How to Schedule Windows Server Backup

If you are using Windows Server Backup to backup Exchange Server 2010 then you will want to configure a scheduled back task to automate the process.

Windows Server Backup has scheduling capabilities built in.  You can configure a scheduled backup job by clicking on Backup Schedule in the actions pane of the Windows Server Backup console.

Creating a scheduled backup in Windows Server Backup

Creating a scheduled backup in Windows Server Backup

However you might notice that the scheduling options are limited.  You can either perform a daily backup, or more frequent backups, but not less frequent backups.

Windows Server Backup scheduling options

Windows Server Backup scheduling options

Why would you want to create less frequent scheduled backups of an Exchange server?

Two example scenarios are:

  • Reducing backups to run weekly because the data is already protected by a Database Availability Group
  • Running two different backup jobs on alternating days that backup to two different devices or locations

Fortunately you can schedule your Windows Server Backup jobs to run any time you like simply by creating the jobs manually in Task Scheduler.

Launch Task Scheduler by searching for it in the Start Menu of the server you wish to back up.

Launch Task Scheduler

Launch Task Scheduler

In the Actions pane click on Create Task.

Create a new Scheduled Task

Create a new Scheduled Task

Give the new task a meaningful name, and then configure it to run whether the account is logged on or not.  This allows it to run completely unattended.

Configure the scheduled task security options

Configure the scheduled task security options

On the Triggers tab click on the New button.

Create a new trigger for the scheduled task

Create a new trigger for the scheduled task

The trigger for this task will be the schedule you want to run your backups on.  In this example the Exchange server will be backed up weekly on Saturdays.

Create a schedule for the backup job

Create a schedule for the backup job

On the Actions tab click the New button.

Create a new Action for the scheduled task

Create a new Action for the scheduled task

The action for this scheduled task will be to run wbadmin.exe, which is the command-line tool for managing Windows Server Backup.

The full command being configured for the scheduled task is:

wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:F: -include:D:,E: -allCritical -vssfull -quiet

This command line performs the following:

  • start backup – tells wbadmin.exe to start a backup
  • -backupTarget – this is the target volume to store the backup on, in this case F: (no trailing backslash)
  • -include – these are the volumes to include in the backup job, in this case D: and E: because they are the volumes with Exchange databases and transaction logs on them
  • -allCritical – this tells Windows Server Backup to also include any other volumes or data that are required for a full server recovery, eg the System volume and SystemState. This is optional if you only want to backup the Exchange data.
  • -vssfull - this tells Windows Server Backup to perform a full VSS backup of Exchange and truncate the transaction logs
  • -quiet – runs the command silently with no visual interaction
Configure the wbadmin.exe command line

Configure the wbadmin.exe command line

You can inspect the extra conditions and settings to see if you want to configure anything else for your environment.

The wbadmin command-line for the Exchange backup

The wbadmin command-line for the Exchange backup

Otherwise click OK.  You will be prompted for the password for the user account you configured to run the scheduled task (note: I recommend you use a proper service account for this and not the Administrator account).

Enter the credentials for the scheduled task

Enter the credentials for the scheduled task

The new scheduled backup job will now appear in Task Scheduler.

Exchange backup job in Task Scheduler

Exchange backup job in Task Scheduler

Task scheduler will also display the last run time and result for the scheduled task.

About Paul Cunningham

Paul is a Microsoft Exchange Server MVP and publisher of Exchange Server Pro. He also holds several Microsoft certifications including for Exchange Server 2007, 2010 and 2013. Connect with Paul on Twitter and Google+.

Comments

  1. That’s what I was looking for. Thank you!

  2. Alfredo Pulido says:

    Hi, I’m actually doing something similar, I have a similar instruction in a .bat file, so I do the same into an scheduled task, my problem is that when the scheduled task begins and execute the command it questions about formating the unit where backup will be stored, I mean, it doesn’t respect the parameter “-quiet”.
    Inclusive I’ve tried in CMD as administrator executing the same command and the result is the same.
    Any idea about how to make the command WBADMIN START BACKUP works without intervenction of the admin??

    Thank you I really appreciate the time you take helping others.

    Regards!

  3. Elio Frongia says:

    I have a question. Will the backup delete the transactional logs? Will it commit all changes to the database? I created a different database for archiving, and it is stored in another volume also. If I backup that volumen, will it work the same way as backing up the Mailbox store? I think it will, as the ArchiveDB is, in fact, another mailbox store, right?
    This was very helpful for me.

    Thank you!

  4. Hi Can we select particular folders in a drive for weekly scheduled backups

    • Exchange backups need to be at the volume level, not the file/folder level.

      • Then how is scheduled backup wizard giving an option to do so when you go for custom backup

        • Because the backup wizard is letting you choose files/folders if you so wish, which is valid for regular file server backups etc. But that isn’t the correct method for the application backup such as Exchange.

          But for Exchange the proper, supported backup for the Exchange application is to choose the volume.

  5. Will it work if I setup the backup on 2008 R2 and then go into Task Scheduler and edit the schedule? I have done this, and the next backup date is correct in Task Scheduler, but when I open Windows Backup gui, it still shows the next backup as tonight (not Monday as shows in TS).

    • Well, to answer my own question, it did in fact allow me to set up my backup with the wizard (gui) and then go back and change the schedule in Task Scheduler. In my case, I set the backup for 9pm which automatically runs daily, then changed it in Task Scheduler to weekly for every Monday, Tues, Wed, and Thurs. It works like a champ and on Fri, Sat or Sun, nothing runs or shows up as failed. The gui still will show it’s supposed to run on those days, but it never kicks off.

  6. Thank you very much Paul for this amazing article. I always find what I require on your blog. You are doing good job.

  7. hi Paul,

    i am getting error while try to run command at PS. drive e: contains trans logs and drive f: contains exchang DB.
    i just want to take trans logs and db backup on weekly basis.

    wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:\\servername\sharefolder -include:e:,f: -vssfull -quiet

    Retrieving volume information…
    ERROR – The file ‘e: f:’ is invalid.

    thanks,

  8. I have this command working flawlessly in powershell:

    wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:\\nasbackup\backup\Tuesday1 -include:’e:,f:’ -quiet (which backs up my database and logs)

    But it won’t overwrite an existing backup when I run it in Task Scheduler.

    Can you tell me what I’m missing?

    Thanks,

  9. you commands are incorrect, I just spent 2 hours figuring out the problem. The syntax is:

    start backup -backuptarget:d: -allcritical -vssfull -quiet

    Another advise is if you are Running this on demand, give it some time before panicking as it takes a few minutes depending on the size of your volume for the backup folder to showup in the directory.

    As someone rightly mentioned you can also create the normal scheduled backup using WSB and then modify the task under Task Scheduler>Task Scheduler library>Microsoft>Windows>Backup.

    Hope that helps someone out there.

    • Thanks, for your help, but that’s not quite what I was looking for.

      I don’t want to do -allcritical because that does almost the whole drive and I just want my database and log files backed up.

      The command I use works fine in powershell, just not in Task Scheduler.

      I need to make a new task for each day of the week, because we want daily backups Mon-Saturday and then a full backup will be done by WSB on Sunday. Each daily backup will be stored in a different folder.

      I wish WBS let you create multiple backups.

  10. Not sure why it wasnt working on server 2008, but the same commands work ok :(

Leave a Comment

*

We are an Authorized DigiCert™ SSL Partner.