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Restoring Windows Server 2008 (part 2) - Restoring Individual Components

3/25/2011 10:00:40 PM

Restoring Individual Components

Each of the recovery activities described here assumes that you have completed its corresponding backup activity. For example, the IIS Configuration restore utilizes the folder of files created in the IIS Configuration individual component backup exercise.

Files and File Folders

Restoring files and folders on the server entails using the Windows Server Backup snap-in and a process that is similar to the one described previously for a full server recovery. The prerequisites for a full server recovery apply here; you must also ensure that your account has read access to the backup files you intend to restore.

Once all prerequisites have been addressed, you are ready to proceed.

  1. Log on to the server that you intend to restore files to using your account credentials.

  2. Click the Start button and navigate to Administrative Tools, Windows Server Backup. Doing so brings up the Windows Server Backup MMC snap-in, .

  3. Click the Recover link under the Actions menu on the right side of the menu to launch the Recovery Wizard. After a few moments with a progress bar, the Getting Started page of the Recovery Wizard appears with some basic information about the wizard. You are also prompted to indicate whether your backup files are stored on the server or in another location. Because the backup is stored on a remote share, select the second option, as shown in Figure 12, and then click the Next button to continue.

    Figure 12. Specifying a backup storage location for restore operations.
  4. The Specify Location Type page of the wizard appears, and you are prompted to indicate whether the target backup is stored on a local drive (internal or external) or a remote share. Select the Remote Shared Folder option, as shown in Figure 13, and click the Next button to continue.

    Figure 13. Selecting the backup location type.
  5. You are prompted to select the remote share where the backup file set is located. Specify the UNC path to the backup share, as shown in Figure 14, and click the Next button to continue.

    Figure 14. Identifying the UNC path of the remote share housing the backup files.


    If you are presented with a dialog box prompting you to specify the credentials of a user who has read access to the network share, it means that your account doesn’t possess the rights needed to access the location. Either supply the credentials of an account that does have access to the location, or verify that you have specified the proper remote share information.

  6. You are prompted to select the date and time of the backup set that will be used for restore operations, as shown in Figure 15. Because remote shares can be used only to store a single backup set per server, only a single date and time will be available for selection. Click the Next button to continue.

    Figure 15. Selecting the date and time of the backup to be used.
  7. The Select Recovery Type page of the Recovery Wizard appears, as shown in Figure 16, and you are presented with the option of restoring either specific files and folders or an entire volume. The remaining two options are grayed out because application and system state information was not captured by the original backup operation. Because only the GAC was backed up, select the first option (Files and Folders), and click the Next button to continue.

    Figure 16. Specifying the type of recovery to perform.


    The option to restore an entire volume is somewhat deceptive in the case of the backup that was performed. If this option is selected, you are eventually told that only a subset of files had been backed up and that only they can be restored. The restore operation obviously cannot recover files that were not part of the original backup.

  8. On the Select Items to Recover page, you are given the option to specify the files and folders you want to restore during the recovery operation. You select a folder under the Available Items pane on the left, and that folder and all its files and subfolders are selected for recovery on the right. In the case of Figure 17, you can see that three different folders were captured during the backup operation and are selected for recovery.

    Figure 17. Selecting the files and folders that will be recovered.


    “Wait a minute,” you might be saying, “Only the GAC was selected during the backup operation. Why do I see additional folders besides the C:\Windows\assembly folder listed for possible recovery?” Good question! The GAC is actually a special folder, and it operates somewhat similarly to the new libraries that are available in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. When you are looking at the GAC within Windows Explorer, you are actually looking at a listing of .NET assemblies, native images, policy files, and other elements that exist in a variety of different locations within the file system. Many of the items are located at the C:\Windows\assembly path as you would expect, but some of the listed items are located in application directories and other locations within the Windows folder. While backing up the GAC, Windows Server Backup was “smart” enough to pull in all the files that were reflected through the GAC. Pretty neat, huh?

