Migrate Windows Server 2016 to New Hardware Effortlessly (2 Ways)

July 22, 2019

Learn how to migrate Windows Server 2016 to new hardware machine in 2 ways. This can help you change Server machine and keep the same system and other data on new Server.

Can you migrate Windows Server to new hardware machine?

When your Windows Server machine is really old or encounters some hardware problems, you may want to upgrade to a new server. You do not need to reinstall Windows Server system from scratch and transfer data because Windows Server 2016 can be migrated to a new hardware along with the data.

Because it is new hardware, you need to consider many things such as driver issues. Luckily, Windows Server Backup has bare metal recovery which allows you to restore Windows Server backup image to dissimilar hardware.

Therefore, you need to create a bare metal backup and then restore the backup to the new hardware machine. Besides Server hardware upgrade, you can also use this method to quickly recover from the following problems: hardware failure, system crash, computer theft, natural disaster, and human error.

Use Windows Server Backup to migrate Windows Server 2016 to new hardware

Windows Server Backup is not pre-installed in Windows Server 2016 as well as Windows Server 2012, so you need to install it first from Server Manager if you have not. After the installation, just go to Windows Backup Server and follow the wizard to create a full backup. When choosing what to include in the backup, you need to check the item Bare metal recovery.

Bare Metal Backup

Notice: If you find Windows Server Backup Service missing in the process of installing, follow the given link guide to get it back.

Windows Server 2016 migration step by step guide

Step 1. After the backup completes, boot your new server machine with a Windows Server 2016 installation disk. Instead of Install now, select Repair your computer at the lower-left corner.

Repair Your Computer

Step 2. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > System Image Recovery.

Advanced Options

Step 3. In the Re-image your computer screen, select the available system image to perform the restore.

Migrate Windows Server 2016 to New Hardware

Normally, the restoring process will take a few hours. After that, you can boot the new Windows Server 2016 machine and system, settings, and installed programs are the same as the old machine.

Windows Server 2016 bare metal recovery failed to complete

However, there are some known cases that the Windows Server 2016 migration will fail using this method:

1. System restore fails because of EFI/BIOS. Windows Server cannot restore a system image to a computer that has different firmware. The system image was created on a computer using EFI/BIOS and this computer is using BIOS/EFI.

2. Windows Server will fail to boot if you restore to hard drive with different partition style.

Therefore, you need to make sure the new hardware machine must have the same firmware and hard disk initialized with same partition style. Most of the recent server machines, if not all, supports UEFI and is compatible with BIOS Legacy boot mode. You can boot into BIOS to change it and you can convert the hard drive partition style to MBR or GPT.

If you think it is too cumbersome, you can use advanced software to move Windows Server 2016 to new hardware with ease. Find a kind of software to migrate Windows Server 2003/2008/2012 to new hardware.

Advanced way to migrate Windows Server to new hardware

AOMEI Backupper Server is reliable backup and recovery software which helps you do Windows Server 2016 migration to new hardware in this case. With its feature Universal Restore, you can restore system image to different hardware regardless of its firmware and partition style.

As mentioned before, you should also use AOMEI Backupper to create server backup. You can create system backup to only include system related partitions or disk backup to include the entire boot disk in the backup.

To create a system backup is very simple. Just download and install this backup tool. Select System Backup under the Backup tab, and then the program will automatically select the backup source. You only need to specify the backup location.

When that’s done, you can choose a way to boot the new hardware machine to restore the backup. You can choose from PXE boot (for multiple computers) or bootable media boot (for single computer). If you need to open several destination computers, we suggest you use PXE boot, because it can open several destination computers on the same network.

Step-by-step guide: restore Windows Server 2016 to new hardware

Step 1. Use AOMEI Backupper bootable media or PXE boot tool to boot your target Windows Server machine.

Step 2. When AOMEI Backupper full interface is loaded, click Restore and then click Select Image File to select the backup image you prepared before.

Select Image File

Step 3. Click Share or NAS to add the network path for your backup.

Select Share NAS

Step 4. Click Add Network Location, type display name, path. username, password and click OK to connect the path, then 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 2016 to new hardware.

Universal Restore


  • AOMEI Backupper Server works in Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), 2016 and 2019.

  • If you migrate Windows Server 2016 to SSD, you can check the option Align partition to optimize for SSD to improve its performance.

When the process complete, you can boot your new server and you can see everything has been transferred to the new server. Besides migrating Windows Server 2016 to new hardware, you can also use Disk Clone, System Clone, and File Sync to transfer and protect your data. But, if you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.