Windows 7 to allow PC backups to network share

Windows Complete PC Backup is an image based backup tool where you could take a backup of your entire system and restore it later. Currently in Vista, the backed up image cannot be saved in a network share as in Windows Home Server. This requires to write the backup to DVD(s) or to an external hard drive.

With Windows 7, Long has discovered one can directly backup to a network share! I guess now's a good a time as any to buy a NAS device. :)

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A related question (sort of). In Vista Ultimate can you select a single volume to back up or will vista include all volumes even if you don’t want to back it up. Reason I ask as Vista only give me the option to backup C and D. but I only want to back up C. thanks

Mikeparkie said,
A related question (sort of). In Vista Ultimate can you select a single volume to back up or will vista include all volumes even if you don�t want to back it up. Reason I ask as Vista only give me the option to backup C and D. but I only want to back up C. thanks

To back up a single drive use:

wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:\servernameshare -include:c:

To restore you boot from your Windows Vista install dvd and use the recovery tool included therein. This only works if you have network access during the install process, but you can load a network driver during the recovery process IIRC.

TechNet docs for wbadmin

Help me out here... if you use this feature to back up your system to a network share and then need to restore it back again, how would you go about booting up so it sees the network share you saved the backup to? Would I need a special boot CD or something? Or will the Windows DVD itself have this feature built in?

I'd assume there will be a "recovery" option that you could boot to from the installation DVD similar to the already present Recovery Console. Hopefully they'd implement it with some network drivers so you could just pull the image right off the network.

I use windows home server and since I haven't had to do this I've forgotten how one gets the backup, but I believe it'd be as described just above and I'm sure they would use a very similar process for Windows 7.

I'd think the Windows 7 DVD will already have some sort of backup restore built-in.

You can currently boot off the Windows Vista DVD to restore data from backups, so it will probably be something similar.

Uh, i have 2 Laptops here right now that do a backup to my server weekly, on windows vista buisness... using the windows backup tool

Shame the Windows Server Backup program blows and blows hard. Even NTBackup is better than the current version that ships with 2008. No support to backup Exchange either. Don't get me wrong, in Vista its great but a client backup will always be different to a server backup. I just hope they fix it with a worthy backup program in Windows Server xxxx. Not all companies can afford to spend £800 on a simple tape backup solution.

I thought that you could use a network share as a backup target for Complete PC Backup and Restore by mapping the share to a drive letter? Maybe I'm thinking of a different product.

majortom1981 said,
I thought the same thing i will have to test this and report back.

Interesting, let me know I'm interested to see if my memory serves me right or not (I haven't used Windows Vista in close to a year, I'm getting slightly rusty).

The way I remembered it was that you mapped the share to a drive letter, then fired up Complete PC Backup and Restore and set it to restore to the drive letter that you specified for the network share.

Justin- said,
I just checked ... you cannot. There may be some "hidden" way, but out of the box you can't.

I believe you can if your network share gives you "Full Access" rights and supports the newer protocols. Samba doesn't do that, so you can't do a full computer backup to almost any third party NAS device on the market.

Cool, if you have a server though, why wouldn't you just store all of your stuff there...? I would be too lazy to fully backup my system anyways. And yet I wouldn't be too lazy to reformat it if something screwed up... Strange...

Wow! This, plus an updated Calculator?

From what I have heard, there are a lot of nice things about Windows 7. Not sure about saving to a network share and an update to a calculator are what I would rave about...

billyea said,
You need to hear a bit more then.

Maybe you didn't understand my post. There are many nice improvements in Win7. I just don't think that an updated calculator and saving on a network path are enough to rant and rave over.

Sort of how the minor tweaks in OSX 10.x releases get praised by the Apple fans, and blasted by the Microsoft ones.

Celebrate if you like. I'm not saying these aren't improvements. Just not very big ones.

So, you will have to enable Wake on LAN to ensure that your computer can detect the location you store the backed up image.

According to the website, it's only available on Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions. If this stays the same for Windows 7, then it's next to bloody useless for most consumers. MS are scumbags for this kind of feature trickery on Windows.

michael.dobrofsky said,
According to the website, it's only available on Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions. If this stays the same for Windows 7, then it's next to bloody useless for most consumers. MS are scumbags for this kind of feature trickery on Windows.


Agreed, MS should allow home users to image their drives.

VRam said,
Agreed, MS should allow home users to image their drives.

Yeah, it would be nice for sure. Vista Home Premium has a butchered version of the backup utility, but it only lets you backup for your files and not the OS. Hopefully, 7 Home Premium (if there is ever going to be one) will at least have the full backup utility this time, well here's hoping at least!

Xerxes said,
Yeah, it would be nice for sure. Vista Home Premium has a butchered version of the backup utility, but it only lets you backup for your files and not the OS. Hopefully, 7 Home Premium (if there is ever going to be one) will at least have the full backup utility this time, well here's hoping at least!


