Create a FULL system back-up with wbadmin in Windows 11

A full backup of Windows 11 is crucial in case of computer problems. You can always restore a full system backup if problems arise from broken hardware, viruses, or a failing computer system.

There are several ways to make a system backup. Most people are familiar with a backup via the settings in Windows 11.

Less well-known is the “wbadmin” tool. WbAdmin is a tool to create a full system backup via the Command Prompt or Windows Terminal. You can use WbAdmin on its own or implement it in a server and workstation environment via scripting.

There are several parameters you can apply to wbadmin. Below you can see the different parameters with information about the respective parameter. Some technical knowledge is required.

-backupTarget

Specifies the storage location for the backup. Requires a hard disk drive letter (e.g., E:), a volume GUID-based path in the format \\Volume\{GUID}, or a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to a remote shared folder (\\<servername>\<sharename>). Thus, external media or a remote network location is always needed to store the backup in.

-include

Specifies a comma-separated list of items to include in the backup. You can include multiple files, folders, or volumes. Volume paths can be specified using volume drive letters, volume mount points, or GUID-based volume names.

If you use a GUID-based volume name, it must end with a backslash (*). You can use the wildcard (*) in the file name if you specify a path to a file. The -include parameter should only be used in conjunction with the -backupTarget parameter.

-exclude

Specifies a comma-separated list of items to be excluded from the backup. For example, you can exclude files, folders, or volumes. Volume paths can be specified using volume drive letters, volume mount points, or GUID-based volume names.

If you use a GUID-based volume name, it must end with a backslash (*). You can use the wildcard (*) in the file name if you specify a path to a file. The -exclude parameter should only be used in conjunction with the -backupTarget parameter.

-nonRecurseInclude

Specifies the non-recursive, comma-separated list of items to include in the backup. You can include multiple files, folders, or volumes. Volume paths can be specified using volume drive letters, volume mount points, or GUID-based volume names.

If you use a GUID-based volume name, it must end with a backslash (*). You can use the wildcard (*) in the file name when specifying a path to a file. Also, the -nonRecurseInclude parameter should only be used in conjunction with the -backupTarget parameter.

-nonRecurseExclude

Specifies the non-recursive, comma-separated list of items to exclude from the backup. For example, you can exclude files, folders, or volumes. Volume paths can be specified using volume drive letters, volume mount points, or GUID-based volume names.

If you use a GUID-based volume name, it must end with a backslash (*). You can use the wildcard (*) in the file name when specifying a path to a file. The -nonRecurseExclude parameter should only be used in conjunction with the -backupTarget parameter.

-allCritical

Specifies that all critical volumes (volumes that contain operating system status) should be included in the backups. This parameter is helpful if you are backing up for bare metal recovery. It should only be used if -backupTarget is specified; otherwise the command fails. It can be used with the -include option.

Optional: The target volume for a backup of critical volumes can be a local drive, but it must not be one of the volumes included in the backup.

-systemState

Create a backup containing the system state, in addition to any other items you specified with the -include parameter. The system state includes startup files (Boot.ini, NDTLDR, NTDetect.com), the Windows registry, the SYSVOL (Group Policy and Login Scripts), the Active Directory and NTDS.DIT on domain controllers, and, if the Certificate Service is installed, the Certificate Store.

The IIS meta directory is also included if the server has the Web server role installed. If the server is part of a cluster, the Cluster Service information is also included.

-noVerify

Specifies that backups stored on removable media (such as a DVD) are not checked for errors. If you do not use this parameter, backups stored on removable media are checked for errors.

-user

If the backup is stored in an external shared folder, specify the user name with write permissions for the folder.

-password

Specifies the password for the user name specified by the -user parameter.

-noInheritAcl

Applies the access control list (ACL) permissions corresponding to the credentials specified by the -user and -password parameters to WindowsImageBackup (the folder that contains the backup).

Suppose you want to access the backup later. In that case, you must use these credentials or be a member of the Administrators group or the Backup Operators group on the computer containing the shared folder. If -noInheritAcl is not used, the ACL permissions of the remote shared folder are applied to the folder by default so that anyone with access to the remote shared folder can access the backup.

-vssFull

Performs a full backup using the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). All files are backed up, the history of each file is updated to indicate that it was backed up, and the logs of previous backups can be truncated.

If this parameter is not used, wbadmin start backup creates a copy backup. Still, the history of the files being backed up is not updated.

Note: Do not use this parameter if you are using a product other than Windows Server Backup to back up apps that reside on the volumes included in the current backup. This may interfere with the incremental, differential, or other backups that the other backup product is performing. The history they use to determine how much data to backup may be missing and they may perform a full backup unnecessarily.

-vssCopy

Performs a copy backup using VSS. All files are backed up, but the history of the files being backed up is not updated, so you retain all information about what files were changed, deleted, and so on, as well as all app log files.

This type of backup does not affect the sequence of incremental and differential backups that can occur independently of this copy backup. This is the default value.
Note: A copy backup cannot be used for incremental or differential backups or restore.

-quiet

Last. Quiet executes the command without messages to the administrator.

Create a FULL system back-up with WbAdmin in Windows 11

To create a full system backup to removable media, for example, an external hard drive or a USB drive, perform the following.

Connect the removable media to your PC. Check what disk letter is assigned to the device and that the removable media contains enough total disk space to place a full backup on.

Right-click on the Start button. In the menu, click “Windows Terminal (admin).”

Now enter the following command:

wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:E: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet

You must change -backupTarget:E: to the drive letter assigned to the device you want to backup. This is the external hard drive or USB device.

You will make a full backup from the C: drive to the E: drive with the above example. If you want to include any other drive letters in the backup, add them with a comma delimiter to “-include”. For example -include:C:,D:,E:,F:

By including -allCritical as an argument, you specify that all critical volumes (volumes containing the operating system’s status) should be included in the backups.

create backup with wbadmin on windows 11

After backing up via Wbadmin, you can use the advanced boot options to restore the system backup.

I hope to have helped you with this. Thanks for reading!

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