How to make Windows 2012 disk image

i have a newly built Windows 2012 server standard (not Hyper-V, not R2), fully updated through MS updates.
I want to create an exact backup of the disk the way it is, so in the event I mess up something in the future, I  don't have to start from scratch in building the server again. BTW -- this is a Lab server.
So, what's the easiest way for me to create an image either on the system disk (plenty of space) or removable disk/USB that would allow me to restore the server to it's current state in the future if need be.

I'm not talking about a bootable/installation disk image, I already have that on a USB stick, that's how I built the server. I'm talking about the server as it stands now, since I've updated it. There were a lot of MS updates, I don't want to go through that again if possible.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
So you want to image your computer, so you can restore from an image.

How about

Drive Snapshot -

Inexpensive, and almost free!

otherwise, you've got Acronis imaging tools, or

We actually use the following these days quick and easy...
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Why not make a backup using the Windows Backup and Bare Metal Restore option?
Use the Windows Server Backup utility.  First you have to install the feature through Add/Remove features, then you would create a full system backup with Bare Metal Restore, System State, and everything else included.  This will create an image for you.

But if you created this server for labs, then I recommend you recreate it as a virtual machine.  You can use free and easily accessible vm workstation software such as Oracle VirtualBox.  Then your server exists as a file on your hard drive.  You can then makes copies of that file or even create snapshots using VirtualBox.
noxchoProduct ManagerCommented:
Here is a microtutorial which explains how to take backup using Windows Server Backup feature:

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nachtmskAuthor Commented:
All good suggestions, thanks! I will look each of them over in detail and be back.
David Johnson, CD, MVPRetiredCommented:
I only use the base install media ONCE install all of the updates, sysprep and then capture an image of the machine and then use this base image for further installations.

I highly leverage MDT in order to do this. I have reference images of all the current Microsoft Operating systems and leverage WSUS for the updates. It takes about 24-48 hours to create the initial reference images. All of this is done in hyper-v so that if I change platforms for a physical install I don't bring artifacts of a machines physical dependencies.

from these reference images this is where I do my production deployments and typically refresh these captures every 6 months. These refreshes take considerably less time.

I also have in place regular backup solutions for bare metal restores of production machines.
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Windows Server 2012

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