5 1 0:Backing up System State

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Welcome to the latest SEP sesam documentation version 5.1.0 Apollon. For previous documentation version(s), check documentation archive.


SEP sesam supports the backup of system state data and uses the 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 the 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 the registry, boot file, Active Directory etc. This way you do not have to manually reconfigure Windows to its original state before the crash or corruption.

System state task type

Windows system state is a selectable task type that allows all system state components to be backed up as a unit. Note that system state elements are machine-specific and depend on the respective operating system installation version and configuration. SEP sesam allows for dynamic discovery of existing system state elements and their 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
On a domain controller (DC), the DFS is used to replicate the SYSVOL and should therefore be included in the system state backup. However, if your system state backups are slow due to the large amount of DFSR data, consider excluding the DFS writer from the system state backup task, as described in Troubleshooting system state backup.
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).
Backing up your system state may not be sufficient to recover your system from 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 that can be used to recover the client system.


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

  • You must have backup permissions and access rights to back up system state information. For details, see User Roles and Permissions.
  • On the SEP sesam Server, run a test to ensure that the SEP sesam file system backup of the corresponding client works and that the 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 (which specifies when you want to back up your data) and linking the schedule to a backup event (which specifies how and where to back up the data). For general information on backup configuration and prerequisites, see Standard Backup Procedure. This section deals only with the specific information on backing up the system state.

  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. Click OK to create the task.
  4. 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 regular 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.
  5. Tip
    You can 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. You can also group your backup tasks into task groups. For details, see Adding a Task to the Task Group.
  6. 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.

Monitoring backup

You can view the status of your backup jobs in the GUI (Monitoring -> Last Backup State or Job State -> Backups) or SEP sesam Web UI. The backup status overview provides detailed information about the last run of backup jobs, including task name, start and stop time of the last backup, backup level, data size, throughput, assigned media pool, etc.

Considerations for system state backup

Make sure that regular 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 you have a copy to use for 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 domain controllers (the supported backup lifetime for domain controllers is equal to the maximum tombstone age (60 days by default), which means they may soon be out of sync) and for Active Directory data, such as computer accounts. Restoring from an old system state backup can lead to a number of problems, such as mismatched accounts within AD.
  • Run frequent restore tests of your backups to ensure that the backups will work when needed.

See also

Restoring System StateSEP sesam BSR ProBackupStandard Backup Procedure

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