By Ivy / Last Updated June 17, 2020

About bare metal backup

Bare metal backup refers to a backup including system state, and all the partitions containing system state (as known as critical volumes). Having experience with Windows Server Backup, you could know that bare metal recovery, system state and all critical partitions will be checked. But if the bare metal recovery is not ticked, you should tick it. Because it can help you restore your server to previous date.

Bare Metal Recovery

Wbadmin -allcritical vs bare metal backup

“I did a backup with wbadmin start backup -allcritical -backuptarget:E: -vssfull at first, then I did a backup with Windows Server Backup and tick bare metal backup. Both backup folders contain the same number of files and the files are the same size. However, when I check the completed backup from Windows Server Backup, the first backup only have two items while the second backup contain 3 items. Is there any difference between them?”

Do you have similar question? Want to clearly know if there are any difference? Here, I’ll answer for you. To be honest, there is no difference between wbadmin -allcritical and bare metal backup in Windows Server Backup. Because the -allcritical command line will backup all critical backup, including system state backup, system volume, system related partitions.

Other things you need to know

1. Wbadmin take “block” level backups of system with volume shadow copy service. And the backup will be saved to virtual hard disks.

2. Windows7/2008 R2 and earlier version create VHD backup files while the later create VHDX backup files. VHDX format improve the ability to easily shrink the disk.

3. Wbadmin can create full, incremental and differential backup. But if you back up to network share, it will only create full backup. Because the VSS is unavailable.

4. You can only start a full system recovery in the Windows Recovery Environment. If you want to restore a full system, you need to create a recovery disk for server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019 and its R2 version in advance.

5. Wbadmin only restore from archives made with the same version of wbadmin. That’s to say, your installation media and backup must be created on the same computer. You cannot use a Server 2008 installation disk to restore Server 2012 backup.

6. The restore process is very unstable and even slight changes to your configuration will create errors. The most common one is disk space. It must be the same or larger size than the original disk.

Method 1:Create bare metal backup with Wbadmin command line

To run wbadmin start backup bare metal, you can open an elevated Command Prompt and run a command from there. To access Command Prompt, you can type cmd in the search box, then right-click it and select Run as administrator.

The syntax for Windows PC:

wbadmin start backup -allcritical -backupTarget:E: -quiet

The syntax for server:

wbadmin start backup -allcritical -systemstate -backuptarget:E: -quiet -vssfull


The wbadmin backup bare metal will contain system state backup by default, so there is no need to type -systemstate.

Adding -quiet switch can avoid prompt and start backup in the background.

Adding -vssfull switch or not doesn’t make any difference unless your Server has a third-party backup agent, such as, Exchange.

So, the final syntax for server is:

wbadmin start backup -allcritical -backuptarget:E:


wbadmin start backup -allcritical -backuptarget:E: -quiet

Bare Metal

To perform wbadmin start backup bare metal recovery, you can use wbadmin start sysrecovery and wbadmin start recovery command line. But the first command line only supports in recovery environment. In this case, an installation disc or a recovery drive is needed. So, I recommend you using the second method.

Just type the following commands and hit Enter.

wbadmin get versions -backuptarget:E: (E: is the drive that contain backup)

wbadmin get items -versions:09/11/2019-03:48 -backuptarget:E:

wbadmin start recovery -version:09/11/2019-03:48 -itemtype:App -items:Registry -recoverytarget:F:\(F: is the path to save your backup)

Note: Windows Wbadmin utility only works with the partitions formatted with NTFS.

Method 2: Wbadmin start backup bare metal with AMBackup.exe

Wbadmin utility isn’t developed to be an enterprise-level backup solution, so many uses may need a more professional backup tool. If you dig deep, you can find out that AOMEI Backupper Professional will do a quite great job regarding backup and recovery. To create bare metal backup from command line using AOMEI Backupper:

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper Professional. Then, open an elevated command prompt, and run as administrator.

Step 2. Input the path of the installation directory of AOMEI Backupper and press Enter. The path should be like, “cd C:\Program Files (x86)\AOMEI Backupper”.

Step 3. Input a backup command of AOMEI Backupper and press Enter. For example, to create a system backup on “E:\system backup” and name it as “System Backup”, you can run the command: AMBackup.exe /b new /t system /d “e: \system backup” /n “System Backup”.

AB command

Method 3: Alternative to wbadmin start backup and AMBackup.exe

Besides Wbadmin bare metal backup command line and AMBackup.exe, you still can use AOMEI Backupper with graphic users interface(GUI). It makes all things become easier. With schedule backup, you can easily and quickly create multiple full/differential/incremental backup tasks to any locations; with compression and encryption, you backup is secured and consuming much less space; With Disk Space Management, you can automatically delete old backups in your own way.

More so, with bootable media created by Backupper or AOMEI PXE tool, you can easily restore your machine when not working; And this software is available in multiple editions, including technician, Server, Workstation, Professional and Standard.

Now, see below and learn the detailed steps to create a system image backup for your Server.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional, then click Backup and System Backup subsequently.

System Backup

Step 2. Select the backup path for your system. The system and boot related partition is selected by default, so you just need to specify path. You can backup to network drive, external hard drive, flash drive, NAS, cloud drive, etc.

Select Path

Step 3(optional). Set up settings if needed. Then, click Start Backup.

Wrapping things up

Speaking of wbadmin bare metal backup, you may feel difficult to understand. So, I recommend you AMBackup.exe and its graphic user interface. Among these three softwares, the GUI version is the simplest, because it has a clear interface and user-friendly design and you just need to click the respective button. Every step is fixed, so there is a little chance to make mistaken.

Just try the above way according your needs.