Information Resource for Windows Backup Software NTBackup

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This website has been created by an IT professional and user of Windows Backup, seeking to provide a resource to others, to assist them in protecting data with NTBackup. NTBackup is far more capable than most people realise, containing state-of-the-art features such as Volume Shadow Copy, Automated System Recovery (bare metal recovery), Registry backup, Active Directory backup etc. When used correctly and in conjunction with freely available enhancement software you can implement a backup strategy with NTBackup and avoid costly backup software from third parties. However, having said all of that, for enterprise environments, the features of other solutions can be essential and so we have also included links to other software, reviews, articles etc.


Windows Backup (NTBackup) is Windows' built-in backup solution. It was included for the first time as part of Windows NT and subsequently in Windows 2000, XP Pro and Windows 2003 Server. Although Windows Backup does not appear to be included in Windows XP Home, you can install it from the XP Home CD. See this helpful article to explain how: Installing Windows Backup on XP Home.

An earlier backup solution (MSBACKUP) was provided in earlier 16-bit Windows versions, but MSBACKUP is not covered by this website. NTBackup was originally developed by Seagate Software in conjunction with Microsoft. Seagate Software subsequently became Veritas, who recently merged with Symantec..

Article Highlights

Scheduling Automatic Backups NTBackup offers the ability to schedule backup jobs. The way this works is that NTBackup builds a command-line string to launch itself according to the parameters you set up in the UI. It creates a shortcut with the command string and then uses the Windows "Scheduled Tasks" functionality to schedule it to run. You can adjust the schedule manually. more...

Backup Selections Files A little known fact of NTBackup is that the list of files and folders that you want to backup are held in ordinary unicode text files. You can manually edit these .BKS files using a text editor like notepad, so long as the file is saved in unicode format. In our experience this is far better than using the built-in tree view functionality, which cannot show the order in which files and folders were selected. This order can be critical in determining how the backup works. more...

Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) Volume Shadow Copy is a revolutionary technique introduced first on the desktop OS's in Windows XP and then first in the server OS's in Windows 2003 Server. It allows files and folders to be recorded at a moment in time, and then the version of the files from that earlier time accessed later in the event of loss or damage to the file. more...

Automated System Recovery (ASR) Without ASR, recovering a failed system is a long winded affair. It requires, fixing the hardware, re-installing the OS's and SP's, re-installing software and then restoring data from backups. ASR significantly automates this, allowing you to fully restore your system quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency or complete system failure, even to a "bare" computer with no software installed. ASR backups ... more...

Open File Backup Some backup solutions refer to the ability to backup open files, i.e. files that are currently in use or being changed. Another little known fact of NTBackup is that it supports open file backup, by using the Volume Shadow Copy functionality and snapshotting the files as the backup starts. more...

Tape vs Disk Backups With ever falling hard disk prices and the advent of cheap flash disks, tape backup is now largely redundant. Hard disks are now the cheapest, fastest and most reliable backup media on the market. NTBackup fully supports "backup to disk" and can use spare hard disk capacity in the same computer; on other computers via a local area network (LAN), on external hard disks (e.g. Firewire or USB2) or even disk storage across the internet. more...

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