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  • Backing up BitLocker recovery keys to Active Directory

    Posted on October 21st, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + 1 comment

    Using BitLocker to encrypt your system partition is a very good option to keep the computer and the data on it secure. Starting with Vista SP1 you will be able to encrypt not only the system partition but all the other partitions as well, offering even better security. When you encrypt a partition with BitLocker a recovery key is automatically generated so that you can recover the data on the computer when necessary. By default you have the choice of printing the recovery key or saving it to a USB stick or a network share.

    BitLocker Key Recovery ToolHowever using a group policy setting (Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > BitLocker Drive Encryption > Turn on BitLocker backup to Active Directory)  you can also backup the recovery key to Active Directory, which is a very good suggestion I must say. If you are running Windows Server 2008 you do not have to anything to get this working but if you would like to use Windows Server 2003 with SP1 or later to backup the BitLocker recovery key you must use scripts provided by Microsoft to extend the schema.

    Microsoft also offer a tool called BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer which can be downloaded directly from Microsoft Premier Services. When this tool is installed it introduce another tab in a computer objects Properties called “BitLocker Recovery” where the BitLocker recovery keys are listed for your viewing pleasure in the case of necessary restoration. The only negative part about the tool is that it can only be installed on a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 computer as it require that you have installed the “Window Server 2003 Administration tools for SP1” on Windows XP to get the control panel for Active Directory Users and Computers.

    UPDATE: I forgot to add the link to the page where you can find all the necessary information as well as the “extend schema”-script. Here it is!

  • Restoring files with “Previous versions” is really easy

    Posted on October 21st, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    Windows Vista contains a built in function that is called “Previous versions” or “Shadow copies” which is based on the Volume Shadow Copy service that also handle System Restore in Windows Vista. As a matter of fact System Restore and Previous versions go hand in hand and a system restore point include “Previous versions”. Previous versions

    The “Previous versions” feature means that at any time you can right click a file or folder and choose to open and/or restore the file or folder from an earlier  point in time. The great thing is that both backup copies made from scheduled backup as well as local snapshots of the files are listed when you choose to restore the files and folders.

    “Previous versions” will also let you restore files that you have deleted but to be able to do so you have to open the folder in which you originally kept the deleted file. A note to take when restoring files is that if you rename a file and choose to restore an earlier copy using Previous versions you will not find any. The feature “Previous versions” locates previous versions of the file by its file name.

    Also be aware of the fact that if you have a dual boot system with both Windows XP and Windows Vista, all  System Restore points (including Previous versions) are lost whenever you boot to Windows XP.

    The feature “Previous versions” is unfortunately only available on Windows Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows Vista.

  • Backing up files in Windows has never been easier

    Posted on October 8th, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    I’ve been using Windows Vista daily since the early beta days and I must admit I feel a bit ashamed of the fact that I just recently started using the excellent backup features of Windows Vista. For the last week I have been using the automatic backup feature that is a part of Windows Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions and I must say it is a really handy feature. A few clicks and I have everything backed up to another computer on the network automatically every day. What’s even handier is that only the first backup to run contain the whole contents of the files, all subsequent backups are only incremental, saving storage space and time it takes to perform the backups.