Implications of backing up a bkf file


I have a Win2003 Server and a 3rd party backup program (doesn't matter which one for this question)

-Win2003 server's backup can not write directly to a DVD rewritable (per Microsoft)
-The 3rd party backup software can only backup the registry but not the entire system state (per the software company)
-I must back up the system state and other files to DVD but cannot install any other backup software (by choice)

Proposed solution:
Use Win2003 backup to back up the system state and save the backup project as "systembu.bkf"
Use win2003 backup to back up the other data.
Use the 3rd party backup software to backup the bkf files to DVD.
If a restore is required, I would restore the bkf files from DVD back to their original location on the server using the 3rd party software, then restore the bkf files through Win2003 server backup for a total solution.

Now the question:
  When the server creates the bkf files, does it also append specific information that requires the original file untouched in order to create a proper restore?  Or, do 3rd party backup software change the backed-up files in any way that would interfere with a proper backup through the server's backup?
  Finally, are bkf files just that? Just files that can be placed here or there, or moved around (independent of the program that created them as long as one doesn't manipulate the file itself?)
  I've tried to test the theory myself but am really unsure about the results.  It seems to work but I'm hesitant to thoroughly corrupt any important system files to try this out.


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The bkf files are indepenent, you can back them up to another device such as DVD or CD ROM, when you need restore them just point the microsoft backup software at them and restore them as normal.
AJPhelpsAuthor Commented:
 It seems to me that you're saying that I can copy the bkf files at will to different media with no ill effects.
  I'm taking it a step further to see if using MSbackup (we can just use MS backup again for simplicity) to backup a MSbackup changes the nature of the file.  Not a simple cut and paste or drag and drop to a DVD writer.


Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The MSBackup files are just that files.  All necessary information to restore them is stored within the file.  You can put them on a network shared drive, on a DVD, on a Zip disk, on a USB memory device - WHATEVER.  It doesn't matter.  When you want to restore the backup with Windows backup, you don't have to copy the backup file back first, just "import" the backup file with the Windows Backup software and you'll be able to get at things.  I've recovered systems using this and I've got backups of several of my personal systems on a network drive and working fine - restoring whenever I need to.

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AJPhelpsAuthor Commented:
 Ah man, I see now that I left out one piece of rather important information for the reason I'm backing up in ths fashion:
  I need to create the backup on to DVD fully automated.  As stated before, MSBackup can not burn straight to DVD media, and the 3rd party doesn't save the system state.  Hence the double backup solution.  But the important factor here is fully automated, from MSBackup creating the bkf to the 3rd party backing up to disk.  No user interaction.
The concensus so far seems to be that the files are just files, to be moved, copied, burned, at will, as long as the restores are done correctly.


Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Try this - not with the system state per se, but with some files.  Back them up on one system, take that .bkf file to another system  and restore them by importing (cataloging) the .bkf file.  this is pretty much the same procedure for restoring the system state.  (Though if you had to, you'd have to reinstall windows manually to the EXACT same path and then do a system state restore.
We did this on many of our servers:
Backup with MSBackup into a File (Systemstate and ALL Files).
Backup this File with 3rd Party Software (Networker or Veritas).
AJPhelpsAuthor Commented:
Thanks people,

WeHe, this is exactly the path I have to follow.  Question though, have you ever had to do a restore from these files?  I suspect there was not a problem if so based on the tests I've done so far.
leew, with the 2 of you confirming this, it looks like the answer is there.  Thanks much.

there was never a problem.
we did this on our DC's as networker was not verified for W2K3 for a while.
and we had to restore 2 DC's with that solution.
no problems with that.
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