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Best way to backup and then restore a single server?

elchermans used Ask the Experts™
I have  single server in a development environment configured as a Domain Controller. There a number of settings configured as well as user, groups, permissions as well as Group Policies.

I would like a backup strategy that would provide a method to take a backup of this server and then later restore it onto another physical server of the exact specifications, in the event of theft or fire damage.

What solutions could I use in a situation like this?
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you could really use anything for this - windows backup, backup exec (from symantec).  Are you looking to be able to just throw a hard drive into the new server and be ready to go?  or are you willing to reinstall the server and programs and then restore system state and backups?

this link provides some free solutions to clone your drive - http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2008/09/05/5-free-apps-to-clone-your-hard-drive/ 

or you could purchase symantec ghost - http://www.symantec.com/themes/theme.jsp?themeid=ghost
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

The built-in backup mechanism creates an image based backup that should be sufficient for this.  However, in the event of server theft or fire damage, you need a non-OEM license to restore to another system, even if it's otherwise identical hardware.
You can use the new windows server backup avaliable on windows 2008

This tool backup your system state and your data


Thank you for the responses.

The license would be non-OEM.

madhatter5501: I would not want to reinstall the OS and other applications.

What procedure would I use to perform a restore on a brand new machine from a backup taken with windows backup? Can it be done straight on bare metal with no OS?
you can take a backup to USB drive etc using windows server backup and you can do a baremetal restore in disaster situations.