How to back up system state


Can you advise the best way of backing up system state on windows server?


If you have a single copy of Active Directory on your network, you will need to back up the System State. Windows Small Business Servers don’t allow the Active Directory to be replicated, so you will have to back up the System State if you want to recover from a disaster recovery.


If your server has less than 50 users and doesn’t have Exchange installed, i.e. is only a basic file server, do you have to back up System State?
You will probably be able to create a new Active Directory and restore your files much quicker than restoring System State. There will be other considerations in your environment which you should consider though.

A system state backup can’t be selective and conveniently packages up the following server components:

Boot files, including the system files, and all files protected by Windows File Protection (WFP).
Active Directory (on a domain controller only).
Sysvol (on a domain controller only).
Certificate Services (on certification authority only).
Cluster database (on a cluster node only).
The registry.
Performance counter configuration information.
Component Services Class registration database.
Our Pro software comes with the System State module enabled free within the Server license. Lite customers don’t have this module available.

System State backup module:

  1. You will need to specify the temporary directory within ‘options’ to be a local or USB drive. The temporary directory can be a NON-CRITICAL or CRITICAL drive
    If using a critical volume as the temporary directory, you will need to modify the registry entry as shown in the Microsoft tech doc

  2. We strongly recommend you also store a local copy on a USB or network location on your LAN. This will allow you to run a quicker restore should the server fail, but the local copy is still available. A basic System State backup on Windows 2008 and upwards will be at least 10GB in size and might take some time to restore from us.


According to Microsoft - “A volume is a critical volume if it contains system state information (system-critical components)”, which includes the boot volume, the system volume or other volume with critical information (volume that contain the MS Exchange installation, MS SQL installation).

Ahsay OBM 6