Windows Server Backup Restore to Virtual Machine (2 Ways)

Want to let Windows Server Backup restore to virtual machine? Read this guide to learn two ways to restore Windows Server Backup to virtual machine like Hyper-V or VMware.


by Lena Updated on April 10, 2024

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The Need for Windows Server Backup Restore to Virtual Machine

For system or data safety, now more and more users prefer to use the virtual machine for software testing or anything else. As we know, Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) can help you convert a physical computer to Hyper-V virtual machines, and vice versa.

Also, you can restore Windows Server Backup to virtual machine. Windows Server Backup supports restoring a bare metal backup of Windows Server 2008/2012/2016/2019/2022 to any virtual machines. If you want to be able to convert to more kinds of virtual machines, like VMware, VirtualBox, you can also use Windows Server backup to restore to virtual machine. 

How to Restore Windows Server Backup to Virtual Machine

Windows built-in tool is the first way you can have a try to restore Windows Server Backup to virtual machine. However, the whole process is kind of complicated and you may get an error or cannot locate the image backup while configuring the restore, resulting in failure of creating virtual machine from a physical server.

Actually, besides the traditional way, there's another way to let Windows Server Backup restore to virtual machine and it's much easier. You can learn the two solutions with detail.

👉 Method 1. Create Virtual Machine from Windows Server Backup
👉 Method 2. Easier Way to Restore Windows Server Backup to Virtual Machine🔥

Method 1. Create Virtual Machine from Windows Server Backup

To do it, first you need to create a bare metal backup of your source server with Windows Server Backup, which is not pre-installed and you can install it in Server Manager.

After completing the bare metal backup, move the image backup of the source server to the virtual disk of the virtual machine you want to restore to. Windows Server bare metal recovery has to be performed in WinPE environment, therefore, you need to prepare a Windows installation disc or ISO file in advance.

To restore physical server to virtual machine:

1. When the Windows Setup is loaded, select "Repair your computer" instead of "Install now."

Install Windows

2. Follow the instructions and select "Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier."

3. In the next screen, locate the source server image backup and select it. You can also use the image backup on network location.

Select Location

4. You can specify additional recovery options if need be.

Additional Options

5. Lastly, at the confirmation screen, click "Yes" to start this restore and wait for it to complete.

Method 2. Easier Way to Restore Windows Server Backup to Virtual Machine🔥

If you prefer an easier and quicker way to restore Windows Server Backup to virtual machine, then you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Server.

AOMEI Backupper
Server Backup and Restore Tool
  • Easily create system image in Server 2008/2012/2016/2019/2022 and its corresponding R2 version.
  • Quickly restore the image to Hyper-V, VMware, or any other virtual machine without effort. And it's can also restore physical machine effortlessly.

If you already have a system image backup, please restore it with following steps. If not, you need to create a system image in Windows Server 2008 (R2) or other server for restore.

1. Download and run the AOMEI Backupper Server on your virtual machine. You can also boot your destination server from the bootable media or recovery environment created by AOMEI Backupper if needed.

2. From the main interface, click the Restore and Select Image File option to find the system image. Then, select to restore entire backup or a part and click Next.

Select Image File

3. After that, preview the operation summary, and click Start Restore at the final screen to begin the restore. If you are restoring a computer with dissimilar hardware, you could tick "Universal Restore" to ensure secure boot after restoring. 

Start Restore

Note: The above steps are only applied to system image created by AOMEI Backupper. If your system image is created by Windows Server Backup, you can go to method 1 and follow the given tutorial.

Recommend: Backup Virtual Machines with Agentless VM Backup Tool👍

After restoring Windows Server Backup to virtual machine, you may backup VM in case of bad situations. AOMEI Cyber Backup comes to help.

  • It enables you to create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs from a central console.
  • You are allowed to save backup images on a local drive, NAS or network share.
  • You can run unattended backup tasks daily, weekly, or monthly and get notified by email.

Download this powerful VM backup software now to try it out!

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

Take VMware virtual machine as an example. Learn how to backup it as follows.

1. Log in AOMEI Cyber Backup. Then, click Source Device VMware Add VMware Device to add the vCenter or Standalone ESXi host.

2. Click Backup Task on the left menu bar and select Backup Task Create New Task.

Create New Task

3. Choose VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type and finish the rest settings.

VMware ESXi Backup

FAQs about Windows Server Backup Restore

#1. Can I restore a Windows Server Backup to a virtual machine (VM)?

Yes, Windows Server Backup supports restoring to a virtual machine. You can use tools like Hyper-V to create a virtual machine and restore the backup to it.

#2. Can I restore Windows Server backup to a different computer?

Yes, you can restore a Windows Server backup to a different computer, but it's crucial to ensure compatibility and consider hardware differences to avoid potential issues.

#3. Can I restore a backup taken from a physical server to a virtual machine using Windows Server Backup?

Yes, Windows Server Backup allows you to restore a backup from a physical server to a virtual machine, provided the virtualization platform is compatible (e.g., Hyper-V).


Now you know how to restore Windows Server Backup to virtual machine. Compared to the Windows built-in tool, AOMEI Backupper Server can help you make it in an easier way. It gives you a totally different experience regarding backup and recovery, which is absolutely easy and fast. You can even create multiple scheduled backup easily. What’s more, it also provides clone functions like Disk Clone/System Clone/Partition Clone.

Besides, If you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within one 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.

Lena · Editor
Lena is an editor of FoneTool, she covers backup & restore, and phone data management and so on. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.