[Solved] Acronis Universal Restore Cannot Find Operating System

If you encounter Acronis Universal Restore cannot find operating system issue and don’t know how to deal with it, you can refer to this guide for the fix and best alternative to it.


By Clytze Updated on May 18, 2023

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User case


Acronis Universal Restore does not see the OS

I did a backup/restore with ATIH 2016, then ran Universal restore. Every time it tells me that there is no OS in the hard drive, only sees it as folder. But if I take that drive and put it back in the previous machine, no problem and it boots without hesitation or error. That's where it is at the moment. I would really appreciate any advice you could provide. Thanks in advance.

- Question from Acronis Forum

Acronis Universal Restore Cannot Find Operating System

Acronis Universal Restore is a feature of Acronis True Image that allows you to restore your system image to any hardware, regardless of the hardware differences. However, sometimes, users may encounter an issue where Acronis Universal Restore cannot find the operating system during the restore process, don't panic. This common issue can be frustrating, but with a few troubleshooting steps, you can get your system up and running again.

What causes Acronis Universal Restore not working?

There are several reasons why you might see the Acronis Universal Restore cannot find operating system error message. Here are some of the most common:

☏ Incompatible hardware: If you've recently made changes to your computer's hardware, such as upgrading your hard drive or adding new RAM, the new hardware may be incompatible with the system image.

☏ Corrupted system image: If the system image is corrupted or incomplete, Acronis Universal Restore may not be able to find the operating system during the restore process.

☏ Incorrect BIOS settings: If the BIOS settings are incorrect, such as the boot order or the SATA mode, Acronis Universal Restore may cannot see the OS.

Once you understand the possible causes of Acronis Universal Restore cannot find operating system, you can continue reading below for solutions to fix it, as well as gain the best Acronis Universal Restore alternative.

How to fix Acronis Universal Restore not working

Now that you know some of the causes of this error message, let's discuss how to fix it. Here are some troubleshooting steps to try.

Fix 1. Check your BIOS settings

Your BIOS is the basic input/output system that controls your computer's hardware. Also if the old system boots legacy/BIOS and the new one is configured to boot UEFI that may play a part in the cannot find operating system message.

1. Restart your computer and look for a message that says "Press [Key] to Enter Setup." This key varies depending on your computer, but it's usually F2 or Del. From the BIOS Main Menu screen, select Boot.

2. From the Boot screen, select UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode, and press Enter. Then the UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode dialog box appears.

3. Use the up and down arrows to select Legacy BIOS Boot Mode or UEFI Boot Mode, and then press Enter.

How to Change Legacy to UEFI

4. To save the changes and exit the screen, press F10.

Step 2. Run a startup repair

If adjusting your BIOS settings doesn't work, you can try running a startup repair. This will scan your computer for any issues that might be preventing it from starting up properly.

1. Insert your bootable media (USB drive or DVD) into your computer. Restart your computer and press the appropriate key to boot from the installation media.

2. Then, when the recovery screen appears, go to Advanced options > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Repair.

Startup Repair

3. This will start the repair process. Follow the prompts on your screen to complete the repair.

Fix 3. Rebuild BCD

When Universal Restore doesn't find an operating system it usually means there is an issue with your BCD.

1. If Startup Repair can’t solve the problem, you can go to Command Prompt under Advanced options.

2. In the command prompt, type in the following commands one after the other. You should press Enter after typing each command.

▸ BOOTREC /RebuildBcd

Bootrec Command

Best Acronis Universal Restore alternative – AOMEI Backupper

If you have tried the above fixes and still no change has occurred, then it is time to try the best Acronis Universal Restore alternative for the task of restoring your system to any hardware. Luckily, with the reliable backup and recovery software - AOMEI Backupper Professional and its Universal Restore feature, you can restore system image to different hardware successfully regardless of firmware and partition style.

Download AOMEI Backupper now to have a try.

Download Free TrialWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Before you do:

  • Create a system image backup for Windows operating system on your old PC. It is suggested to save the system image backup in a network location, which is easy to be accessed from your new PC.
  • Create a bootable USB or CD/DVD on your old PC to boot the target PC.

How to universal restore system image backup with AOMEI Backupper:

Step 1. Insert the USB containing system image and bootable disk into the target computer. When the software interface appears, Click Restore > Select Image File.

Select Image File

Tip: If there are more than 2 new computers, you can use PXE boot to open new computers.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select the place where you save the system image. As shown below, the system image is stored in network, so go to Share/NAS Add Network Location. Then, type the network path for the system image and click OK.

Add Network Location

Step 3. After the network location is added, all shared folders will be shown. Navigate to the system image folder, select the right image and click OK.

Select System Image

Step 4. Select Restore this system backup, tick Restore system to other location in the bottom and click Next.

Restore to Other Location

Step 5. Select the destination to restore your Windows operating system to the computer you want.

Select Destination

Step 6. If you are restoring the system backup to a computer with different hardware, the software will automatically check the Universal Restore option. You just need to click the Start Restore button. 

Universal Restore

Likewise, you are able to restore system image to multiple computers over the network, whether it's with the same hardware or different hardware (In the advanced edition, such as AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus). 


The Acronis Universal Restore cannot find operating system error message can be frustrating, but with some troubleshooting, you can get your system running again on different hardware.

Actually, AOMEI Backupper is far more than a backup and restore utility. It is the best Windows 11 migration tool and file sync tool as well. You can use it to transfer large files from PC to PC. Try it to discover more!

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.