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. Also it recommends an enterprise backup to centrally backup multiple Windows Server and other Windows machines.


By Delia Updated on January 26, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

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
Secure Download

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.

Recommended Enterprise Backup Software to Backup All Windows at Once

Backup and restoring Windows Server can be easily completed. What about if you have multiple Windows physical machines to backup? Especially for organizations and companies. Creating standalone backup separately is time-consuming and hard to manage. Is there a way to centrally backup all Windows servers and PCs?

Yes, there is. You can turn to this powerful enterprise backup solution - AOMEI Cyber Backup. With this tool, you can easily add and backup all Windows PCs and servers from a user-friendly console. It comes with a suite of robust features to meet different backup needs.

✌Comprehensive Backup: Offer Disk backup, system backup, and partition backup. And also supports VMware Hyper-V backup and SQL backup.
✌Smart Backup: Set up a backup schedule for your environment. You can run a full backup, incremental backup, and differential backup daily, weekly, and monthly.
✌Role-based management: With an Admin account, assign other team members as Viewer, Monitor, Backup Operator, and Restore Operator with different permissions.
✌Fast backup and instant recovery: Backup and restore can be completed at a very fast speed ensuring efficient data protection.

You can hit the download button and try this tool without limits. We will show you how to use this tool to centrally backup Windows Server and PCs.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Run and log in AOMEI Cyber Backup. Firstly please install the AOMEI Cyber Backup to the backup device. Click Source Device Agents Download Agent to download the agent to the local computer and copy it to the corresponding device for installation. 

Step 2. Click Source Device Windows Add Windows Device to add the computer that you want to deploy Windows 11 image to. You need to enter the IP address, username, and password of it.

add windows device

Step 3. Click Backup Task > Create New Task on the left window. Choose a backup type, here we choose Disk Backup as the backup type. 

disk backup

Step 4. Fill in a task name, content, target and other settings according to your need. Then you can click Start Backup.

create disk backup


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.

  • Check the Universal Restore option to ensure a secure boot after recovery.
  • Click Start Restore to launch the system recovery process.
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.