Windows Server 2008 Backup – “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect”

Posted on August 23, 2010

Microsoft explanation:

When you try to add an additional disk to a scheduled backup by using the Windows Server Backup Schedule Wizard, you may receive the following error message: "The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect". This problem may occur if a previously-added destination disk is not currently attached to the server. When the wizard completes, the currently-listed destination disks are verified. If any of these disks are missing, you receive the error message that is described in the "Symptoms" section.

SIRKit explanation:

You've setup a scheduled backup with one disk, and want to add more. You are short on USB cables or you're using a shuttle system on the same USB cable. You swap the new drive in place and begin adding it to the backup schedule when "The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect" is displayed. The windows backup suite requires that all drives are accessible when it stores the changes. What!?

To resolve the issue complete the following:

Note To configure or modify a daily backup schedule, you must be a member of the Administrators group. In addition, you must run the wbadmin command from an elevated command prompt. To open an elevated command prompt, click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

Add a new disk to the backup schedule by running the wbadmin command from an elevated command prompt.

  1. Run the following command from an elevated command prompt to determine the Disk Identifier of the new disk:
    wbadmin get disks
  2. Based on the output, locate the disk that will be added to the scheduled backup. Make a note of the Disk Identifier. The output will resemble the following:
    Disk name: xxxxxxxxxxx
    Disk number: x
    Disk identifier: {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}
    Total space: xxx.xx GB
    Used space : xxx.xx GB
  3. Run the following command to add the new disk to the Scheduled backup.  Use the Disk Identifier from the previous step as the "AddTarget" parameter.
    WBADMIN ENABLE BACKUP -addtarget:{xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}
  4. When you receive the following prompt, type Y for Yes.

"Do you want to enable scheduled backups with the above settings?"

This particular application of swapping hard drives is a huge bonus of Windows 2008 server. We highly recommend you deploy at least 2 external drives for a server, this way one of the drives can be taken offsite.