  9. You are prompted to indicate how the recovery should proceed on the Specify Recovery Options page, as shown in Figure 18. When recovering individual files and folders, you do not have the option to automatically restore to the original location from which the files and folders were captured. You need to specify the actual path where restored folders and files are placed.

    Figure 18. Specifying the recovery options.


    Although you cannot choose to automatically have the Recovery Wizard place the restored files back in their original locations, there is generally no barrier to using the Browse button to manually select the appropriate top-level folder to force the files back to their original locations. This generally works without issue, but exercise care for system directories and some application directories where some target files may be locked or nonwritable.

    You also have control over how potential file collisions are handled and whether file and folder permissions are applied from the original backup location or inherited from the recovery destination.

  10. Before the recovery begins, you are asked to review the recovery selections you have made on the Confirmation page, as shown on Figure 19. When you are satisfied with the selections, click the Next button to begin the recovery.

    Figure 19. Confirming the recovery selections.
  11. The page changes to allow you to monitor the progress of the recovery operation, as shown in Figure 20. You can close this wizard at any time prior to or after the completion of the recovery by clicking the Close button. If the Recovery Wizard is closed prior to completion, the recovery continues in the background.

    Figure 20. Monitoring recovery progress.
  12. Upon completion of the restore operation, the files and folders that were selected for recovery are found under the E:\temp path, as specified in step 9. As shown in Figure 21, the folder structure under E:\temp mirrors the folder structure of the GAC and the referenced locations that were captured as part of the original backup.

    Figure 21. Recovered folders and files.

With files recovered in E:\temp, you are free to copy them to their original locations on the server or use them elsewhere as needed.

IIS Configuration

Restoration of a previous set of IIS configuration files is incredibly easy as long as the desired backup folder is placed in the %WINDIR%\System32\inetsrv\backup folder.

If the backup is present in the aforementioned folder, use the following steps to restore it:

  1. Open a PowerShell window by opening the Start menu and navigating to All Programs, Accessories, Windows PowerShell, Windows PowerShell.

  2. Type appcmd.exe restore backup “<name>”, where <name> is replaced by the name of the configuration file backup set that is being restored. After you have entered the full command, press the Enter key to execute the restore.

  3. When the restore is complete, you are presented with a status message similar to the one shown in Figure 22.

    Figure 22. Successful restoration of an IIS configuration.
  4. Close the PowerShell window by typing exit and pressing the Enter key.

SSL Certificates

As with the SSL certificate backup process, restorations are typically carried out using either the Certificates MMC snap-in or the IIS Manager snap-in.

  1. Carry out steps 1 through 3 as described in the SSL certificate backup example to arrive at the Server Certificates window.

  2. Click the Import link under the Actions options on the right side of the window. This brings up the Import Certificate dialog box.

  3. Specify the fully qualified path to the certificate file you are importing, and provide the password that was supplied at the time of certificate export. When the fields have been filled out as demonstrated in Figure 23, click the OK button to continue.

    Figure 23. Populating the Import Certificate dialog box.


    Unless you have specific security concerns or reasons for blocking future exports of the SSL certificate, it is recommended that you allow the check box for certificate export to remain checked. This is the default. Unchecking the box means that you are no longer able to export the certificate and have to rely on external backup copies in the event that you want to copy the certificate, migrate it, reinstall it, or take some action that would involve bringing the certificate outside the certificate store.

  4. The import executes and completes without confirmation of any sort. To verify that the import has succeeded, simply verify that the certificate is present in the main pane of the Server Certificates window .

Windows Registry

The easiest way to restore exported Registry settings is to double-click a Registry export file and click the Yes button on the warning dialog that appears, as shown in Figure 24.

Figure 24. Warning that appears when merging a .reg file with existing Registry settings.


An alternative to double-clicking the file is to right-click on it and select the Merge option from the context-sensitive menu that appears.

Once you select Yes, a merge is performed in the background. When the merge action is complete, you are notified with a dialog box indicating whether the operation was completed successfully or encountered issues.

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