Backup strategies for Exchange

Backup Exec incorporates online, nondisruptive Exchange database protection as part of everyday backup routines, which increases the chance of data recovery and minimizes data loss without inhibiting daily activity. Backup Exec protects Exchange data, including the individual storage group, database, mailbox, and public folder with full, copy, incremental, and differential backups.

To decide which backup methods to use, consider the following:

What works best for you is based on the size of your environment, the number of transactions processed each day, and the expectations of your users when a recovery is required.

Consider the following backup strategies:

In addition to backing up Exchange storage groups, you should also back up the following on a regular basis:

Table: Backup selections for Exchange configuration data

Recommended backup selections for configuration data


File system

Back up folders and drives containing files for Windows and Exchange. Usually, this is the root drive C:\ but may be different in each environment.


Back up the C:\ drive, but do not back up the virtual drive that is created by Exchange, if this virtual drive exists in your environment. It is intended only to provide Explorer access to the Exchange data, but all file system functions may not be replicated. Backup and restore operations are not recommended or supported.

Windows registry

Back up the registry by running a full backup.

System State and/or Shadow Copy Components

Select System State and run a full backup to back up the following:

  • The Internet Information Service (IIS) metabase

  • The Windows registry

See Selecting data to back up .

If the entire server must be restored, you must restore System State before restoring Exchange 2000. You must also restore both System State and Shadow Copy Components before restoring Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange Server 2007.

Key Management Service (KMS) database

Back up the Key Management Service database by selecting the KMS icon in Backup Selections, and then running a full backup. Local or remote backups can be performed on the KMS database.


KMS is not available in either Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange Server 2007.

Site Replication Services (SRS) database

If Exchange 2000 or 2003 is running in an Exchange Server 5.5 environment, back up the Site Replication Services (SRS) database by selecting the SRS icon in Backup Selections, and then running a full backup. This data is used for interoperability with Exchange Server 5.5.

Active Directory

To back up Active Directory, select System State on the domain controllers and run a full backup.

When there are configuration changes on the Exchange server database, such as when objects are added, modified, or deleted, back up the Active Directory on the domain controllers.


Spread multiple domain controllers throughout each domain for efficient Active Directory replication, and so that if one domain controller fails, redundancy is still provided.


Configure an Information Store backup for which the Granular Recovery Technology (GRT) option is enabled to restore individual mailboxes, mail messages, and public folders. Backing up individual Exchange mailboxes separately from the Information Store uses legacy backup methods, and is no longer required for individual mailbox recovery.

More Information

How to restore individual items by using Granular Recovery Technology

Backing up Exchange

Preparing for disaster recovery of Exchange Server