Top 5 Practices for NTBackup in Windows Server 2003

What is NTBackup in Windows Server 2003? Read this article patiently to learn more and the top 5 practices for it. And you can also do these backup and restore tasks easily with another software.


By Ivy Updated on December 1, 2022

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NTBackup in Windows Server 2003 (R2)

NTBackup (included in Windows XP) is the snap-in free backup software for Windows Server 2003 (R2), and it helps you to backup system state, files and folders to tape, ZIP drives, floppy disks, and hard drives. In Windows Vista and later operating systems, it has been replaced by Windows Backup and Restore, which uses the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) file format to backup. For Windows Server 2008 and later OS, you could find wbadmin backup command or GUI-version Windows Server Backup instead of NTBackup.

How to use NTBackup in Windows Server 2003? Please go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt to use NTBackup command tool. And then to view how to use this tool, input ntbackup /? to see the syntax.

NTBackup Syntax

NTBackup System State Backup

NTBackup supports system state backup, scheduling backups, incremental or differential backup, normal backup, daily backup, and so on. Now, we will describe how to create a system state backup for Windows Server 2003 (R2).

System state backup includes Windows Server 2003 (R2) boot files, system files, registration database, registry, system volume (SYSVOL), files under Windows File Protection, Certificate Services database, Active Directory database, Cluster database information, and IIS Metabase.

▆ To create a system state backup for Windows Server 2003, you could use the command:

NTBackup backup systemstate

▆ For example, create a system state backup job named Backup Job 2 to the file: C:\backup.bkf.

ntbackup backup systemstate /J "Backup Job 2" /F "C:\backup.bkf"

NTBackup System State Backup


  • If you do not specify the other Backup options, The NTbackup will use the default values of the Backup Utility for backup type, verification setting, logging level, hardware compression, and any other settings.
  • If the system state backup file could not restore your system after the system failure, it’s highly recommended to backup all system and boot partitions (including system state backup).

NTBackup Backup Files or Folders

▆ To create a backup of your E drive named Backup Job 1 to the D:\backup.bkf file, you could run the following command:

ntbackup.exe backup E:\ /j "Backup Job 1" /f "C:\Backup.bkf"

NTBackup Backup Files on E Drive

NTBackup Set Advanced Options 

▆ To set advanced options for your backup, try the following syntax:

ntbackup backup /V:{yes|no} /HC:{on|off} /SNAP:{on|off}


  • /V: verify the backup data after backing up.

  • /HC: specify whether the hardware compression is used or not.

  • /SNAP: set whether the volume shadow copy is used or not.

▆  For example, to create a backup job named "Backup Job 1" that backs up data on drive E:\ to the file C:\backup.bkf and disable the volume shadow copy, input:

ntbackup backup E:\ /J "Backup Job 1" /F "C:\backup.bkf" /SNAP:off

Disable Shadow Copy For Backup

NTBackup Set Backup Type

▆ To set the backup type for your backup, use the syntax:

ntbackup backup /M {backuptype}

▆ For example, create backup job named Backup Job 1 to backup system state data to the backup file: C:\Backup.bkf

ntbackup backup systemstate /M normal /J "Backup Job 1" /F "C:\backup.bkf"

Restore files from NTBackup Command

You cannot restore files from the command line using the NTBackup command. You could find the .bkf file in File Explorer to restore or open Backup Utility directly to restore:

1. Double-click the .bkf file to open Backup or Restore Wizard.

BKF Backup FIle

2. Click Next -> pick Restore files and settings, and click Next.

Restore Files And Settings

3. Click + icon to expand the .bkf files created before, choose a .bkf file, expand its data -> tick the files, folders or drive you want to restore, click Next.

Select Data To Restore

4. Select Finish to start to restore data to the original location. To restore to other locations, click Advanced to specify the destination.

Finish Start Restore


  • You could download NTBackup Restore Utility from the Microsoft website to restore backup created by Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to the computers that run Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (R2).
  • Please be sure you turn on or install the Removable Storage Management feature before installing NTBackup Restore utility. Note if the Removable Storage management is disabled, you may get an NTSMAPI.dll error.

