backup time optimizations. Only unique data and incremental changes across your home network are sent over the wire and stored only once.

· Ability to exclude files or folders from your backup

· Restore scenarios include individual Files or Folders and Full System Restore to similar hardware using Bare Metal Restore

New Features in “Vail”


· Support for VSS writers on client computers to improve consistency of backups

· New backup configuration wizard allows you to select volumes or folders you want to backup. Items that are not selected are excluded from the backup

· New Files or Folders restore Wizard provides a guided wizard for the user to restore individual files or folders from a backup

· New mini filter driver for the Files or Folders Restore wizard solves many of the problems in V1 resulting from multiple mount of backup volumes

· Intelligent automatic scheduling allows more computers to be backed up

o Higher priority is given to computers with the oldest backups during the time window

o Prioritization is calculated dynamically

o Computers which are chronically out of compliance (such as laptops) are automatically backed outside of the backup time window whenever they are connected to the server

· Backups are now resummable. In WHS V1 if backups are not successfull, it started from the beginning the next time backups ran. This resulted in computers with high storage in repeated failed backups. In Vail we take checkpoints along the way (this is not visible to the end user). If for any reason backup fails in the middle such as due network connection drop, backups will resume from the last checkpoint next time it runs

· Full system restore functionality now allows automatic partition and formatting of drives during restore. In WHS V1 if volumes did not exist, users had to manually create partitions and format them before continuing with the system restore process. In Vail we do this automatically based on the configuration that existed in the source during a backup

· System restore disk now includes both the x86 (32 bit) and x64 bit version of the restore media. This allows you to restore both x86 and x64 bit client computers without the need to download and install specific 32 bit drivers for the restore CD

· Improved resiliency and robustness of the backup database including an improved database repair functionality

· Backup applet on the Client Launchpad allows users to start/stop manual backups as well as set the power management settings


Note: Not all features stated above have been fully developed in the product yet. For details about what is and is not available please refer to the Getting Started guide

And thank you all for testing Vail



Bodhi Deb – MSFT

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. I REALLY hope they get these new features into the final product. Sometimes I hate some of these missing things, like resume backup, priority to old backups and best of all: FULL SERVER BACKUP. 🙂

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