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Commandment 4: Review Backup Settings

Whenever you move into a new role or obtain a new client, review the existing backup routines. Check to ensure that the backup routines you inherit are configured properly.

Using Windows, administrators often schedule backups using default settings. As a result, backups receive 72 hours to complete, using Windows XP Professional. That’s a really long time, and in most cases that I’ve seen, a backup that requires more than a few hours to complete is usually a backup that’s not functioning or completing properly. When scheduling backups, restrict the amount of time during which a bad backup routine can operate. Otherwise, you risk consuming system and network resources to the point that an office slows to a crawl.

Configure Windows backup settings using the Settings tab of the Schedule Job dialog box, which is reached by clicking the Set Schedule button from within the Windows Backup or Restore Wizard. Other settings to consider carefully are the Power Management check boxes (see Figure 1).

When configuring backups for SMBs, I recommend checking all three of the Power Management options. As these settings are not configured by default, you’ll need to check each setting manually to guarantee that power failures don’t interrupt a backup and result in a corrupted backup overwriting a valid backup file. In addition, selecting the option to wake the computer keeps a dormant PC from sleeping through a backup routine.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Default settings for Windows XP (shown here) and Windows Server products require fine-tuning to optimize.

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