Easy Alternative to Windows Server 2003 Backup Software - AOMEI Backupper

NTBackup is quite complex for ordinary people, it’s not easy to operate. Is there any easy way to backup and restore your data on the computer, like OS, system files, partitions, program settings, and personal files? The best Windows Server backup softwareAOMEI Backupper Server could help you backup them in simple steps and run backup tasks automatically. It is available for Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10/11 and Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2022, including the R2 version. 

Download Free TrialWin PCs & Servers
Secure Download

AOMEI Backupper Server owns all functions of NTBackup and provides more
More storage devices are supported to save the backup file, like USB flash drive, external hard drive, NAS, network share, and even the cloud.
 Flexible way to modify backup images. AOMEI Backupper allows you check, split, compress, encrypt, comment on backup image, merge backup images, etc.
☃ Keep multiple backup versions regardless of storage device. You can set schedule backup and incremental or differential backup to run backup automatically, and in time you will be able to get multiple backups.
☃ Customize the backups you want to retain, even hierarchical, with the by daily/weekly/monthly option, and manage disk space more flexibly.
 Restore backup image as you want as long as the backup is created by AOMEI Backupper. NTBackup is not allowed to restore backup files except for the Backup Utility.

Backup Windows Server 2003 (R2) System State in 3 Steps 

1. Click Backup -> System Backup on the main window.

System Backup

2. Select a destination to back up Windows Server 2003 (R2) OS, system files, boot files, etc, which is selected by default. 

Select Backup Destination

3. Tap Start Backup to create a system backup.

Start Backup

Other Useful Backup Features in AOMEI Backupper 

To backup files: 

Go to the Backup and select File Backup. Then, select files and folders you want to backup, as well as a backup drive to store your data, click Start Backup. 

File Backup

To set backup options: 

Click Options at the final window, then you will see 4 tabs as follows. 

  • General: You can comment on this task, set password to encrypt backup, and enable email notification. 
  • Backup Mode: You can set intelligent sector backup or make an exact backup, as well as backups service -  Microsoft VSS or AOMEI Backup Service. 
  • Command: You can set pre-command and post-command. 
  • Advanced: You can set compression, splitting, operation priority and others. 


✍ To set schedule backup: 

Cllick Schedule Backup at the final window, and enable it, you will see 5 options in the following:

  • Daily: You can choose to run once only or every day and set intervals to run a scheduled backup, such as, from 00:00 to 23:59, and run it for every 1 hour. 
  • Weekly: You can choose a specific day and time to run backup task. 
  • Monthly: You can choose to run once on a specific day and time.
  • Event triggers: You have 4 options, namely system shutdown, system startup, user logon and user logoff. Among them, the first one is the most popular option.
  • USB plug in: It's a plug and pull backup method, which will backup computer to USB drive automatically when it's connected.

Schedule Settings General

✍ To set backup types and cleanup methods: 

Click Backup Scheme, in the pop-up window, you will see two sections, namely, Backup Method and Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup.

  • Backup Method: You have 3 options, including full backup, incremental backup (default) and differential backup. The last two options help save much disk space, for details, click here to learn the differences between incremental and differential backup
  • Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup: You have 4 options, and in default mode, you can only see By quantity, By time and By daily/weekly/monthly. Another cleanup method is By space and it is only available in differential backup mode. 

Set Backup Numbers

To restore files: 

Click the Restore tab and choose Select Task or Select Image File. Then, select the file backup image, and destination path to receive backup image, click Start Restore. 

File Restore

Besides, you could create bootable media to boot your computer if you need to restore system someday when the system failed. If you don't have any device to store boot files, try the recovery environment feature or PXE boot tool, depending on the number of computers you want to restore. 

Create Bootable Meida


For professionals, NTBackup is a great backup tool to backup Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP. If you’re not an expert for computers, you could try the friendly user interface Windows Server backup software – AOMEI Backupper. It not only helps you backup system, disk, partition or files you like, but also makes this task to run automatically.

More importantly, it is a good helper to manage disk space with its rich backup features, such as compression, schedule backup, incremental or differential backup, automatic backup cleanup, etc. For IT technicians, try AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.