Archive for Backup – Page 2

Samsung Data Migration and Dell Workstation

I’m working on a new Dell XPS 8700 that was just delivered, with Windows 8.1 pre-installed and a 1TB SATA drive. I ordered a Samsung SSD 850 Pro 500GB drive to use as the system drive. I’ve used the Samsung Data Migration cloning software successfully on a scratch install of Windows 8.1, but this is the first time to try it with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on the computer.

You install the Samsung Data Migration utility onto the computer to the existing hard drive. I then connected the SSD drive to a USB3 port using a USB3 data & power connector.

Note: Do not connect the SSD drive until the Samsung software has been installed.

  • Attempt #1: I ran the Data Migration wizard, and it came back saying that there was an issue with defragging the source disk.
  • Attempt #2: I install Piriform’s Defraggler and did a full defrag (about one hour). I reran the wizard and this time it reported that there was an issue with the source disk. I rebooted the computer and tried again, and received same error.
  • Attempt #3: I then do a sfc /scanow followed by a chkdsk /f c: – both had no issues or errors. I rebooted the computer and tried again. Same issue. I tried plugging the USB3 cable into other ports. Same issue, again.
  • Attempt #4: I then proceed to uninstall all the Dell add-on stuff (data protection, etc.) and then rebooted the computer. Voila! This time when I ran the wizard, we successfully clones the hard drive to the SSD drive.

After powering down the workstation, I unhooked the SATA drive and connected the SSD drive in its place. I powered up the system and it successfully started up Windows 8.1

Netgear Backup Appliance using StorageCraft ShadowProtect

imageStorageCraft and Netgear are teaming up to release a new set of products called ReadyRECOVER Backup Appliance. It’s designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and leverages the legendary reliability of StorageCraft ShadowProtect to simplify backup and recovery of Windows systems.

With ReadyRECOVER, incremental snapshots, taken as often as every 15 minutes, generate full backups instantly.  Each point in time backup is ready to quickly and reliably recover Windows systems, including Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint servers, into production mode on any platform – physical or virtual.  Each backup is also ready for fast, simple recovery of files or folders.

WHS 2011 and UEFI GPT Partitions

Yes, this info is a year old, but I’m just getting around to having customers by Windows 8.1 computers Smile

One of my customers is using a Windows Home Server (WHS) 2011 system to backup his office computers. He just obtained a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop. I install the WHS connector, and attempt to backup the laptop, and it died sitting at 1%. I rebooted both the laptop and the server, with the same result. Both systems are current on patches.

Then I discover that there is a Microsoft hotfix for the WHS server that is required to properly backup computers with UEFI/GPT disk partitions.


There are plenty of web sites posting this information, but none fully address the process, which I will do. What the KB article does NOT tell you is that after installing the hotfix, the workstation will need to apply an update to the Launchpad before the backup will function properly.

Part 1 – from the WHS Server

  1. Login to the WHS system, and go to the Microsoft KB2781272 link and click on the button “Hotfix Download Available –>”
  2. You will be offered three versions of the hotfix. the first version listed is the most recent one.
  3. Select it, and fill in your email address. Microsoft will send you an email with a link to download the file
  4. Look for the email, download the file and move it over to a temp directory on the WHS server. I created a temp folder labeled “UEFI-Hotfix” under the Downloads folder.
  5. Double click on the file, which is a self-executing zip file, and it will expand out the contents to your temp directory. If you are not able to do so, right click on the file and look to see if the file has been “blocked”. If so click on the Block button.
  6. You will be prompted to select a folder to unzip the file. Use the “Browse” button and go to the temp folder you created.
  7. Locate the actual hotfix file (labeled Windows6.1-KB2781272-x64.msu, double click and install it.
  8. You will be prompted to reboot the server

Part 2 – from the Windows 8.1 computer

  1. From the computer in question, startup the WHS Launchpad. Note: you don’t need to sign in, just start it up.
  2. You should then see a task activity button indicating that an update to the LaunchPad is being installed.
  3. Once that is finished, you should be able to successfully create a backup.

