Acronis Universal Restore is a tool that allows changing Windows Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL.dll) and install mass storage boot device drivers into the system.
It installs boot device drivers (e.g. hard drive or RAID controller drivers) into the system during the recovery process, so that the operating system can boot from this boot device. If there are proper NIC drivers present in the folder with the drivers, Acronis Universal Restore will copy them into the restored system and will schedule their installation on Windows boot-up.
(!) All the other drivers (e.g. video and sound card drivers, plug and play drivers) are not installed by Acronis Universal Restore, as they can be installed in Windows after the successful migration.
Before applying Universal Restore to a Windows operating system, make sure that you have the drivers for the new HDD controller and the chipset. These drivers are critical to start the operating system. Use the CD or DVD supplied by the hardware vendor or download the drivers from the vendor’s Web site. The driver files should have the *.inf, *.sys or *.oem extensions. If you download the drivers in the *.exe, *.cab or *.zip format, extract them using a third-party application (e.g. free 7-zip tool or any other).
Once you have the necessary drivers on hand, you need to place them to a location Acronis bootable media can access, for example:
- add them to the bootable media while creating it in the bootable media builder as described in step 3
- place them on a USB stick or an external drive and plug it in before applying Universal Restore as described in step 5
- place them on a network share that is accessible for computers in your network and point to this share before applying Universal Restore as described in step 5
What if you do not have drivers
Windows 7 includes more drivers than the older Windows operating systems. There is a great chance that Universal Restore finds all necessary drivers in the Windows 7 driver folder. So, you may not necessarily have to specify the external path to the drivers. Nevertheless, performing Universal Restore is critical so the system uses the correct drivers.
The Windows default driver storage folder is determined in the registry value DevicePath, which can be found in the registry key
This storage folder is usually WINDOWS/inf.
Note for Windows XP users
Microsoft has stopped Windows XP support on April 8, 2014, more and more hardware manufacturers discontinue testing their harware for compatibility with Windows XP, thus you may experience issues when/after restoring a Windows XP system to new hardware. Please consult your hardware manufacturer to make sure the new hardware is compatible with Windows XP.