I have a user that has a Windows 2003 Server. Unfortunately he did not install the software on it nor does he know how it was configured. He is worried that it will fail and leave his clients without service. I was thinking instead of trying to guess all of this info is it possible to image the old hardware and then put this image on different hardware.

I am aware there will be diferences that need to be taken into consideration (I.e. Drivers , CPU, etc) but is there not a way to incorporate that somehow?

Hopefully there is a free / near free solution for this?


  • Copy the image from drive to drive with GParted Live (gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php) then follow Moab's instructions on repair on the new hardware. Though I'd suggest you consider moving it to a VM server if its an unsupported vendor product, to eliminate complexity. – Robert Kerr Nov 29 '10 at 13:30
  1. Move the hard drive to the new Server (make a backup image of this drive before you do), or

  2. Image the old hard drive to the new hard drive in the new server

Then, before you ever boot into windows on the new Server:

scroll down to "replace a failed motherboard" follow the instructions.


You will need to use a Windows 2003 install disk of the same version and Service Pack level to do the repair.

Here is a free disk imaging program http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp


  • That reflectfree does not mention 2003 server as a supported Windows product. It does say the Full Edition is required for 2003 Server support, so again, not free. – Robert Kerr Nov 29 '10 at 13:30
  • You can install it on a supported OS PC, then remove the drive from the server and image it on that PC using usb adapters or mounting it as a secondary drive. So it is Free. People don't want to install extra software on servers if they can avoid it anyway. – Moab Nov 29 '10 at 21:31

Again it's not Free but Acronis Backup & Recovery is fantastic for this. I have used it moving many servers to new hardware. Also to do offsite app testing, upgrade testing etc. It can do a lot more too so worth looking at. Although the price could be a factor, its not cheap.

  • Acronis is by far the best at this – Fergus Jul 12 '11 at 0:19

Not free but it works and will save you serious grief. What is the cost if the server fails? Backup Exec System Recovery works very well for taking an image and restoring to different hardware. Have used it many times without issues. There is a demo located at BESR2010


After doing the disk imaging, recommend to him that he migrate the at-risk server to a virtual machine on a VMWare Server or some other product. He'll save on power, rack/floor space, and if he ever needs to move it again, its elementary. Its a good solution for customers with several older at-risk systems set up by vendors that have since vanished.


I've moved severs to virtual hardware without a problem, which is nice to have as a backup solution for if the real server fails. Sysprep and vmware converter have worked fine.

Also, shouldn't this be on Serverfault?

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