Santronics Software, Inc.,
Adding Backup Operations to WINSERVER


WINSERVER is a 24x7 client/server system and it is a good practice to have a regular backup procedure in place.  This document will guide you in preparing a backup procedure.

Backup Considerations

When WINSERVER is started,  the Wildcat! Server maintains a high security and integrity by opening its database files in Exclusive Mode.  Exclusive mode means that no other process (without special backup software) can open the file, not even for reading.   

NOTE:  The following new option is not necessary if you are using VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Services).

Starting with Wildcat! v6.3,  Wildcat! now offers an optional registry option to enable Wildcat! File Sharing (WFS) mode by opening the files with FILE_SHARE_READ access.   This option allows any external file copying software read access to the opened Wildcat! server files.

To enable, disable or show the current registry setting for this option, use may use the wcRegEdit tool like so:

  wcregedit /local /value:wcserver\EnableFileShareRead /dword:1   <--Enable   wcregedit /local /value:wcserver\EnableFileShareRead /dword:0   <--Disable   wcregedit /local /value:wcserver\EnableFileShareRead            <--Show

It is highly recommended this option is not enabled unless absolutely necessary as the long history of Wildcat! maintaining secured server FILE I/O system integrity could now be potentially compromised.  If this option is enabled, any unexpected software can read the files.  They can't be destroyed, but they can be read.  That may or may not be an issue in your operations.  Nonetheless, it needs to be stated.   You should consider using VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service).

Ideally, we would like to backup the system while WINSERVER is running thus not interrupting your services to end-users.    This is called a Hot Backup.  

Under Windows XP, 2003, 2008 or Vista, you may use NTBACKUP.EXE to backup Wildcat! while it is running. Under these Windows Operating Systems, you may use wcEvents or Windows Scheduler to prepare timely and regular backups.  Only with these operating systems, NTBACKUP uses a Windows OS feature called Volume Shadow Service.

Under Windows 2000 or NT 4.0, there are several ways to perform a "hot backup" but it requires:

Overall, Without any extra special NT based (Windows NT/XP/2003/2008/VISTA) backup software or hardware, the only other way to backup WINSERVER is to perform what is called a Cold Backup.  In a cold backup, you create a schedule event to shutdown WINSERVER, run the backup, then restart WINSERVER.  This is normally done with a batch file.

RAID or Software Mirror Mirror Backups

RAID is a hardware based backup where basically you have two hard drives, one is a mirror of the other.  This is done with special hard drive RAID adapters.   Software Mirror backups is basically the same idea as RAID but is done with Microsoft NT based operating system.   With mirror types backups, the 2nd hard drive or partition is mirrored automatically and in real time.   So when it comes to mirror backups, there is nothing special you have to do with WINSERVER.

Cold Backups

A cold backup is when you shutdown WINSERVER before the backup software runs.  See the following batch files:

Hot Backups

The only way to have a hot backup system is to use special backup software that implements what is called "Open File Agent"  (OFA) software or use VSS (Volume Shadow Service) available on Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista.  

OFA software allows normal backup or replication of exclusive already opened file.  Most backup, replication and fault-tolerance vendors use OFA software from St. Bernard ( who offers a product called Open File Manager or OFM. Note: As of August 2007, OFM is now owned by eVault (  When OFM is used, you can use NTBACKUP to backup WINSERVER server files even when WINSERVER is still running   There are a few vendors in the market who have products that use the OFA from St. Bernald or VSS.  Here are a few:

Volume Shadow Service (VSS)

Windows 2003, XP and VISTA offers VSS (Volume Shadow Service) which is another way of backing up or replicating Wildcat! exclusive open files.  The Windows BACKUP utility on these operating systems will allow you to take a snap shot of opened Wildcat! files.

Links and Resources