By Ivy / Last update October 28, 2021

Case: Any Alternative to File History Backup in Server 2012 Standard?

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 manage backup tasks centrally rather than locally, the essential version of Windows Server is a better choice.

For example, if you are using Server 2012 Essentials, you can connect all the client computers and the File History is automatically turned on; but if you are running Windows Server 2012, there is no File History backups option, and by default you cannot perform client computer backup.

How to Create Client Computer Backup on Windows Server 2012

The file backup is only available on Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and Windows Server 2016 Essentials. But what if you want to do it on Windows Server 2012? Here are 2 workarounds.

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

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

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 via Client Computer Backup

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 via AOMEI Centralized Backupper

This is the 2nd workaround to Windows Server 2012 file history. In this part, we'll use AOMEI Centralized Backupper. It is a powerful client backup software that contains centralized system backup, disk backup, partition backup, file backup and SQL Server Backup features, and supports all Windows PCs, workstations and servers within LAN.

With it, you can centrally backup all client computers to network share or NAS and therefore save administration time & costs, remotely monitor and manage all backup jobs from the central management console, etc.

Now, let’s see how to create a centralized file backup with it.

1. First you can download AOMEI Centralized Backupper on the Windows Server 2012 (below is a 30-day free trial).

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

2. Install and launch the software, then go to Computers tab and choose to Install client program on all the wanted client computers manually or remotely.

install client program

If you do it manually, then you still need to Request Control over them.

Select Uncontrolled Computer

3. Once you have gained control of all the client computers you want to back up, you can switch to Tasks tab and create a New Task. Here choose File Backup from the list.

If you want to create other centralized backup tasks, just click System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, SQL Server Backup, etc. accordingly.

File Backup

4. In the pop-up setup window, there are three steps need to be done.

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

Add Computer

In "Step 2", you can either Select items based on each client or Select items based on backup rules, click Add to specify the data or rules you want to apply.


In "Step 3", click the select box and tap Add Storage, then type the IP address, username or password or the target network path. If you have already added a network share or NAS, you can directly select it.

Add Network Location

5. Configure the backup as you like, then click Start Backup and Create and execute backup tasks

  • Settings: You can manage backup encryption, notification, compression and splitting here.

  • Schedule: Set up a automatic backup on basis of daily, weekly monthly. You can also choose backup type (full/incremental/differential) in Advanced tab. 

  • Scheme: Create a rule to auto delete old backups and therefore save your storage space.

Start Backup

All the created backup task will be listed under the Tasks tab. You can manage backup tasks here, or click Restore under Advanced menu to restore data from the backup.

restore from file backup task


You may be disappointed if you plan to create a centralized file history backup in Windows Server 2012, because 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 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.