How to Recover Server 2016 from a System Image Backup if Windows Fails to Boot Normally. (Offline Method)

Last updated on June 14th, 2019

In this article I'll show how to recover your Windows Server 2016, 2012 or 2012R2, from a previous system image backup which was created using the Windows Server Backup feature, if Windows fails to start normally.

This article will explain how to restore Server 2016/2012/2012R2, from the Windows Recovery Environment, by using a Windows Server Backup Image,  if your server could not start, or if the main hard drive has failure and you have to recover everything on a new hard drive.

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How to Restore Windows Server 2016/2012/2012R2 from a System Image Backup if Windows could not boot.

The only way to recover your server, if the machine fails to boot, is by using the System Image Recovery option, from the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). To be able, to restore your server from WinRE, you will need the following:

1. A Windows Server Installation Media (USB or DVD).
2. A previous System Image backup, that was taken with the Windows Server Backup application.

To recover your Server 2016, 2012 or 2012R2, from a WinRE:

1. Boot your Server from the Windows Server installation Media.
2. Click Next at the first screen.

Recover Server 2016

3. Then click Repair your computer.

How to Recover Server 2016 from a System Image Backup if Windows Fails to Boot

4. At 'Choose an option' screen, click Troubleshoot.

Restore Windows Server 2016

5. At 'Advanced options' click System Image Recovery.

System Image Recovery server 2016

6. At the next screen, choose Windows Server 2016.

Recover Server 2016 from a System Image

7. At 'Select a System Image Backup' screen, you can use the latest available system image to restore your server,* or you can click at "Select a System Image" option to select a different system image. Then click Next to continue.

* Note: Always prefer to recover your server with the most recent system image, in order to restore all the recently changes on your server (policies, network shares, etc.). Keep in mind that any changes made to your server after the system image's backup date, must be reapplied.

restore from system image server 2k16

8. At 'Choose additional restore options' screen, click Next if you haven't problems with the disk format or partition, or, select the "Format and repartition disks"* option to delete any existing partitions and reformat all disks on the computer to match the layout of the system image. *

* e.g. Use the "Format and repartition disks" option, only if you have replaced the hard drive on your server (e.g. after a HDD hardware failure, you want to restore your server to a new hard drive.)


9. Review your settings and click Finish to proceed.

system restore windows server 2016

10. Finally, click Yes to restore your server to the selected date/time.


11. After the restoration, remove the Windows Server 2016 installation media and restart the server.

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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