Your Windows Server has just crashed, and you don’t know what to do now. If this is what happened to you, it’s quite natural to panic. But don’t worry. Server crashes are not the end of the world. Especially when there are solid and proven ways to restore your Windows Server even after it goes down. Unsurprisingly, if you don’t want to suffer from a splitting headache after you lose your server’s data, you should learn to backup and rescue a Windows server using the built-in tools provided by Microsoft. Therefore, in this article, we will show you how to easily restore Windows Server 2016 or later from a backup. Let’s dive in.
Preparing Windows Server Backups
Before we begin to explain the backup and restoring process for Windows Server 2016 or later, you need to install the backup tool on your computer. To install the aforementioned tool, you need to follow this path on your PC:
Server Manager > Manage > Add Roles and Features > Role-based or feature-based installation > Select a server from the server pool.
After you follow this path, you will come across a new Windows wizard. Follow the on-screen instructions and select one of the available Windows Server Backup tools. Once you select your server backup tool, install it on your computer. Now, let’s see how to create a server backup for Windows Server 2016 or later.
1. Creating a Backup for Windows Server
Here’s how you can make a backup for Windows Server 2016 or later versions:
- Click on the “Local Backup” option and select either “Backup Schedule” or “Backup Once” according to your needs. In this guide, we are setting up an automatic backup. Thus, we will select the “Backup Schedule” option.
- Next, select a “Backup Configuration” within the “Backup Schedule” wizard. Here, you have two options to select from:
- Full server: This allows you to backup all the available data on the server.
- Custom: This option allows you to manually select different files and volumes.
At this point, we will choose the “Custom” option and then click on the “Next” button.
Choosing a Suitable Server Backup Option
In the next window, you have to select between two options.
- System State: This option backs up your operating system (OS) files and restores them if the PC is still in a bootable state. On the other hand, you can also tick on the “System Reserved” and the “C:” drive boxes to backup all the available data on your system drives.
- Bare Metal Recovery: If you select this option, you can backup all the OS files and data, excluding the user data stored in the critical volumes. This allows you to recover your Windows Server when your PC doesn’t boot.
Select one of the two options based on your requirements and click on the “OK” option to confirm your selection. Now:
- Create a schedule for automatic backups. Here, you need to set the frequency of automatic backup and the time when the automatic backup will be initiated. After you set everything up, click on the “Next” option.
- Next, you have to choose a specific destination for your backups. You can decide from your hard disk drive, a shared network, or a volume. Select one according to your convenience and click on the “Next” button.
- Click on the “Finish” button to complete setting up the automatic backup.
Please Note: Once the backup starts, it will format the destination disk and use it to store only the backup data. Therefore, if your destination disk has an important file, you should move it to other disks. Then, empty the disk before setting up the automatic backup using the disk as a backup destination.
2. Restoring Windows Server from a System State Backup
In most cases, people would create a “System State” backup for their Windows Server. If you have also created this backup and want to restore the Windows Server using it, follow the steps below:
- Click on “Backup Task” and select the “Recover” option to make the “Recovery wizard” appear.
- Now, if you have created a local backup in the disk drives that are connected with your device, select the “This server” option. On the other hand, if you have stored your backup in a shared network, choose the “A backup stored on another device” option and select the appropriate location from the available option.
- Once you’re done selecting the location of the backup, click on the “Next” option.
- In the next section, select the backup data, which is sorted by the date and time you want to restore.
- Next, select the “System Restore” option and click on the “Next” option again.
- Now, click on the “Original location” option and then click on the “Next” option once more.
- Confirm the operation details and click on the “Recover” button to start the recovery process.
Once the recovery process is complete, you will be able to restore the Windows Server.
3. Performing Bare Metal Server Recovery
Is your computer refusing to boot? Don’t worry! As long as you have created a bare metal backup before, and you have a bootable media with Windows 2016, you can restore your OS, system files, and every single volume, excluding user data. Follow these instructions to restore data from a bare metal backup:
- Connect the “Bootable media with Windows 2016” (or newer versions) to your computer and switch the power on. And then keep pressing the “F8/ F9/ F11/ F12” key to enter the “BIOS” settings. (The exact key you need to press depends on the manufacturer of your computer.)
- In the BIOS settings, set the “Bootable media” you have just connected as the boot device.
- Cancel the BIOS by pressing the “Esc” key and your computer will boot using the bootable media.
- Once your computer boots and the “Windows Setup” menu appears, click on the “Repair your computer” option.
- Now, navigate to Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery.
- Once the “System Image” is auto-detected, click on the “Next” button. On the other hand, select the “Select a system image” option if you want to use a backup from another location.
- Next, click on the “Format and repartition” box to tick it, and then click on the “Next” button.
- Confirm the information and click on the “Finish” option to start the bare metal recovery and restore the Windows Server.