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Backup a Microsoft SharePoint Server

Microsoft SharePoint Server is a web application framework that integrates intranet, content management, and document management. 


Microsoft SharePoint Server backups have the following properties:

  • Standalone and single-server farms are supported. Multi-server farms are not supported.
  • The following SharePoint components contained in the SQL database and application web site files are backed up, if present on the system. Individual components cannot be selected or deselected. 
    • Configuration and Admin databases
    • Content and configuration data for Web Applications (Eg: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\14.0\Data\Office Server\Applications)
    • Any third-party databases that are registered with SharePoint
    • Shared services databases in SharePoint
    • Office Search & Help Search index files
  • Other objects, such as Site collection, Web site, List/Document library, Document library folder, Document library file, List item, and Version, are not backed up by a SharePoint backup set.
    • Files such as the SharePoint installation directory, IIS metabase information, Website application pool directory, and so on must be protected by other backup sets.
      • Files, documents, the folders that contain them, and the SharePoint installation directory itself should be backed up as part of a File System backup.
      • IIS metabase information, port configurations, host header, authentication, and other such configuration data is included as part of a System State backup.
        • Please see this blog post for more information on the relationship between SharePoint and the IIS metabase.

Backup Levels

Microsoft SharePoint Server backups support Full and Differential backups. Incremental (log) backups are not supported. 


The following requirements must be met for Microsoft SharePoint Server backups to function.

  • The Volume Shadow Copy Service must be started. 
  • The SQL VSS Writer service must be running at the time of backup and recovery. ZCB will attempt to automatically start the SQL VSS Writer service.
  • The Windows SharePoint Services VSS Writer service will be registered and started automatically by ZCB.
  • The SharePoint VSS writer depends on other VSS writers, such as OSearch and SPSearch. These writers must be enabled and set to automatic start for Sharepoint backups to function.
    • For Sharepoint 2010
      • SPSearch4 VSS Writer 
        • Enable by starting the SharePoint Foundation Search V4 service.
      • OSearch14 VSS Writer
        • Enable by starting the SharePoint Server Search 14 service.
    • For SharePoint 2007
      • OSearch VSS Writer 
        • Enable by starting the Office SharePoint Server Search service.
      • SPSearch VSS Writer 
        • Enable by starting the Windows SharePoint Services Search service.
  • Windows SharePoint Services VSS Writer service must run under the admin app pool account, which is the Network Service account in a basic installation of Windows SharePoint Services.
  • Transaction log-based databases such as Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, or Sharepoint are not intended to be backed up by multiple backup applications. 

Special Requirement for WSS 3.0

The default installation of Windows SharePoint Services 3 instances will use the Windows Internal Database (MICROSOFT##SSEE), which is run under the "Network Service" system account.

In such a case, the "Network Service" account must have Full Control permissions to the "misc" directory found in the folder where you installed ZCB.

By default, the misc directory is located here:

  • For Windows Server 2003: C:\Program Files\Zmanda\Zmanda Cloud Backup\misc\
  • For Windows Server 2008 and 2012: C:\ProgramData\Zmanda\Zmanda Cloud Backup(x64)\misc\


Microsoft Sharepoint databases can be backed up as if they were Microsoft SQL Server databases. If possible, use the Sharepoint backup type to back up Sharepoint databases.

Do not back up Microsoft Sharepoint databases in more than one backup set. The result is the same as if multiple backup applications were used. See Info: How do databases handle backups from multiple different backup applications? for more information.

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