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Backup the Windows File System

Windows File System refers to files and folders stored on local, external, or network disks.


File System backups have the following properties:

  • NTFS and ReFS file systems are supported.
  • There are no restrictions on file size. 
  • Any file of any extension can be backed up. This includes virtual hard disks, such as those used for virtual machines.
  • Open, locked, and in-use files can be backed up, if files are on a local disk (including external harddrives) and the Volume Shadowcopy Service (VSS) is started.
  • Backup of mapped network drives is supported.
  • Backup of NAS devices is supported.
  • ZCB can be used to backup and restore folders that participate in DFS replication topology.

    • ZCB must be installed on the host where replicated the DFS share is configured. ZCB relies on the DFSR VSS Writer for correct functionality of backup and restore operation.

    • Backup and restore of a network shared folder which is a member of a DFS replication group is not supported.

  • Junction Point Directories in Windows Vista, Server 2008, or higher will not be backed up to ensure that backups do not include the same data multiple times.
  • ZCB will automatically exclude all files and folders contained in its own directories from File System Backups. The folder where local backups are stored will also be excluded, so that ZCB will not back up its own backups recursively.
    • Do not store files you wish to back up under any ZCB-related folder.
  • Certain system files are automatically excluded from File System backups. These files are included as part of a System State backup.

Backup Levels

File System backups support Full, Differential, and Incremental backups.

Special Options

The following special options are available for File System backups. 

Exclude Files

Files and folders can be excluded from a File System backup. Exclusions are listed below the file tree.

Click the dropdown menu to see pre-configured exclusion lists, or manually enter a list of files or folders.

Wildcards are accepted in the exclude specification. Wildcards include:

  • The asterisk ( * ), which replaces any number of characters.
  • The question mark ( ? ), which replaces a single character.

Separate exclusions with a space. 


Here is an example list of exclusions: *.pst C:\Folder\* *$Recycle* file?.txt C:\Folder\document.doc

  • The *.pst entry excludes any file with the .pst extension.
  • The C:\Folder\* entry excludes all files and folders (including subfolders) under C:\Folder\.
  • The *$Recycle* entry excludes any file or folder that contains $Recycle in the path.
  • The file?.txt entry excludes any file that has any single character between "file" and ".txt", such as file1.txt or filex.txt. File32.txt would not be excluded.
  • The C:\Folder\document.doc entry only excludes the single file at C:\Folder\document.doc. 


The following requirements must be met for Windows File System backups to function.

  • The Volume Shadowcopy Service must be started and functional for open, locked, or in-use files to be backed up.
  • The amandabackup user must have access to the files to be backed up. 
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