Can Windows Server Backup Work with Volume Greater Than 2TB?

Posted by @Cody

March 7, 2016

Learn the reason and workaround that Windows Server Backup cannot work with volume greater than 2TB in Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2011.

Windows Server Backup cannot support volume greater than 2TB

If you use Windows Server Backup (WSB) to create backups on Windows server 2008 or 2008 R2, you may find out that it cannot backup any volumes over 2TB. This problem also exists in Small Business Server 2011 and Windows Home Server 2011. To figure out this, you must understand how WSB stores the backup files. Instead of using BKF file, Windows Server Backup backup volumes to several virtual hard disk (VHD) files, each VHD file for a volume in the backup. Once the backup VHD file is created, you can mount it with Disk Management, and then you can see all the items of the volume backed up. However, the VHD file has a 2TB file size limit, which is why Volumes larger than 2TB cannot be backed up. In Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has introduced VHDX file that can store Windows backup larger than 2TB without a scratch.

Workaround for backing up volumes equal or larger than 2TB

If you are running Windows Server 2008 R2 or latter versions of Windows Server, you can include files and folders in the backup instead of volume. If there are too many files and folders to check in the large volume, you can use WBadmin to create backups from command prompt. To open an elevated command prompt, you right click on Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin). Assuming that the over 2TB volume to be backed up is F:drive and you want to backup it to an external hard drive with a drive letter G, you can use the following command.

Wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:G: -include:f:\download -quiet

and then,

wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:G: -include:f:\* -exclude:download -quiet

The “-quiet” switch means to run the backup without being prompted. Nevertheless, WSB in Windows Server 2008 only allows you to select volumes into the backup. Therefore, the only way to get the backup running on Windows Server 2008 is to make all the volumes less than 2TB by shrinking volume. However, if you are not satisfied with this workaround for Windows Server Backup 2tb limit, you can switch to third party server backup software.

Windows Server backup software - AOMEI Backupper

If you have had enough with Windows Server Backup, AOMEI Backupper Server can count as the best alternative to WSB for it does not have the 2tb backup limit and many other advanced features. Compared with WSB, it supports many storage devices and file systems including NTFS, FAT32, ExFAT , it allows you to select system, disks, partitions, files and folders to backup instead of full volumes, it brings you the ability keep multiple scheduled backup tasks rather than one schedule backup job. What’s more, with the intuitive interface, you can easily create a backup job that you want effortlessly.

1. Download, install and open the server backup program.

2. Click on the “Backup” tab, and you can choose what types of backup you need. Let’s choose “System Backup” as an example.

Backup Tab

3. For “System Backup”, you do not need to include the items yourself. You just need to click “Step 2” to specify a destination location path to store the image backup. Any locations that is available in File explorer can be set as the destination location.

Select Destination Location

4. Click the “Schedule” button to set up a schedule backup followed by full/incremental/differential backups if needed. Then click “Start Backup” to get backup started.

Start Backup

Backing up with AOMEI Backupper is fast and secured. In a short while, you will have a Windows Server system image backup which can be used to restore your server or restore to dissimilar hardware when your server is in trouble. Besides allowing Windows Server to backup greater than 2TB volumes, AOMEI Backupper also provides System Clone, Partition Clone, and Disk Clone to transfer data on your server.