By Teresa / Last update June 24, 2022

Quick Navigation:

Want to clone old computer to a new one for upgrading?

We store and install many files or programs on the computer as time goes by, which is likely to cause computer running slower and slower. Sometimes you may find it refuse to work when the situation is quite urgent.  In such cases, it is the right time to upgrade your computer.

Well, what is the fastest way to transfer everything from old computer to a new one? If you want a brand new operating system, clean install Windows to SSD from scratch could be a good choice. If you like to use the old familiar OS, to avoid cubersome installing and configuration process, the best way could be cloning the entire computer.

Upgrading to new computer brings you shorter boot up time and faster running speed. So how should we go about achieving this goal?

Transfer Operating System from One Computer to Another

Common issues of transferring operating system to new computer

Many users are afraid to perform computer-to-computer operations due to compatibility and licensing issues. They are worried about boot failures and activation errors. So, let's take a closer look at these two issues.

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 of death. 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: If your licenses are retail or volume, reactivation is much easier because they can be used on any computer, but only on one computer at a time. Windows will automatically activate your computer when connected to the Internet. If not, you can manually enter your license key to reactivate your system.

If you have an OEM copy of your computer, this can be a headache because it is tied to the first computer with the operating system installed. You may follow this way to check your license type.

How to check Windows license type:

Press Win + R key combinations or open Command Prompt directly, then input slmgr.vbs -dli, and you'll get the following window. You can check it at the Description column.

Windows Script Host

Transfer one computer to another completely with professional tool

Normally, there are two common ways to move everything from one PC to the other on Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, hard drive cloning and universal restore. The selection varies based on the computer situation. You may learn the difference below.

When the target computer has the same hardware or CPU as the source:

It is recommended to try hard drive cloning way in this case. To be specific, you can clone the hard drive on the old computer to an empty disk, and then install the cloned drive on the other computer. If you'd like to keep only operating system drive on the new computer, you may try the System Clone feature of cloning software, which will migrate only system and boot related drives.

When the target computer has dissimilar hardware:

The cloning method will not work when the two computers have different hardware. However, Universal Restore (also known as Dissimilar Hardware Restore) can easily fix this problem. It is able to restore a backup image of a system to a different hardware platform or to a virtual machine. This feature achieves migration through three core steps: backup, bootable media creation, and restoring.

Now, you need to find the right tool after knowing that information. It is recommended to use a professional backup and cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional. This software can satisfy both transfer needs, regardless of computer hardware.

It is also popular among users all over the world due to its user-friendly interface. Now let's get to know how to use it to clone PC to a new PC in detail.

Case 1. Clone PC to another PC with the same hardware

Cloning a computer completely requires not only specialist software but also other preparation work. 

Some preparation before cloning old computer/laptop

1. When cloning a laptop to a new laptop, you need to check if the back cover of the new computer is removable. You also need to check the number of hard drive slots in the old computer. If there is only one drive bay, you need to prepare a USB-to-SATA adapter, dock or enclosed new drive connector in advance.

2. Check the space used by both hard disks. If the target disk does not have enough space to store all the data from the old disk, the cloning operation will fail. If you use sector-to-sector cloning, you will need to prepare a new disk with a larger capacity than the old one.

3. Confirm the partition style of the two hard drives. Usually it is GPT or MBR format. Different partition styles have different boot methods. Sometimes that can be an important factor in system booting. To be on the safe side, you can convert or initialize the target disk to the same format as the old one in advance.

4. Back up important files in advance. These two methods do not lead to data loss in theory; however, data may be lost due to improper operation or unexpected events. It is more important to be safe than sorry. Backing up files to external drive, network drive or cloud drive is recommended.

How to clone old computer to new computer step by step

This part will take clone Windows 10 to new computer for example. 

Step 1. Connect the new hard drive to your old computer and make sure it can be detected. Then download the cloning tool AOMEI Backupper Professional below. 

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional. Then, click the "Disk Clone" option under the Clone tab. 

Disk Clone

Step 3. Select the source disk (usually the disk that contains your operating system) 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. Please note that the target disk will be overwritten after this operation. You may need to backup important files when necessary.


Step 6. Preview the cloning process and confirm the disk information. Make sure you're selecting the right one. Then, click "Start Clone" to begin cloning old hard drive to new computer. 



  • You're allowed to adjust partition size by clicking "Edit Partition" before starting clone. 
  • If the target disk is an SSD, you may check "SSD Alignment" to improve its reading and writing speed.

Step 7. Cloning can take a long time to complete, depending on the data stored. Click "Finish" when it completes.

Step 8. Uninstall the target hard drive from your old computer, and then install it to your new computer directly. You should be able to boot from a new computer. If not, please check the common reasons for cloned drive won't boot error.

✦ Since Windows 10 has compatible drivers required for booting, you can use the same cloning way to clone Windows 10 to a computer that has dissimilar hardware as long as it supports secure boot.

✦ Please note that AOMEI Backupper provides 30-day free trial, with all backup and restore functions available. However, the clone features are only available after register.

Case 2. Transfer one computer to another with different hardware

As mentioned before, there are totally three parts while performing Universal Restore to dissimilar hardware. Let's get to know them one by one.

Part 1. Create a disk image of the old computer

You'll need to prepare an image file of the old computer that could be used to do restoring. You can make it with the "Disk Backup" feature in AOMEI Backupper. Install and launch this software on your old PC. It is suggested to put the backup image to a place where the new computer could access, such as LAN, network path, external drive, or cloud.

Create a disk backup

Part 2. Create bootable media for new computer

Prepare a USB drive that greater than 13 GB. Insert it to your old PC and make sure it can be detected. You can create a bootable USB drive using the "Create Bootable Media" feature in AOMEI Backupper. 

Create a bootable drive

Tip: if you'd like to boot up multiple computers simultaneously to perform a restoring, you may refer to the PXE boot tool. It is able to boot multiple computers with LAN at a time.

Part 3. Restore image to new computer

Here details the process of restoring old computer disk image to new computer. You'll need to connect the image file to the new PC, i.e. make it can be accessed by the new PC.

Step 1. Boot the new computer via the bootable media. You may need to change boot priority before start. 

Step 2. You'll see the main interface of AOMEI Backupper, click on the "Restore" tab -> "Select Image File".  Then, select the image file you prepared before. Please note the drive letter may have changed under WinPE environment.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 3. After selecting the 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 summary window, the "Universal Restore" option will be checked by default when it detects dissimilar hardware. Click "Start Restore".

Universal Restore

The new computer shall reboot automatically. You can uninstall the bootable media to test if the new computer works normally. 


Moving the operating system from your old computer to a new one may be the fastest way to upgrade your computer and get everything back to normal. You can try different way based on your situation.

If you're looking for a way to transfer operating system to multiple computer, you may try the image deployment tool. It allows you to deploy system image to computer on a large scale over network if they are in the same LAN. 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.

To clone computer that containing Windows Server operating system, such as Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, etc. please try AOMEI Backupper Server edition.