By Ivy / Last Updated December 31, 2020

User case: how do I create a system image in Windows Server 2008?

“I would like to create a full system image of my server 2008 for disaster recovery. For example, if my server is damaged or stolen, I would use this hard drive and Windows CD to restore computer or to a new server, and keep all the configuration, drivers, installed programs, etc on the first server. How to take image backup of Windows Server 2008? Thanks for any kindly advices.”

Server 2008

System image backup is necessary for server 2008 (R2)

Honestly, it’s necessary to create a server 2008 image backup to protect server you are currently using. A systen image can help you prevent many computer problems and get your computer back in a very short time. Next, I’ll explain this in details.

  • Prevent system crash. This situation is much worse and harder to handle. In this situation, you are not even able to boot your computer, not to mention fixing the error.

  • Avoid disk failure. As time goes, your hard drive may suddenly fail to work, leaving you helpless, even with another new hard drive at hand. Because there is no way for you to save your system on the broken one.

  • Suffer data loss owing to unknown reasons. If you are not familiar with the computer, you may lose your data including photos, videos, games, even important documents owing to unknown reasons or human error.

Windows Server 2008 backup software is indispensable

System backup is not just about copying all your files or partitions and storing them on other storage devices. Because simply copying and pasting all files to another storage will lead to boot files unbootable.

To avoid this issue, you can turn to built-in tool Windows Server Backup, or a trust and reliable third-party backup software AOMEI Backupper Server. Both of them can achieve the same effect. Continue to see below and select the one suitable for you.

Create system image in Windows Server 2008 with Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup is a free tool in Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2020 etc, which allows you to create a full server backup, system state backup, bare metal backup, or backup selected volumes, specific files and folders.

However, this tool is not installed by default and you need to manually install it using Server Manager. Just Open Server Manager, then go to Features > Add Features > Windows Server Backup Features and click Install to start the installation process.

Then, to create a system image backup in server 2008 with Windows Server Backup, use the following steps. Please note that you must be a member of the Backup Operators or Administrators group, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. And this software only backs up volume formatted with NTFS file system.

1. Open Windows Server Backup. Just click Start and type Window Server Backup in the search box, then select it from the list result.

2. Click “Backup Once” at the right panel. If you want to create a schedule backup, you can click “Backup Schedule”.

Backup Once

3. Tick “Different options” and click Next.

Different Options

4. Check “Full Server” in the “Select backup configuration” page.

Full Server

5. Click "Local drives" and Next. Then, in the new window, click the inverted triangle and select a drive from drop-down menu as backup destination. You can choose local disk or external drive as destination as long as it can be recognized.

Local Drive

6. Select “VSS copy backup(recommended)” and click Next.

Vss Copy Backup

7. Confirm the backup items and click “Backup” to start this operation.

Now, you may successfully create a system image. It’s very luck. Also, you can use Windows Server Backup command line to create a backup for your computer.

But there are still some users who may not create a backup and run into issues with error message like incorrect function, greater than 2TB, reading data please wait, system writer is not found in the backup etc. To avoid these issues, you could consider using a professional backup software as replacement.

Create system image backup for Windows Server 2008 with AOMEI Backupper Server

AOMEI Backupper Server is a trust and reliable backup software that is widely used to create system image in Windows server 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2020 etc. This operation is very easy, just a few clicks. It supports full backup, incremental backup and differential backup. It backs up system partition with NTFS, FAT32, FAT, EXT2, EXT3 file system.

In addition, there are some useful feature you may use during the backup process. They makes the task simple and efficient.

  • Get backup result more easily. With “Email Notification”, you no longer need to wait unless the backup task is 100% completed. Because it will inform you the final result and any error message during the backup process.

  • Save disk space. Don't want waste a lot of time and disk space when create a server 2008 image backup? You could backup system with incremental backup or differential backup feature.

  • Support automatic backup. To keep the newly installed apps, added or modified files, you can schedule backup at a regular basis, such as, daily, weekly, monthly.

  • Support off-peak hours backup. Its feature "Wake the computer to run scheduled tasks" allows you to backup system at midnight or any other time without human intervention.

  • Manage backup disk space. Backup space not enough is a big headahe for users who create schedule backup regularly. So, it’s recommended to enable backup scheme to delete old backup.

Then, follow steps below to create Windows Server 2008 image backup with AOMEI Backupper Server. If you want to backup Windows Server 2008 to external hard drive, you need connect the device in advance.

1. Download, install and launch this software.

Download Free Trial Server 2008/2012/2016/2019/2020
Secure Download

2. Click “Backup” and “System Backup” subsequently.

System Backup

3. Click the folder shaped button and select a destination path on your local computer.

By default, system partition and boot related partition will be selected automatically in this step. This is to prevent your computer fail to boot because you forget to choose certain hidden boot-related partitions or ignore them.

Select Path

4. Click “Options”, “Schedule”, or “Scheme” to set up backup settings. Then, click “Start Backup” if there is no problem.

>> Compression: If your system is very large, you can compress it with “Normal” or “High” compression level. The high compression level requires more backup time.

>> Event triggers: Don't want any of your opertion to be disturbed by the backup task, you can use "System Shutdown" feature in the "Event Triggers".

>> USB plug in: This feature can make a system image backup on USB drive automatically when it's plugged in, even without opening this software.

>> Incremental or differential Backup: Both features help you backup system without occuping too much disk space.

Schedule Settings General

Wait for the process to end, and you will get a Windows Server 2008 image backup. Then, it's suggested to create a bootable media so you can restore your computer even if it fails to boot. To recover your server, please go to the Home tab, select the created backup and Restore option.

Your Turn

Reading here, you may already know how to create a system image backup in Windows Server 2008 (R2). These steps also apply to create a system image in Windows Server 2012, 2016, 2019, 2020 etc. Now, it’s your turn. Just select the way suitable for you and create an image backup with the step-by-step guide above to protect your server.

If you want to create a system image with freeware, you can use the built-in tool Windows Server Backup. If you want an easier way or more advanced features, you can use the professional backup software AOMEI Backupper Server.

This software is still a disk cloning software, so you can clone Server 2008 and other operating system with its “System Clone”, or “Disk Clone” feature. After cloning, you can directly swap hard drive and boot from it without recovery first. Don't want to reinstall system from scratch and lose data owing to system crash or other computer errors? Just download the free trial to backup or clone your system immediately.

For IT technicians, you could use AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. This version can be installed on unlimited PCs and Servers within your computer. And it offers unlimited billable technical services to clients and also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.