How to boot from a ShadowProtect USB key on Win 8.1

I rely on StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect (IT Edition) for creating a full disk image backup of a workstation prior to replacing the hard drive. I’ve used it literally for years.

I was setting up a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro with Win 8.1 for a customer, and wanted to make a disk image of the laptop before proceeding. I use a bootable USB stick with ShadowProtect on it. But I was unable to boot from the USB stick on this new laptop.

The solution was simple, after contacting StorageCraft

In order to boot the ISO on the 8.1 machine you need to change the boot options on the system to Legacy instead of UEFI. Once that is done the ISO should boot with no problems.


Cloud Backup Calculator

Backing up your business data to the cloud should be a point of discussion with each and every one of your customers. I’m not saying that it’s necessary to do cloud backup, but it should be addressed.

One of the first questions that is generally asked is: “How long will it take me to backup my data?”


The folks at Highly Reliable systems posted an Upload Time Calculator which you may find useful. For example, it will take 8 days to backup 100GB of data on a T-1 line (1.5Mbps). But that time reduces to 2 1/2 days if your Internet upload speed is 5Mbps.


Beware Cryptolocker Malware Madness

The past few weeks have been filled with reports of workstations and servers being hacked with the Cryptolocker / Ransomware malware. It is being called one of the worst malware attacks ever seen. And these attacks are occurring even when anti-virus and anti-spam filters are in place.


Please do not treat this lightly!

The result of this attack is that files on your computer will be encrypted with a high-level 128-bit encryption key. And it will quickly spread to any mapped drives or USB drives that are attached. And even worse — there is no known tool to unencrypt these files.

This malware often comes in through rogue emails that appear to be from FedEx, UPS, Amazon or other similar purchasing sites. It may be a link in the email, or an attachment. But clicking on the link or the attachment is all that it takes.


You will know if you have been infected with the Cryptolocker malware, because you will see a large message on your screen telling you to pay a ransom to get your data files back.

Do not attempt to run any anti-virus or anti-malware utilities. If you see the ransom message, turn off your computer immediately. Power it off and disconnect your network cable.


The best advice anyone will give you is to make sure you have up-to-date backup of your servers, workstations and your data. Because if you get caught by this malware, you will need to restore your data from backup. It primarily seeks out office files (Word, Excel, etc.), but will also look for database files (Access, FoxPro, etc.)

Cryptolocker can be removed using well know malware removal tools, such as MalwareBytes. But these tools CANNOT unencrypt your infected files.


The Cryptolocker malware will display a large warning message that your computer has been compromised, and that you can recover your files if you pay the required ransom (anywhere from $100 to $300). But they say that you only have a limited amount of time to pay this ransom, generally 72 hours.

Even though there are some people who have reported paying the ransom and getting their files unencrypted, I cannot condone such actions. Not only is there is no assurance that the cleanup will take place if you pay the money, it still remains that your system has been compromised.


I strongly advise to reformat infected systems and restore Windows, either from backup or as a clean install.

WHS 2011 and UEFI support

Microsoft released a hotfix (KB 2781272) earlier this year to add backup support for UEFI-based client computers that contain a GUID partition table (GPT) formatted disk. The hotfix addresses four issues that are defined in the KB post.

Please note that prior to installing this hot fix, it is necessary to remove those client computers that contain GPT-formatted disk from the WHS 2011 dashboard, and select ‘Do not archive backup’.


New HP Microserver Gen8 available!

Hurrah! HP has released their next generation of the HP Microserver, properly labeled as: HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8.

First, a quick look back …

HP MediaSmart Server / Data Vault Server

Nearly five years ago, HP released their HP MediaSmart Server for running Microsoft’s Windows Home Server solution. Although it was designed as a “home” solution, many of us immediately saw this as a great backup solution for small businesses. 

Sure enough, a year later, HP repackaged the MediaSmart Server, and sold it as the HP StorageWorks Data Vault Server. Nearly everyone of my customers has a MediaSmart/Data Vault server strictly for doing workstation backups.

