Backup Exchange 2016 With Windows Server Backup

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Microsoft Exchange provides Database Availability Groups (DAG) for database replication and high availability of Exchange Server. Off-site DAGs may not be feasible for small to medium organizations. While DAGs can reduce the need for backup application, backup of Exchange server ensures that you are ready for disaster recovery in a traditional way. Make sure that the backup application you are using to backup Exchange 2016 is Exchange-aware. Windows server comes with it’s own backup application called Windows Server Backup which is Exchange aware. So in this post, I will show steps to backup Exchange 2016 with Windows Server Backup application. It is better to understand components of Exchange database before configuring backup of Exchange server.

Backup Exchange 2016 With Windows Server Backup

Exchange 2016 Scenario

Here, I have single Exchange server 2016 without DAG. For backup storage I have dedicated local volume (drive F) on Exchange Server (MBG-EX01). You can also have NAS (Network Attached Storage) as backup destination which is more preferred and popular method of backup. I will perform full backup of Exchange 2016 using Windows Server Backup application. At first, Log on to Exchange server and install Windows Server Backup feature. You can install from PowerShell as shown below.

PS C:\Users\Administrator.MUSTBEGEEK> Install-WindowsFeature Windows-Server-Backup

Success Restart Needed Exit Code      Feature Result
------- -------------- ---------      --------------
True    No             Success        {Windows Server Backup}

After successful installation, open Windows Server Backup application.

create backup schedule

Right-click local backup and click Backup Schedule to create new backup schedule. Backup schedule wizard opens up. Click Next on Getting started window.

Backup Exchange 2016 With Windows Server Backup

Choose backup configuration type. You can choose full server or custom option. Full server option will backup whole server with less option to choose from. Here I will choose Custom option. Click Next.

select items

Click Add items to add backup items. Check all boxes except the backup destination which is F drive. Bare metal option allows you to recover the whole server from scratch in new physical server or virtual machine. System state option backs up current system state data like boot files, system files, registry keys, and so on. After checking required items, click OK. Click Advanced Settings to modify VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) setting.

vss setting

VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) service creates a snapshot of current state of the server and creates backup. Click VSS Settings tab. Choose VSS full Backup option. VSS full backup option will truncate the transaction logs which creates free space in drive where transaction logs are stored. VSS copy backup option will perform backup in same manner as VSS full backup does but does not truncate the transaction logs. Click OK. Click Next.

specify backup time

Specify backup time, once a day or more than once a day. Click Next. Make sure you don’t define time during busy hours.

backup destination

Choose backup destination. Click Next.

choose destination disk

Choose disk. You might have to click show all available disks if disk is not showing by default. Check the available disk. I have checked F drive. Click Next.


You will be presented with the warning saying the drive will be formatted and any existing data on the drive will lost. Click Yes on the warning.


Review the confirmation and click Finish. The application will now format the disk and will start the backup automatically as per the defined time.


If you want to run the backup manually, right-click local backup and click Backup once option.

scheduled backup

Choose scheduled backup option and click next and click backup to start the backup. The backup will now start.

backup completed

You can also verify the Exchange backup using Exchange Management Shell (EMS) as shown below.

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>Get-MailboxDatabase -Server MBG-EX01 -Status | fl Name,*FullBackup

Name                   : Mailbox Database 2095368010
SnapshotLastFullBackup : True
LastFullBackup         : 10/25/2015 11:22:51 PM

Name                   : DB01
SnapshotLastFullBackup : True
LastFullBackup         : 10/25/2015 11:22:51 PM

The backup is now completed. You can now restore Exchange server if it fails for some reason.

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Bipin is a freelance Network and System Engineer with expertise on Cisco, Juniper, Microsoft, VMware, and other technologies. You can hire him on UpWork. Bipin enjoys writing articles and tutorials related to Network technologies. Some of his certifications are, MCSE:Messaging, JNCIP-SEC, JNCIS-ENT, and others.

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