How to Clone a Physical Server to a New Drive or VMware

In need of cloning a physical server to a new hard drive or a virtual machine? Find the best server cloning software to help you from this page.


by Lily Updated on December 29, 2023

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Need to clone a physical server

Nowadays, cloning has become more and more popular in computing. Cloning a physical server involves generating a fully operational copy or replica of your server, including the operating system and all its applications. You may want to clone a physical server for the following reasons:

  • Upgrade hard drive on your server without reinstalling OS and applications from the scratch.
  • Deploy the server image to another server so as to enjoy the same working environment.
  • Virtualize a physical server so that you can do what-if analyses without doing harm to the physical server.

Then, how to clone a server easily and safely? A professional server clone utility is required.

Best server cloning software for Windows Servers

If you are looking for a reliable server cloning tool, AOMEI Backupper Server can be your ideal choice. You can benefit a lot from its following features:

📂 Backup and Restore

You are allowed to create image files for the OS, disks, partitions, or individual files on your server. And you can restore them to their original location or restore to different hardware via bare metal recovery.

💾 Clone

You are enabled to make a 1:1 copy of the server OS, hard drive, or a particular partition. There won’t be image files generated, so you can access the replica of your server without the restoration process. It makes migrating server to a new hard drive like a breeze.

📀 Bootable Media

You are able to create a bootable CD/DVD/USB drive or export an ISO file to boot your server in the event of system crashes.

💻 Supported OS

The program runs well on both Windows Server operating systems (Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012 (R2), 2008 (R2), 2003, etc) and Windows PC operating systems (Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP).

Download AOMEI Backupper now and learn how to clone a physical server step by step below.

Download Demo Windows Server & PC
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How to clone a physical server in two different cases

Here I’m going to show you two cases of cloning a physical server:

👉 Case 1: Clone Windows Server to an SSD or a larger drive
👉 Case 2: Clone physical machine to VMware

Case 1: Clone Windows Server to an SSD or a larger drive

If you are planning to upgrade the hard drive on your server, such as replace HDD with SSD or clone a smaller drive to a larger drive, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1. Connect the target disk to your server. If there are important files on it, backup files right now. Otherwise, you’ll lose them after clone.

Step 2. Run AOMEI Backupper. Click Clone from the left panel and select Disk Clone. If you only want to clone system partitions, then use System Clone.

Disk Clone

Step 3. Choose the original hard drive on your server as the source disk and click Next.

Choose Source Disk

Step 4. Choose the target disk you just connected and click Next. You’ll be prompted that the destination disk will be overwritten. Click OK to continue as we have made a backup in Step 1.

Choose Destination Disk


Step 5. Do more configurations according to your situation and click Start Clone to begin cloning your server.

- Edit Partitions: if you are cloning to a larger drive, choose Add unused space to all partitions or Manually adjust partition size to make full use of the storage space on the larger drive.
- SSD Alignment: if you are cloning to an SSD, check this option to improve the read/write speed of the SSD.
- Sector By Sector Clone: this option will clone every sector on the source disk whether it contains any data or not. It will make the Edit Partitions option unavailable.

Start Clone

Tip: To boot from the cloned drive, you can either change boot order in BIOS or replace the old hard drive with the cloned one and reboot your server.

Case 2: Clone physical machine to VMware

If you decide to convert a physical server to VMware virtual machine, follow the guidance below:

Step 1. Load AOMEI Backupper. Click Backup and select System Backup to create a system image of the physical server.

System Backup

Step 2. After the backup process is finished, click Tools and select Create Bootable Media to export an ISO file.

Create Bootable Media

Export ISO File

Step 3. Launch VMware Workstation and click Create a New Virtual Machine. Then, follow the wizard to create a VM using the ISO file created by AOMEI Backupper.

Create Virtual Machine

Note: When specifying disk capacity for the VM, make sure the disk is big enough to hold all data in the system image.

Step 4. Start up the new virtual machine and you will enter into the main interface of AOMEI Backupper. Click Restore > Select Image File.

Select Image File

Step 5. Locate the system image file you just created and click OK.

Step 6. Select Restore this system backup and click Next.

Restore Entire Backup

Step 7. Select the hard drive on the VM as the destination path and click Next.

Select Destination Path

Step 8. The Universal Restore option is checked by default to ensure secure boot. Click Start Restore to begin virtualizing the physical server.

Start Restore

Step 9. Click Finish when the restoration process is done and exit AOMEI Backupper. The virtual machine will automatically boot into the same operating system as the physical server.

FAQS about cloning a physical server

1. Is virtual or physical server better?

If you have demanding workloads and want a fast processing speed, go for physical servers as they have powerful performance. If your network needs to be scaled up and down flexibly as your business grows, virtual servers may be a preferred choice.

2. What is the lifespan of a physical server?

Servers typically have a lifespan ranging from 5 to 8 years. Many individuals begin considering server replacements around the 5-year point, but this isn't a strict requirement, especially considering your specific physical conditions.


You have learned how to clone a physical server via the best server cloning software for Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, etc. Whether you want to upgrade hard drive on your server or virtualize a physical server, AOMEI Backupper can help you make it. Besides, AOMEI Backupper owns the sync feature that enables you to synchronize files between Windows Servers. Try it now to discover more!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.