All at a cost of less than $500!

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HP MicroServer

Two and a half years ago, I purchased my first HP ProLiant MicroServer. I have one in my lab that I use for demos. It is currently running Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, 2012 Essentials and Windows 8. At every I.T. seminar or conference I have spoken at in the past two years, you get everyone’s attention when showing off the HP MicroServer.

I have the HP MicroServer installed at customer sites being used as a backup server (WHS 2011), as a member server running Windows Foundation/SharePoint, and as a development system for LOB web applications.

And now, presenting …

HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen 8

Last month HP released the next generation of the MicroServer – HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen 8. And it’s a beauty!

The improvements over the prior MicroServer includes: supports up to 16GB memory, up to 12TB (terabytes) of non-hot plug STA drives, HP iLO4 integrated with the gigabit NIC switch, add-on Raid 5, and easier internal access when adding memory.

It comes in two models: Intel Celeron G1610T (2 core, 2.3GHz, $449) or Intel Pentium G2020T (2 core, 2.5 Ghz, $529). Both models come standard with 2GB memory.


But don’t take my word for it. Read what my good friend and MVP partner,  Robert Pearman has to say about the new Gen8 MicroServer!

Let me know what you think of it!

Not Enough Disk Space SBS 2008 Backup

My normal experience is that the built in backup for SBS 2008 generally just works … that is, until now. I returned from vacation to find backup errors on an SBS 2008 customer’s server. The error message was: “Failed – There is not enough space on the disk”


So, I hunted around for a solution to get things running, and here’s what I found that worked for me. What we will be doing is to manually delete the oldest shadow partition(s) from the USB drive, thus making room for newer backups. Here’s the process we will follow:

  1. Temporarily assign a drive letter to your USB drive being used for backup
  2. Use the DiskShadow utility to delete the oldest shadow partition(s) to free up enough disk space
  3. Remove the temporary drive letter assignment
  4. Rerun the backup

So, let’s get started:

  1. Open up Disk Management (Start –> Run –> DiskMgmt.msc)
  2. Right click on the USB Drive being used for backups, then click Change Drive Letter and Paths

    Remember: by default, the USB drive being used for SBS Backups is generally hidden.
    We can, however, assign a drive letter temporarily to make room on the drive.
  3. I mounted my USB drive to X:

    Keep the disk Management window open, as you will be needing it.

  4. Next, open up a command prompt with administrator rights
    1. Type: diskshadow and press enter
    2. Type: delete shadows OLDEST x: and press enter
    3. Repeat the delete shadows command several time until you have freed up enough disk spac
    4. Then close the command prompt window
  5. Return to the Disk Management window, click Change Drive Letter and Paths… and remove the drive letter assignment.
    Note: removing the drive letter may take a few minutes, so do not panic!
  6. Next, rerun your scheduled backup, and hopefully your backup will successfully complete!

Finally, you will find some helpful information in this blog post from the Microsoft Storage Team on backups and space management for Windows Server 2008/2008R2.

Uninstall NT Backup Utility after SBS Migration

When migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011, I will often backup data folders on the old server with NT Backup. However, SBS 2011 does not provide the NT Backup utility natively on it. However, Microsoft does offer a “read only” version of NT Backup (KB 974674) that can be installed on SBS 2011 and used to restore .bkf backup files.

Once your migration is complete, it is critical that this NT Backup utility is uninstalled from your SBS 2011 server as it affects the regular daily backup that you will be doing with your SBS 2011 server. The issue would not become apparent until you attempt to do a bare metal restore of your SBS 2011 server. See Susan Bradley’s blog post on the subject.

What’s not addressed is how to uninstall this utility. You won’t find it in the regular Add/Remove programs section of the control panel. Nor will you find it anywhere from Start > All Programs.

Here’s how to uninstall it:

  • Click Start –> type appwiz.cpl and press Enter
  • Click on View installed updates
  • Under the section Microsoft Windows, locate Update for Windows (KB974674)
  • Click to select KB 974674 and then click Uninstall