Restore Windows Server 2003 System Image Backup (Secure Boot)

Learn how to restore Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012 (R2) system image backup to previous state or on different hardware with the help of AOMEI Backupper Server.


By Jonna Updated on September 25, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

Options to Restore Windows Server 2003 from Failures

With the daily use of Windows Server 2003, there are many unexpected factors that could cause the system crash or cause a hard drive failing to our computer. These factors may be, hardware conflict, bad ram, hard disk drives overload, viruses or hacker attack, software conflict, power supply problems, and some unknown reasons.

We can clone hard drive in Windows Server 2003 to solve hard disk drive overload or failure. Yet to fix all of them, we have another two choices. One is to re-install the operating system, settings, and all applications, which may cost us hours. However, if we backup C drive of Server 2003 in advance, we can choose the other quick and fast way: restore the computer from system image backup.

How to Restore Windows Server 2003 System Files?

First of all, we might think of using Windows Server 2003 internal backup tool to create a system image backup on Server 2003 and restore the operating system. Nevertheless, Windows Server 2003 does not embed with one automatic system restore feature like Windows XP, and Vista do. Due to this factor, the system doesn’t automatically create restore points for the computer current state. This means we cannot restore Windows Server 2003 to previous state.

In this case, two options are placed in front of us. One is to download System Restore. The other option involves manually creating a restore point for the computer’s current state using Windows Server 2003’s System State.

  1. Please go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup to open Backup Utility (Backup or Restore Wizard).

Backup Windows Server 2003

  1. Click "Restore and Mange Media" tab after backup system state, check the box next to "System State," and start the restore.

Restore and Manage Media

Limitations of Windows Server 2003 Backup Utility

Before we use this tanglesome and roundabout method to do a system restoration, there is one thing we should pay attention to: Windows Server 2003 Backup utility (NTBackup.exe) is a backup and restore tool that based on files. This means it will backup and restore file-by-file. As the master server of companies or organizations, it is inevitable to produce masses of files, registries, photos, and so on.

Thus, either backing up Windows Server 2003 or restoring Windows Server backup image is a time-consuming thing for NTBackup. We could imagine how much time it would cost to restore the operating system, settings, and so many applications.

Even worse, what if the system fails without a reason before we have enough time to do a system backup? We can re-install applications but we may lose our important personal data forever.

Software to Restore Windows Server 2003 System Image Backup

Fortunately, there is one alternative Windows Server 2003 backup software could help us restore Windows Server 2003 system state backup safely and fast - AOMEI Backupper Server edition, which is designed for Windows Server backup and disaster recovery, system migration for both physical and virtual Windows Server 2003, as well as 2008/2012/2016/2019/2022 (including R2).

This software supports system backup, incremental backup, differential backup, schedule backup and system restore, disk restore, and universal restore as well as for advanced users, command line backup and restore. Other than backup and restoration, there are plenty of helpful features in this program.

To sum up, it provides us powerful backup and recovery management to safeguard our data and minimize server downtime as well as ensure business continuity.

Restore Windows Server 2003 with AOMEI Backupper

If the system refuses to start, we can create a bootable disk with AOMEI Backupper. Backup is the base of restoration. Therefore, if there is no ready system image backup, create one with AOMEI Backupper first by linking the very first chaining.

🎇 Note: The target disk or partition will be overwritten after restoration, so we’d better backup important data in advance if necessary.

First, download AOMEI Backupper Server, install, and launch it. This software has a 30-day free trial, so just enjoy it.

Download Free Trial Windows Server & PC
Secure Download

In case of any system failures or problems, you need to create a full system image using the System Backup feature. It will auto-select all the required system partitions for you, and you can set up a schedule to run the backup on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Then, when anything goes wrong with the OS, you can perform a system recovery very easily.

Step 1. Choose "Restore" in the left panel. Click "Select Task" to choose the system image. If the image file was stored in other places, select "Select Image File" to browse.

Select Task

Step 2. Select the system backup image.

Select Backup Image

Step 3. Choose the backup point. If you want to restore the system image to another place please click "Restore system to other location" to make it.

Select Destination

Step 4. Select the location if you are planning to restore to another place.

Select Location

Step 5. Check Operation Summary. Then click "Start Restore."

Start Restore

A pop-up window will prompt us to restart the computer later. Then, the operations will be completed under the Restart mode.

✨ Tips:
🧵 Edit Partition:
we can change the size of the partition using a drag bar.
🧵 SSD Alignment: if the destination disk is SSD, this function could help us accelerate its writing and reading speed.

About Universal Restore

If you would like to perform a dissimilar hardware restore of system image created on another computer, just tick Universal Restore before you Start Restore. It will ensure the computer can boot after the restoration.


  • After restoring Windows Server 2003 (R2) to a computer with dissimilar hardware, it may be necessary to enter license codes to reactivate Windows, Office, etc.
  • Some drivers (such as video/sound card drivers, display drivers, NIC drivers, etc.) are not installed by Universal Restore for dissimilar hardware. As these drivers will not affect system startup, they can be installed manually after the restoration.


In conclusion, with several clicks and a little time, we could restore Windows Server 2003 system image backup easily and safely. There will be no data loss and complex operations to worry about. If we need to restore Windows Server 2003 on different hardware, we could refer to Universal Restore.

With the help of AOMEI Backupper Server, if you want to upgrade your hard drive, you can migrate the data or operating system on your hard drive to another hard drive. You will not encounter any problems during the whole process. It also guarantees that you will be able to successfully boot from the cloned drive without any problems if it is a drive with a system cloned.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna joined AOMEI in 2021 and has become a professional in the areas of computer backup and restoration, disk cloning, file synchronization, etc. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.