By Ivy / Last update November 4, 2021

How to restore Windows Server 2008 (R2) to previous date

“I have a need to be able to do a system restore on server 2008 (or R2). I thought they had some new shiny product for this, but I don't see anything. We want a way to roll back updates and configuration changes. Does Windows Server 2008 (R2) have System Restore? How do I restore my Windows Server 2008 (R2) to previous date? Any ideas?”

It’s a great pity that Windows Server 2008 and other server-based computer does not include System Restore feature. But you still can use other features to achieve the same goal, namely system state backup or full backup. The latter is more powerful, because it can rescue your computer even when it’s in a serious status or refuses to boot.

As for how to restore Windows Server 2008(R2) to a previous date, you can use Wbadmin command line or Windows Server Backup. Or you can directly restore system image with third-part server backup software – AOMEI Backupper Server. Three methods will be introduced in details later.

Please note that system state backup or full backup is the core of restoring Windows Server 2008(R2) to a previous state. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have at least one copy of backup image. If not, please create a Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 system state backup or full backup at first.

# 1: Restore system state backup in Windows Server 2008 (R2) using command prompt

Here you will use Wbadmin (Wbadmin.exe) command line utility to restore system state backup in Windows Server 2008 R2. It’s applied to other systems, including Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012/2016/2019/2022. Then, see below and I’ll walk you through the detailed steps.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box, right click the command prompt and run as administrator.

Step 2. Type the system state recovery command based on the following syntax and press enter to execute system state restore.

wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:versionIdentifier --backupTarget:Backup Destination location –machine:server name –quiet

● If you do not know the version and the backup target of your backup, you can type wbadmin get versions to gain this information. 
● The backup destination location can be a drive letter, a volume GUID-based path, or a remote shared folder path. If you just have one backup, you can choose not to specify backup target. 
● If there are multiple computers backed up to the same location, you can use “-machine” switch to specify the server to be recovered.
● The “-quiet” switch means to run the backup without prompt.

Taking Version identifier at 01:46 on 8/17/2017 and backup target on removable media as an example, you can type the following command in CMD:

wbadmin start systemstaterecovery –version 08/17/2017-01:46

System State Recovery

# 2: Restore system state backup in Windows Server 2008 (R2) with Windows Server Backup

Here you will use Windows Server Backup to restore system state backup in server computer, it’s a GUI-based built-in backup and restore software for server 2003/2008(R2)/2012(R2)/2016/2019/2022. The steps will be much easier and less error-prone than using wbadmin command line. Please follow the steps below.

Step 1. Type windows server backup and select it from the result list. Then, you will see its main page, click Recover under the Actions tab.

Step 2. On the Getting Started page, select This server and click Next.

Get Started

Step 3. Select a backup to perform system state recovery and click Next. All the available backups will be shown in bold, you can select one of them.

Select Backup

Step 4. Tick System State when you are asked “What do you want to recover” and click Next.

Recover System State

Step 5. Tick Original location and click Next.

Recover to Original Location

Step 6. Click Recover to start the recovery process. Just wait until the process is 100% completed and click Finish to exit. 


System state backup only contains boot files, active directory, cluster database, the registry and other system files, thus it will be useful if you just want to restore Windows Server 2008 R2 to previous date.

But if your computer is unbootable, it will not work. In this case, you can only use a full server backup to repair Windows Server 2008(R2). Note that this process requires a repair disk or installation disc and needs to be performed in the recovery environment.

If you don’t either of them or want an easier way, you could use Windows Server Backup alternative to achieve the same goal. 

#3: Restore Windows Server 2008 (R2) to previous date With AOMEI Backupper Server

Here you will use AOMEI Backupper Server to restore Windows Server 2008 (R2) to previous date easily, whether it’s bootable or not. Moreover, it's also helpful when you want to restore Windows Server backup to different computer having dissimilar hardware.

All the steps are almost the same, and the only difference is that you need to restore system image in the recovery environment if the server computer is unbootable. You can choose to create a bootable media in simple steps with this software and it applies to all the server computer (2003/2008(R2)/2012(R2)/2016/2019/2022) and Windows PC(Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11/XP/Vista).

Well then, follow the steps below and learn how to restore Windows Server 2008 (R2) to previous date easily and quickly. Also, you can use the same steps to restore Windows Server 2012 R2 to previous date.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Server, install and launch it. Then, click Restore and Select Task to find the image file.

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

Select Task

Step 2. Select the backup image you want to restore and click Next. If you cannot see any backup in the following window, go back and click Select Image File to manually choose the backup image.

Select Backup Image

Step 3. Select Restore this system backup and click Next.

Restore Entire Backup

Step 4. Confirm the operation summary and click Start Restore to restore Windows Server 2008 R2 to previous date. 

Universal Restore

★ If you are restoring to a computer with different hardware, it’s suggested to tick "Universal Restore" to get rid of incompatible drivers issues and ensure you can successfully boot from the new computer.
★ Besides backup and restore, this software still provides you an easier way, it's the Clone feature. With it, you can clone Windows Server 2008,  clone c drive in server 2019, clone Windows Server 2022 to new hard drive etc. 


Although Windows Server does not have system restore point, you still can achieve the same goal with System State Backup or Full Backup. This article provides you 3 helpful ways, you can choose one of them based on your situation.

It's ok to create a system state backup if you just want to restore Windows Server 2008 R2 to previous date. But if you want to save your computer from all kinds of disaster, such as, system crash or hard disk failure, it's wise to create a full backup. AOMEI Backupper will be a great choice. You can restore system image to new hard drive if the computer fails or backup and restore to different computer with dissimilar hardware effortlessly. 

More so, its advanced version AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus can help you protect unlimited PCs and servers within one company, and restore image to multiple computers simultaneously, greatly saving you much time and effort.