Windows Server Backup: “Preparing media to store backups”

If you use the native Windows Server Backup utility you may on occasion see it seemingly pause for a lengthy interval at the ‘Preparing media to store backups’ stage. This part of the process relates to the checking and consolidating of the existing backups on the destination media, and obviously will take longer the more backup versions are stored and how old they are compared to the current data being backed up (if you use rotated media for example).

You can reassure yourself that the backup is still proceeding correctly by checking the activity via the Resource Monitor:

  • Open Task Manager as Administrator, then click on the “Performance” tab and then “Open Resource Monitor”.
  • Switch to the “Disk” tab, expand the “Disk Activity” row and sort the columns by File.
  • You should see a series of read requests on the destination media, and you’ll also notice that it is progressing consecutively through each backup set (accessing multiple at a time). This shows that the process is still running correctly and will move on to do the actual backup in due course (may take quite some time to get to the next stage).

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