Practiced an ASR (automated system recovery) backup/restore today. I learned that the HD that you restore onto must be as large, or larger, than the original HD. The ASR backup file must also be stored on locally attached media (no network access is available when the file is needed). If your ASR backup set is on read-only media, you'll get an error message (hit cancel to continue).

Two free utilities that I've found useful are ISO Recorder and Folder2ISO.

I'm using Parallels Virtual Machine for this, but if you are working on a real server w/ no floppy disk drive, you can use the free (32-bit) Virtual Floppy Drive 2.1 to fool NTBackup.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a good way to schedule ASR backups - I have no idea why. However, a program called Firestreamer-RM ($60) claims to schedule ASR backups, auto-initialize tape media, and even email the results to you. The last two reasons are why my employer standardized on NovaBackup instead of NTBAckup.

What's the difference between an ASR backup and a normal backup + system state? ASR seems to speed up the process because the restoration of your system is integrated right into Windows setup - instead of having to go through the whole Windows setup and then do a restore.

For future reference, this page has a nice overview of restoring an Exchange server