Review: Windows Home Server is a powerful networking tool

For once, Microsoft hasn't 'dumbed down' a software package, says Preston Gralla

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Once you connect to WHS via the Console, click the PC whose backup you want to customize. A wizard launches, allowing you to choose which folders you want in (or out of) your backup, as shown in the nearby figure. Unfortunately, this is a somewhat laborious process, because each time you want to exclude a folder, you have to go through this multistep process; there's no way to exclude multiple folders at a time. You also can't include or exclude individual files or types of files. This feature could use improvement in future versions.

Excluding folders from your backup is a laborious process; you can't exclude multiple folders at a time.
 
Excluding folders from your backup is a laborious process; you can't exclude multiple folders at a time. (Click image to see larger view)

You can also customize other aspects of backing up as well, including when to start the backup, and for how long to keep your daily, weekly and monthly backups, as you can see in the nearby figure. You do this on a systemwide basis, not on a PC-by-PC basis. So the settings apply to all your backups, not just to an individual PC.

Configuring systemwide backups.
 
Configuring systemwide backups. (Click image to see larger view)

A bit of advice: Your best bet is to let WHS choose on its own when to keep your backups and when to delete them. It has some clever intelligence built in designed to conserve hard disk space while retaining all your data. When it first does a backup of a PC, it takes an image-based snapshot of that PC and stores the clusters and records of those clusters on WHS. When you back up a second PC, WHS examines the clusters from both PCs, and if it finds that some from the second PC are on the already-backed-up PC, it won't back up those clusters a second time. Instead, it keeps track of where the clusters are, and then uses that information when you want to do a restore.

This technique can save substantial amounts of hard disk space. So if you delete backups more aggressively than WHS does by default, you won't save much hard disk space.

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