Step by Step Azure Backup Part 2 - Back up Windows Server files and folders to Azure

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

This article explains how to back up Windows machines by using the Azure Backup service and the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) agent. MARS is also known as the Azure Backup agent.


In this article, you'll learn how to:

  • Verify the prerequisites

  • Create a backup policy and schedule.

  • Perform an on-demand backup.

Before you start

Create a backup policy

The backup policy specifies when to take snapshots of the data to create recovery points. It also specifies how long to keep recovery points. You use the MARS agent to configure a backup policy.

Azure Backup doesn't automatically take daylight saving time (DST) into account. This default could cause some discrepancy between the actual time and the scheduled backup time.


To create a backup policy:

- After you download and register the MARS agent, open the agent console. You can find it by searching your machine for Microsoft Azure Backup.

- Under Actions, select Schedule Backup.


- In the Schedule Backup Wizard, select Getting started > Next.

- Under Select Items to Back up, select Add Items.

- In the Select Items box, select items to back up, and then select OK.

- On the Select Items to Back Up page, select Next.


- On the Specify Backup Schedule page, specify when to take daily or weekly backups. Then select Next.

  • A recovery point is created when a backup is taken.

  • The number of recovery points created in your environment depends on your backup schedule.

  • You can schedule up to three daily backups per day. In the following example, two daily backups occur, one at midnight and one at 6:00 PM.

You can run weekly backups too. In the following example, backups are taken every alternate Sunday and Wednesday at 9:30 AM and 1:00 AM.


- On the Select Retention Policy page, specify how to store historical copies of your data. Then select Next.

  • Retention settings specify which recovery points to store and how long to store them.

  • For a daily retention setting, you indicate that at the time specified for the daily retention, the latest recovery point will be retained for the specified number of days. Or you could specify a monthly retention policy to indicate that the recovery point created on the 30th of every month should be stored for 12 months.

  • Retention for daily and weekly recovery points usually coincides with the backup schedule. So when the schedule triggers a backup, the recovery point that the backup creates is stored for the duration that the daily or weekly retention policy specifies.

In the following example

  • Daily backups at midnight and 6:00 PM are kept for seven days.

  • Backups taken on a Saturday at midnight and 6:00 PM are kept for four weeks.

  • Backups taken on the last Saturday of the month at midnight and 6:00 PM are kept for 12 months.

  • Backups taken on the last Saturday in March are kept for 10 years.

- On the Choose Initial Backup Type page, decide if you want to take the initial backup over the network or use offline backup. To take the initial backup over the network, select Automatically over the network > Next.

For more information about offline backup, see Use Azure Data Box for offline backup.

- On the Confirmation page, review the information, and then select Finish.

- After the wizard finishes creating the backup schedule, select Close.


Run an on-demand backup

In the MARS agent, select Back Up Now.


If the MARS agent version is 2.0.9169.0 or newer, then you can set a custom retention date.

In the Retain Backup Till section, choose a date from the calendar.

On the Confirmation page, review the settings, and select Back Up

Select Close to close the wizard. If you close the wizard before the backup finishes, the wizard continues to run in the background.


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