By Ailsa / Last Updated April 9, 2020

Why Create Image Backup for Windows Server?

The Microsoft Windows Server operating systems, including Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019 (R2), is designed for enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications for multiple clients. Windows Server store a large amount of business data over the network, to avoid serious virus attack, system crash, failure of booting operating system, hardware damage, etc., you’d better create image backup for Windows Server on a regular basis to protect your critical data.

How to Create Image Backup in Windows Server?

There is a backup software named Windows Server Backup (WSB) in Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019 (R2) for you to backup and restore the full server (all volumes), selected volumes, the system state, or specific files or folders. And you could create a backup for bare metal recovery in case of hard disk failure.

First of all, you have to install Windows Server Backup on your selected computer with the steps: Go to Server Manager -> Dashboard -> Manage -> Add Roles and Features, and then follow the wizards to install.

Add Roles And Features

Add Roles Wizard

Then you could go Server Manager -> Tools -> Windows Server Backup, right-click Local Backup and select Backup Schedule or Backup Once to create a new image backup for Windows Server 2003 and later.

Backup Schedule Or Backup Once

Besides, the Wbadmin command will help you to create image backup with the command prompt.

Windows Server Backup Limitations

However, the Windows Server Backup has some limitations you have to pay attention to:

  • Backup of volumes greater than 2 TB was not supported and 512-byte sectors were required in Windows Server 2003 (R2) and 2008 (R2). Although Windows Server 2012 and later could backup volumes greater than 2 terabytes (TB) and with 4 K sector sizes.

  • Deletion policy (manage backup versions and backup retention) was not available in Windows Server 2003 (R2) and 2008 (R2). This is available since Windows Server 2012.

  • Removable media is not supported, such as tape, CD, USB flash drive, etc.

  • You could not recover individual files, folders, or application data from backup DVDs.

  • There will only one the latest backup if you would like to backup to a shared network folder.

Any better server backup software to create an image backup in Windows Server 2003/2012/2016/2019?

Easier Way to Create Image Backup of Windows Server

The best Windows server backup software - AOMEI Backupper Server, which is designed for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (all editions, 32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows Server 2003, 2012/2016/2019(including R2) to backup entire disk, partition, Windows server operating system, and other personal files, will help you to overcome the limitations, and show you the Windows Server 2012 R2 backup and restore step by step.

AOMEI Backupper Server is capable of backing up large volume, deleting old backup images automatically, supporting more destination type, and you could restore individual files from the backup image, etc.

Please download AOMEI Backupper Server 90 day free trial first and follow the step by step guide to create backup image in Windows Server 2012 R2:

How to Create Image of Windows Server 2012 R2?

1. Click Backup -> Disk Backup on the main window (Or choose System Backup to only backup Windows Server 2012 OS).

Disk Backup

2. Tap + Add Disk to choose your Windows Server 2012 R2 entire hard disk to backup.

Add Disk

☛Tip: Rename the Task Name to distinguish from other backups if required.

3. Choose a destination to save the image backup from Windows Server 2012 R2.

Select Backup Destination

☛Tip: You could create image backup to multiple destinations, such as a local disk, external hard disk, NAS, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, etc.

4. Click Start backup >> button to create a Windows Server 2012 R2 image backup.

Start Backup

Schedule: you have flexible way to create the disk image backup in Windows Server automatically via once, daily, weekly, monthly, event triggers, USB plug-in, Real-time sync. The last three options are premium features, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional or other premium edition to enjoy.
Scheme: to delete old backup images to free up space, please click Scheme -> Enable Backup Scheme, and choose a backup scheme and the number of backups to retain.
Options: you could modify the backup images to adjust the different destination types, like compress, split, encrypt the backup image, and comment on the task. Besides, you are able to enable email notification to get an email alert or SMS notification while finished the task.

Wait for a couple of minutes, it will be finished quickly. The cost time depending on the data size on your source disk. Besides, you could realize selective file restore, restore to dissimilar hardware computer, etc.

How to Restore Windows Image Backup in Server 2012 R2?

1. Please go to Home -> Disk Backup (the task name you specified) -> three bars icon -> Restore. (Or click Restore -> Select Task/Image File and follow the guide to restore)

Disk Restore

2. Choose Restore the entire disk or Restore a partition in the disk, and select the corresponding item, click Next >>.

3. Choose a destination to restore, click Next >>.

4. Press Start Restore >>. Tick Universal Restore if restore Windows Server 2012 backup to another machine.


It’s easy to create image backup in Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019 and Windows PC with the best server backup software - AOMEI Backupper Server. It provides more features to transfer everything from one computer to another, such as disk clone, system clone, partition clone. If you just want to backup the changed files since the last backup, try incremental or differential backup, or real time sync to sync all the changed file as soon as possible. For IT technicians, get AOMEI Backupper Technician to have a try with more advanced features.