Windows Server Backup Limitations You Should Know

April 11, 2019

This page demonstrates Windows Server Backup limitations you should know and provides the best Windows Server Backup alternative to help you with server backups.

Overview of Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup (WSB) is the built-in backup and recovery tool for Windows Server environments. It begins with Windows Server 2008 as the replacement of NTBackup. You can use Windows Server Backup to back up a full server (all volumes), selected volumes, or the system state. Consisting of a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in and a command-line utility (wbadmin.exe), it enables you to create backups with Windows Server Backup command lines easily.

Although it provides a basic backup solution for Windows Server users especially for small business owners, you may be disappointed by its limitations sometimes. Therefore, you’d better figure out Windows Server Backup limitations before you rely on it to protect the system and all your precious data.

Windows Server Backup limitations you should know

Here I’m going to talk about several major limitations of WSB:

1. Windows Server Backup 2 TB limit

In Windows Server 2008 (R2), WSB backs up volumes to virtual hard disk (VHD) files, each VHD file for a volume in the backup. The VHD file has a 2 TB file size limit, so volumes larger than 2 TB cannot be backed up. However, in Windows Server 2012 and latter versions of Windows Server, Microsoft has introduced VHDX files that support storing Windows backup larger than 2 TB.

2. Windows Server Backup limit number of backups

WSB owns the automatic disk space management feature. This feature deletes old backups automatically when it detects there is insufficient space for new backups. As a result, the number of backups kept by WSB is limited. Nevertheless, it will not shrink the storage space allocated for snapshots to less than 1/8 of target volume size, so you may find Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups sometimes.

3. Items to backup

You can only select entire volumes to backup, not individual files and folders. Furthermore, you can only select local volumes to backup, not network shares.

4. Destination drive

You can’t write backups to tape using WSB. Moreover, you will need a separate, dedicated disk for running scheduled backups, not just a partition.

5. Backup schedule

The Backup Schedule Wizard of WSB offers only two options: “Once a day” and “More than once a day”. If you want to perform Windows Server backup schedule weekly/monthly, you have to resort to Task Scheduler.

6. Monitoring and reporting

WSB offers neither the centralized monitoring ability for monitoring large numbers of servers nor the automated email reports about the backup status.

Now you know Windows Server 2008/2012/2016 backup limitations. How to overcome the limitations of Windows Server Backup? What you need is powerful server backup software which is superior to WSB.

Best alternative to Windows Server Backup

AOMEI Backupper Server, specialized backup software for server, can be the best Windows Server Backup alternative. It offers you four types of backup—System/Disk/Partition/File Backup and six backup schedules—Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Event triggers/USB plug in/Real-time sync, which can meet your different needs. It enables you to backup to internal/external hard drives, network share and NAS devices. You are also allowed to set the number of backup versions to be kept as you wish using the Backup Scheme feature.

Both Windows PC operating systems (Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP) and Windows Server operating systems (Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003, etc) are supported. Learn how to schedule a system backup and enable automatic disk space management via AOMEI Backupper below:

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Click on “Backup” and select “System Backup”.

System Backup

Step 2. The required system partition(s) is (are) selected by default. Choose the destination path to store the backup files.

Select Destination Path

Step 3. Tick “Schedule” in the bottom, and then set the frequency of the system backup to run. Under Advanced tab, you can choose to run full/incremental/differential backups.

Schedule Settings

Step 4. Tick “Scheme” and then “Enable Disk Space Management” in the pop-up window. Choose one backup scheme from the drop-down menu. You can also set the number of backup versions to be kept based on your need.

Backup Scheme

Step 5. Confirm the operations and click “Start Backup”.

Start Backup


  • To get email reports about the backup status, you can go to Backup Options > General > Enable email notification.

  • To conduct a reliable centralized backup management solution, please turn to AOMEI Centralized Backupper.

To sum up

Figuring out Windows Server Backup limitations can help you manage this tool better. If you are disappointed by all the limitations, you can use the best alternative AOMEI Backupper Server. AOMEI Backupper not only overcomes the shortcomings of WSB, but also offers you more advanced functions. The System Clone feature will help you get back a working computer immediately in case of system failures. Go for AOMEI Backupper Server 30-day free trial right now!