4 4 3:Backing up System State

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SEP sesam supports system state data backup and uses Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to back up system state components. These components include core files and registry settings and are related to various aspects of Windows operating system.

In the event of a system crash or corruption you can use the system state backup to restore Windows system settings and other critical system related components, such as registry, boot file, Active Directory etc. This way you do not have to manually reconfigure Windows back to its original state before the crash or corruption.

Up until SEP sesam version 4.4.3, the system state backup was known and selectable under the name System_recovery. This option is now renamed to System state without change in functionality.

Information sign.png Note
System state backup may not be sufficient to recover your system after a failure and is not a replacement for a disaster recovery solution. To prepare your system for disaster recovery, use SEP sesam BSR Pro to create a boot image on the client which may be used to recover the client system.

System state task type

The Windows system state is a selectable task type which provides backup of all system state components as a unit. Note that system state elements are machine-specific and depend on each operating system installation version and configuration. SEP sesam allows for dynamic discovery of existing system state elements and backup.

At a minimum, the following components are backed up:

System state data
Registry, COM+ class registration database, boot and system files, DFS namespaces/replications
SEP Tip.png Tip
On a Domain Controller (DC) the DFS is used to replicate the SYSVOL, therefore it should be included in the system state backup. However, if your system state backups are slow due to large amount of DFSR data, you should consider excluding the DFS writer from the system state backup task, as described in System state backup troubleshooting.
A domain controller system state
Active Directory Domain Services, Windows Registry, COM+ database, SYSVOL directory
System services components
Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), Cluster Service information (cluster node only), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) meta-directory, Removable Storage Management Database (RSM), Remote Storage Service, Terminal Server Licensing, Windows Internet Name Service (WINS), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)


Make sure that the following conditions are met when backing up system state data:

  • You must be an administrator or a backup operator to back up system state information.
  • On the SEP sesam Server, run a test to ensure that the SEP sesam file system backup of the corresponding client is working and that data can be restored.

Creating a system state backup task

Configuring a system state backup involves creating a System State backup task for your Windows client, setting up a backup schedule (specifying when you want to back up your data) and linking the schedule to a backup event (specifying how to back up the data and where to back it up to). For general information on backup configuration and prerequisites, see Standard Backup Procedure. This section deals only with system state backup specific information.

  1. In the Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select your Windows client then click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window appears.
  2. Now specify the Source. Click the browse button and select System State. This specifies your system state data as the source and sets the System State task type and the task name automatically.
  3. System state backup Beefalo V2.jpg

  4. Click OK to create the task.
  5. If you want to start the newly created task immediately, right-click the name of the task and click Immediate Start. If you want to create a periodic backup, you have to create a schedule for your backup task: Click New Schedule under Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules and set up a schedule. For more details, see Creating a Schedule.
  6. SEP Tip.png Tip
    You can also add your backup task to an existing schedule by double-clicking the backup task, selecting the tab Schedules and adding it to one or more schedules. Additionally, you can group your backup tasks to task groups. For details, see Adding a Task to the Task Group.
  7. Once you have configured a schedule, you must create a new backup event for it. For general information on creating a backup event, see Creating a Backup Event.

You can view the status of your backup jobs by selecting Last Backup State in the Main Selection window. The backup status overview provides detailed information on the last run of backup jobs, including the task name, start and stop time of the last backup, backup level, data size, throughput, assigned media pool, etc.

As of 4.4.3 Beefalo V2, you can check the details of your backups online by using new Web UI. For details, see SEP sesam Web UI.

Information sign.png Note
Make sure that frequent system state backups of your servers are carefully planned:
  • The system state should be backed up regularly, at least before and after each major system update and on a weekly basis to ensure a copy which you could use to rollback.
  • You should have at least two versions of the system state backup to ensure recovery to any working version if the system state gets corrupted.
  • The age of the system state backup can be an issue for the domain controllers (the supported backup lifetime for the domain controllers is equal to the maximum tombstone age (60 days by default), which means that they can soon be out of sync) and for the Active Directory data, such as computer accounts. Restoring from an old system state backup can cause a number of problems, such as mismatched accounts within AD.
  • Run frequent restore tests of your backups to ensure that backups will work in case of need.

Known issues

If you have probles with system state backup, check the Troubleshooting Guide.

What is next?

Restoring Windows System State