How to Perform Windows Server Backup Restore (Stepwise Guide)

How to restore Windows Server backup? This article will detail every step of Windows Server Backup restore. It applies to Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008, etc.


By Delia / Updated on December 19, 2022

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System Restore in Windows Server

How to restore Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019/2022 to an earlier date if anything unexpected happens? For system state which contains some settings and boot files, usually you can restore it within Windows. But for a complete restore from Windows Server Backup, you need to do it in Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

In severe situations where you cannot enter WinRE from Windows, you can use Windows Server installation disc or recovery disk to boot the machine into recovery environment. And before you manage to start full server restoration, please make sure that the hard drive that you are restoring to has the same or larger space than the disk backed up. Otherwise, the backup will fail due to insufficient disk space.

This guide focuses on the common steps to restore Windows Server backup. If you want to restore the backup to a different or new computer, you can refer to these articles:

How to Perform Windows Server Restore from Backup

The specific steps of Windows Server backup and restore may vary among different Windows Server versions, but you can basically follow this procedure:

Step 1. Boot Windows Server into WinRE with the installation disc if needed. Choose the proper settings and click “Next”.

Install Windows

Step 2. In the next window, click “Repair your computer”, “Troubleshooting”, and then “System Recovery Options”.

Repair Your Computer

Step 3. Select "Windows Complete PC Restore" to enter the Windows Recovery Environment. Note in Server 2012 or later versions, the recovery tool will be shown as "System Image Recovery".

PC Restore

Step 4. Now the program will scan your server for image backups, and then select the latest available backup by default. If you want to choose a different backup version, just check the “Restore a different backup” option.

Choose A Backup

Step 5. Make sure the storage device where the image backup located is well connected to the server to be restored. If your backup was saved to network shared folder, you may need to manually specify the location path of the backup. Find the backup version that you want to restore and click ”Next” to continue.

Select Location

Step 6. After choosing the backup version, it will bring you the confirmation screen. As there, click “Finish” to start the restoration process.


Then your server is starting to recover. It may take a long while if the image backup is too large. When the procedure is complete, your server will reboot and load your server system. 

However, if the server hard disk to be recovered is less than 160GB, the server recovery will fail with an error message saying could not complete the server restore. What’s worse, there are other unknown problems will cause system recovery failed. 

If you are not satisfied with Windows Server Backup or have problems with restoring from it, you can use server backup software as an easy alternative to protect your server.

Backup and Restore Windows Servers with Powerful Software

AOMEI Backupper Server is a backup and restore tool for Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019/2022. You can use it to do Windows Sever backup and restore with better performance than using Windows Server Backup.

  • It supports various backup types, including system state backup, disk/partition backup, and file/folder backup.

  • You are allowed to save image backups on a wide range of storage devices, such as NTFS/FAT32 drive, NAS, and CD/DVD.

  • You are able to perform scheduled backup followed by incremental and differential backup. There are five schedule modes available: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers, and USB plug in.

  • It can automatically delete old backups to help free up storage space.

  • It brings you offline system restore and dissimilar hardware restore.

In order to restore your server when it becomes unable to boot, you can create a full backup of your server and a bootable rescue media beforehand.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7 & Server
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To restore Windows Server:

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper, or boot from the bootable media created by AOMEI Backupper if your Windows Server fails to load. In the main interface, click the "Restore" option and click "Select Task".


Step 2. In the next screen, all the available backup versions will be listed. If the backup you need to restore is not listed, you can return to click “Select Image File” to locate the image backup.

Select Backup Image

Step 3. After specifying the backup file, choose “Restore this system backup”, and then click "Next” to continue.

Restore Entire Backup

Step 4. Then confirm the operation and click “Start Restore” to start the restoration.

Start Restore

Tip: To restore a computer with dissimilar hardware, you could tick "Universal Restore" to ensure secure boot after restoring.


That’s how to restore Windows Server backup. If you prefer an easy and flexible way to backup your Server rather than built-in utility, then you can try AOMEI Backupper Server. It provides more powerful functions compared with Windows Server Backup, for example, it enables you to create multiple scheduled backup tasks and restore the backup to different hardware.

If you are interested in cloning your server for hard drive replacement. AOMEI Backupper allows you to do that with the Disk Clone feature. Go for it now and discover more!

If you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.