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Windows 2000 System State in backups

Windows 2000 System State in backups
Rick Cook

There are a lot of reasons to do regular backups, but Windows 2000 adds another one to the list. You must have a current copy of the System State files.

System State files include the Registry, Active Directory, the boot files and the COM+ database. If these files are corrupted or not present you're going to have serious trouble trying to restore the system. The Windows backup utility provides an option to save the System State files and it is a good idea to use the option. The reason is that the System State files have a lot of dependencies in them so they must be backed up and restored as a set.

There are a couple of other wrinkles about backing up the System State. One is that the time between backups of those files cannot exceed the Active Directory's Tombstone Lifetime -- the amount of time deleted objects are kept in Active Directory. Beyond that time limit, the restore utilities will reject all the data as out of date. The default setting on the Tombstone is 60 days, which could be a problem for a system using a generational backup system and attempting to restore from an older tape.

The other consideration is that the System State can only be backed up on the local computer. As Microsoft notes: "You cannot back up (or restore) System State data on a remote machine."

Microsoft covers this in its "Windows 2000 Server Disaster Recovery Guidelines", which is available in Microsoft's TechNet database.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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Related Book

SQL Server 2000 Backup and Recovery
Author : Anil Desai
Publisher : Osborne
Published : Nov 2000
The one-stop resource for administrators and managers seeking to implement backup and recovery strategies with ebusiness objectives. Shows how to maximize the new security enhancement ins SQL Server 2000. Design a data protection plan and implement data restoration strategies. Understand real-world problems and learn how to solve them through in-depth case studies.

This was last published in May 2001

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