Why You Need Universal Restore?

Universal Restore (also known as Dissimilar Hardware Restore) is more and more popular in operating system migration. The main advantages and features of the Universal Restore are as follows:

  • Restore a backup image, a system image, in particular, from one computer to another one that has dissimilar hardware installed.

  • Migrate a system from a physical machine to a virtual machine (P2V). To be specific, with a system image or a disk image that contains an operating system, you can easily perform OS migration to dissimilar hardware to avoid reinstalling the operating system and applications.

  • For businesses, this feature saves more time and effort.

When Do You Need Universal Restore to Dissimilar Hardware?

Dissimilar Hardware Restore could be applied to many situations in people's daily life. The following are the most common cases that would need the universal restore function.

  • Instant recovery of a crashed system on different hardware. When a computer crashes and you want to restore it, you can create a system image on another functional PC using AOMEI Backupper and restore the system image to the failed computer.

  • Migrate system to a machine with dissimilar hardware installed. You can use AOMEI Universal Restore to restore a system image created on other computers to your current one.

  • Real-to-virtual and virtual-to-real computer migration for system recovery, as well as testing and other purposes. Software testers can use this function to install systems between the physical computer and virtual machine.

  • There is a computer hardware change. If you change the hardware such as motherboard, CPU, etc., the computer will require a system reinstallation. To prevent this, you can use AOMEI Universal Restore to "install" the system.

  • New computers that need to install an operating system. If you want to manage computers on the LAN, you can install the operating system on one computer, configure drivers and applications, and then perform a system backup. Then, you can boot all other computers with AOMEI PXE Boot Tool or Backupper bootable media, and use AOMEI Universal Restore to restore the system image. This method can save significant time when installing operating systems and applications on different computers.

How to Perform Universal Restore with AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Universal Restore, also called Dissimilar Hardware Restore, is a powerful feature available in the AOMEI Backupper paid versions. As mentioned above, there are several situations where we may need to restore a system to dissimilar hardware.

We will take the second one as an example. This process involves two computers. You need to install AOMEI Backupper Professional, Server, or Technician on the first computer and create a system image based on this PC. If the target computer cannot boot, it is necessary to create a bootable device.

In summary, the following prerequisites apply:

  • A bootable USB drive to boot the target computer. For more information about how to create a bootable disc, please see create bootable drive.

  • A system image created on a functional PC. You can save the image to a NAS, or a USB drive.

Step-by-step Guide: Restore System Image to Dissimilar Hardware

Step 1. Boot the second computer via a bootable USB drive. You may need to change the boot priority in the BIOS/UEFI.

Step 2. Go to the Restore tab. If there is no image detected, click Select Image File to navigate manually to the image file location.

Select Image File

Step 3. Select to restore the entire backup image or a partition, and click Next. Remember to tick Restore system to other location if you want to restore system image to a new hard drive.

Restore System

Step 4. Select a restore path to receive the system image and click Next to continue.

Select Restore Path

Step 5. On the "Operation Summary" page, preview the operation that will be executed. If your new computer has different hardware, the Universal Restore feature will be checked by default.  Then, click Start Restore.

Convert Virtual Machine to Physical Machine


  • Before universal restore on a new machine, it is recommended to first delete all partitions on the destination drive.

  • The system image cannot be restored to the same drive the backup image resides on as the selected drive will be formatted before restoration begins.

  • After restoring Windows to a computer with dissimilar hardware, it may be necessary to enter license codes to reactivate Windows, Office, etc.

  • Some drivers (such as the video/sound card drivers, display driver, NIC drivers, etc.) are not installed by Universal Restore for dissimilar hardware. As these drivers will not affect system startup, they can be installed following the restoration.

  • Universal Restore is available for system/disk restore only. So, for disk backup images to be used, they must be created from the boot system disk.

Video Tutorial:

If you don't understand this process clearly, you can check the video below. The dissimilar hardware restore, whether you use a Disk Backup or System Backup, are very similar. 

The whole process is very simple and easy. This feature is like a bridge among different computers. With this function, you can install systems on dissimilar computers more effectively. For more information about how to operate universal restore, please refer to restore Windows 10 to dissimilar hardware.