How to Create System Restore Points on Server 2016/2012 using Windows Server Backup.

Last updated on July 5th, 2019

In this article, I 'll show how to create system restore points n Windows Server 2016, Server 2012 & Server 2012R2,  by using the Windows Server Backup Feature. The article will explain how to create a full system image backup of a Windows Server 2016/2012, in order to recover your server if anything goes wrong.

As you may know the System Restore feature is not available/supported on Windows Server Editions 2008, 2012/2012R2 or 2016, but instead of System Restore, you can use the Windows Server Backup application to schedule backups of your Server's state and it's files in order to use that backups to roll back your server when needed.

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Important: A "System Image Backup" is an exact copy of your server state (boot files, server settings, registry, and other system files), at the time you created the backup. When you recover your server from a system image backup, your server will be restored as it was, on the date of the backup. Any settings, programs and files that added/modified after the backup date, will be lost.

How to Automatically Backup Server 2016 or Server 2012, by using the Windows Server Backup Feature.

Part 1. Install Windows Server Backup Feature on Windows Server 2016.
Part 2. Schedule System Image Backups on Server 2016 using Windows Server Backup.

Part 1. How to Install Windows Server Backup Feature on Windows Server 2016/2012/2012R2.

1. Open Server Manager and click Add Roles and Features.

install windows server backup - server 2016

2. At the first screen of 'Add Roles and Features wizard' leave the Role-based or feature-based installation option and click Next.

add windows server backup feature - server 2016

3. At the next screen, leave the default option "Select server from the server pool" and click Next.

windows server backup installation

4. On Server Roles options, click Next again.


5. On Features options, select the Windows Server Backup feature and click Next.


6. Finally click Install.


7. When the installation is completed click Close and restart your server.


Part 2.  How to Schedule System Image Backups using Windows Server Backup.

To configure automatic backups to an attached disk. (e.g. USB drive, Network Shared Folder) on Windows Server 2016/2012/2012R2:

1. Open Server Manager and from the Tools menu open the Windows Server Backup.

windows server backup

2. At Windows Server Backup screen, select Local Backup on the left and then click on Backup Schedule on the right. *

* Note: If you don't want to schedule backups, then click on "Backup Once" once option.

windows server backup server 2016

3. At Backup Schedule Wizard 1st screen, click Next.

create system image server 2016 - server 2012

4. At 'Select Backup Configuration' screen choose Custom and click Next.

scheduule backup server 2012 r2

5. At 'Select Items for Backup' screen click Add Items.

backup server 2016

6. Select the Bare metal recovery* checkbox (this will include the System State, the System Reserved Partition and the local disk C:) and click OK. Additionally

* Notes:
1. The Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) backup, backs up operating system files and all data except user data on critical volumes. By definition a BMR backup includes a system state backup and provides protection when a machine won't start or if the OS hard disk has failure and you have to recover everything on a new hard drive.
2. If you want to take a full backup of your server (OS Settings & User's Data), include also (select), the additional volumes which contains the data (e.g. the disk F:).

bare metal backup

7. Then, click Next to continue.

Create System Restore Point Server 2016

8. At 'Specify Backup Time' screen, select how often you want to run the backup and click Next again. *

* TIP: If you want to schedule the backup at a different time (e.g. to be taken once a week or once a month) or to delete the scheduled job, then open the Task Scheduler and go to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Backup. At the right pane, right click on the backup task to change it's properties or to choose one of the other options (e.g. to Run, End, Disable or Delete the backup task).

schedule server 2016 automatic backup

9. At 'Specify Destination for the backup' screen, specify where you want the backups to be saved and click Next again. *

* Available Backup Destination options:

  • Backup to a hard disk that is dedicated for backups: By choosing this option the backup will be stored to a dedicated empty hard disk which will be formatted and then will be only used to store backups. That will make the disk inaccessible (invisible) in the Windows Explorer and will be only accessible from the system when needed.
  • Backup to a volume: Use this option if you don't want to dedicate an entire hard drive to store the backups or you want to use the backup drive to store additional data.
  • Backup up to a shared network folder: Use this option if you want to store the backup to another network location (e.g. a network shared folder, a NAS device, etc.). Keep. in mind that when you use a shared folder s the backup destination, each back will erase the previous backup and only the latest backup will be available.

Note: For this example, I want to store the backups to an external USB hard disk, so I have chosen the "Backup to a volume" option.

create restore point server 2016/2012

10. At 'Select Destination Volume' screen, click Add.

backup destination server 2016

11. Select the Volume (disk) you want to store the backup and click OK.


12. Then click Next.


13. At 'Confirmation' screen click Finish and then close the backup wizard.


TIP:  If you want to run the newly created scheduled backup job manually:

1. Click on the "Backup once" option on the right.


2. At the "Backup Once" wizard, choose the "Scheduled backup options" and click Next.


3. Finally click Backup to start the backup process.


That’s it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

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