Clone System to Dissimilar Hardware with Secure Boot

You can use both cloning and imaging method to clone system to dissimilar hardware without booting issues, and it depends on the operating system you are using and your purpose.


By Ivy Updated on July 5, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

“I have two Windows 10 computers with different hardware. Tried using creating images using Windows Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and restoring, but the system goes to a blue screen. Is there a good way to clone Windows 10 system to different hardware and have it boot?” – Spiceworks

Cloning is a very effective way to transfer Windows 10 from one computer to another including its operating system, installed programs, drivers, personal data, etc. It requires the two machines to have the same or similar hardware. But what if you want clone system to dissimilar hardware?

It's a good way to migrate system from old computer to a new one, preserving all your programs, data, settings, and preferences without reinstalling Windows. It also helps when you don't create a backup image before your system fails, your hardware (motherboard, CPU, etc) fails or you change it.

However, dissimilar hardware usually means there are incompatible drivers or other issues, which is a very tricky issue. But do not lose hope. Newer systems like Windows 10 and 11 have better driver compatibility. With reliable software, you can still clone system to dissimilar hardware without boot issue. We'll also provide a couple of useful tips to help you through this process smoothly.

Preparations to clone system to dissimilar hardware 

As mentioned early, cloning to dissimilar hardware is tricky. Thus, to be sure the process goes smoothly, you need to have the following items on hand.

✔ Confirm if the new computer is compatible with the old computer. You can check the hardware specifications or contact a technician if necessary. 

✔ Prepare a new HDD or SSD. Consider getting a new SSD if you don't have budget restrictions, it can give your computer a new lease of life with top performance. For peak computer performance, it's suggested to prepare an M.2 NVMe SSD and clone Windows 10 to NVME SSD. More importantly, be sure the target disk has enough space to hold all your data.

✔ Prepare a connector. If your computer is a laptop with only one slot, you will need a connector for cloning. It can USB-to-SATA adapter, dock, or enclosure, depending on the disk interface. 

✔ Backup files on the destination disk. If your disk has any critical files, please backup files to external hard drive or other storage device in advance. Because the cloning process will delete files on the destination disk. 

✔ Employ a reliable cloning software. Choosing one reliable cloning software is necessary to ensure the cloned drive is bootale, your programs run properly and the  data is saft. AOMEI Backupper Professional is a great choice, released by AOMEI, the leader in data protection.

Below are some useful feature in this software to clone to different hardware:

System Clone or Disk Clone: You can choose to clone system only or entire disk to dissimilar hardware with the corresponding method. 
Intelligent Clone: It's the default cloning technology of AOMEI and clones only the used sectors of a drive, making its easy to clone large HDD to smaller SSD, such as clone 1TB HDD to 500GB SSD. It also helps skip bad sectors while cloning.
SSD Alignment: It's a useful feature to optimize the performance of SSD disk while performing HDD to SSD clone
Edit Partitions: It has two big uses, namely adjust the partition size and convert the disk partition style (when cloning MBR to GPT  or vice versa) of the destination disk. 
Restore system to dissimilar hardware: It's also a versatile backup and restore software for Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11, embedded with the Universal Restore" feature, to resolve incompatible driver issues while restoring images.

Clone Windows 10/11 to different hardware safely 

If your new computer is Windows 10 or 1, and has similar hardware, try to clone Windows 10/11 to different hardware. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server

Now, free download reliable cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional to start. 

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
⚠️Note that the clone feature in the free trial can only be demonstrated. You can choose to experience it first to see if it meets your needs before deciding whether to upgrade to the Professional version.

Step 1.  Connect your new HDD or SSD and be sure it's recognized. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional after installing it, click Clone and System Clone

Choose System Clone

⚠️Note: You can also click the Disk Clone feature to clone hard drive to different hardware if you want. Besides system partition, it still includes other data partitions.

Step 2. Select the connected SSD as the destination path and click Next. It can be any SSD disk brand, such as, Samsung, WD, Toshiba, Seagate, etc. So you can use it to clone HDD to Samsung SSD easily. 

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. Tick SSD Alignment to further improve the reading and writing speed of your SSD disk as well as prolong its lifespan. Then, preview the operation and click Start Clone to clone system to dissimilar hardware.

System Clone Preview

⚠️Note: You can still use the option "Make full use of disk space" if you clone system to different hardware with a larger drive. It will allocate the unallocated space on the target disk and extend to the system partition.

