When and How to Migrate OS to Dissimilar Hardware?

Want to do OS migration to dissimilar hardware with secure boot? Continue to see below and learn more about this issue.


By Yuka Updated on December 13, 2023

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What is dissimilar hardware?

Dissimilar hardware refers to a computer with different hardware, such as, CPU, motherboard, chipset. It’s the most popular topic when restoring. Also, it’s big headache for many users. That’s because restoring a computer with dissimilar hardware will lead to system failure, owing to missing or deactivated drivers.  

When Do You Need Dissimilar OS Migration?

To migrate OS to dissimilar hardware, the most common situation is that you may update the hardware of current operating system, have a failed system with different hardware, deploy images to multiple computers, or just prevent hardware failure. 

Next, I will show you two real examples. You can see if you have similar problems. If so, please keep reading below.

Situation 1: Suppose you have been tired of the bad performance of your old computer and finally buy a new one, then restore the image created on old computer to it. But your computer fail to boot.
Situation 2: Another example may highlight this trouble. A new office or a cybercafe have multiple computers in the whole house, and there are a large amount of computer with different hardware, so the administrator need to reinstall Windows one by one.

Best Software to Migrate OS to Dissimilar Hardware

Speaking of the best software in the worldwide, AOMEI Backupper Professional can be one of them. It’s an all-in-one, reliable, easy-to-use backup and restore software, also has a clear interface. It can be used in Windows 11,10, 8.1/8, 7, Vista, and XP (both 32 bit and 64 bit). The most important is that this software support dissimilar hardware restore.

To restore Windows 10 to dissimilar hardware, for instance, you need to use “Universal Restore” feature and it will solve the drivers issue. It will detect computer type and install proper drivers for HAL, then start to restore Windows 10 to another computer.  

How to Migrate OS to Different Hardware in Windows?

Now, you are going to restore system to dissimilar hardware with a step-by-step user guide. The first thing is to make preparations.

Preparations before migrate OS to different hardware

  1. Prepare an external hard drive and a USB drive.
  2. Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and install it on a working computer.

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  1. Create a system image backup and save it to external hard drive. Just launch this software, click “Backup” and “System Backup” subsequently, then select an external hard drive as destination path and click “Start Backup”.

System Backup

  1. Create a bootable disc to boot computer in trouble. It’s suitable for users who have one or two computer. But if you have more than two computers, you need to use PXE boot tool and this tool only supports restoring system image saved on network drive or NAS.

How to perform OS migration to dissimilar hardware in Windows 10

Then, continue to see below and learn the detailed steps of OS migration to dissimilar hardware.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive that contain system image backup to the new computer and make sure it can be detected. Also, you need to plug in the bootable USB drive.

Step 2. Go to WinPE Environment via bootable media. Click start menu and select “Restart”, press the specific key on the first screen (usually F2 or ESC), then go to Boot tab and move USB drive to the first option by clicking “+”, finally press “F10” to save the changes. A few seconds later, you will see the main interface of AOMEI Backupper under WinPE environment.


Step 3. Click ”Restore” and “Select Task” to find your system image. If you cannot see system image in the Restore window, just go back and tick “Select Image File” as instead.  

Select Task Winpe

Step 4. Select the system image in the following list and click “Next”.

Select Backup Image

Step 5. Tick “Restore this system image backup” and "Restore system to other location", then click “Next”.

Restore System

Step 6. Select the disk on the new computer as destination path and click “Next”.

Select Restore Path

Step 7. At Operation Summary window, check ”Universal Restore” and click ”Start Restore”. 

Universal Restore

♨ Note: This software will check “Universal Restore” if it detects the computer has a different hardware. If it’s not detected, you need to manually tick this option.

The whole process won’t last too long, just grab a cup of coffee and wait it to be completed. When the restoring finished, remove the bootable device as well as removable device if any. Restart the new computer and you’ll get the same operating system like before.

Bonus Tip: Migrate OS to Dissimilar Hardware over Network

If you don’t have a USB drive for bootable media creation, don’t worry. You can migrate OS to dissimilar hardware over network using the best enterprise backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup. It provides a convenient and reliable solution for centralized backup management of all Windows operating systems.

  • It enables you to create system/disk/partition backup for a bunch of Windows PCs and Servers from one central console.
  • You can schedule a backup task to run daily/weekly/monthly using the full/incremental/differential backup method.
  • You are allowed to restore the backup image to the same computer or another computer with dissimilar hardware.
  • If your backup has multiple versions, you can choose to restore from any point you want.

Download this powerful enterprise backup software now to have a try!

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Let’s say you have already created a system image with AOMEI Cyber Backup. Follow the steps below to move OS to dissimilar hardware.

Step 1. Run and log in AOMEI Cyber Backup.

Step 2. Click Source Device Windows Add Windows Device to add the computer that you want to move OS to. You need to enter the IP address, username and password of it.

Note: You need to turn on the target computer before you add it.

Step 3. Start OS migration.

  • Click Backup Task on the left menu bar and click the three dots icon on the system backup task you created before. Then select Restore.

System Restore

  • Select the restore content, including the restore version and restore method. You may choose the latest version and Restore the entire system.

Restore Entire System

  • Select the target location. Choose Restore to new location and select the target device and target disk.

Restore to New Location

  • Check the Universal Restore option to ensure a secure boot after recovery.
  • Click Start Restore to launch the system recovery process.

Drop it in the box

During the process of OS migration to dissimilar hardware, AOMEI Backupper helps a lot. It resolves incompatible driver issues via “Universal Restore” feature. And it’s suitable for all operating system, even for the latest version.

It’s highly recommended to keep this software installed after dissimilar hardware restore. With its backup feature, such as, “System Backup”, “Disk Backup”, “File Backup”, you can continuously protect your system and data. When something goes wrong, you still have a chance to restore your computer.

Besides, it’s also a disk cloning software, which allows you to clone system, disk, partition as you like. And it can help you get rid of unallocated space after cloning, clone all sectors on a disk, improve the writing and reading speed of SSDs.

No matter what you want to backup, restore or clone, you can use this software. It will satisfy your needs. But if you have a server computer, just try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Yuka · Editor
Yuka, our dedicated editor at AOMEI Technology, is committed to bringing you valuable insights and guidance in data protection. Her mission is to empower everyone with her knowledge in computer backup and recovery, disk cloning, file synchronization, and more. Yuka's goal is to do her best to make complex tech tasks simple and ensure that your digital world remains safe and secure.