WHS refresh ditches auto-backup

May 19, 2008 // 10:41 a.m.

Tags: #backup #database #drive-extender #power-pack #power-pack-1 #whs #windows-home-server

If you're a Windows Home Server user making sure that your backups are up-to-date in case the file eating bug – which still hasn't been fixed – bites you, you've probably been looking forward to Power Pack 1's automated backup features. Sadly, it looks like you might be relying on third-party packages for a while longer.

According to an article over at BetaNews, Power Pack 1 – a kind of value-added service pack for the OEM-centric home server OS – was originally set to introduce a feature by which the WHS database containing the backups gathered from client machines on your home network could itself be automatically backed up in case of corruption. It took a member of the Windows Home Server Community Forums asking how to prepare for the feature for Microsoft to admit that the automated backup facility had been quietly removed.

Ken Warren, a moderator over at the WHS Forums, claimed that the news shouldn't have come as a shock, saying that “as I've been saying for some time, Power Pack 1, will not provide a tool to back up your backup database. It was an announced feature, but it has been removed because it doesn't meet the quality bar. I know of at least half a dozen bugs submitted around that feature that left end users in a bad place with no obvious way back.

Warren was keen to point out that manual backups of the database are still a possibility, but many users are put off by the complexity of such a task. The only way to create a copy of the backup database – which does not get copied to multiple hard drives when using Windows Home Server Drive Extender, so if the main system drive is lost so are your backups – is to connect an external hard drive to the WHS box, initiate a Remote Desktop Connection via the command line, stop the automated backup service, browse to the {00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4} folder in a second command line, and manually copy the contents to the external drive before restarting the backup service. Not quite the easy, automated duplication that users were looking forward to being introduced in Power Pack 1.

Microsoft was unwilling to comment on whether the feature has been deep-sixed for all eternity, or whether we can expect to see a more reasonable method of keeping an external copy of the backup database in a future update to Windows Home Server.

Any Home Server users spitting feathers over the crippled backup features built in to the OS, or are you all avoiding it until the data-guzzling bug is fixed? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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