How to Create Bare Metal Backup with Wbadmin?

December 10, 2015

Wbadmin command line is a Windows Server 2008/2012 R2 backup and recovery utility that allows you to create bare metal backup from command prompt, so you can restore to a machine with similar or dissimilar hardware.

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, one would know that when specifying items to include in the backup there is an option bare metal recovery, which will necessarily include the system state and all the critical volumes.

Although Microsoft haven’t introduce the Wbadmin command to run bare metal backup, you can figure out that Bare metal recovery is the same as all critical backup plus systemstate backup. If you run a backup from command line with the “-allcritical” option without the “-systemtatebackup” option, you can perform a bare metal recovery, allowing you to restore the backup to a computer with similar or dissimilar hardware, but you cannot perform only a System State recovery. Windows 7/8/8.1/10 or Windows Server 2008/2008R2/2012/2012R2 can use Wbadmin to create a backup containing bare metal materials.

Create backups with Wbadmin command

To create backup with Wbadmin command, you can open an elevated Command Prompt and run a command from there. To access Command Prompt, In the Search box, type Command Prompt, and then right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator. You can also use this method to open Powershell.

The syntax for Windows PC:

wbadmin start backup

[-backupTarget:{ | }]

[-include: ]


[-user: ]

[-password: ]



[-vssFull] –vssCopy]


The syntax for Windows Server:

Wbadmin start backup

[-backupTarget:{ | }]

[-include: ]

[-nonRecurseInclude: ]

[-exclude: ]

[-nonRecurseExclude: ]

[-hyperv: ]




[-user: ]

[-password: ]


[-vssFull | -vssCopy]



Note: the provided switches of every version of Wbadmin is a bit different, for example, you can only include volume into a backup instead of files and folders. As mentioned above, –systemstate backup option is only available in Server system. To run bare metal backup in Windows PC, you can use the command: “Wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:X: -allcritical -quiet”. (X means the partition to store the image backup.)

To run a bare metal backup in Windows Server, you can use the command: “Wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:X: -allcritical –systemstate -quiet”

Of course, you can also adjust the specific parameters of the Wbadmin allcritical backup command based on your needs. For example, to create a bare metal backup to F: drive without prompt, use the following command: wbadmin start backup –backuptarget:F: -allcritical –systemstate -quiet

Bare Metal

The backup will start in the background as soon as you press Enter. In order to restore this image backup, you need to get into Windows Recovery Environment via Windows installation disc or create a recovery drive.

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

Create backups with free third party software

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 will do a quite great job regarding backup and recovery. To create bare metal backup from command line using AOMEI Backupper:

1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper. The command line backup feature only available in paid verison.

2. Open an elevated command prompt, and run as administrator.

3. 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”.

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

AB command

AOMEI Backuppe allows you to create multiple scheduled full/differential/incremental backup tasks to any locations that Windows detects from command line or graphic users interface (GUI). Available in multiple editions, AOMEI Backupper is suitable for technicians, Server users, and PC users. It provides more options to make sure the backup runs smoothly and efficiently. With Disk Space Management, you can set it to automatically delete old backups in your own way; With bootable media created by Backupper or AOMEI PXE tool, you can easily restore your machine when not working; with compression and encryption, you backup is secured and consuming much less space; also with its intuitive interface, you can perform backup and restore with a few clicks effortlessly.