How to Backup User Profile Disks on a Remote Desktop Server - V2 Cloud

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How to Backup User Profile Disks on a Remote Desktop Server

  • September 19, 2023
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How to Back Up User Profile Disks
on a Remote Desktop

User Profile Disks (UPDs) were introduced into Windows Server in Windows Server 2012 and stored user profile data during a remote desktop session for a single RDS collection. Data storage occurs in real-time on the separate VHDX disk, which houses the user profiles on the network-shared folder. The disk is mounted when a user is in session and unmounted when the user logs.

Since the User profile Disk contains important data about users in an RDS collection, RDS administrators sometimes back it up to prevent issues such as data corruption. Therefore, this article discusses how to back up user profile disks on a remote desktop server.

Prerequisites

Before you back up the user profile disk on Remote Desktop Server using any of the methods highlighted later in this article, there are a few things you need to do:

Prepare a Backup Location

Choose a backup location on the RDS collection. An ideal backup location should be centralized and accessible from the RDS. It could be a dedicated backup storage location or network share.

Schedule downtime for all users

During downtime, there should be no user activity, as users are prevented from logging in during the backup process to prevent the modification of profile data.

However, this depends on the backup method. Due to its differential nature, you might not need to schedule downtime for the second method.

Locate the User Profile Disk Directory

This depends on the RDS. However, the general directory for the UPD is C: Program Data Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Virtual Machines.

Method #1: Manually Copy the UPDs

Using this method, you can have a singular backup of the User Profile Disks by directly copying the user profiles to the designated backup location.

However, subsequent changes will need a separate backup. It follows the traditional backup process and is suitable for a once-in-a-time backup process.

Step #1: Locate the User Profile Disk Directory

  • Log in to the remote server as an administrator
  • Navigate to C: Program Data Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Virtual Machines.

Step #2: Copy the user profiles

  • Copy files with the VHDX extension.

Step #3: Paste the user profile

  • Navigate to the designated backup directory.
  • Paste the files.

Note

  • The location of the UPD depends on the RDS configuration. However, the general location is C: Program Data Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Virtual Machines.
  • Subsequent changes to the UPDs won’t be backed up (you will need to back it up yourself constantly).

Method #2: Use Volume Shadow Copy

Volume Shadow copy is a differential and block level backup, i.e., it tracks the changes in the file and back up the changes.

As a result, it is faster, and backups are more up-to-date, making it suitable for a disk containing user data due to the higher number of changes in such a disk. It is the better method to back up UPDs in a separate network drive.

Log in to the Remote Server as an admin and follow the procedure below to configure VSS on Windows Server.

Create an Additional Disk to store the backup UPD files

Create an additional disk containing the snapshot (backup) to reduce performance issues during the backup process. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Open the Disk Management

  • Press the Window key.
  • Search for Disk Management.

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Step 2: Set the Additional Disk

  • Click on the Disk that will contain the backed-up UPD files.
  • Right-click on the disk.
  • Select Shrink Volume.

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  • Choose the amount of space you want to shrink.
  • Click Shrink.

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  • Right-click on the unallocated space.
  • Click on New Simple Volume to open the New Volume Wizard.

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Step 3: Set the New Volume Wizard

  • Choose the maximum allocated disk space.
  • Assign the drive letter.
  • Choose “Format the volume according to the settings below.
  • Click on Finished to end the process.

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Configure Volume Shadow Copies on the Disk

On a disk partition, configure volume shadow copies by following the steps below.

Step 1: Choose the Disk Partition

  • Navigate to the Local disk containing the UPD files.
  • Select and right-click the Drive volume.
  • Select Configure Shadow Copies.

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Step 2: Enable the Volume Shadow Copy

  • Under the Shadow Copy pop-up, do the following.
  • Select the Disk Volume that contains the UPD files (C: Program Data Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Virtual Machines).
  • Click on Settings.
  • Change the Storage Area to the disk volume you created.

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Step 3: Modify the Volume Copy Size Limit

  • Modify the volume copy size limit (Note: if the storage limit is exhausted, the oldest copy will be deleted automatically).
  • Set a Schedule for the capturing according to the activity of your user.
  • You can also use the Advanced option for easier scheduling options.

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Step 4: Enable the Volume Shadow Copy

  • Under the Shadow Copy pop-up, select the disk containing the UPD files.
  • Click on Enable.

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Method #3: Use Task Scheduler

On the Windows Server containing the user profile, it is possible to create an auto-backup process using a script that will back up the folder after an event.

Log in to the Remote Server and follow the procedure below to backup user profile disks on Windows Server using Task Scheduler.

Step 1: Create the Backup Script

  • Create the backup script by editing the template below.
  • Open Notepad.
  • Copy the command line in the box below.

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  • Note the following.

– The “set backupcmd=" is the actual copy command
– Both are referenced by %drive% and %backupcmd%
– The “echo" line in the file output the line of text to the screen
– The line beginning with %backupcmd% is the actual command to back up the UPDs.
– Paste the command
– Save as a bat executable file

  • Paste the command.
  • Save as a bat executable file.
  • The “set drive=" is the location of the top directory we want to backup.

Step 2: Open Task Scheduler on the Windows Server

  • Search for Task Scheduler.
  • Click on Run as Administrator.

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Step 3: Create a Basic Task

  • Click on Create a Basic Task.
  • Create a name for the backup.
  • Write a small description.
  • Choose the Trigger.
  • Click on Start a Program.
  • Select the script created in Step 1.
  • Review and Finish.

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Post Backup Process

After using any of the three methods above, you should do the following: 

  • Verify Backup Integrity: Verifying the integrity of the backup allows you to check if the files are restorable or not. This is very important to improve reliance on the files.
  • Resume RDS Access for Users: For method two, you should resume RDS access for all users after a successful backup process and verification of the backup integrity.
  • Disaster Recovery Plan: Continuous verification of the backup integrity to ensure that the UPD is restorable in case of a catastrophic event is important. As a result, you should have a backup plan in place.

Method #4: Use Third Party Software

Another way to back up a user profile is to make use of third-party software such as ESE Agent, Druva inSync, Acronis Backup, Nova BACKUP, and Veritas Backup Exec. Each has a unique mechanism and should be used after careful research.

Try V2 Cloud!

Remote Desktop Service uses User Profile Disks (UPDs) to store important user data but is prone to events such as data corruption that can lead to loss of files. As a result, it is important to back up the UPDs. UPD backup can be very challenging necessitating businesses to look for a simpler desktop solution alternative such as V2 Cloud.

V2 Cloud is a fully integrated Virtual Desktop solution that functions like Remote Desktop Server but is better as it guarantees optimum file security and user experience/performance. Get started with a risk-free 7-day trial, and experience the power of V2 Cloud.

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