Home > Glossary > VSS Backup. How to backup Microsoft Windows machines with Bacula Enterprise and VSS?

VSS Backup. How to backup Microsoft Windows machines with Bacula Enterprise and VSS?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(42 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Updated 1st May 2024, Rob Morrison

What is VSS backup? VSS backup definition, meaning and types. Backup Windows apps using VSS.

Bacula Enterprise is frequently perceived as a solution geared towards Linux. Nevertheless, in reality, Bacula Enterprise offers sophisticated tools for backing up Windows servers and workstations, along with advanced Windows applications and databases. Therefore, regardless of the variety of operating systems under your care, Bacula Enterprise can deliver comprehensive data backup and recovery services. Additionally, Bacula Enterprise enables cross-platform data recovery, Bare Metal recovery for Windows, and agentless backup for HyperV guests.

To ensure the proper backup of Microsoft Windows for most basic backups of filesystems and user data, it is necessary to use backup software that creates a shadow copy of the filesystem. This ensures that open files are backed up accurately and can be restored in a consistent state. The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is responsible for this task, allowing the backup of data and applications without interrupting ongoing writes. Bacula Enterprise has supported VSS for all Windows versions, starting from Windows XP and Server 2003.

Explore Our Products
View Backup Glossary

Advanced backups of complex applications like MSSQL, Active Directory, HyperV, and others leverage the VSS system, but necessitate more intricate setups than a basic filesystem VSS backup. Bacula Enterprise integrates these extra functionalities in Windows through application-specific plugins. To view a demonstration of MSSQL server backup implementation, refer to our video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmsMfBHNr4

Fortunately, setting up a basic Windows fileset with VSS backup capabilities using Bacula Enterprise is a very simple process. The File Daemon efficiently manages all the intricacies associated with shadow copy management.

Using the BCenter “Add source” feature simplifies the procedure significantly, enabling the creation of a fileset that effectively backs up all files on a Windows server or workstation by utilizing VSS. Moreover, it also facilitates the customization of filesets to include or exclude particular files, directories, and volumes, providing a more tailored backup solution.

The actual configuration file will resemble the following format:

Fileset {

Name = “Windows Example”

Enable VSS = Yes #optional, on by default

Include {

Options {

IgnoreCase = yes

OneFs = no

Signature = Md5


File = “/”


Exclude {

File = “[A-Z]:/pagefile.sys”

File = “[A-Z]:/RECYCLER”

File = “[A-Z]:/WINNT/Temp”



The Bacula Enterprise Windows File Daemon has the capability to automatically identify mounted drives. The fileset mentioned above will then proceed to back up all the files located on these mounted drives, utilizing VSS for the backup snapshot. While the VSS line is not mandatory, it is advisable to include it explicitly to avoid any confusion when reviewing the fileset in the future. For automated fileset deployment, it is safe to include ‘Enable VSS = yes’ in every fileset, even though non-Windows File Daemons will simply disregard it. Additionally, the Windows File Daemon now has the ability to handle multiple concurrent jobs from a single VSS snapshot, which can lead to improved backup throughput to various storage destinations from a well-equipped Windows file server.

So while it’s true that Bacula Enterprise’s core components run primarily on Linux servers, it is important to note that Windows servers, workstations, filesystems, and advanced applications can be fully backed up and recovered with the use of the Windows File Daemon and Enterprise plugins. Please contact Bacula Systems with any questions at baculasystems.com/contactus

Explore Our Products View Backup Glossary

Latest posts from our VSS backup software blog
Top 15 HPC Providers & Companies

ContentsWhat is HPC?HPC vs SupercomputersKey industries that benefit the most from HPCA brief history of HPCMain competitors in the HPC fieldMicrosoft CorporationIntelAmazon Web ServicesDataDirect NetworksPenguin ComputingDell TechnologiesIBMAlphabetAtosExagridRescaleAdvanced HPCHPEStorjBacula EnterpriseThe challenges of HPCThe future of HPC What is HPC? HPC is High-Performance Computing – a process of solving extremely complex computational problems with the help of…

May 2, 2024 / Leave a comment
What is Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery? The Difference Between BC vs DR

ContentsWhat is the difference between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery?What is Business Continuity (BC)?What is Disaster Recovery (DR)?Essential elements of both Disaster Recovery planning and Business Continuity planningWhat is BCDR?General advantages of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planningBuilding a Business Continuity PlanCreating a Disaster Recovery PlanCommitment and AuthorizationPrioritizationTechnical ApproachPlan Development and ImplementationTestingUse cases and examples…

May 1, 2024 / Leave a comment
NIST Requirements for Backup and Recovery

ContentsWhat is NIST?NIST Cybersecurity FrameworkNIST CSF 2.0 – 2024 UpdateThe challenges of backup tasks in the context of MSPsHow to approach the NIST requirements for backup and recoveryNIST recommendations for backupsThe planning pillarThe implementation pillarThe testing pillarUseful technologies for backup tasksNIST and its role in a modern cybersecurity environmentConclusionBacula Enterprise and NIST compatibilityFAQHow is NIST…

April 15, 2024 / Leave a comment
About the author
Rob Morrison
Rob Morrison is the marketing director at Bacula Systems. He started his IT marketing career with Silicon Graphics in Switzerland, performing strongly in various marketing management roles for almost 10 years. In the next 10 years Rob also held various marketing management positions in JBoss, Red Hat and Pentaho ensuring market share growth for these well-known companies. He is a graduate of Plymouth University and holds an Honours Digital Media and Communications degree, and completed an Overseas Studies Program.