Step 4. Disconnect the cloned SSD from the current computer and then install it on the new computer. After that, start your computer and boot from it. If it does not, you need to change the boot priority in BIOS first.

Change Boot Order

  • If your computer doesn't start, you can still create a bootable disk and clone the system or disk without loading Windows.

  • To clone system to multiple computers, you need to create a portable version of AOMEI Backupper (supported by AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus) and run it off a removable device. You can use it on unlimited PCs or servers and don't need to install it again and again.

Backup and restore Windows 7/8 to different hardware

If you are using old systems such as Windows 7, 8, 8.1, Vista, and XP, your computer may not boot from the cloned drive due to incompatible drivers. At this time, it will be a better choice to backup and restore system to different hardware with AOMEI Backupper Professional. Of course, this method also applies to Windows 10 and 11.

It's a professional data protection software, embedded with a Universal Restore feature, which can install all the necessary drivers to start a Windows. Other drivers, such as sound or video card drivers, NIC drivers, display drivers, etc., will not be installed by default. You need to install them after restoring the image.

By using this method, you need to make some effort before restoring as follows.

  • Create a system image backup or disk backup with this software, it depends on the items you want to retain. Here take System Backup as an example.

System Backup

  • Create boot repair USB to boot bare metal computer or when it's unbootable. Go to Tools and use Create Bootable Media feature in it. 

Create Boo Repair USB

  • Prepare an external device to store the backup image.

Steps to perform dissimilar hardware restore 

They are all the preparations for dissimilar hardware restore. Then, connect the backup drive to the new computer and restore Windows image to different hardware. 

  • If your new computer is bootable, please install AOMEI Backupper Professional on it and activate it with a license key. Then, launch this software.

  • If it is a bare metal computer or it is not bootable, insert the created bootable USB, access BIOS, and set it as the first boot option. Wait until you see AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Step 1. When accessing AOMEI Backupper, click Restore > Select Task

Select Task

Step 2.  Select system backup and click Next. If not, please select the backup image manually by clicking the Back button and choosing the Select Image File option on the previous page.

Select System Image

Step 3. Tick Restore this system backup and Restore system to other location. Then, click Next to continue.

Restore System

Step 4. Select the prepared new disk and click Next.

🌟Please note that the first partition on the target disk is the suggested location, otherwise, the system could not boot from the target disk. 

Select New Hard Drive

Step 5. By default, the Universal Restore feature is checked if it detects a different hardware. Optionally, tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD disk & prolong its lifespan. Preview the operation summary and click Start Restore to begin dissimilar hardware restore. 

Restore System to Dissimilar Hardware

To deploy images to multiple computers simultaneously, the easiest way is to AOMEI Image Deploy (supported by Technician or TechPlus edition). Similarly, you need a system image, this time is not booting from a bootable USB, but from a network, which can boot multiple computers at a time.

FAQs on cloning to dissimilar hardware

1. What is dissimilar hardware?

Dissimilar hardware refers to two computers that have different hardware, such as CPU, motherboard, and chipset.

2. Can you clone a hard drive and use it on a different computer?

Yes, it is possible to clone a hard drive and use it in another computer with similar hardware and operating system. However, for a computer with dissimilar hardware, it is suggested to use the "Universal Restore" feature in AOMEI Backupper.

3. Is it better to clone or image a hard drive?

Both cloning and imaging create exact copies of a hard drive. The previous method is a one-to-one copy while the latter is an imaging copy. It means the cloning method offers easy access to all the data on a disk and the imaging method offers better data protection. So just select them based on your purpose.

4. Does Windows 10 have a cloning tool?

Nope, Windows 10 does not have any software to clone a disk. 

5. How do I restore to dissimilar hardware in Windows 10?

Restoring to dissimilar hardware requires a working backup image created by a reliable backup software, such as AOMEI Backupper Professional and it will be better if there is a feature to resolve driver incompatibility issues. If your computer is not bootable or it's a bare metal machine, you still need a Windows 10 repair boot USB.

Wrapping things up

You can choose to clone or restore to dissimilar hardware in different situations. The previous one is easier and quick but limited to Windows 10 and 11. And it's really useful when you want to replace a laptop HDD with SSD without reinstalling Windows.

The second one is more compatible, you can use it on all Windows systems, especially when considering the long-term data protections and batch image deployment. For bare metal restore to dissimilar hardware within one company, AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition will be a better choice.

It's suggested to keep AOMEI Backupper installed on your computer. It helps a lot in continuous data protection and offers some useful features, such as schedule backup to make this process easy and intelligent.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.