Create System Image Backup in Windows Server 2016 | 2 Ways

You will learn two easy ways to create a system image for Windows Server 2016, namely using Windows Server Backup and AOMEI Backupper Server. Get the stepwise guide below.


By Lily / Updated on December 30, 2022

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About Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2016

Windows Server Backup (WSB) is built in backup utility in Windows Server 2016/2012 R2/2012/2008 R2/2008 and newer Windows Server 2019/2022. It has a series of wizards that help you create basic backups and perform recovery tasks whenever you need. 

You can use WSB to perform a full server backup (including all volumes), specific volumes/partitions backup, system state backup, specific files or folders backup. Since Windows Server 2012, WSB supports 4K sector advanced format hard drive and partitions larger than 2TB, so you can create a full server backup more easily.

With Windows Server backup images, if something bad like hard disk failures or system crushes happens, you can run a Windows Server bare metal recovery to make everything back on track without worrying about data loss. Thus, to protect your data safely, it's rather crucial for creating a system image backup for Windows Server 2016 and other operating systems.

Windows Server 2016 System Backup Step by Step Guide

Please install Windows Server Backup before creating Windows Server 2016 image backup, since this feature is not installed by default.

  • Go to Server Manager > Role-based or Feature based installation > Server.

  • Under the Features wizard, check Windows Server Backup feature and click Install. This process won't take long and you just need to wait patiently until the installation completes. 

After installing Windows Server Backup, you can continue to see below and learn how to backup Windows Server 2016 using Windows Server Backup.

1. Click  Start Administrative Tools and then select Windows Server Backup.

2. Under Actions tab, click Backup Once for a one time backup job, and click Next to continue. If you want to create a scheduled backup, click Backup Schedule instead.

Windows Server Backup

3. Tick Different options if you have not created a scheduled task. Then, click Next.

4. Check Custom for backup configuration and click Next.

5. Click Add Items option in the Select Items for Backup and then check Bare metal recovery. It will automatically check the required items for bare metal recovery.

Select Item for Backup

6. Specify destination location to save the Windows Server 2016 system backup, you can choose the local drives or remote shared folder.

7. Click Backup to create system image backup for Windows Server 2016.


It will take a long while for the Windows Server image backup to complete. Once the backup is done, you have to specify the destination to another location because new backup will overwrite the previous one if you store the Windows Server 2016 system backup to NAS or network shared folder.

If you created a scheduled backup task, and Windows Server Backup will automatically delete old backup images to free up space if the target storage location is full. However, you might get the Windows Server Backup backup failed and not deleting old backups due to the Windows Server Backup could not shrink the storage space of shadow copies to 1/8 below the target volume size.

What if you want to keep more Windows Server image backups and ensure there are always enough space to store new backup? It’s time to look for a more flexible way. 

More Flexible Way to Backup Windows Server 2016

AOMEI Backupper Server is a powerful Windows Server backup software, which allows you to create system image backup for Windows Server 2016 with only a few mouse-clicking. It's a copy of your system partition, including the operating system, installed program, saved data, etc. Below are useful features you may use during the backup process.

Schedule Backup: You can create schedule automatic backup in Windows Server with Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger or USB plug in feature.
Backup Scheme: You are allowed to backup system image in full, incremental or differential backup and set the backup retention policy to free up space for new backup.
Bootable rescue media/recovery environment: You are able to create a bootable device or recovery environment so as to recover a crashed system.
Support multiple storage devices. You could store backups in local disk, external hard disk, USB drive, CD/DVD, network or NAS, clouds.
Support Windows 11/10/8/7 and Server 2022/2019/2016/2012.
Support all the file systems like FAT32, FAT16, EXT2, EXT3 and NTFS, etc.

With its intuitive main interface, you can easily backup Windows Server 2016 like an expert. Please download and install the 30-day free trial and have a try. 

Download Free Trial Server 2008/2012/2016/2019/2022
Secure Download

After learning the powerful Windows Server backup software and downloading it, then you can backup Windows Server 2016 to external hard drive and enjoy its helpful features. Just follow the step-by-step guide below. 

1. Connect the external storage and make it can be detected. Launch the Windows Server backup software - AOMEI Backupper.

2. Under Backup tab, select System Backup for Windows Server 2016 OS backup.

System Backup

3. Choose the external hard drive as the destination to save the Windows Server 2016 image backup.

Select Path

★ Tip: The program will automatically select the system partitions as backup source, including the boot partition, system reserved partition, etc.

4. Then, press Start Backup to create a system image backup for Windows Server 2016.

Start Backup

There are some useful backup settings you can make before imaging Windows Server 2016:

👉 Options allow you to comment on the backup task, encrypt, split and compress the Server 2016 backup file, enable email or SMS notification, use VSS, etc.

👉 Schedule Backup provides you with five modes: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers, USB plug in.

  • Event triggers allow you to trigger the backup task via the four events: User logon, User logoff, System startup, and System shutdown.
  • USB plug in is capable of backing up Windows Server 2016 automatically when the related USB is plugged in.

Schedule Settings

👉 Backup Scheme includes three backup methods and four cleanup methods.

  • The backup methods are full, incremental and differential backup. Incremental backup will backup the changed part since the last incremental/full backup while differential backup will backup changed files since the last full backup.
  • The cleanup methods are By quantity, By timeBy daily/weekly/monthly and By space. You can choose one to automatically delete old backup images.

Backup Scheme

Bonus Tip: One Key System Backup & Recovery in Windows Server

If you want one key system backup & recovery solution for Windows Server 2019/2016/2012, etc, specialized onekey recovery software - AOMEI OneKey Recovery can meet your demand. It enables you to create a custom recovery partition to boot your computer into Windows PE and you still need to enable boot menu or "F11" or "A" recovery key in the Settings option.

Also, it will create a system image backup as well. You can choose to store it in the recovery partition or other location, such as, external hard drive, USB flash drive, etc.

Backup To

Also, you can backup system automatically via its Daily, Weekly, Monthly Scheduler. And compression or encryption is supported. After completion, you can easily restore system within Windows or during system startup.

Daily Scheduler

To Sum up

In a short while, Windows Server Backup and AOMEI Backupper Server both can help you create a system image backup in Windows Server 2016 completely. Once the backup task is finished, you can use it to restore system image with identical hardware or dissimilar hardware (if you create a bare metal backup).

By comparison, the second one is more flexible, it allows you to create multiple backups with the help of its schedule backup feature. And it also allows you to delete old backup images to free up space for new backups. In addition, it has the ability to create bootable rescue media or AOMEI PXE Tool for Windows Server 2016 system state backup restore when it is unable to boot.

To protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.