By Delia / Last update April 26, 2021


“I am running Windows Server 2012 R2 at my office. Nowadays, I have got a new server with a better configuration. It does not have the OS yet. Can I migrate Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware without losing any settings or data?”

Reasons for migrating Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware

Server upgrade: Usually, there could be some hardware problems if your Windows Server machine is really old. And you may want to upgrade to a new server. However, reinstalling the operating system and other applications on the new server may be a troublesome thing for most of you. Therefore, you could migrate Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware directly.

Unify configuration: Sometimes, especially in companies, you may need to install the same system like Windows Server 2012 R2 and applications to many computers. As we all know, it will take a long time to install each of them one by one. So, migrating Windows Server 2012 R2 to other computers directly may be an easier way.

How to migrate Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware?

You can follow the ways below to migrate Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware via two different migration tools.

Note: If you just need to migrate your OS to a new computer for personal use, you could choose either way below to follow. But if you want to restore a system image backup to computer with dissimilar hardware, you could follow the second way.

Way 1: Migrate Windows Server via Windows Server Backup

In fact, Windows Server has its built-in migration tool called Windows Server Backup. With it, you could create a system image and then restore image to your new hardware. If you don't have this tool on your computer, you can install Windows Server Backup first from Server Manager.

Detailed steps to migrate Windows Server using Windows Server Backup


Step 1.  Follow the wizard to create a full backup in Windows Server Backup.

Step 2. Boot your new server machine with a Windows Server 2012 R2 installation disk. Select Repair your computer at the lower-left corner.

Repair Your Computer

Step 3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > System Image Recovery.

System Image Recovery

Step 4. In the Re-image your computer screen, select the available system image to perform the restore.

Select System Image

After restoring, you could boot the new Windows Server 2012 R2 machine. And system, settings, and installed programs are the same as the old machine.

Actually, you need to pay attention to something that may cause the failure of Windows Server Backup:

1. Windows Server Backup cannot restore a system image to a computer that has different firmware. For example, if the system image was created on a computer using BIOS, you could not restore it to a computer that is using UEFI.

2. Windows Server will fail to boot if you restore system image to hard drive with different partition style. Therefore, you need to make sure the hard disk initialized with the same partition style.

If your hardware does not meet the conditions above, you could use third-party software like AOMEI Backupper to migrate Windows Server.

Way 2: Migrate Windows Server via AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Server is a reliable backup and restore software, which can help you migrate Windows Server 2012 R2/2012 R2 standard/2016/2016 R2, etc. to new hardware easily, regardless of its firmware and partition style.

Before migrating Windows Server 2012 R2, you need to do the following preparations:

1. Download AOMEI Backupper Server, install and launch it.

Download Free Trial Server 2008/2012/2016/2019
Secure Download

2. You should create system image with AOMEI Backupper first before using it to restore system to new machine. 

3.  Using AOMEI Backupper bootable media or PXE boot tool to boot your target Windows Server machine. (If you need to open several destination computers, we suggest you boot from the Network Using PXE boot tool because it can open several destination computers on the same network). Here take PXE network booting for example.

Detailed steps to migrate Windows Server using AOMEI Backupper


Before restoring, you need to insert the boot media created to your computer and enter BIOS to make your computer boot from the bootable disk firstly. Then, AOMEI Backupper will automatically be loaded on your new computer. Then the main page of the software will pop up.


Step 1. Click Restore and then click Select Image File to select the backup image you prepared before.

Select Image File

Step 2. Click Share or NAS. Then, click Add Network Location.

Select Share NAS

Step 3. Type display name, network path, user name, passwork and click OK to connect the path.

Select Share NAS

Step 4. The select image in the network share or NAS path.

Select Image

Step 5. Select to restore entire backup or a part and click Next.

Restore Entire Backup

Step 6. Select the destination disk on the new hardware to restore system image and then click Next.

Select Destination

Step 7. Make sure the option Universal Restore is checked. Then click Start Restore to start to migrate Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware.

Universal Restore

After the operation, Windows may need you enter registration code again, please make sure you remember it.


Migrating Windows Server 2012 R2 to new hardware can be an easy job with AOMEI Backupper. Besides migrating Windows Server 2012 R2, this software also has many other useful functions like Disk Clone, System Clone, and File Sync, etc. All of these functions can help you transfer and protect your data.

In addition, if you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus.