Backups with Windows NT

Sooner or later every user of a computer system is going to lose an important file. These losses have many causes: a power failure corrupting data, a hardware failure may ruin an entire disk, or you may even accidentally delete it yourself. If any data on your system is difficult to replace you should be performing backups.

Types of Backups

There are generally four different types of backups: Full backups, copy-only backups, differential backups, and incremental backups.
  The Windows NT Backup Utility

Windows NT has a backup utility that may be accessed via the Start >Programs >Administrative Tools (Common) >Backup menu or using the ntbackup command. Access to this facility to limited to members of the Administrators and Backup Operators groups.
To perform a backup start the utility and from the Drives window select the files you want to back up. In order to back up files from a remote system you must map them to a local drive letter.

Then select the device to make the backup to from the Tapes window and press the Backup button.
To specify the parameters for the backup edit the information contained in the Backup Information dialog box.

To restore files from a backup tape in Windows NT insert the tape containing the desired files into the tape drive. Double click on the tapes entry in the Tapes window and load the backup’s catalog. The catalog is a file containing information about the contents of each particular tape. Once the catalog is loaded select the files you would like to restore and press the Restore button.

Command Line

Alternately you can perform a backup from the command line using the following syntax:
    ntbackup operation path [options]
Where operation is backup or eject, and path is a list of directories, separated by spaces, to back up. A list of most of the options follows:
Append the backup set to the end of the tape (default is to overwrite the tape).
Verify the backup after writing it.
/R Restrict access to the tape to its owner, Administrators, and Backup Operators.
/D label
Specify a label for the backup set. Enclose the description in quotes if it contains spaces.
/B Back up the registry in addition to specified files.
/HC:on | off
Specify whether or not to use hardware compression.
/T type
Select the type of backup: normal | copy | incremental | differential | daily
/L path
Specify the path to the log file for this backup operation to produce a Full Detail log.
Use tape drive number n. The drive number can be viewed with the Properties button on the Tape Devices control panel. This key defaults to the default tape drive if not specified.

For example, the command:
    C:\> ntbackup backup C:\ D:\ /D Friday_Night /B /HC:on /T incremental /L F:\Logs\Fri.log
Performs an incremental backup of the C: and D: drives and the local registry to the default tape drive using hardware compression. Existing data on the tape is overwritten. The backup is given the name “Friday_Night” and the log is stored on F:\Logs\Fri.log.


Although the Windows NT backup facility is easy to use it does have some annoying shortcomings: