Windows Server Backup for 2008 R2 and 2012

Ronald Hicks
Ronald Hicks used Ask the Experts™
Three Questions:

(1)  Multiple Backup Devices.

 In all I've read about using an external HDD as a dedicated location for a full server backup, it says that one advantage of this location choice is that multiple devices can be used, sequentially I suppose, to make offsite storage easier.  

How, practically, is this done?  Suppose i'm backing up to a Western Digital Essentials HDD.  At the outset of using Server Backup would I have one of the WD device USB connected to the server, and after the first backup is completed, just unmount and disconnect it and connect the second WB to the same port?

What's the best practice here?

Variation.  How would it be to have two dedicated backup devices connected to the server to different USB ports and schedule backing up to them at different times?  I'm, not sure I see an advantage to this other than simplifying the relocation of the backup drives to offsite locations.  

(2) What happens when the backup device is full?

I can't find mention of that anywhere.  How are successive backup handled?  Is the capacity of the drive sensed and the oldest backup deleted to make room for a new one if necessary?

(3) Are there any differences between 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 with respect to the first two questions?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Rob LeaverSr. Network & Server Engineer
Typically when I use portable hard drives for client backups - I plug both drives in and set the backup to backup to both locations. This enables it to backup to whichever disk is available at the start of the backup.

You can't have two different backup jobs scheduled under the windows server backup service. You can have one on the regular backup on daily/weekly/monthly basis. You would have to look at an medium-level business backup software to be able to do this.

Also - when the device is full you can select what happens during setting up. Either over write oldest data or it'll just not backup.
Ronald HicksConsultant


I didn't see that choice - about overwriting or  not- when I set it up and I can't find it now.  Can you point me to it?
Ronald HicksConsultant


Also, if I were to rotate two (or more) external devices, do you think it would it be as simple a matter as just ejecting and unplugging one and plugging in the other?
Sr. Network & Server Engineer
Sorry - I was thinking of a linux based backup

Windows Server Backup will automatically delete the old version backup when the disk space is used up.
The old backup version will keep growing until all free disk space is used up, afterwards Windows Server Backup will automatically delete the old version backup to make space for newer ones.

You would set them up as

Rotation A
Rotation B
Rotation C

Plug them all in and set the backup to backup to all 3 of those devices. Then when the backup starts it will look for all three of those backups and write to whichever one is plugged in with free space. Or if full, re-write over the disks with the older data.

But yes, as long as you've configured it to look at all three devices to backup - it'll backup to any of the three devices available at that time.
Ronald HicksConsultant


Interesting.  I never would have thought it would work that way.  Many thanks.  I think I know what do do now.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial