Problem Backing Up New Windows 8 Computers to Windows Home Server 2011

After receiving my new Panasonic AX2 ultrabook it was prudent to setup automatic backups to prevent against data loss as a result of hardware failure or theft. Whilst I do save most important things in the cloud with my Office 365 subscriptions it is still handy to have the ability to restore the computer to a known good state with my installed software ready to go.

Unfortunately, despite the Windows Home Server connector installing without any errors any attempt to backup my ultrabook failed. I even removed the hidden restore partitions from the backup and it still continued to fail. After a little research, I managed to find out why this was occurring.

It seems that Windows Home Server 2011 does not support client backups from UEFI-based computers with GPT formatted disks. For those who don’t know what those things are:

  • UEFI is the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface which supersedes the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) that has handled the low level startup of the computer for several decades. Most people will remember the BIOS as the blue configuration screen where you can change the disk boot order, system time, etc,
  • GPT is the GUID Partition Table (GUID stands for Global Unique IDentifier) which supersedes the old MBR (Master Boot Record) disk partitioning scheme. One main reason for using GPT partitioning is the support for disks larger than two terabytes (2TB) in size.

So, what to do?

Essentially, you need to install a hotfix for Windows Home Server 2011 found here weighing in around 170MB. It enables backup compatibility with UEFI computers with GPT disks and the installation of the hotfix will look very much like a regular Windows Update installation. You will need to restart your home server which will then update the connector software on all of your client computers which will also need to be restarted.

Anyway, this has resolved the problem for me so hopefully it will do the same for you until we see this hotfix included in a service pack for Windows Home Server 2011.

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