Planning for disaster recovery of home and small business data. I understand all the ins and outs of creating disk images that can be restored on different hardware -- that you need to go beyond Windows Backup to do that (Acronis, Paragon, etc.). What I'm interested in knowing is this: If you don't have those sorts of disk images from the start, and you end up needing to recover to new hardware, are there any tools (free or for purchase) that will allow you to restore those hardware specific images to new hardware after the fact?
The scenario is this: You've done all your backups, etc. diligently and have everything accessible off-site. You lose everything (fire, etc.) and are left with a bunch of disk images that are for hardware you no longer have.
I understand you'd also have the user files backed up and could do new installs and set things up that way. I also understand that you can purchase or build new machines to match the old ones. What I'm interested in knowing is if there's any way, even if it costs a lot, to go directly back to those full images on new hardware without having planned for that when the images where created. So you have the disk images on one side and new hardware on the other. Is there anything that will bridge the gap?
Update: One bridge here seems to be VM software: Convert the physical disk image to a VM image. It should then run in the associated VM software and look exactly like what was backed up. Then, if your VM supports going from VM images to physical images you do a second conversion to get to the new hardware. The key is that last part -- finding a VM that supports a virtual-to-physical conversion and supports your configuration. VMware has some tech notes on such a conversion. So it is possible. You basically get your target machine drivers lined up and Sysprep the VM just as you would if you had the original hardware. Then take the image from the VM to the target hardware. Not sure I'd like to be trying that for the first time though.