Performing a Complete PC Backup from the command line

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 21 May 2009 / Last Updated on 5 Jan. 2009]

Here's how you can perform a Complete PC Backup in Vista from the command line.

After you've made significant modifications to the configuration of your Windows Vista computer, you should perform a Complete PC Backup of the system. Complete PC does a block-level backup of your entire system volume as a .vhd (Virtual Hard Drive) file. Note that you need a second local hard drive available to store this .vhd file.

While you can use the Backup and Restore Center in Vista to perform a Complete PC Backup of your computer, you can also do this from an elevated command prompt as follows:

wbadmin start backup –backupTarget:Z: -include:C: -quiet

where Z: is the drive letter of your backup volume.

You can also use Task Scheduler to configure this command to run on a scheduled basis (make sure you configure the task to run using admin privileges). The first time the task runs, it backs up your entire system drive as a .vhd file. On successive occurrences it updates this .vhd file.

If you have feedback concerning this tip, I'd love to hear from you.

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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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