Full & Clear Guide: How to Reset Windows Server 2012 (R2)

If you don't know how to restore your Windows Server 2012, don't worry too much. This article will introduce you practical ways for Windows Server 2012 to restore.


By Maggie Updated on December 15, 2023

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Why do you choose to restore your Windows Server 2012?

Restore” means to bring something back to its original or previous state. When users search ‘how to reset Windows Server 2012’ on the Internet, they might want to find solutions for different scenarios:

  • Reset server administrative passwords
  • Restore the server from a backup
  • Reset the server to factory default settings

Considering the different needs, the underlying reasons for users to do so may result from the below points:

1. A virus on the server cannot be inoculated or deleted.
2. The server configuration settings are bad, and you cannot start the server.
3. You replaced the system drive.
4. You are retiring the server, and you want to restore to a new server.
5. Ect.

In this article, I will give instructions to restore/ factory reset Windows Server and tell how to change administrator password in Windows Server 2012 (R2).

Stepwise guide: how to reset Windows Server 2012 (R2)

If a backup is available, your best choice for restoring your server is to create Windows Server 2012 (R2) restore point to restore from an external backup. The restoration process will recover server settings and folders from the chosen backup. You only need to configure settings and restore data created after the backup.

When choosing to recover your Server by restoring from a previous backup, you must select the specific backup you want to restore, and you must have a valid backup file on an external hard drive directly connected to the server. You can use professional backup and restore software AOMEI Backupper Server to create a system backup in several steps.

AOMEI Backupper

Best Windows Server backup & restore software.

Method 1. Perform system restore from backup

To perform a bare-metal restore on Windows Server 2012, follow these steps:

Step 1. Insert the Windows Server installation USB or recovery disk into the target machine and boot from it. Select the language and other preferences, then click Next.

Step 2. Click Repair your computer.

Repair Your Computer

Step 3. Select the Windows Server 2012 you want to repair and click Next.

Step 4. In the Advanced options window, select System Image Recovery.

System Image Recovery

Step 5. Choose the backup image created before for restoration and click Next.

Select System Image

Step 6. Confirm the restore settings and click Finish to initiate the recovery process. This may take some time, so please be patient.

After the restart, Server 2012 will be restored to the state saved in the last backup.

Method 2. Reset via AOMEI Backupper Server

If you want to recover Windows Server 2012 (R2) using AOMEI Backupper Server, make sure you have a backup created by this software. If not, you can create one on another working computer and then restore it on the problematic server. This process is known as dissimilar hardware restore.

If your Windows Server 2012 R2 is not booting up, you can also create a recovery disk on another computer using AOMEI Backupper's Bootable Media feature. This helps ensure your server is back in action smoothly.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper Server, and open it on your computer.

Step 2. Click Restore on the left and choose Select Task.

Select Task

Step 3. Pick the system image backup from the list and click Next.

Select Backup Image

Step 4. Select Restore the system backup and click Next.

Restore Entire System Image

Step 5. Confirm the operation in the Summary interface and click Start Restore to begin Windows Server 2012 recovery.

Windows Server 2012 Restore from Backup

This method can also guide you on how to factory reset Windows Server 2012 R2, you can create a backup image at the very first when you use the computer or create an image from dissimilar hardware via its Universal Restore.

How to change administrator password in Windows Server 2012 (R2)

At times, you may find it necessary to change the administrator password on your Windows Server. The course of action for recovery depends on whether you recall the existing password.

If you're regularly modifying a known administrator password, the Windows user interface provides a convenient solution. However, when faced with the task of changing an unknown administrator password, utilizing the command prompt becomes essential.

Scenario 1. Change known passwords

Access your server and follow these steps to change the password:

Step 1. Log in to your server. And navigate to the Start Menu and select Control Panel.

Step 2. Within the Control Panel, click on User Accounts.

Step 3. Locate and select the Administrator Account. Click on Change the Password.

Step 4. If prompted for the current password, enter it. Alternatively, if not prompted, input the new password and retype it for confirmation.

Scenario 2. Change and reset passwords

In the event of needing to change the admin password due to a loss of the old password, the following steps can be taken. These instructions are applicable to Windows versions 2008 R2, 2012, 2016, and 2019:

Step 1. Insert a DVD or USB with the installation files and boot the system.

Step 2. On the Language and other preferences screen, click Next.

Step 3. Select the Repair your computer option.

Repair Your Computer

Step 4. Select Troubleshoot > Command Prompt.

Step 5. Input the following commands:

MOVE C:WindowsSystem32Utilman.exe C:WindowsSystem32Utilman2.exe

(This command creates a backup of the utility manager.)

COPY C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe C:WindowsSystem32Utilman.exe

(This command replaces Utilman with the Command Prompt, necessary for password reset.)

Step 6. Reboot the system. And select the Ease of Access icon.

Step 7. Type in the following:

net user administrator *

Step 8. Enter and confirm your desired password. Once completed, you can log in as an administrator. Remember to revert changes to Utilman:

- Reboot the computer again from the installation disk.

- Open the Command Prompt.

- Run the following: MOVE C:WindowsSystem32Utilman2.exe C:WindowsSystem32Utilman.exe

- Restart your server once again to finalize the process.


This post tells different demands on how to reset Windows Server 2012, you can perform system restore or factory reset via system backup, recovery function in AOMEI Backupper Server and installation media. Also, if you want to reset the passwords, you can gain 2 ways from the article.

This software I mentioned in the article is comprehensive and powerful, which enables you to create a system backup point and restore it any time you want. Also, you can create a bootable media when your system fails. Now download this reliable software by yourself.

Maggie · Editor
Maggie is a technical editor from AOMEI and troubleshoots technical problems against data protection. She has received professional and systematic technical training. With a focus on user experience, security, and problem-solving, she always puts herself in the readers' shoes and provides them with valuable technical insights.