Windows Backup

Definition of Windows Backup in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is Windows Backup?

Windows Backup is a Microsoft Windows 2000 utility for backing up and restoring important data to tape. Windows Backup is accessed through the System Tools group in the Accessories group.

How Windows Backup Works

With Windows Backup, you can either manually back up volumes or schedule unattended backup jobs to be performed automatically on a regular basis. Windows Backup lets you back up data either to a tape drive or to a file that can be stored on various media including hard disks, removable disks, writable CDs, or optical drives.

Graphic W-8. Windows Backup.

Backup and Restore are initiated and scheduled through a single dialog box (see screen capture). Wizard-based interfaces are used to simplify the backup and restore processes, and they allow you to back up all files on your system, specified files, or only critical system state data essential to the health of the system. You can use the Backup Wizard to perform a normal, copy, incremental, differential, or daily copy backup, and you can choose to either append the backup to the media specified or overwrite the existing backup file on the media. Backups can be run immediately or can be scheduled to run daily, weekly, monthly, at system startup, at logon, or when the system is idle.

In order to back up and restore any files regardless of the permissions they are assigned, users must be members of the Administrators, Backup Operators, or Server Operators group. Ordinary users can back up only their own files and folders, plus any files for which they have read permission. Similarly, ordinary users can restore only their own files and folders, plus any files for which they have write permission.

You must normally close files in order to back them up by using Windows Backup. Operating system files can be backed up even if they are open, however.


The corresponding utility on the Microsoft Windows NT platform is called Windows NT Backup. The Windows NT Backup tool supports backup to tape drive only. It does not support volume recovery because it does not back up data at the sector level. The command-line version of this utility is called ntbackup.exe and includes a number of switches that allow you to run it from a batch file that you schedule using the Windows NT at command.


Prior to running Windows Backup, use the Send Console Message option in the Computer Management console to send an administrative message to all logged-on users instructing them to save their work and close their applications if they want their files to be backed up properly.


When Microsoft Exchange Server is installed on Windows NT Server, additional functionality is added to the Windows NT Backup tool to simplify backup of critical Exchange directories and files such as the information store.