By Teresa / Last Updated October 28, 2019

Why backup Windows Server 2011?

Before you know how to backup Windows Server 2011 to external hard drive, it is important for you to understand the importance of backing up. Backup is performed for various reasons, and those reasons very often dictate the investment made in a accomplishing the backup. The primary reason for creating backups is the assurance of data availability, small and medium-sized companies in particular. The higher the data availability requirements, the more investment needs to be made. For example, one form of backup that runs continuously is disk mirroring, in which every data write operation is reflected to another disk to guarantee extremely high data availability.

To backup Windows Small Business Server 2011 is sometimes used to transfer operating system--for instance when you want to deploy the same operating system at a distant geography location. A similar motivation is to migrate the system to new hard drive or, more rarely, a different Server. In other situations, for example, system backup can help you recover operating system from virus attack, system damaged, and other unexpected events.

The Windows Server is responsible for backing up and restoring files, folders, database and hard drives on a network in order to prevent the loss of data in the event of hard drive failure, user error, disaster or accident. That’s great for you use Server to protect data, but what if the Server itself fails? Then backup the Server to external drives is necessary.

Fortunately, there are two ways for you to choose to do backup: Windows Server Backup and backup software for Windows Server 2011.

Backup Windows Home Server 2011 with Windows Server Backup

To begin with, you should connect the external hard drive to your Server for the backups (take Windows Home Server 2011 for example). The external hard drives here include USB, eSATA, and Firewire (IEEE1394) drives. Any of them could be used, but after you connect it physically to the Server, you also need to ‘Add’ it to your storage list via the Dashboard.

WHS Dashboard

Open Windows Home Server 2011 Dashboard, go ‘Server Folders and Hard Drives’, you can see all your hard drives. Click ‘Add the hard drive to Server Backup’ in the right-hand pane to really add it. You’ll be taken through a wizard and just follow it.

Backup Wizard

Then select the external drive in the up pop windows for storing backup and click ‘Next’, at which point you need to ‘label’ the disk and format the disk.

select the backup destination

Next, create the backup schedule. By default, the backup runs twice a day, if you feel OK with the set, then click ‘Next’ to move to next step.

specify the backupp schedule

Finally, you need to decide which item you would like to be backed up. Everything has selected by default, the Server’s operating system files, and the data in your shared folders as well as your Client Computer Backups.

Note: The external hard drive you added will be formatted when you adding it to the Server, make sure to use professional external hard drive backup software to backup file that matters a lot on the disk.

It seems like easy and fast, but there is a crucial limitation of Windows Server Backup: it will only backup data that is 2TB or less in size and will only recognize disk partitions of 2TB or less. However, with the growing storage requirement you need larger external hard drives since USB drives with 2TB and 3TB capabilities are commonplace nowadays. Even worse, it won’t let you do Differential Backup from time to time.

If you want to do free of worry backup or need professional and enterprise-level backup software, you might with the help of AOMEI Backupper. AOMEI Backupper Server edition can do Full Backup, Incremental & Differential Backup, and various recovery and clone. You can use this software in Windows Home Server 2011 to backup multipe drives at a time. What’s more important, it has no limitation of 2TB. It supports Window Server 2003/2008/2012 and SBS 2003/2011 etc.

Windows Home Server 2011 Backup to external drive via AOMEI Backupper

In the first place, insert the external hard drive and ensure it can be detected by Windows. Download AOMEI Backupper Server (30-day free trial) and have a try. Install AOMEI Backupper and launch it.

Step1. Download AOMEI Backupper Server (30-day free trial), Install and launch it. Select System Backup under Backup tab.

System Backup

Step2. Select the destination path (replace D drive with the external hard drive). The boot related partition and C drive are selected by default. Then click Start Backup.

Select Destination Disk


  • Backup Options: You can configure General, Compression, Splitting, Intelligent Sector and VSS under this option.

  • Schedule: You can set schedule backup mode and some advanced options by ticking the box.

  • Scheme: You are enabled to manage disk space by deleting old backups automatically to save room on the hard drive if you tick this box.

You are able to backup Window Server 2011 to external hard drive successfully now in only two steps. The user-friendly interface makes the process easier and faster for both experts and green-hands. AOMEI Backupper supports you store your backup images on local disk, external hard drive/removable hard drive, USB flash drive/Pen Drive/Thumb Drive/ San Disk, CD/DVD/Disc, NAS/Network etc. Furthermore, you can Create Bootable Rescue Media with AOMEI Backupper for disaster recovery.