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Exchange and Active Directory: Backup Contents

It has been asked to me what should we backup on Exchange servers and Active directory servers. And I have also seen that many of us are backing up whole virtual server or all drives.

Well, let me first say this kind of backup will not restore the domain controllers or Exchange servers as expected.

Stop doing VM backup or VM snapshot because restoring a VM might not work unless you are using windows 2012 R2 hyper –v because there is a USN value of every AD object which gets updated as soon as there is a change done like windows update.


For Active Directory

It is easy and quick. You just need system state backup on any healthy Active Directory domain controller. It should not be RODC.

At the time of restore you just need to restore non authoritative system state backup and let the crashed server replicate with other domain controllers.

For Exchange server

Exchange server had multiple Roles so the backup has to be depending the Exchange server Role.

Mailbox Role

You need to back up the Information store.

This will back up the databases and logs.

We should backup from Passive copy of the databases.

A full backup should taken every weekend on Friday Night

An incremental backup should be taken every day except Friday.

Transport Role

Transport database and logs, Message Tracking, Connectivity logs and other logs should be backed up.

A full back up every day is recommended

CAS Role

CAS certificate and logs.

We need to backup one time certificate

We may also need to backup IIS logs and other CAC connectivity logs.

A full back up every day is recommended



I have posted the backup and restore blogs here.


Symantec Backup Exec:


Prabhat Nigam

Microsoft MVP | Exchange Server


One Response to “Exchange and Active Directory: Backup Contents”

  1. Harpreet Singh Says:

    please refer below link and find how to take system state backup of active directory.

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