By Ivy / Last Updated June 22, 2020

User case

“I need to backup a Dell PowerEdge Server Running 2012 to an image file in case the drives fail when we do some hard drive firmware updates. I have a QNAP device I would like to dump the image to. What’s the best way to do this? I have about 1.4TB of data, RAID5, a OS drive and data drive partitions. Thanks!!”

Windows Server 2012

What is a system image backup?

A system image backup is an exact copy of your system partition and other partitions requires to boot Windows. By default, it’s a compressed image file that include operating system, boot sectors, custom settings and all installed programs and data on these partition. Therefore, you can use it to restore your computer if the system or hard disk ever stops working.

Why create a system image for Windows Server 2012?

Speaking of why create a system image for Windows Server 2012, the main reason is to avoid boot failure and reinstalling system owing to system crash, hard drive failure, virus or hacker attack, hardware, software failure, wrong operations or blue screen etc. Besides, it can keep a copy of data on the system partition and you can restore files from the image after something unexpected happen.

In sum, a system image backup for Server 2012 can protect the system and data on system partition. It’s necessary to create a backup for that.

Backup tools for Windows Server 2012

For Server 2012, there is built-in backup tool called Windows Server Backup(WSB), which allows you to backup system and restore your Server from backup. But this tool is not installed by default and you need to install it at first.

Besides, you still could consider using a trust and reliable third-party backup software like AOMEI Backupper Server. This software can be used on all server-based operating system, such as, 2012, 2016, 2019 and its R2 version. And it’s very easy to use, even for beginners. Besides, it still offers you many useful features, such as, USB plug in, Incremental or differential backup, backup scheme, etc. Now, let's have a close look.

  • Automatic Backup: This feature is used to help you backup regularly, such as, daily, weekly, monthly. It keeps the latest backup version for you and avoids data loss owing to forgetting to backup.

  • Event triggers. To backup Server 2012 at a specific event that does not have any interference, it's recommended to use "System Shutdown" feature in the event triggers.

  • Incremental or differential backup: To backup the newly installed updates, apps, added or modified files, you can use incremental or differential backup instead of full backup.

  • Backup Scheme: This feature can avoid backup disk full and help users delete old backup according to the specific role of “Backup Scheme’.

Create Windows Server 2012 system image backup with WSB

To create system image with WSB, use the following steps:

Install Windows Server Backup feature using Server Manager, open it by clicking “Start”>”Administrator Tools”>”Window Server Backup” and select “Backup Once” or “Backup Schedule”, then you will go to the backup wizard and follow the on-screen instructions to finish all steps.

For detailed steps, you can refer to: Create Windows Server 2012 Restore Point with 2 Alternative Ways.

Create System Image with Windows Server Backup

With this software, you can create a system image. But I have to say that this software does not work as normal sometimes and you may receive various of backup error during the process, including “not enough space on the disk”, “Windows Server Backup Schedule not running”, “Windows Server backup reading data please wait”, etc.

Create a system image backup with AOMEI

To backup system with AOMEI Backupper Server, see the detailed steps below:

1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper Server.

2. Select “System Backup” under the Backup bar.

System Backup

3. Click where the arrow point to select a destination path and click “Start Backup”. Because the system partition and other boot related partition are selected by default.

Select Path

Tips: There are some useful features you may need, because it can bring you more convenience when backup.

  • Email Notification”: This feature is to inform you if the backup task is completed successfully or the error message occurs during the process.

  • Compression”: If your system partition is very larger, you can use “Normal” or “High” compression level to compress Windows Server. By comparison, the compressed image will occupy less backup space.

  • Encryption for backup”: If there is some sensitive data or other things that you don't want to be known, you can encrypt it.

Now, you may successfully create a system image backup. with it, you can restore your computer when something unexpected happens, or even restore Windows Server 2012 backup to different hardware.

Wrapping things up

To create a system image backup for Windows Server 2012, you can use either Windows Server Backup or AOMEI Backupper Server. However, this built-in tool is not stable. So, you’d better use professional system image backup software AOMEI Backupper Server.

With it, you can finish this operation with only three steps. And this software suitable for all Windows users using Windows 7, 8, 10, or Server 2008, 2012, 2016, etc. Besides, it offers you many useful features, which can help you save backup time, disk space, or avoid the possibility of forgetting to create a backup.

The only problem is that you can use this software on server computers. If you have multiple computers, you can consider using 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.