Backup WHS folders to an external HDD

Using Windows Home Server to backup computers on your local network is a great tool for your backup strategy. But what about backing up the data on the server itself? Here we take a look at using an external drive to backup some of your important data.

Adding External Drive for WHS Folder Backup

After plugging in the external drive open Windows Home Server Console and you’ll see the drive listed and that it’s not added yet. Right-click and select Add from the menu.


The Add a Hard Drive Wizard kicks off…


In the next screen it’s important to select the radio button next to Use this hard drive to back up files that are stored on your home server. Otherwise WHS will add it as additional storage for your data which is not what we want.


If the drive isn’t formatted as NTFS yet, select the radio button next to Yes, format this hard drive. If you’re not sure select this option anyway as formatting it again won’t hurt anything.


Create a name for the hard drive…


At the warning screen go ahead and click finish. If you want to make any changes at this point you can go back and make them.



Now wait while the drive is formatted and added to the server.


The drive has been successfully added and you can click Done.



Now when you go into WHS console you’ll see the drive added under Server Backup Hard Drives.


Backup Folders to External Drive

Now that the drive is set up and ready to be used it’s time to back up server files to it. In WHS Console go to Computers and Backup and you’ll see your server listed as Not backed up under Status. Right-click on the server and select Backup Now.


Here you can go through and decide which folders of data you want to be backed up to the external drive we just added. Check the box next to Remember these setting for future backups then click Backup Now.


The backup starts and you can hide the progress box or stop the backup at any time if you need to.



The amount of time it takes to backup will vary depending on the amount of data being backup. When it has successfully completed, you can close out of the Backup Now screen.


Go back to WHS Console and you’ll see the server has been backed up with the time and date.


Remove Drive

You might want to remove the drive and store it in a safe place. The best method for removing the backup drive is to going into Server Storage, right-click on the drive and select Remove.


Then you’re presented with the the choice to temporarily remove it or stop using it for backups. If you plan to use it again select to temporarily remove it.


If you ever need to get you data back from the external drive, you don’t need to add it back to WHS. You can plug it into any computer. When you open the drive you’ll see the backed up Shares and you can get the files you need.


Schedule Disk Cleanup – Windows 7

It’s always a good idea to run regular maintenance tasks like Disk Cleanup on your Windows machine to help keep it running smoothly. Today we take a look at how to schedule a basic Disk Cleanup task, and how to use command line switches for a more advanced setup.

Schedule Disk Cleanup Basic

Windows includes some handy tools to help keep your machine operating smoothly. One such tool is Disk Cleanup that can remove temp and old files to help you reclaim some hard drive space. You might want to set it up to run weekly or monthly depending on what works best for you. To schedule Disk Cleanup to run on a regular basis we need to schedule a task. For this example we’re using Windows 7, but the steps are essentially the same in Vista as well.

Click on the Start Menu and enter task scheduler into the search box and hit Enter.



The Task Scheduler opens and you’ll want to click on Action then select Create Basic Task.


The Create Basic Task Wizard comes up and from here type in a name for the task and a description then click Next.


Now select how often you want Disk Cleanup to run…Weekly, Daily, Monthly, One Time…etc. There is not right or wrong answer to how often you run it. It’s completely up to you and you might want to try out some different schedules. In this example we’re going to select weekly.


Since we set it up to run weekly we need to schedule it when to start, how often it reoccurs, and which day of the week to run it.


Next under Action select Start a program


In the Program/script field type in cleanmgr.exe


Or you can hit browse and select Disk Cleanup which is in C:\Windows|system32\cleanmgr.exe


Under Program/script you’ll see the path to Disk Cleanup as C:\Windows\system32\cleanmgr.exe


Then you’re shown a summary of the scheduled task and if everything looks correct click on Finish.


For this basic setting we scheduled it for a time when we know the computer will be in use. When it’s time for the Scheduled Task to occur it will pop up and you can run it by selecting the drive to clean up.


Disk Cleanup starts its calculations…


Now the results and you can choose the files to delete.


Advanced Command Line Switches

While the above method is effective, you may not want to interact with the Disk Cleanup utility at all. Running a couple of command line switches will allow you to select what to have cleaned up and run everything automatically. To open the Command Prompt type cmd into the search box in the Start Menu and hit Enter.


With the Command Prompt open type in the following:

cleanmgr.exe /sageset:1

That will open the Disk Cleanup Settings dialog box where you can select the items you want Disk Cleanup to delete. You’ll notice there are a lot more options here than when you go through the GUI to cleanup files.


After selecting the files you want to be deleted in Disk Cleanup Settings click Ok to close out of the screen. The /sageset:1 command creates a registry key that saves the settings you entered.

Now go in and create your Scheduled Task like we showed previously, but this time you’ll want to add in /sagerun:1 into the Add argument field.


Now when Disk Cleanup runs it’ll retrieve those saved settings you created with /sageset:1 and you won’t need to interact with Disk Cleanup at all. It will run automatically and clean up the files you selected in Disk cleanup Settings.

Task Scheduler Error

When you launch Task Manager in Windows 7 you might get the following error message. It tells you to hit refresh but the error keeps coming back. It doesn’t seem to negatively affect anything you schedule, but it’s quite annoying.


From the research I’ve done on this error, there are a handful of different solutions that have worked for different people. On our system, the Disk Defrag Schedule was turned off, so we turned it back on and resolved the issue. On a separate Windows 7 system the Disk Defrag Schedule was already on (which it is by default) and turning it off cured the error. On another machine I had to turn it off then back on to fix the error message.


Since this “rub your head and pat your belly” approach worked we didn’t try any other possible fixes. If you find it doesn’t work or have found another solution let us know in the comments.


If you use the advanced switches to run Disk Cleanup it actually offers a lot more choices. In the /sageset:1 switch, “1” is just an arbitrary number. You can enter any number you want, but make sure /sagerun:”x” corresponds to the number you used in /sageset:”x”. So you can customize the switches for different types of files you want to clean in Disk Cleanup Settings.

For example, maybe you only want to clean Temp Internet files during a cleanup session, then you could do /sageset:1 and /sagerun:1 for that. Then if you want to clean up all files you could use /sageset:10 and /sagerun:10 for that. The switches give you more flexibility in the types of files that are deleted during the Disk Cleanup session. Whichever method you use, or if you just want to run it manually, running Disk Cleanup will keep your drive free of unwanted files.