By Delia / Last update November 3, 2021

User Question:

I have a server with 2 identical hard drives. I installed windows server 2016 core on the 1 rt hard drive and now I would like to mirror (raid 1) the content of this hard drive on the hard Drive 2. How to do this?

Scenario: Mirror Windows Server 2016 boot drive to another drive

Why would some users want to mirror the boot disk with Windows Server 2016 installed to another drive? Generally, the reasons are as follows:

♦ System migration: Whether you want to upgrade HDD to SSD for better performance, or replace smaller disk with larger disk for better capacity, you can mirror the boot drive directly to simplify the procedure of system migration.

♦ Copy system partition: Copy the mirror boot drive as a backup in case of any system problems. Thus even when Windows Server 2016 fails, you can easily boot the machine from the mirrored drive for further troubleshooting or disaster recovery.

♦ Rapid bare metal installation: When you acquire new hardware but don't want to perform a clean installation & setup, you may want to mirror a boot disk with Windows Server 2016 installed to eliminate the hassle of installation steps and preserve your familiar operating environment.

How to mirror boot drive in Windows Server 2016

For the above purposes, you can mirror the boot disk in Windows Server 2016. But how exactly can you do it? First of all, Microsoft includes the option to mirror mirror boot and system volume in Disk Management, you can try it if you meet certain conditions. But if you have further requirements (such as mirroring the system to a smaller drive), you can consider Way 2.

Way 1. Mirror the boot and system volume in Disk Management

This method is based on the assumption that the system and boot files are located on disk 0 and that disk 1 is unallocated space.

Prerequisite:

  • At least 2 hard-disk drives (IDE, SCSI or mixed architecture is permissible).
  • The 2nd drive must be equal to or larger than the size of the volume where the boot and system files are located.

1. Click “Start”, point to Administrative Tools, and then open the “Computer Management” console.

computer management

2. Expand the storage node.

3. Click “Disk Management”

4. Right-click disk 0 (which contains the boot and system files), and then click “Add Mirror”.

add mirror

5. A dialog box opens in which any disk on your system that is available for mirroring is displayed. Select the disk of your choice, and then click “Add Mirror”

Both disk 0 and disk 1 will now have the same color code, the same drive letter, and the volumes will have status note “Regenerating” displayed while the information is being copied from the first disk to the second disk. The system will automatically size the volume of the new mirror to the same size as that of the original boot and system volume.

6. If you now want to boot from the new mirrored drive, you have to change the Boot.ini ARC path that points the computer to the partition in which the system files are located.

Way 2. Mirror Windows Server boot drive via disk cloning

In addition to using the internal tools of Windows Server 2016, you can also use disk clone tool to mirror the boot drive. AOMEI Backupper Server is a good example.

It supports all Windows Server and Client computers. So not only Windows Server 2016, you can also use it to mirror boot drive of Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2019, 2022 or Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, etc.

It contains powerful cloning features, allowing you to mirror entire boot disk, only operating system, or specified partition/volume. With the intelligent cloning technology, you can even migrate OS to Smaller SSD. And if your targe drive is larger, you can also clone sector-by-sector, or allocate unused space to make full use of the disk.

Download and install the free trial to experience the cloning function:

Download Free Trial Win Servers & PCs
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Here's a tutorial to show you how to mirror boot drive in Windows Server 2016:

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Server, select “Clone” on the left sidebar and then click “System Clone”.

System Clone

Note: If you want to configure disk mirroring for Windows Server 2016, just choose "Disk Clone" to make it.

Step 2. In the next window, choose the destination partition (the C drive and System Reserved Partition are selected by default).

Select Destination Partition

Step 3. If the selected partition has data on it, you will be reminded that the destination partition will be overwritten or deleted. You’d better backup the partition first if the data are important for you. Then, preview the operation summary, and click “Start Clone”. 

Tips: If the destination disk is an SSD, here we highly recommend you to tick “SSD Alignment” at the bottom of the window because this feature could improve the speed of reading and writing as well as prolong the service life of SSD.

Boot Drive Clone

Step 4. At the cloning process interface, you can choose what to do after cloning completes. If you choose "Shut down PC" on completion, you can then remove your old hard drive that contains previous boot drive to test if you can boot from the cloned mirror boot drive.

Management on Completion

What to Do on Completion

Conclusion

To mirror the boot drive in Windows Server 2016, you can make it with internal tools or AOMEI Backupper. And the latter method is much easier. AOMEI Backupper is such a powerful system clone software.

Besides system clone, it also provides you many other powerful functions, such as Install the program on computers in the home and business environments, System Backup, System restore, Disk Clone, Incremental and Differential Backup, Basic Sync and so on.