Command line parameters

You can perform backup operations at the command prompt or from a batch file using the ntbackup command followed by various parameters. Square brackets [] indicate optional parameters.


ntbackup backup [systemstate] "bks file name" /J "job name" [/P "pool name"] [/G "guid name"] [/T "tape name"] [/N "media name"] [/F "file name"] [/D "set description"] [/A] [/V:yes|no] [/R:yes|no] [/L:f|s|n] [/M backup type] [/RS:yes|no] [/HC:on|off] [/UM] [/SNAP:on|off]



Specifies that you want to back up the System State data. When you select this option, the backup type will be forced to normal or copy

.bks file name

Specifies the name of the backup selection file (.bks file) to be used for this backup operation. A backup selection file contains information on the files and folders you have selected for backup. You have to create the file using the graphical user interface (GUI) version of Backup.

/J "job name" 

Specifies the job name to be used in the log file The job name usually describes the files and folders you are backing up in the current backup job, as well as the date and time you backed up the files.

/P "pool name" 

Specifies the media pool from which you want to use media. This is usually a subpool of the Backup media pool, such as 4mm DDS. If you select this parameter, you must not use the following switches: /A /G /F /T.

/G "guid name" 

Overwrites or appends to this tape. Do not use this switch in conjunction with /P.

/T "tape name" 

Overwrites or appends to this tape. Do not use this switch in conjunction with /P.

/N "media name" 

Specifies the new tape name. You must not use /A with this switch.

/F "file name" 

Logical disk path and file name. You must not use the following switches with this switch: /P /G /T.

/D "set description" 

Specifies a label for each backup set


Performs an append operation. Either /G or /T must be used in conjunction with this switch. Do not use this switch in conjunction with /P.


Verifies the data after the backup is complete.


Restricts access to this tape to the owner or members of the Administrators group


Specifies the type of log file: f=full, s=summary, n=none (no log file is created).

/M backup type

Specifies the backup type. It must be one of the following: normal, copy, differential, incremental, or daily


Backs up the Removable Storage database.


Uses hardware compression, if available, on the tape drive.


Finds the first available media, formats it, and uses it for the current backup operation. You must use the /P switch to designate a device-type media pool when you use the /UM switch so that Backup searches for the appropriate type of media (for example, 4mm DDS). When you use the /UM switch, Backup will search the following media pools for available media: Free pool, Import pool, Unrecognized pool, and Backup pool. When available media is found, the search will stop and the media will be formatted and used without prompting you for input. This command is not applicable to tape loaders and should be used only if you have a stand-alone tape device.


Specifies whether or not the backup is a volume shadow copy


You cannot restore files from the command line by using the ntbackup command.

The following switches will default to what you have already set by using the graphical user interface (GUI) version of Backup, unless they are changed by a command-line switch: /V /R /L /M /RS /HC. For example, if hardware compression is turned on in the Options dialog box in Backup, it will be used if /HC is not specified on the command line. But if /HC:off is specified on the command line, it will override the Options dialog box setting and compression will not be used.

If you have Windows Media Services running on your computer, and you want to back up the files associated with these services, see "Running Backup with Windows Media Services" in the Windows Media Services online documentation. You must follow the procedures outlined in the Windows Media Services online documentation before you can back up or restore files associated with Windows Media Services.

You can only back up the System State data on a local computer You cannot back up the System State data on a remote computer 

If you are using Removable Storage to manage media, or you are using the Remote Storage to store data, then you should regularly back up the files that are in the following folders:



This will ensure that all Removable Storage and Remote Storage data can be restored.

Related Topics

Command line examples

Using batch files to back up data

Command line examples

Command line parameters

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