So much drama, just pay for Ultimate edition if you "need" this feature, which most home users won't.

bob_c_b said,
So much drama, just pay for Ultimate edition if you "need" this feature, which most home users won't.

I got 2 copies of Ultimate for free* so I can't complain.

While I do agree with you to a point that home users might not need to have it. However, it's still a damn good feature for them to have just in case. Considering how clueless some home users are, been able to roll back the PC to how it was, if it gets borked without the need to reformat is extremely handy. Still on the flip side I can see how some people might see that as a bad thing, as it will do technicians out of their job :P

* = Well technically I didn't, I still paid for it but it came with my new PCs

Xerxes said,
Considering how clueless some home users are

The clueless ones likely won't gain anything by this feature as they probably don't even have a network set up and if they do they probably won't configure the tool.

It's the people with a some competency level that really stand to gain from such a feature. The users who use this would probably be absolutely fine with doing a format, however when you have important information on the PC that's not always a great solution and thus when this tool would come into it's own. Really a format is no more effort than putting in a DVD and hitting start under Windows, I'd imagine the steps and requirements for this backup would be alot more difficult that reinstalling a clean OS copy.

*Not saying the tool will be hard to set up, merely windows is THAT easy to install fresh. (especially if you arent doing backups)

Fantastic addtional feature...will definetly being backing up to home file server in Win7.
This OS seems to be coming along nicely, as long as its not the memory hog Vista is, it should be good.

Only time will tell, but I don't think it is. They've shown the full thing running just fine on netbooks with 1GB of RAM and saying that more than half of that is free after boot.

But we'll have to wait for Beta 1 or RC 1 to get some solid numbers and benchmarks.

I wish people would stop complaining about Vista being a "memory hog". It's called "Super Fetch" and it's designed to use up all your memory to allow more commonly used programs to start faster and it will free that RAM when a more memory intensive application requires it. Unused RAM is wasted RAM, when will people understand?

Xerxes said,
I wish people would stop complaining about Vista being a "memory hog". It's called "Super Fetch" and it's designed to use up all your memory to allow more commonly used programs to start faster and it will free that RAM when a more memory intensive application requires it. Unused RAM is wasted RAM, when will people understand?

The non-cached memory usage of Vista is quite high compared to, say, XP.

Xerxes said,
I wish people would stop complaining about Vista being a "memory hog".

But applications list higher memory requirements for Vista machines than for XP, so obviously Vista does use more memory.

MioTheGreat said,
The non-cached memory usage of Vista is quite high compared to, say, XP.

theyarecomingforyou said,
But applications list higher memory requirements for Vista machines than for XP, so obviously Vista does use more memory.

Yes, Vista's memory requirements are higher then that of XP but that is standard for Windows, as every version has required better hardware to run. However, due to Super Fetch people often misunderstand how Vista manages their memory and call it a memory hog, when it is not (that is what I'm talking about).

I suppose if your definition of "memory hog" is that it uses more memory then it's predecessor, then XP could also be called a "memory hog" in comparison to Win2k.

We shouldn't simply accept that each version of Windows will be more demanding? Operating systems are simply a means to get tasks done. For instance, searching in Vista was a positive move; the increased system requirements were not. Win7 uses less memory and is meant to perform better than it's predecessor; Vista didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I use Vista64 and am happy with it... though it's far from perfect.

theyarecomingforyou said,
We shouldn't simply accept that each version of Windows will be more demanding? Operating systems are simply a means to get tasks done. For instance, searching in Vista was a positive move; the increased system requirements were not. Win7 uses less memory and is meant to perform better than it's predecessor; Vista didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I use Vista64 and am happy with it... though it's far from perfect.


Well sadly it's a fact of life, even the system requirements for Linux increase over time (obviously at a lower rate then Windows :P and even OSX does as well). Even Intel has been vocal about their unhappiness with how the Windows system requirements grow with each release, but it's just something we must accept. Also I'm a happy Vista x64 user myself :P :)

EDIT: Another thing to consider is Vista was a considerable jump in comparison to XP, alot was changed in the backend to help make things better, this obviously didn't go as smooth as MS liked and resulted in Vista not performing as well as it *should* have. 7 is not a big jump, it's essentially Vista R2, since not much was changed MS spent more time optimizing the code and smoothing out the rough edges, it was inevitable that it *might* result in a leaner OS once it hits RTM (you can't really compare 7 to Vista yet, it's currently a pre-beta with parts missing. We won't know the real performance gains till we get a close to RTM build running as it was intended, obviously the pre-beta is faster then Vista because it has less overhead and is not yet complete).

The real question is, will the next major revision of Windows follow the usual trend or will it break from it and result in a leaner [then its predecessor] OS? this is yet to be seen.

Xerxes said,
Even Intel has been vocal about their unhappiness with how the Windows system requirements grow with each release, ...

Do you really think Intel care about new Windows versions having higher hardware requirements? If Windows didn't need improved hardware with each release, people would not buy new computers as often as they do now, and Intel would not make as much money. It's in the best interests of Intel for new Windows versions to be more demanding.