Bare metal backup of Windows server

I was wondering if anyone tried whole system backup with Restic on Windows.

I’ve read reports here of people doing bare metal backup and restore of Linux boxes, but I was wondering if this is possible with Windows guests as well.


I asked myself the same question lately. With Linux it’s easy most of the time since we profit here from the good old Unix “everything is a file” philpsophy when backing up plus we have some great rescue systems to choose from when it comes to recovery.

With Windows I am not sure how to do that with restic. Even if you manage to backup the whole system, I have no idea how you could do a bare metal recovery.

A whole system backup could not be done from a guest account because there are many directories and files which can only be read by an administrator account. There seems to be some directories and files which administrator’s can only read by taking ownership, which might cause unknown problems in the future.

I run once the Microsoft
Create System Image
to get a point in time backup of the os. Restic is used to on a regular basis to backup user data. I dump the Registry to a file before the Restic backup. I assume that if the System Image can restore to a bootable system then the Windows updates will be available through the regular Windows update. This method would not be acceptable when a short restore time is required because downloading all of the updates from Microsoft would take a lot of time.
By not doing backup on some of the os or windows directories says a lot of time when doing backups of regular files. There is a lot of junk that microsoft puts into directories even if you do not use that products.
There are commercial products which can do a full backup. I am satisfied with Acronis True Image. I use two completely separate backup procedures using separate software because the disk will fail, it is only a matter of time.

Windows Server is a very different beast from the client versions. There’s so much additional complexity depending on what services it is running, what VMs, etc. that relying on a file-based backup tool to give you a bare-metal restore facility is going to be full of caveats. My strong advice would be to read the documentation on backup and restore for the specific services it is running, and take that into consideration on top of Microsoft’s recommended methods to back up Server itself.

Just don’t. Instead spend that time on installing a fresh new system and restoring the data and files that you backed up using restic :slight_smile:

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Thank you everyone for the considerations. I also found this PS script to backup Windows using Restic, I asked the author if he thinks it can be used for my purpose but the reply is the same of the one of you all: no.

I’ve read good comments about Nakivo, as well as about Acronis. I’ll use one of the two for bare metal backup, and probably for daily backups as well.

Thank you all.

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