Add multiple backup destinations to Windows SBS 2011 when not all backup devices are available (onsite).

The Small Business Server 2011 backup usually works pretty well. It meets the basic backup needs of most small businesses, and, in my opinion, it is an improvement over the SBS 2008 backup. It is usually pretty straight forward to set up and configure. Most end users should have no problems configuring the backup schedule and setting up the backup with an external USB drive.

If you want to add multiple backup destinations, it is also simple as long as you have all backup destinations connected to the server. There are certain situations when this may not be possible or ideal. You may not be able to connect more than one backup device to the server at the same time, some backup devices may not be available (they are stored off site), or you simply may not want plug in every single backup device just to add another backup destination.

Whatever the case may be, if you try to add a backup destination when not all the backup devices are connected to the server, you will get an error message, and you will not be able to complete the procedure. This behavior is by design. When the wizard completes, it verifies the currently listed backup disks. If any of the disks are missing, you will receive an error message, and the operation will not complete.

To add multiple disks when not all disks are available or connected to the server you will have to use the command line. Plug the hard-drive in to the server. Log in to the server using an account with administrator privileges. Click on the start menu, click on All Programs, click on accessories, right click “Command Prompt” and click “Run as Administrator.” This will open an elevated command prompt. On this command prompt type the following commands:

  • wbadmin get disks <—- use this command to determine the Disk Identifier of the new disk. Examine the output and locate the disk that will be added to the backup schedule. Make note of the disk identifier.
  • wbadmin enable backup -addtarget:Disk Identifier – make sure you include the brackets <— This command will add the new disk to the scheduled backup.

Once you run the last command you will receive a series of prompts. Type Y to accept all of them, and you are done.



9 thoughts on “Add multiple backup destinations to Windows SBS 2011 when not all backup devices are available (onsite).

  1. Sorry to say I just tried this, and it removed all the disks from the schedule. Further, the disk identifier seemed only to work if I gave the disk a drive letter and used that – using its name of [disk 1] just threw up an error. Perhaps some example command outputs might help?

  2. I have found it still works with just the first backup destination plugged in and then each new destination disk.

  3. @Ian

    The command should have the following format: WBADMIN ENABLE BACKUP -addtarget:{xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}

    Where “{xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}” is the disk identifier that you get when you run the wbadmin get disks command. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    Itshouldn’t remove your disks from the schedule. I will try to replicate it and post the results with pictures later.

  4. @Martin

    Yes, as long as the original backup destination is plugged in, it will work.

    There are times when you don’t have the original backup destination available, and doing it this way will help.

  5. Hi,
    I tried the steps described above, adding disks without the presence of all backup disks works ok, but the Labels which are assigned to the added disks will be in the syntax and I couldn’t figure out how to change them. You can change the label in LDM (logical disk manager) but looking into the SBS Server console they remain in the syntax:
    Strange, no way to come around this?

  6. This can be as simple as having ALL backup drives plugged in and turned ON when using the backup wizard. Works for us to resolve these issues.


    Specialized Computer Solutions

  7. @Chris Pelon

    You are correct. The backup wizard will complete successfully as long as all the destination disks are connected and turned on. However, this post shows you how you can add backup destinations when not all drives are available.

  8. @Markus

    I don’t think you can change the disk’s label after you add it as a backup destination. Maybe if you change the label before you add it? I will look into it and get back to you.

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