Disaster recovery or bare metal restore of your Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server By Mariette Knap disaster recovery, backup, restore In the last days we have been discussing backup and restore of our server in How to backup your Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server to USB drives and How to restore files and folders on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials but now it is time for something more serious. You should see this procedure as a kind of insurance that you hope never is needed. The server has been stolen or because of a fire it is completely lost and you need to restore system and data to a new server. If you have followed my previous tutorial How to backup your Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server to USB drives you should have kept your backup drives offsite and nothing will be lost. In order to restore the server we need installation media to begin with. If you have installed your server with the installation media on a USB pen drive like we did in Create a bootable USB pen drive for your Windows 2012 R2 installation use that pen drive again or use the DVD that was shipped with the server. Put the USB pen drive in your server and make sure the server is set to boot from USB. See the BIOS manual of your server for this. Turn on the server and wait till you see a screen that asks you to boot from DVD or USB and press enter. Click ‘Next’. Choose ‘Repair your computer’. Choose ‘Troubleshoot’. Choose ‘System Image Recovery’. Setup has detected my backup drive and suggest that I restore the last system image available. Click next. If you need to install special drivers for your Raid subsystem please do that now. Click next Review the information and click Finish. Click Yes to continue. This will take awhile to complete. Depending on the amount of data and the speed of your server this can take up to several hours to complete. Click Restore now After the server is started check the event logs for possible problems. After the initials reboot you could see some Search related errors. Search complains that the index is corrupt but it will fix that by itself and after another reboot you should not see any errors. Another error is that the Active Directory Certificate Services could not contact the Active Directory and I think this is a timing issue which is also fixed after the second reboot. You see that even after a disastrous event it is possible to restore to bare metal and have the server up and running in shortest possible time.