By Ivy / Last update July 6, 2021

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Need to clone or restore to dissimilar hardware

Searching this keyword ‚Äúclone to dissimilar hardware‚ÄĚ online, you may see 2 common ways, namely using clone or backup and restore. Both of them can help you migrate OS or disk to another computer with different hardware, such as, motherboard, CPU¬†etc, but they has some differences?¬†

Firstly, as the name of keyword suggests, "clone to dissimilar hardware" is to use clone method. To clone system to dissimilar hardware, you could use System Clone. To clone hard drive to dissimilar hardware, you need to use Disk Clone.  While for "restore to dissimilar hardware",  you need to use backup and restore method, and decide the items you want to migrate.

Second, the use of scope is different. For cloning method, it applies to the lastest Windows operating system, which has strong compatibility in drivers  and can help you boot system in most cases. For backup and restore method, it has a wider range of use, appling to all the Windows system, from Vista to Windows 10. That's because it can solve incompatible drivers issues in computer with different hardware via Universal Restore feature.

Why perform dissimilar hardware clone or restore?

To clone or restore system to dissimilar hardware, there are many reasons. 

  • You want to migrate system to new computer with different hardware. This usually happens when you want to replace a very old computers to a new computer but¬†retain the original system and all the settings and prferences on the old computer.
  • You need to recover the faile system with different hardware. This situation may be because you don't create a system image or disk backup before your computer fails, thus you can only create a system image on another working computer and then restore system image.
  • You change hardware of your computer after creating backups.¬†This is just the opposite of the reason above. You can only restore system image created before on the current computer with new hardware.
  • The computer hardware failed or just in case it will fail.
  • Don't want to reinstall Windows and all the programs from scratch.

Best software to clone or restore system to dissimilar hardware

There are many disk cloning software on the market, among them, AOMEI Backupper Professional is the best choice for Windows users. It not only allows you to clone system or disk to different hardware, but also allows you to restore system or disk to dissimilar hardware. And you can successfully boot from the cloned or restored hard drive without reinstalling Windows. 

As a disk cloning software, it supports 3 cloning methods, namely  "System Clone", "Disk Clone" and "Partition Clone". And the previous two options will includes boot drive(s) required to start Windows, so you can install the cloned drive on a new computer even with different hardware and boot from it.

 In addition, it still supports optimizing the performance of SSD disk using "SSD Alignment" while performing HDD to SSD clone. If you are cloning disk  to larger disk, you still can adjust partition size of the destination disk with its "Edit Partitions" feature.

As a professional backup and restore software, it supports all the backup and restore solutions. Among them, you will use "Universal Restore" feature while restoring to dissimilar hardware. That's because this feature can resolve the incompatible drivers issues of computer with different hardware, such as, motherboard.

Then, please keep reading below and learn how to use this sofwtare to clone Windows 10 to dissimilar hardware or restore system to different hardware in simple steps.

Directly clone Windows 10 system to different hardware with System Clone

Before you start to clone Windows 10 to dissimilar hardware, you need to download and install AOMEI Backupper Professional on your computer. Note that the clone feature in the free trial can only be demostrated, so you need to upgrade to professional version and then enjoy System Clone or Disk Clone feature.  Then, connect the target disk (eg: an SSD disk) and make sure it can be detected. 

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Then, let's get started to learn the detailed steps. This method only works for Windows 10, if you are using Windows 8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, please directly go to the nex methods and perform dissimilar hardware restore.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional, click Clone and System Clone. 

Choose System Clone

Tips: If you want to clone hard drive to different hardware, you could consider using Disk Clone feature. It will clone entire disk, besides system partition, still includes all the other data partitions.

Step 2. Select the connected SSD as the destination path and click Next.

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 system partition and boot related partition as well as SSD disk, click Start Clone.

System Clone Preview Both Checked

Step 4. Disconnect the cloned hard drive from the first computer and then install it on another computer. After that, start your computer and boot from it.

‚̧ If your computer does to start, you still can create a bootable disk¬†and then clone the system or disk.
‚̧ If you want to deploy or clone image to multiple computers, you can use the built-in tool AOMEI Image Deploy. But this tool is only available on AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus. You need to upgrade to it first.

Restore backup to different hardware via system backup and restore

To restore backup to different hardware, you need to create a system image backup or disk backup with this software, it depends on the items you want to retain. 

System Backup

Also, it's suggested to create a recovery disk by Create Bootable Media feature, so you can boot the computer if it does not install the opertaing system or when it's unbootable.

Create Bootable Media

That's all the important steps for dissimilar hardware restore. After that, you can use the created bootable media to start your computer and then restore backup to a computer with dissimilar hardware. The steps are in the following.

Step 1. Connect the drive containing backup image and target disk to the computer with dissimilar hardware.  Then, insert the created bootable media, restart this computer and boot from it. After that, you will see the blue screen of AOMEI Backupper, click Restore > Select Image File to find and select the image file manually.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 2. Tick restore this system backup and Restore system to other location, then click Next.

Restore to Other Location

Step 3. Select a destination for the system image you want to restorep and click Next. The first partition on the target disk is the suggested location, otherwise the system could not boot from the target disk. 

Select Destination

Step 4. Preview the operation summary, tick Universal Restore and click Start Restore to restore system to dissimilar hardware. 

Preview Restore to Other Location

Tips: If your target disk is an SSD disk, it's suggested to tick SSD Alignment to boost the reading and writing speed of SSD disk. And it can further prolong the lifespan of SSD disk.

Wrapping things up

 You may want to clone to dissimilar hardware under a certain situation. Please remember that this method only works for Windows 10 and the hardware needs to be similar. If you are using Windows XP/7/8/8.1, you can choose to backup and restore to dissimilar hardware. During the process, you will use Universal Restore feature, which can help you resolve the incompatible drivers issues. Anyway, choose one method per your situation.

In addition, you want to bare metal restore to dissimilar hardware within one company, you could use AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus. It supports deploy or clone system to multiple computer simultaneously over network, which makes things easier. And you don't need to perform this operation one by one.