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Backup software for an SBS 2003 server - windows 2003 server

We have a client who are not going to update their server at present. They are running SBS 2003 . Yes I am aware this is unsupported. :(
However . We need to get a backup solution working until they upgrade their server.
Exchange 2003 is heavily used as well as active directory and some SQL databases.

Therefore my question is this.  - Can you recommend a backup / disaster recovery solution for SBS 2003 please e.g that is compatible and tried and tested? We have been using Backup Exec 2012 to backup to NAS drives and have repeated issues every few days and we have lost faith in Backup Exec now.

We backup to NAS drives so the software will need to be compatible with SBS 2003 and to backup to NAS storage please?

Your help and advice is much appreciated.

thank you
Windows Server 2003SBSDisaster RecoveryAcronis

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Mr Tortu(r)e

8/22/2022 - Mon

What's wrong with the backup software that has been used up to now?
Mr Tortu(r)e

You could use ntbackup which is integrated in Windows 2003. If I remember correctly it should be there in SBS edition too, and it has some sort of an exchange agent/plugin.

Well I understand your thoughts about Backup Exec (BE), as well as this is sad to have a paid license and to have to buy another piece of software. That's why too I talk about ntbackup : it is free.
As for BE I had a lot of issues with my past customers on it, but I always managed to find a working solution. There are updates and new version since version 2012 you have, if you have a valid support contract the updates/upgrade will be free too. But an upgrade seems like a dead end for your issues as BE2012 is the last version to support SBS 2003 and its exchange/AD versions.

You can tell me about your BE issues if you want, or create a new topic, but as this does not seem to be what you want I won't spend more time right now on this.

You could go with another product similar to BE. Netvault, ARCServe, but I won't really recommend them as if my life will depend on..
You could look at Acronis products, for bare-metal full and incremental backup, and bare metal and file level restore but beware I think there is nothing like exchange nor SQL nor AD agent on it.
Or HP Data Protector, or others.....

But you will have the same big matter to deal with : your OS and software versions are too old and now unsupported not only by Microsoft but as a result by backup software editors.
Mr Tortu(r)e

With ntbackup I just verify and yes you can backup on a network drive for example, so it should be good for backup to your nas.
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Shabbir Rao

Are they using any back up software meanwhile? If yes than what is problem with it? Moreover you can have a look to Syncrify a complete and perfect back up software according my opinion. It is also compatible with any OS and environment
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

I certainly hope that they aren't running that SBS 2003 on original hardware.  If so, your first step should be to P2V the server onto a new virtual host.  Otherwise I would expect that server to have failed yesterday!

Once that is done, you should definitely use the built-in Small Business Server 2003 backup as it is the best way to handle recovery of its integrated components.

SQL databases must be backed up with SQL itself.  Otherwise most any backup software that is around today will not be able to deal with a SQL 2000 or 2005 database properly.  Configure those to backup to another folder on the SBS at an earlier time than the full server backup.  Then the full backup will be able to be used to restore the database if necessary.

All of this is documented in Microsoft's original SBS 2003 Backup/Restore doc which you can get from here:  SBS 2003 Backup - Restore


lots of useful information

WE MAY HAVE TO GO DOWN THE Route of ntbackup as the client do not want to invest at present (which is out of my control)

If we were to virtualise the windows 2003 server is this easy to do? what is the  brief tasks involved to do this please?

I havnt used acronis on windows sbs 2003 server before is it fully supported ?
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Mr Tortu(r)e

I havnt used acronis on windows sbs 2003 server before is it fully supported ?
2003 std pretty sure, SBS edition I think it is, but all of that depends of the product and version of Acronis editor. I think that like most of software vendors, because 2003 is no more supported by MS, they will abandon it too.

If we were to virtualise the windows 2003 server is this easy to do? what is the  brief tasks involved to do this please?
Easy? as it is a SBS not really, but not this hard too. And it will give you the advantage to run on a new hardware at least.
VMware or hyper-v ?
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

If you want information about P2Ving the server please post another question as that is off-topic from this one.

There really is NO REASON to invest in any additional software to back up this server as the integrated backup works just fine.  



You can fix this problem for $75 by using a software called "Active Disk Image".  Download a 30 day free trial, then buy the software after you are totally happy with it.

Active Disk Image will makes an image of your entire system, including VSS of SQL/Exchange etc.  
It works on NAS, mapped drive, USB.  
It can do incremental and differential backup.  
Best of all it WORKS on XP,7,8,10 all the way to Server 2003,2008 &2012R2.  
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Mr Tortu(r)e

I check this one, Active Disk Image, which I did not know about :
it seems somehow good on the paper... so, need to be tested.
But I could not find any information about purging logs for VSS application, as ntbackup would do
Could not find any information about VSS applications too, are you sure of this one, PCLANVADWPB?
But yes, it supports all windows version, that's a good point