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How to Backup Active Directory with Windows Server Backup

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: Take Data Backup • Proven solutions

Q: How to backup active directory with windows server backup?

"Hello friends, I want to ensure the safety of my files and data. So, is it necessary to backup Active Directory? Apart from Windows Server Backup, is there any other method to do so?"

What is an Active Directory? This is a network structure that keeps domain, user and device software settings, and network information about PCs and devices. In every organization, this is found in the domain controller with a duplicate between the domain controllers. If the domain controller has issues and it crashes, network information is lost. It is the reason to backup Active Directory.

All the system components referred to as system state is backed up and stored together. Choosing the most ideal way to backup the active directory will depend on the Windows OS running on the domain controller. Below gives more insight on how to backup an active directory using Windows server backup.

Part 1: Why You Need to Backup Active Directory?

In a Windows environment, Active Directory is an important component giving users more reasons to back it up. When active directory or DNS experiences problems and it crashes, a lot will not function properly. With this in mind, it is right to think a lot depends on Active Directory or DNS.

If a complete domain controller crashes, everything is lost. It is stressful in all aspects, but it can be prevented from happening. With regular backups, recovering the domain controllers after a crash is easy. Below are the reasons why the active directory should be backed up.

1) To Help You Recover Deleted User Account or Organizational Unit Easily

In Windows-based environments, active directory is a popular service. It is known for user authentication and centralized management. For large organizations and those with a huge number of computers, administrators manage new PCs in the domain centrally. The advantage is that it saves time and is convenient.

In case the OU (organizational Unit) or user account is accidentally deleted in Active Directory, no need to worry about it. If you had backed up Active Directory, recovering what was deleted will not be a challenge.

2) To Restore Corrupted Active Directory Database from Server Updates

When a user gets the "Corrupt Active Directory database" message it could be that the AD database is corrupted from server updates. It is an error message that many users can attest to have experienced. Well, it is a significant problem for an organization needing access. No one can access or edit data in the database. When you backup active directory regularly, you can restore it with ease.

3) Others

All the machines are connected to a central location with an active directory. Without this network structure, important information could only be stored in individual hard drives. It is not convenient for most users. All network information is lost when a domain controller crasher which is something not anyone wants. It is one reason active directory backup is important.

There are numerous problems caused by the loss of data including but not limited to; the organization can easily collapse based on the data lost. If data is lost, employees tend to start recreating the data or they waste time waiting for this to be done. It is a loss of productivity and time that have negative financial impacts.

In addition to this, the downtimes are always expensive for the company from various angles. Customers experience delays in getting responses whether on phone or email, which is expensive to restore data, and this affects a company’s reputation. Customers expect their suppliers to be ‘organized’ and they will not understand how data is lost.

To successfully backup the active directory, there are specific tools that should be used. What backup tools are most ideal and how do you choose them? Below here is more insight into this.

Part 2: How to Backup Active Directory with Windows Server Backup?

A reliable tool to backup and for data recovery is the Windows Server Backup (WSB.) It is a tool that was introduced in Windows Server 2008 and must be installed as it is not available by default. Once it is successfully installed, the next step is to conduct the full server backup. To backup AD, the full server is backed up. It is how you can backup an active directory.

Install Windows Server Backup

Step 1: The first step is to select "Server Manager," and then select "Add roles and features."

Step 2: Click "Next" on the Add Roles and Features menu.

Step 3: Click "Next" on the Installation Type screen and, leave "Role-based or feature-based installation" as the default.

Step 4: Next is the "Server Selection" and the "Server Roles" screens. Select "Next" on them respectively.

Step 5: On this step, click "Windows Server Backup" on the "Features" screen.


Step 6: For the installation process to be fully completed, select "Install." Once it is complete, select "Close."

Backup Active Directory with Windows Server Backup

Step 1: In the "Server Manager," select "Tools," which is located in the upper-right column. After this, click on "Windows Server Backup."

Step 2: Go to the "Action" menu. Here, you need to select "Local Backup." After that, click on "Backup once."


Step 3: Now, the "Backup options" menu will open. Here, in the "Backup Once" Wizard, you should select "Different Options" before clicking "Next."

Step 4: It is recommended that in this step, you select "Full Server" on the "Select backup configuration" page. Once this is done, select "Next."

Step 5: In this step, select the "Remote shared folder" or "Local drives" located on the "Specify destination type" page.

Step 6: Choose your preferred backup location on the "Select Backup Destination." If you selected the "Remote shared folder" in the previous step, select the network share option now. If you opted for "Local drive," then select the local drive-in this step.


Step 7: Select "Backup" on the confirmation screen. Now, exit the "Backup Once" wizard by clicking on "Close."


Step 8: The final step requires you to close Windows Server Backup.

Once you backup active directory 2012, 2008, and 2006, using Windows Server Backup, you may encounter some issues. It should not be a problem as there are various recovery methods that you choose from. If it is the system that has an issue, you need to conduct a non-authoritative restoration. First, you do a normal system-state restoration and once it is complete, reboot the server.

An authoritative restore comes in handy if you delete something in active directory accidentally. The steps include doing a normal system-state restoration, running the Ntdsutil command with suitable options, and doing a reboot. The steps involve those in non-authoritative restoration.

To many users, using the WSB process for backup and recovery is not only full of issues, but it can be quite complicated. The good thing is, there is an easy way to make things easier.

Part 3: Backup Active Directory with AOMEI Backupper

With AOMEI Backupper, you can take advantage of best practices for Active Directory. This backup software is specialized for a server supporting Windows Server OS and Windows PC OS.

Disk, System, File Backup, and Partition are the types of backups that come with the software. To back up, the full server, perform system backup and by system restore, restore active directory. Mounting the system image to a virtual partition using ‘Explore Image’ allows you to recover some files in active directory.

Below are the steps back up Active Directory via AOMEI Backupper.

Step 1: Download and Install the Software

The primary step is to download AOMEI Backupper and to complete installation, follow the prompts.

Step 2: Select System Backup

Launch AOMEI Backupper and select "Backup" and then "System Backup."


Step 3: Choosing the Destination

To save the backup files, choose the destination path. You will notice that by default, the required system partitions are selected.


Step 4: Starting the Backup Process

Before clicking on "Start Backup" confirm the operation and initiate the process.



For your Active Directory backups, you should not bank on multiple domain controllers. There are numerous online threats to it such as hacking and ransomware. You should not risk losing your database when you have an option to protect it. Besides having multiple domain controllers, make sure you backup active directory regularly.

With simple steps and easy to use interface, AOMEI Backupper allows users to backup and restore active directory with ease. If your Windows Server Backup has not been deleting old backups, it will allow you to resolve the issue and help in running Windows Server repair.

These are the best options on how to backup active directory fast. With these steps, you know you can back up your Active Directory using Windows Server Backup.

Recoverit author

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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