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Best backup practices for individual workstations

Posted on 2013-10-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
We have a network of about 20 computers. Active Directory Server 2003, including a network storage device. We can't do document redirection because Outlook does not support remote PST files. So we have individual backups scheduled on each pc. Its a pain to troubleshoot and verify all of these backups every week.

What are some of you doing to resolve this?
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Question by:cnl83
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 39590998
Hands down, no questions asked, Windows Storage Server Essentials.  Does up to 25 stations, and you can have as many as you need.  Check this site:  

http://www.smallbizserver.com/store.php

There are others by such as high rely and western digital.

This is a masterful design.  Single instance storage, incremental block level backups, bare metal or individual file restore.
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by:Steve
ID: 39596901
We can't do document redirection because Outlook does not support remote PST files
looks like you already know the best solution.... don't back the workstations up in the first place!

you can redirect all folders to the server as long as you specify a local location for PST files. group policy can do it centrally, or you could do it yourself as you only have 20 pcs.

moving to new versions of SBS is certainly worth considering as 2003 is getting a bit old.....but it may not be within your budget.
Either way, don't bang your head against an unworkable solution when you know the best way to achieve what you want. deal with the minor issue that's preventing your preferred solution.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 39596920
Just to point out that file loss is only one issue with station backup.  Corruption, virus, hard drive failure are others and the ability to restore even one or two stations from backup without having to reinstall the os and all the apps and settings will offset the cost of a WSSE.
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by:cnl83
ID: 39597214
It makes no sense to redirect all of the documents if I still have to monitor backups for pst files.
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by:Steve
ID: 39598409
Dont you backup your mail elsewhere?
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by:cnl83
ID: 39598795
I generally just backup PST files. What do you do?
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by:Steve
ID: 39599813
It's usually best to have backups of the email server rather than individual mailboxes as this includes a lot more stuff and provides much better disaster recovery options.
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by:cnl83
ID: 39601413
Everything is pop via Outlook
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 39601797
Has the question changed from how to backup computers to how to backup email?  If that is all you are concerned about run a scheduled batch file that copies the pst to the server.
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Steve earned 500 total points
ID: 39608497
Everything is pop via Outlook
OK. you should check what backups your hosting provider give you as you can set a copy of mail to be left on the server instead of the PC being your single point of failure.

If your current plan is your only option you're pretty short on options on your original question:
Its a pain to troubleshoot and verify all of these backups every week.
What are some of you doing to resolve this?

PC based backups are not designed in the same way as server backups. You'll struggle to find a reliable, solid way of backing up anything other than flat files.
Robocopy, ntbackup (XP) Windows Backup (vista/7/8) or a variety of disk image based systems would work fine for a normal PC, but you're going to find admin of them a pain regardless.

 If that is all you are concerned about run a scheduled batch file that copies the pst to the server.
As long as your users close Outlook overnight this should work fine but it would fail if Outlook was open.

Any backup solution designed for PCs will be unable to take a consistent copy of a PST while Outlook has it open so using the clients to secure backups of your mail isn't ideal.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 39608714
Once again, Windows Storage Server Essentials.  Perfect.
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by:cnl83
ID: 39640408
I have not done anything with this. Im not sure how to proceed with the question. I am simply backing up each workstation still.
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by:Steve
ID: 39642780
Im afraid there isnt much more we can say to answer your original question. What you want to do isnt really that simple across multiple PCs.

Its a pain to troubleshoot and verify all of these backups every week.
What are some of you doing to resolve this?
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Author Closing Comment

by:cnl83
ID: 39690662
My problem was not exactly resolved.
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