WHS BDBB

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WHS Backup Database-Backup (BDBB) is an Add-In for the Microsoft Windows Home Server Operating System that was developed by Alex Kuretz of MediaSmartServer.net.

WHS BDBB is designed to allow the user to easily create and restore a backup of the Backup Database created by Windows Home Server, which contains the backups of all Client PC's in the home. This is an automation of the steps defined in the WHS Backup documentation, which can be found on the Microsoft site here: [1]

WHS BDBB 1.0.3.3


Contents

Release History

Version 1.0.3.3 was released on 9/1/2010 and included several new features. The user interface was redesigned, with more documentation included within the interface to better explain the features of the Add-In, including a warning message that the backup service will be stopped during backup and restore. Each network target now has increased details, including free and total storage space, volume name and drive letter if known. The user was given the ability to configure Health Notification thresholds for each client computer, plus the ability to delete the current WHS Backup Database in case of a corrupted DB that Repair is not able to correct. The elapsed Time was added for display in the UI after a Backup or Restore completed. Connected drives with filesystem of type CDFS, such as CD/DVD and some external hard drives that have special read-only partitions were no longer displayed. Finally, the prompt to restore client registry keys was removed as testing has shown this feature to not be necessary since WHS PP2 which included improvements to the backup software that now identifies backups without associated client PCs connected. It is available for discussion here in the forums [2].

Version 1.0.2.2 was released on 9/24/2009 as a maintenance and bug fix release. The drive detection mechanism was changed for better accuracy which finally resolved the issue detecting TrueCrypt encrypted drives, the Duplication Options are disabled for servers with only one hard drive in the storage pool, backups are disallowed to non-NTFS formatted drives due to the 4GB files that comprise the backup database, and improvements and syntax checking were added to the handling of network shares and usernames. It is available for download and discussion here in the forums [3].

Version 1.0.1.6 was released on 4/20/2009 and added the ability to backup and restore to/from UNC and Samba network shares, as well as backup and restore of important registry entries. It is available for download and discussion here in the forums [4].

Version 1.0.0.4 was released on 8/11/2008 and was the initial release of BDBB. It is available for download and discussion here in the forums [5].


Features

  • Back up the WHS Backup Database to an Application Folder within the WHS server storage, a WHS Backup drive, or another drive connected to the server
  • Back up the WHS Backup Database to a network share (UNC or Samba)
  • Restore backups created by BDBB from server storage or attached disk
  • Restore backups created by BDBB from a network share (UNC or Samba)
  • Back up the important Client Registry keys and WHS.reg file
  • Enable duplication for the WHS computer backup database
  • Enable duplication of Backups created by BDBB stored in Server Storage
  • Delete the current WHS Client Backup Database in the event that Repair does not work
  • Configure when Health Notifications occur for client computers that have not successfully backed up


Installation

WHS BDBB is installed by copying the WHSBDBB.msi file to the Software\Addins share of your Windows Home Server. Start the Windows Home Server Console, select Settings, then Add-Ins. Select WHS BDBB from the Available tab, and click "Install".


Upgrading

To upgrade from a previous version of WHS BDBB, please uninstall the previous version via the Add-Ins settings tab of the WHS Console, then follow the normal Installation instructions.


How to use BDBB

It is the BDBB author's recommendation to not use the Duplication options as these are undocumented settings and as such unsupported by Microsoft. Backing up and restoring the Backup Database is an operation documented by Microsoft and as such should be more reliable.

BDBB backups are snapshots of the Windows Home Server backup database. The user will likely want to perform a backup regularly and store that backup off of the server in case of damage to the server, backup database corruption, or some other event. Backups can be made to either the Server Storage pool (not recommended), a WHS Server Backup drive, any other NTFS formatted drive that appears with a drive letter, or a UNC or Samba network share.

Backups can be restored from wherever they were created; server storage, a WHS Server Backup drive, any NTFS formatted drive, or a network location. Upon restore, the user will be prompted to also restore the Client registry keys that associate the WHS Backup with the connected Client PC. This would most commonly be selected when performing a Server Recovery or Factory Reset where the Windows Home Server OS has been replaced. More discussion on this is available here [6] and here [7]. Power Pack 2 for Windows Home Server included some additional detection of backups in the Backup Database and so may negate the need for restoring the Client Registry keys though more testing is needed to confirm this.


Known Issues

  • BDBB must stop the PDL and WHSBackup services in order to copy the backup files. This will result in a Critical Health Notification being issued by WHS, and is entirely normal
  • The Server must sometimes be restarted after performing a BDBB Restore.
  • The backup process occurs within the context of the Server Console. Do not reboot your server while the backup is in progress
  • Canceling a backup can take a while (several minutes or more), as the copy of the current 4GB chunk must complete before the cancel can occur
  • You must reset the Server Console in order to purge the list of network shares
  • Your server is under a heavy load during this process, and so may have decreased performance for streaming, slow Console response, etc.
  • English is currently the only supported language, though this add-in should install and work correctly on non-English versions of WHS.


Disclaimer

This is a feature that was NOT released by Microsoft, it is simply an automation of the steps documented by Microsoft. The Duplication features utilize an undocumented setting of WHS, and as such are not supported by Microsoft.


References

  1. http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/8/0/18096c95-4850-4176-9821-970691b98aaf/Windows_Home_Server_Technical_Brief_-_Home_Computer_Backup_and_Restore.docx
  2. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=9001
  3. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4078
  4. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4078
  5. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2066
  6. https://technocore.homeserver.com/wiki/index.php/Migrate_Shares_and_Backups_to_New_System
  7. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2066&start=105
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