You can use the backups you have created with Windows Server Backup to recover your operating system, system state, volumes, applications and application data, backup catalog, and local files and folders. To do this, use the following tools:

Tool What you can recover

Recovery Wizard (in Windows Server Backup)

Files, folders, volumes, system state, applications, and application data

Windows Setup disc or a separate installation of the Windows Recovery Environment

Operating system (critical volumes) and full server (all volumes)

Catalog Recovery Wizard (in Windows Server Backup)


The Catalog Recovery Wizard is only available from Windows Server Backup when the backup catalog is corrupted.

Backup catalog

You can also perform these tasks using the Wbadmin command. For the syntax of this command, see the Command Reference ( You cannot perform recoveries using the Windows PowerShell cmdlets for Windows Server Backup.

For instructions specific to recovering Active Directory Domain Services, see

This section contains instructions to help you do the following:

Additional considerations

  • To perform recoveries using Windows Server Backup, you must be a member of the Backup Operators or Administrators group, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority.

  • You cannot recover backups that you created with Ntbackup.exe by using Windows Server Backup (Wbadmin.exe). However, a version of Ntbackup.exe is available as a download for Windows Server 2008 users who want to recover data from backups that were created using Ntbackup.exe. The downloadable version of Ntbackup.exe is only for performing recoveries of legacy backups and cannot be used to create new backups on Windows Server 2008. To download this limited version of Ntbackup.exe, see

  • If you are recovering your operating system to a new hard disk, make sure the disk is at least as big as the disk that contained the volumes that were backed up, regardless of the size of those volumes. For example, if there was only one volume that was 100 GB on a 1-TB disk during backup, you should use a disk that is at least 1 TB when recovering.

  • If you are using BitLocker Drive Encryption to protect your server and you need to perform a recovery, make sure to reapply BitLocker Drive Encryption to your server. This will not happen automatically—it must be enabled explicitly. For instructions, see the Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption Step-by-Step Guide ( ).

Additional resources