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Windows Server 2016 – Recovering data from a Windows backup file

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Creating a backup or even a backup schedule is easy enough, but what is the process for restoring information from one of those backup files that we have sitting around? This is where the rubber really meets the road, as they say. Let’s run through the process of restoring some data from a backup file that was taken yesterday. Perhaps some data was corrupted or accidentally deleted. Whatever the reason for our recovery needs, we will work together to restore some data from a backup file and get comfortable with that interface.

Getting ready

We are still working on our Server 2016 web server. This server was previously configured for Windows Server Backup, so it already has that feature installed. Yesterday we created a full backup of our server, and today we need to recover some of the data from that backup file.

How to do it…

Follow these steps in order to restore the server using the Windows Server Backup utility:

  1. Open up the Windows Server Backup management interface. You can launch this from either the Start menu or from the Tools menu of Server Manager.
  2. Choose Local Backup from the left window pane.
  3. Near the right side of your screen, click on the Recover… action:
  1. Since our backup file is stored right here on one of the server’s volumes, we choose This server and click Next.
  2. Now you will see a calendar with bold dates indicating which days have valid backup files that you can restore back to. We are selecting the backup that ran yesterday and clicking Next:
  1. Now in the Select Recovery Type screen, we are going to choose Files and folders and click Next.
You will notice a grayed out option here for Hyper-V. If you use Windows Server Backup on a Hyper-V server, you have options for backing up and restoring individual virtual machines on that host. This is a great feature enhancement and a good reason to start using Windows Server Backup on your Hyper-V servers.
  1. We are now looking at the Select Items to Recover screen. Simply choose the files and folders that you want to restore from yesterday’s backup. For our web server, which is the DirectAccess NLS server we set up a couple of chapters ago, it was the website itself that was compromised and we want to roll back to the website files that were running yesterday. So I am going to choose to restore the C:\NLS folder:
  1. Choose the option to recover files to Original location and click Overwrite the existing versions with the recovered versions. This will ensure that the files from yesterday’s backup get placed on top of the files that still exist on our server today.
  2. On the Confirmation screen, you will see a summary of the items that are going to be recovered. If everything looks good, click on the Recover button.

How it works…

This recovery recipe is a good baseline for getting familiar with the options that are available to you for restoring from Windows backup files. Here we restored some simple files that had been compromised on our web server. In the event of a more serious system failure, where you might need to take a full disk backup and recover the whole thing onto a new server, that process is slightly more complicated. To accomplish a full system recovery of that magnitude, you would boot the server into your Windows setup disk and choose to run Windows Recovery Environment. Through this tool, you could make use of your Windows backup file and restore the server.

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