Poor mans backup notifications using Windows Backup

Posted: May 28, 2013 in Information, Windows General
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Have you only got a server or two and not much budget to work with? I’m guessing you might also be using the built in Windows Backup?

There isn’t actually much wrong with using Windows Backup. It does the job, just without all those extra features of paid-for backup solutions. One big missing feature for example is notifications of backup results.

So here’s a quick and easy way to keep track of those backups. It’s not the neatest solution, but it is better than nothing!

  1. Open Event Viewer
  2. Navigate to “Applications and Service Logs | Microsoft | Windows | Backup | Operational”
  3. In the events list, locate an entry with EventID 4 and right click it
  4. Select “Attach Task To This Event…”
  5. In the Wizard, Click through to the “Action” step
  6. Ideally you would use a program to do something. Even though it is deprecated in Server 2008R2, I still use the “Send an e-mail”
    1. The option still appears in Server 2012 and Windows 8, but you will get an error 2147750704 when trying to save the task. I’ll update this post with a PowerShell script version soon
  7. Enter the details for From, To, a subject, and the SMTP server to use
  8. Complete the wizard

Now, every time “The backup operation has finished successfully” you will get an email. If you don’t get an email, then something probably didn’t work.

You can add additional tasks for other events such as failures (or even all events!), but you get the idea. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing at all.

If you want a list of all the Windows Backup error codes, here you go: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc734488(WS.10).aspx

  1. mados123 says:

    Thanks for this info! As suggested, I would like to setup this notification feature when there is a failure but since I don’t have any in the log, I cannot attach a task to that event. I tried to figure out how to add that option or force a backup to say, a drive not connected, but am not sure how. Any ideas?


    • Scott says:

      So you want to set up a backup and have it fail? Easy.
      If it’s a physical server, you can use a USB or even a network location for the backup. Just do a small backup, then disconnect the drive or block access to the network share and try again. You can even create and mount a VHD disk if you are running win2008 or above and then remove it when testing.
      If it’s a virtual server, just add another virtual disk, do a backup, remove the disk and try again.
      There is also a TechNet article I thought I had included in the post of all the error codes, but must have forgotten, I’ve added the link to the end so see if that helps as well.

    • Scott says:

      I haven’t update my post for a while, but that link does give some more detail to make it a bit more useful.
      Also worth checking the comment on that post for the powershell script to do email on Server 2012 environments that have the email function removed.
      I should get around to updating my own post sometime.

  2. Ron says:

    Would the above method work with Window 7?

  3. kimbo says:

    A way better way of doing this is using PowerShell. You can get a nicely formatted mail-report using this script:

    • Scott says:

      That script looks pretty good, thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely check it out.
      I’m still pretty basic with my own powershell creations, and I don’t think PS could do that when I wrote my post originally, at least not for Server 2003.

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