By AOMEI / Last Updated June 23, 2020

System restore in Windows Server

In Windows Server 2008/2012/2016, you can use the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to restore your computer to earlier date if some unexpected problems happen to your computer. For system state recovery, which restores some settings and boot files, you can perform it while windows running. With Windows Server Backup, how to restore your server? You need to boot your machine into WinRE and then configure the restore process.

In some serious situations, you cannot boot into WinRE, and you can use Windows Server installation disc or recovery disk. 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 focus on the common steps to restore Windows Server backup, if you want to restore the backup to different or new computer you can refer to these articles:

Restore Windows Server Backup to New Computer >

Restore Windows Server Backup to Virtual Machine >

Restore Windows Server Backup to Different Hardware >

How to restore Windows Server from a backup?

In different versions of Windows Server, the Windows Server backup and restore process may be vary. Nevertheless, you will know how to do referring to the steps below:

Step 1. Boot the 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.

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, you can use server backup software to protect your server.

Backup and restore Windows Server backup with third-party software

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

  • It supports many file system and storage devices for saving image backups.

  • It provides many backup types of scheduled backup followed by incremental and differential backup.

  • It will 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.

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 a backup version if need be, and then click "Next” to continue. To restore a computer with dissimilar hardware, you could tick "Universal Restore" to ensure secure boot after restoring.

Universal Restore

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


That’s all for how to restore Windows Server backup. Besides the built-in tool, if you always prefer a more flexible way to backup your Server, then you can try AOMEI Backupper Server. It provides more functions compared to Windows Server Backup, for example, it lets you create multiple backup scheduled backup tasks and restore the backup to different hardware.

If you are also interested in making a clone of your server hard drive. AOMEI Backupper allows you to do exactly that by using “Disk Clone” function. 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.