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os backups and locked files

Posted on 2014-01-03
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can I ask a very beginner level question on OS level backups, is the OS level backup on windows servers and the actual file system data i.e. word docxs, xlsx the same job? Or do you have to use speciliased software to backup the OS? What makes me wonder is you often need a separate job for some software such as exchange, sql, as the databases are locked, but I would have thought some OS type files are also locked so I wondered how the backup software handles that, or if its typically 2 jobs that split the 2.
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Question by:pma111
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Norm Dickinson earned 1000 total points
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Not all backup software is created equally, and not all backup and recovery needs are the same. Some people only need to have their data files backed up, so basic consumer-grade software only backs up files that are not in use, keeping the backup file size small and keeping the backup speeds fast. The theory is that you will need to have a working computer to restore the data files to - and that the most common need is not a crash, but an accidental deletion.

Bigger and more expensive backup software uses a shadow copy, taking a snapshot of all the files, and noting any changes will not be saved in the backup after the snapshot has been taken. The snapshot only takes a moment, and during this time many of these software programs have the capability to stop transactions from occurring in database applications such as SQL Server or Exchange or virtual machines or any other type of software.

Still other software allows for what is known as Bare Metal Restoration, which captures the operating system and Hardware Abstraction Layer. This allows a totally different computer to be used to restore a system just by loading the device drivers during the restoration. This is the most useful and thereby the most expensive in most cases, but it pays to shop.

I personally like the products from Acronis - see http://www.acronis.com as a full range solution. See http://www.acronis.com/support/documentation/ for more details and to learn about their different products and various ways to approach a backup routine.
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Windows Backup (the one that comes with Windows), can backup open files, and exchange, SQL etc. Some other software like Veritas, requires you to buy special 'modules' to cope with exchange etc.
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