By AOMEI / Last update September 7, 2021

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Need to clone an old computer to a new one?

As computers become slower and technology improved, it’s quite normal to replace your old computer with a newer fast one. What can you do if you want to use the old systems settings, applications, and data on your new computer?

Instead of wasting time installing Windows, applications and files that you have accumulated on the old system, you can choose to clone hard drive to SSD or another HDD and then use it on your new system. This way, your newer faster computer contains all of your personal data and programs so you can continue to use it without setting preferences from scratch.  

Transfer Operating System from One Computer to Another

Problem with transferring operating system from one computer to another computer

Speaking of transferring operating system from one computer to another, many users may feel disappointed. That's because you may encounter device drivers compatility issues and license problem. Now, let' have a closer look at it.

Device drivers incompatibility: After cloning to another computer, your computer may not boot with errors like “hardware abstraction layer” or “hal.dll”, even blue screen. Every computer has its own specific drivers fit for the motherboard and chipset. Among these drivers, the storage controller drivers help motherboard to comunicate with hard disk. In a short word, the new computer does not know how to handle the hardware if it has incompatibility drivers, the result is boot failure.

Reactivation issues: This can be a headache if your computer is a OEM copy, because it's tied to the first computer with installed operating system. If your license is Retail or Volume, reactivation is much simple, because they can be used on any computer, but only on one computer. When connected to the internet, Windows will automatically activate your computer. If not, you can manually type your licence key to reactivate your system.

Software to clone one computer to another computer

If you want to clone old PC to new PC, there are two available ways you can use – Disk/System Clone or Backup and Restore. 

First, if you clone the disk, the cloning process will also include all of the hardware information of the original drive. If the new computer has the same hardware or at a minimum the same CPU, then you will be able to boot the new system from the cloned drive without any extra steps.

  • You can clone the hard drive in the old computer, and then install the cloned drive into your new computer. 

  • If you’d prefer to only keep Windows OS and your programs you can use the ‘System Clone’ function to only clone your OS and applications to your new computer.

Second, if your new computer does not have the same hardware as old one, you may encounter cloned hard drive won't boot issue. In this case, you can use "Universal Restore" feature of a professional backup and restore software to ensure secure boot.

Here, I highly recommend you the specialist hard drive cloning & backup and restore software - AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition - allows you to easily clone a computer to another computer whether using the same hardware or not. 

Other things you need to prepare for cloning old computer 

In addition to a specialist software, you still need to check or prepare other things. Continue to see below and learn more.

For cloning laptop to new laptop, check if the new laptop has removable back panel and the number of drive bay on the old laptop. Getting access to hard drive is the first element of replacing hard drive. If not, the follow-up work will not continue. Also, if your old laptop only has one drive bay, you need to prepare a USB-to-SATA adapter, dock or encloser for new drive connection.

Check the used space of both hard drives. In general, hard drive clone may fail owing to smaller target disk. But specialist disk clone software can clone larger hard drive to smaller drive as long as the used space on old drive is smaller than or equal to target drive.

Confirm the partition style of both hard drives. If different, GPT to MBR, for example, you need to convert MBR to GPT with disk management, or make the target disk blank.

Keep a copy of system backup or disk backup. If you have done a in-depth research online, you may know there are examples of cloned hard drive won't boot. To prevent this situation, you need to create a system or disk backup ahead of time.

Method 1: Clone computer to another computer with the same hardware

AOMEI Backupper supports Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, and Windows 7 as well as the corresponding versions of Windows Server. For Windows 7, 8, and 10, you need to download AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition; for Windows Server 2008, 2012, and 2016 and related R2 versions, AOMEI Backupper Server Edition is needed.

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Follow the steps below to clone Windows 10 to new computer:

Step 1. Connect the new hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected. If you want to make the new computer run faster, cloning Windows 10 to NVMe will be a great option.

Step 2. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional, click the "Disk Clone" option under the Clone tab. To clone only system, select "System Clone" to continue. 

Disk Clone

Step 3. Select the source disk on the old computer and click "Next" .

Source Disk

Step 4. Select the destination disk that you connected before and click "Next" to continue.

Destination Disk

Step 5. Read the warning message carefully and click "OK" if you are happy to proceed. To protect your data, I recommend you backup your files to an external HDD before continuing. 


Step 6. In the "Operations Summary" window, you can preview the cloning process. If you are happy, click "Start Clone" to begin. 


Step 7. When the cloning process is done, click “Finish”. Then, install the cloned drive to your new computer and boot from it.

♦ This software also can be applied to move old hard drive to a new PC even if the target computer has a different make, model, and hardware configuration to the new one.
♦ This software allows users to clone Windows 10 to dissimilar hardware with secure boot. Because Windows 10 has compatible drivers required for boot. 

Method 2: Transfer OS from one computer to another with different hardware

To transfer the operating system to a new computer with different hardware, you should do the following first:

  • Create a disk image or a system image using AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition. The backup image must be saved somewhere the new computer can access flexibly. AOMEI Backupper supports backing up to NAS, HDD, SSD, and other storage devices.

  • Start up the new computer via a bootable CD or USB created by AOMEI Backupper. If you have multiple computers, you can use PXE Boot Tool, because it allows you to boot multiple client computers within the LAN simultaneously.

Then, use the disk image or system image created before to transfer operating system. These steps apply to move Windows 10 to new computer as well as other operating systems, such as, Windows 8, Windows 7. 

Step 1. Boot the new computer via AOMEI bootable media or the PXE Boot Tool. In the main window of AOMEI Backupper, click on the "Restore" tab.

Step 2. Click "Select Image File" to locate the disk image backup or system image backup you created earlier. Please note the drive letter may have changed under AOMEI PE environment.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 3. Let’s say you have selected a disk image. In the “Image Information” page, select "Restore the entire disk" and then click "Next" to continue. 

Restore Entire Disk or Partition

Step 4. Select the destination location to restore the image backup and then click "Next".

Select Destination

Step 5. In the "Operations Summary" screen, check the "Universal Restore" option to ensure secure boot and then click "Start Restore".

Universal Restore


When come to cloning an old computer to a new one, users may encounter boot failure owing to different reasons, such as, wrong boot mode and boot priority, missing boot realted partition, drivers incompatibility etc.

If you are one of them, please check or prepare everything mentioned above and follow the step by step guide to clone computer to another computer, regardless of same or different hardware. AOMEI Backupper can solve it using diferent solutions. 

For all new users, AOMEI Backupper provides 30-day free trial with all backup and restore functions activated. Disk clone or system clone are only available after you upgrade to the Professional version. If you want to use all these features on multiple computers conveniently, you could also upgrade to Technician or Technician Plus edition, then create a portable version of the software on removable device.