Active Directory Backup and Restore – Try Best 2 Ways Here

Wanna know how to realize Active Directory backup and restore? This article will introduce you 2 ways to finish the task without effort, which are Windows Server Backup and AOMEI Backupper.


By Clytze Updated on February 16, 2023

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What is Active Directory?

Active Directory (AD) is a directory service developed by Microsoft for Windows domain networks. It is a centralized system that stores information about network resources, user accounts, and security policies. The main function of Active Directory is to enable administrators to manage permissions and control access to network resources.

Active Directory

It is important to back up Active Directory in order to protect against data loss due to hardware failure, malicious attacks, or other unforeseen events such as Server keeps booting to the blue choose an option screen. Backing up Active Directory can also help to restore the system to a previous state in the event of a system crash or other disaster.

Thus, you probably cannot wait to know what is the best way to enable Active Directory backup and restore in Windows server 2019 or other versions. Moving on, I’ll walk you through the answers immediately.

2 easy ways to backup Active Directory

Backup Active Directory Using Windows Server Backup

Windows includes a built-in tool for backing up Active Directory, which is called Windows Server Backup utility. As WSB is not installed by default, you need to install it by yourself and then perform a full server backup with it.

1. To use this tool, open the Server Manager, select the Features tab, and then select the Windows Server Backup feature.

Windows Server Backup

2. Once the feature is installed, open the Windows Server Backup utility and select the Backup Once option.

Backup Once

3. In the Backup Once Wizard, on the Backup options page, click Different options, and then click Next.

Different Options

4. On the Select backup configuration page, click Full server (recommended), and then click Next.

5. On the Select Items for Backup page: click Add Items to select the option of System State.

System State Backup

6. On the Specify destination type page, click Local drives or Remote shared folder, and then click Next.

Destination Type

7. On the Select Backup Destination page: choose the destination drive and click Next.

8. On the Confirmation page: verify all options and click Backup to start.


9. It may take some time to finish the process. Just wait patiently, and when the backup is completed, click Close to close the Window.

You can see the backup steps of WSB is quite complicated, and you should know that the backup does not support incremental backup. So for continuous data protection, you need a more flexible way to backup this directory.

Easier way to backup Active Directory with best backup software

To apply for an easier and more flexible way to backup AD, AOMEI Backupper Server, a powerful Active Directory backup and restore software can help you a lot. It is easy to use and provides a comprehensive set of features to break the limitation of WSB.

✨ It offers you four types of backup: System/Disk/Partition/File Backup. You can run system backup to backup the full Server, and then restore Active Directory by system restore.
✨ You are allowed to perform incremental backup with this software, thus no changed files will be missed, and also will improve the backup efficiency.
✨ To recover selective files in AD, you can use the Explore Image feature to mount the system image to a virtual partition, and then retrieve the needed files from the virtual partition.
✨ It supports both Windows PC operating systems (Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP) and Windows Server operating systems (Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003, etc).

Follow the illustrated steps below to backup and restore Active Directory via AOMEI Backupper Server:

Step 1. Download the free trial of AOMEI Backupper Server, install and launch it.

Download Free TrialWindows Server & PC
Secure Download

Step 2. On the main interface, choose System Backup.

System Backup

Step 3. The required system partition(s) is (are) selected by default. You just need to choose the destination path to store the backup files.

Select Destination Path

Step 4. Confirm the operation and click Start Backup.

Start Backup

💛 You can also customize your settings:

»» Options: you can encrypt the backup to make sure it is encrypted to protect the data from unauthorized access. Compress and split your backups, etc. based on your needs.
»» Schedule Backup: you can set the backup task to run automatically at fixed intervals, such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event Triggers, USB plug in.
»» Backup Scheme: you can choose the backup method - full/incremental/differential backup. Also, you can delete old image files automatically to free up disk space for new backups. 

Create bootable media to restore from boot failure:

If your server computer does not start properly due to an unknown system error, then you can use the bootable USB created by AOMEI Backupper to start the PC successfully, then perform restore task. Just click Tools and Create Bootable Media, then follow the wizard to complete the process.

Create Bootable Media

2 ways to restore Active Directory from backup

Restore using Windows Server Backup

1. Boot into Directory Services Restore. Reboot the Server and start pressing F8 to access the Advanced Boot options. Select Directory Services Repair Mode and press Enter.

Repair Mode

2. Open Windows Server Backup. Select Recover.

3. Select This Server for where the backup is stored and choose the backup you want to restore then click Next.

4. Select Original Location.

Select Location

5. Select System state and click Next.

System State

6. On the confirmation page click the recover button to start the restore process. The restore will now start, and will you have a process page.

Recovery Process

7. Once the restore is complete, the Active Directory will be restored to the state that it was in when the backup was taken. Then log into the Server as normal.

Restore using AOMEI Backupper Server

Once you have a full Server backup in hand, you can restore it easily with AOMEI Backupper. Here are the simple steps you can follow.

1. Choose Restore in the left panel. Click Select Task to choose the system image.

Select Task

2. Select the backup image.

Select Backup Image

3. Select Restore this system backup. If you want to restore the system image to another place please click Restore system to other location. Click Next.

Select Destination

4. (Optional) Select the location if you are planning to restore to another place.

Select Location

5. Confirm your settings and then click Start Restore.

Start Restore

A pop-up window will prompt us to restart the computer later. Then, the operations will be completed under the Restart mode.

Final words

Now you know what are the best ways to enable Active Directory backup and restore. You can try Windows built-in tool WSB to achieve that, or you can apply easier and more flexible software – AOMEI Backupper Server, which offers you more advanced backup options. It can also help you to achieve Windows Server 2022 factory reset, or let you burn Windows Server 2019 ISO to USB in just a few clicks. It is worth your try!

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.