40518: Acronis Small Office: Server Cloud Backup: Restoring to Dissimilar Hardware with Acronis Universal Restore


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Last update: 金, 2015-09-04 10:39

With Acronis Universal Restore you can recover the image of your system to a machine with dissimilar hardware

This article applies to:

  • Acronis Small Office: Server Cloud Backup


Acronis Universal Restore is a module 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.

Note for Windows XP users: as 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.

Acronis Universal Restore is applicable for:

  • Instant recovery of a failed system on different hardware;
  • Migration to a machine with dissimilar hardware;
  • Real-to-virtual and virtual-to-real computer migration for system recovery, as well as testing and other purposes.

Purpose of Acronis Universal Restore

A system disk image can be restored easily on the hardware where it was created or to identical hardware. However, if you change the motherboard or use another processor version, a likely possibility in case of hardware failure, the recovered system could fail to boot.

Trying to move the system to a new more powerful computer will usually produce the same result. This is because the new hardware is incompatible with critical drivers included in the image.

Microsoft System Preparation Tool (Sysprep) will not resolve this problem. Sysprep allows you to replace only Plug-and-Play device drivers (sound cards, network adapters, video cards etc.).

However, System Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and mass storage device drivers must be identical on both the source and the target computers (see Microsoft Knowledge Base, articles 302577 and 216915).

Acronis Universal Restore technology provides an efficient solution for hardware-independent system restoration by replacing the crucial Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and mass storage device drivers.

Acronis Universal Restore is applicable for:

  • Instant recovery of a failed system on different hardware
  • Hardware-independent cloning of operating systems

Limitations in using Acronis Universal Restore

  1. The system recovered by Acronis Universal Restore might not start, if the partition structure in the image or the target disk partitioning does not coincide with that of the source disk. The loader restored from the image will point to the wrong partition and the system will not boot or will malfunction.

    (!) To avoid this problem, we recommend that you back up and recover the entire system disk.

    This may occur if you:

    • back up only selected partitions but not the entire source disk
    • restore only selected partitions and not the entire source disk. In some cases, especially if your system resides on a partition other than the original one, this can confuse the loader and prevent the restored system from rebooting.
  2. The Acronis Universal Restore option does not work if a computer is booted with Acronis Startup Recovery Manager (using F11). This is because Acronis Startup Recovery Manager is primarily meant for data recovery on the same computer.


Before restoring an image of your operating system, please ensure the following:

  • You have Acronis Bootable Media created. See Acronis Small Office: Cloud Server Backup: Creating Acronis Bootable Media
  • You have a backup of a supported operating system. See Acronis Small Office: Cloud Server Backup: Supported Operating Systems;
  • You have mass storage drivers for the new computer. If you have a specific hard drive controller such as SAS, RAID or SCSI, you also need to download drivers for them. These drivers are critical for booting the operating system. You can download the drivers on the Vendor's web-site. Please note, if you downloaded the drivers in *.exe, *.cab, *.zip format, you should extract them first. The driver files should have the *.inf, *.sys or *.oem extensions.

    (!) Do not use Windows\System32\drivers folder as drivers source.

Restoring system backup with Acronis Universal Restore:

  1. Boot from Acronis bootable media and select Acronis Small Office: Cloud Server Backup:
  2. On the next screen click on Browse for backup:
  3. Chose the partition backup to recover and click OK:
  4. Back on the first screen click on Recover:
  5. Select Recover whole disks and partitions and Use Acronis Universal Restore and click Next:
  6. On the Drivers manager screen select where Acronis Universal Restore should look for the new drivers and click Next:

    (!) Acronis Universal Restore patches the registry and installs the new drivers after the system is restored, so make sure the location with the drivers will still be available. For example, do not specify the search path for the drivers on the same disk to which you are restoring the backup. The recommendation is to have the drivers on a separate USB disk, or on a network share. It is also recommended to put the mass storage drivers in the same folder.
  7. Select to restore the whole disk with the operating system (including MBR and Track 0) and click Next:
  8. Select destination of Disk and click Next:
  9. Review the Summary window and click Proceed to start the operation:

More information

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