How to Restore Server 2016 or 2012 in a Previous System State from Windows GUI (Online Method)

Last updated on July 5th, 2019

In a previous article I had described how you can automatically back up your Windows Server 2016/2012 or 2012R2 by using the Windows Server Backup feature, in order to protect your server from any problem that may occur and prevent it from functioning properly.

In this article I will explain how to restore Server 2016/2012/2012R2 to a previous system state, from a system image backup, which created with the Windows Server Backup application, if the system is online (Windows is able to start normally).

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How to Restore Server 2016 in a Previous System State from a System Image Backup.

The only way to perform a system state recovery on Server 2016/2012, when your server is online, * is by using the WbAdmin command utility.

* Note: If your server cannot start normally, then read the instructions in this tutorial.

To Restore the System State on Server 2016/2012 with WbAdmin:

1. Open Command prompt as administrator. (type CMD on the search box, right-click at the 'Command Prompt' result and select Run as Administrator)

2. At command prompt, type the following command to view all the available backup versions:

  • wbadmin get versions

wbadmin Restore System State


3. At the "wbadmin get versions" command output, note the version identifier of the backup that you want to restore and the backup location.

wbadmin system state recovery server 2016/2012


4. To perform a system state restore, use the wbadmin with the following syntax:

  • wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:versionIdentifier -backupTarget:Backup Destination location -machine:MachineName -quiet

e.g. In this example, we want to restore the backup version: 10/18/2018-16:14 which is stored at drive G:  on the local machine (server). So the command will be:

  • wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:10/18/2018-16:14 -backupTarget:G:


WbAdmin start systemstaterecovery (Explanation of the Base Parameters): *

* Note: Type "WbAdmin start systemstaterecovery" to view all available parameters.

-version                    Specifies the version identifier for the backup to recover in MM/DD/YYYY-HH:MM format. If you do not know the version identifier, type wbadmin get versions.

-backupTarget       Specifies the storage location that contains the backup or backups you want to recover. This parameter is useful when the storage location is different from where the backups of this computer are usually stored.

e.g. If the backup is stored at the following network share folder \\\Public\Backup, the command will be:

  • wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:10/18/2018-16:14 -backupTarget:\\\Public\Backup

-machine               Specifies the name of the computer that you want to recover. This parameter is useful when multiple computers have been backed up to the same location. Should be used when the -backupTarget parameter is specified.

e.g. If you want to recover another machine (e.g. the "Server01"), from a backup which stored at the following network folder \\\Public\Backup, the command will be:

  • wbadmin start systemstaterecovery -version:10/18/2018-16:14 -backupTarget:\\\Public\Backup -machine:server01

-quiet                   Runs the subcommand with no prompts to the user.


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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