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At home, I have a WHS that is used (among others things) to backup computers.

However, I have an issue regarding laptop backups. How do you schedule these? The 3am schedule doesn't work, as the laptop is not waking up at night to backup, and as it is used on wifi, the backup is slow.

So, how do you manage this at home? Do you plug your laptop to the home network at night so it get backed up during the night, so it has to run all night long (and you have to plug in the power cable)?

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if you're doing a survey on various backup strategies, this should be a community wiki. –  Molly7244 Nov 3 '09 at 14:51
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If you think it should be community wiki, why didn't you make your answer wiki as well? –  John T Jan 6 '10 at 7:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You don't say what OS your laptop is running, but here's a couple of suggestions...

  • If your laptop is not waking up, check in the advanced power settings to make sure that wake timers are enabled.
  • Leave your laptop plugged into the power supply (but you can leave it sleeping). The reason is that (at least as far as Windows 7 is concerned), if the power supply is plugged in, the WiFi adapter will run at maximum performance.

You can leave the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" checked for the WiFi card. Because this is a WiFi card, actually, you should find that the "Allow this device to bring the computer out of standby" is always grayed out.

The reason is that the "Wake-on LAN" function only applies to wired connections, not to WiFi adaptors. It's a Wake Timer (set by the Windows Home Server Connector Software on your laptop) that's triggering the start of the WHS backup, not activity on the LAN, which is why you have to have the Wake Timers enabled.

The comment in Molly's answer about "choosing incremental backup only" is irrelevant for WHS.

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I have two laptops, one old XP laptop that's permanently plugged into power and ethernet cables these days, and a Windows 7 machine that's normally used wirelessly ('N' wireless at home).

The desk-bound XP laptop backs up to my WHS every night with the normal scheduled backup.

However my wireless Win 7 machine isn't set to do the automatic backups to the WHS. All I do is any time I know that I'm going to be working on my WLAN for a few hours, I just right click the WHS icon and do a manual backup. I do occasionally need to leave it switched on for a bit after I've finished but it's not normally too bad.

It does help that I'm not particularly bothered about backing up every day. Any important data I'll copy to the WHS anyway once I've finished working on it from each session. The machine's OS and apps really don't change enough on a day to day basis for me to be worried as long as they're backed up once a week or so.

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adjust the power settings for your wireless adapter (do not allow windows to disable the controller to save power), choose incremental backup only.

if for some reason you have many (new/modified) large files to backup every day, consider a wired connection rather than wireless.

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Alright, but what's the precise course of action? Put the laptop in standby, leave it like that so it wakes up during the night to backup? Also, in "Power Management" for the wireless card, if I uncheck the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power", then the "Allow this device to bring the computer out of standby" is grayed out... –  Philippe Nov 4 '09 at 9:03

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