By Ivy / Last update October 12, 2020


“I have a server computer running Server 2012 Standard and want to enable Windows Server file history backups. But I found that the client computer backup only exists on Essentials version, such as, Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Is there any alternative way? Any kindly advice will be appreciated.”

Windows Server 2012

Cannot Enable File History on Windows Server 2012

For business/enterprise owners who manage several computers on the same network, and want to configure and manage backup tasks centrally rather than locally, you are supposed to use the essential versions. You can create Windows Server 2012 Essentials file history backup, but there is no WindowsServer 2012 File History backups option. In a simple word, if you are using Windows Server 2012 instead of the essential version, you cannot create the client computer backup.

The file backup is only available on Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, Windows Server 2016 Essentials. That’s to say, if your server is Server 2012 Essentials, you can connect all the client computers, such as, Windows 8, and file history will be automatically turned on. It’s simple and worry-free.

How to Create Client Computer Backup on Windows Server 2012?

It’s frustrated that file backup can only be used on the Essentials version. However, you don’t have to worry too much. Because there are 2 workarounds for Windows Server 2012 file history.

The first one is client computer backup tasks in Windows Server 2012. But this feature is not installed by default. You need to install and configure Windows Server Essential, then manually connect client computers to server and backup using this feature.

The second one is using a third-party centralized backup software like AOMEI Centralized Backupper. You just need to install this software on a server computer and then standalone version of AOMEI Backupper on all client computers, then send a request to all clients computer and set a file backup task.

If you are interested in these workarounds, continue to see below and learn the step-by-step user guide.

Create Windows Server 2012 File History with Client Computer Backup Tasks

From above, you can get clearly that there are 2 workarounds for Windows Server 2012 enable file history. This is the first one, and it requires all the client computers to join the domain. If you don’t have a domain, please directly go to the second workaround.

First, you need to install Windows Server Essentials. Just launch Server Manager and click Add Roles and Features, then in the wizard, click Next, select installation type and server, tick Windows Server Essentials Experience and follow the wizard to complete the installation.

Windows Server Essentials Experience

Next, go to Server Manager again and configure the Essentials feature. click the flag shaped icon and Configure Windows Server Essentials, then click Next until the Create a network administrator account, type company name, Administrator account, password and click Configure to start this operation.

Create Account

Thirdly, connect all the clients computers to server. Log on to the client computer and make sure it has a valid connection to the internet, open internet browser (eg: Internet Explorer), type http:///Connect or http:///connect andpress Enter, click Download software for Windows, then run this application to join domain by following its prompt.

Connect Your Computer To The Server

Last and the most important part, create file backup for client computers. Launch Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, click DEVICES, select Client computer backup tasks, set up Client computer backup settings, include schedule and its retention policy, click Apply at last.

Client Computer Backup

Create Windows Server 2012 File History Backup using AOMEI Centralized Backupper

This is the second workaround to Windows Server 2012 file history. In this part, you are going to use AOMEI Centralized Backupper. It’s a powerful centralized backup software, which supports creating centralized system backup, disk backup, partition backup and file backup for all desktop PCs, laptops, workstations, servers and virtual machines within LAN.

With this software, you will benefit a lots from it, such as, significantly cut down backup administration costs and save much time, remotely monitor backup jobs for all client computers from a central management console, centrally backup all client computers to network share or NAS, etc.

Then, let’s see how to create a centralized file backup with ABNetwork.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper ABNetwork on the Windows Server 2012, open the software. Then go to the Not Controlled Computer tab, select the computer name or IP address of client computer you want to backup and click Request Control. Just wait until you see Request control success in the pop-up window and click Close.

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After you launch this software, it will automatically detect all the networked client computers with AOMEI Backupper installed. So, you can see multiple computer under the Not Control Computer.

Select Uncontrolled Computer

Step 2. Registry AOMEI Backupper on all the client computers. Go to the Controlled Computer tab, select the client computer you want to backup and then Clients register at the left bottom, type license code in the pop-up window and click Registry All. Wait and click x after seeing Registration successful.

Registry Client Computer

Step 3. Click Tasks and File Backup under the New Task. If you want to create other centralized backup, just click System Backup, Disk Backup and Partition Backup as instead.

File Backup

Step 4. In the following picture, there are three steps need to be done.

In "Step 1", click Add Computers and select the client computers under the Controlled Computers, then click OK to exist.

Add Computer

In "Step 2", click the box with Select the data you need to backup, then in the pop-up window, choose the client computer, click Add to select a partition and its files, finally hit OK.


In "Step 3", click the box with Select the destination location to save the backup, pitch on Add Storage, then type IP address, username or password if needed. If you have already added a network share or NAS, you can directly select it.

Add Network Location

Step 5. Set backup settings, then click Start Backup and Create and execute backup tasks.

  • Incremental or differential backup: Both of them only backup the changed files after the first full backup, so it saves much backup time and disk space.

  • Daily/weekly/monthly schedule backup: These features help you keep your data up-to-date including added or deleted content.

Start Backup

All the created backup task will be listed under the Tasks tab. If you want to manage backup tasks, you can go to that tab and select one or more backup settings.
ABNetwork is compatible with the standalone version of AOMEI Backupper. If you need to backup files and folders, AOMEI Backupper is always at hand.
Restore: Up still now, this software does not allows you to restore backup on the central console. But this feature will be available in the future. Now, you can use AOMEI Backupper to restore backup image.


You may be disappointed if you plan to create a centralized file history backup in Windows Server 2012. You are only allowed to do that in the Essentials version.

But you still have 2 workaround way. The first one only backup client computers in domain while the second can get rid of this problem. You just need to ensure that the server computer and all the client computers are on the same LAN.

This software is very simple and easy-to-use, even for beginners. And it supports all the basic backup solutions. Besides, it also offers you extra features which may bring you much convenience, such as, differential backup, backup scheme, etc.

Just download AOMEI Centralized Backupper and try it for yourself.