By Lily / Last update October 25, 2022

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What is 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 use Windows Server Backup command lines to create backups easily.

Windows Server Backup

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 crucial limitations you must 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/copies

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 2016/2012/2008 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 Windows Server Backup alternative for all server systems

AOMEI Backupper Server, specialized backup software for server, can be the best Windows Server Backup alternative. It is embedded with multiple features to meet all your demands concerning server backups:

Full Backup Solutions
It offers four types of backup: System/Disk/Partition/File Backup. You can create system image backup for server and backup specified disks/volumes as you wish.
Up-to-date Backup Versions
You are allowed to run automatic backups in five schedule modes: Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Event triggers/USB plug in. Thus, you don’t need to worry about missing newly changed data.
Versatile Backup Destinations
You are able to backup to internal/external hard drives, network share and NAS devices, etc.
Smart Disk Space Management
It provides the Backup Scheme feature which will delete old backups automatically according to the retention number of backup versions you set.
Wide Compatibility
It supports both Windows PC operating systems (Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP) and Windows Server operating systems (Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003, etc).

Wanna have a try? Just click the button below to download AOMEI Backupper Server 30-day free trial.

Download Free Trial Windows Server & PC
Secure Download

Now follow the steps below to schedule a system state backup and enable automatic disk space management via AOMEI Backupper:

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. Click “Schedule Backup” in the left bottom, and then choose “Enable Schedule Backup” to set the frequency of the system backup to run.

Schedule Settings

Step 4. In the Schedule window, click “Backup Scheme” from the left panel.

- Backup Method: you can choose to run full/incremental/differential backups.

- Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup: choose one cleanup rule from the drop-down menu. “By quantity”, “By time”, “By daily/weekly/monthly”, and “By space” are provided.

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 Options > General > Email notification.
◑ You are allowed to restore Windows Server Backup to another computer with dissimilar hardware in AOMEI Backupper.
◑ For centralized server backup strategy, please turn to AOMEI Centralized Backupper.

Bonus tip: how to backup system to a recovery partition

Usually, after creating a system image backup, you will be asked to create a bootable media so as to boot computer when it fails. It is very useful in such case, but you can use an easier way to create both of them simultaneously - it's using one key recovery software AOMEI OneKey Recovery.

If you select the recommended backup option - "Backup system to AOMEI OneKey Recovery Partition", it will create a recovery partition but not specify a drive letter, thus greatly reducing the risk of mistaken deletion. Also, it adds a boot option to Windows Boot Manager and specifies a fast key to access it for system recovery.

OKR Backup

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. You can use it to clone hard drive on Server 2016 and create Server 2019 bootable USB. Go for AOMEI Backupper right now!