Windows Imaging FAQ
How does imaging on Server 2008 work?
An excellent description written by Linus Chang, lead developer of BackupAssist, is provided here:
What about tape drive support?
There's both good and bad news on this.
The bad news is that the drive imaging features of Windows Server 2008 do not support tape drives. The technology is very different to previous types of backups, and it requires random access to the backup device - hence disk is the only option.
The good news is that at BackupAssist, we have developed a file-based backup engine that will support tape drives, and include AES-256 encryption and compression. Please refer to our product tour for the new Zip-to-Tape engine.
Tape and Disk backups can be combined to good effect. Disk-based backup is ideal for fast system recovery, and tape can be used for long-term data backup and archiving, so the two technologies can complement each other nicely.
Why can I only see the last image backup on my backup destination?
The reason why you will only ever see the latest image backup on your backup disk (under the WindowsImageBackup directory) is because past versions of backups are stored as shadow copies on the backup device.
To see what shadow copies are on the disk, you can type in the following command:
vssadmin list shadows /For=X:
(where X is the drive letter of your backup device)
Note that in the BackupAssist Report, at the end (in the Media Usage section) you can see what past versions are available on the disk. We provide that list so you can see your possible restore points. If you want to find the list of restore points manually, you can also use the command wbadmin get versions to list the versions available.
Can I backup networked computers such as workstations?
Yes and no.
No in the sense that drive imaging in Server 2008 will only allow you to backup local volumes.
However, using BackupAssist, you can backup networked computers using our file-based backup engine known as the File Replication Engine. You can set up a backup job to mirror the desired files/folders from your network computers to your server (which can then be imaged), or even straight to your backup device.
Can I just select individual files and folders to backup?
Using the drive imaging features in Server 2008, the answer is no - the smallest unit of backup is an entire volume. This means that you should partition your drives carefully to separate important data that needs to be backed up from unimportant data (such as temporary downloads, etc.) onto different volumes. And of course, your system installation should be on a separate partition altogether.
If you do need to select specific files and folders to backup, an excellent alternative to drive imaging is using the File Replication Engine, which enables you to backup specific files and folders to many different backup devices, and provides a variety of backup retention options.
Can I restore individual files and folders from a drive image backup?
Yes – you can restore individual files, folders, and even VSS aware applications from a Drive Image backup of an entire volume using the native Windows Server Backup application on Windows Server 2008.