I have a Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 installation whose main disk drive is now 7 years old and showing signs of age. For the last couple of months it's been displaying increased errors and requirements to run checkdisk. I have successfully created a bare metal restore (BMR) image on a separate data drive on the server, which can be seen from the Windows Recovery console; I tested it by booting to and using the Windows Server installation DVD's recovery utilities.

The BMR image includes the system drive with boot partition, system state, and the D:\ drive of the server, which is where I have followed the practice of installing any program that does not require a C:\ installation path. Therefore, the BMR includes both the C:\ and D:\ drives, system state and boot partition.

The C:\ drive is a 7-year old Seagate 160GB. The D:\ drive is a rather newer 120GB Western Digital. I have purchased a 128GB solid state Samsung 830 that I want to restore these partitions to, using the BMR.


  1. In the above-referenced article, Microsoft seems to be indicating that I am only able to restore to like-kind hardware, which doesn't help at all and is difficult to believe. Is this really true?

  2. I've cleaned these drives up and minimized the size of partition they require. C:\ will need about a 70GB partition, and the data on D:\ will need about 50GB. Will Windows Server backup allow me to restore the BMR to newly-created partitions on the SSD, discarding extra space?

I don't need a "how-to": I just need an "is it possible".


Before posting this question, I checked ServerFault articles with the following titles, but none of them were about this exact scenario:

  • Restore SBS 2008 Backup to Same Hardware but Different Disk Configuration
  • Restoring Windows Server 2008 to different hardware - OEM License
  • Restoring II6 server after a hardware failure
  • windows 2008 r2 fail to restore
  • Domain controller failed to restore using windows backup tools
  • How does restore to dissimilar hardware work?
  • Migrating Windows 2008 R2 from a PC to a different PC
  • TFS 2005 Server restore from one hardware to another

I also researched Microsoft but only received an oblique answer which was not precisely aimed at my question, at the following URL: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/249694#method3

  • I am pretty sure you can restore to different hardware within reason. I suspect you would have to have at least the same number of physical disks as you had, with as much storage as you had on each. Your new hardware must be able to work with the stock Windows drivers, or the drivers you had previously used. – Zoredache Oct 19 '13 at 0:56
  • I assume you've never done this yourself, and so your comment is speculation. While I appreciate the hopeful sentiment, which I share of course, it doesn't provide any guidance. But hey I like your style and I appreciate the good wishes. But alas, hope is not a strategy. :-) – S Falken Oct 19 '13 at 1:04
  • Out of curiosity, why are you limiting yourself to using BMR and not some other imaging tool? I am very confident that you can move a Windows install to different hardware within reason. I am just not sure about how flexible the Windows BMR is. – Zoredache Oct 19 '13 at 1:12
  • You know, I made a couple of efforts with other products, e.g. DriveImage and at least one other which I can't recall right now, but after all was said and done I got closest with Windows Backup. The problem with other products seems to be that it's a system drive, which is the problem DriveImage had with it. I'm thinking now that maybe I should just start over, create a couple of partitons and do a clean Windows install on the SSD, then copy the D:\ data onto it. I was just trying to avoid having to spend three damn days reconfiguring the server itself. – S Falken Oct 19 '13 at 1:21
  • 1
    Copying a disk, is copying a disk. If I copied a disk perfectly on another OS, it wouldn't matter, because my copy would be a bit-for-bit the same. A disk image, is simply copying a series of sectors from one drive to another. The architecture of the kernel used on the livecd doesn't matter, so long as it boots on your hardware, which it should. – Zoredache Oct 19 '13 at 1:38

I suggest using acronis or symantec backup exec system recovery and migrating to a new server. These apps will let you migrate to different hardware.

Use the paid versions.

They will save you a ton of time.

For the backup, use either a super fast network share, or a local eSATA or USB3 drive (that is then attached to the new server for restore)


You have 120GB of data (70GB on C: and 50GB on D:). You can't fit it to 111GB disk (advertised disk sizes are specified in 109 gigabytes, not 230 gigabytes).

And even if you somehow manage to do it, then how would you work there with no free space?

Also running a server with no redundancy (RAID1, RAID10, RAID5 or RAID6) is very dangerous.

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