By Teresa / Last Updated August 21, 2019

Why mirror hard drive on Windows Server 2008?

“I have a Windows Server 2008 machine with 2 physical and basic hard drives, not RAID. Disk 0 is with system installed, and disk 1 is a new and empty disk bought a couple of days ago. I have an exact copy of the system on disk 0, which I intend to use as a disaster recovery solution in case my Server 2008 fails.

I’d like to mirror disk 0 now to the new disk, so that when hard drive fails, I’ll just swap it with the latter. Is this possible? If it is, what would be the simplest way to do this?”

This is a post from some forum, in which the poster explains that he wants to mirror hard drive on Server 2008 for extra backup since he has already had a system image backup. In fact, many users would like to mirror hard drive to external disk out of security.

However, part of users need hard drive mirroring when upgrade old hard drive to new and larger disk. No matter which reason leads you to the road, it is more important to find out how to mirror hard drive in Windows Server 2008 (R2).

Best software to mirror hard drive to new one in Windows Server

Server Manager in Server provides a way to backup system also the entire hard drive to external or local location, yet it does not offer a way to clone hard drive in Windows Server 2008 R2. Thus, if want to duplicate one disk to another, you may rely on third-party cloning software.

Fortunately, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is such a powerful cloning tool that will assist your Server 2008 (R2) mirror boot drive as well as data drive to target disk. To mirror data drive to new disk, there is no reboot required and you’ll find it is quite simple.

To mirror boot drive might be a little bit complex since system files are involved in. Some users report that the mirrored system drive won’t boot when clone hard drive in other ways. There are three main reasons account for this:

  • Used cloning software is not professional, so that some important partitions like system reserved partition or EFI/UEFI partition not cloned during the process.

  • Mirror system drive through Backup & Restore method. The restore progress not complete correctly.

  • Inappropriate mirroring operations caused by complex cloning steps and complicated user-interface of that cloning software.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Server has user-friendly interface that is easy-to-use for both computer novices and experts. Besides, the develop team devotes itself to simplify cloning step, which results in the entire cloning process could be done in a few clicks. This software will copy all partitions, hidden or unhidden, to the destination disk, so the successful boot is ensured.

“Sector-by Sector Copy” VS “Copy Disk Quickly”

AOMEI Partition Assistant Server serves “Sector-by-Sector Copy” method that allows you to make an intact clone of source disk. In the meantime, the deleted and formatted volumes/files will be retrieved to the destination disk. This method takes up much more time than regular clone, and it has a rigid requirement that the destination disk has to be equal to or larger than the source.

The other cloning method in AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is quite simple and time-saving. “Copy Disk Quickly” will clone only used part on source drive to destination disk, which makes clone large drive to smaller drive on Server possible. During the copy steps, you have options to adjust partition size in three ways: Copy without resizing partitions, Fit partitions to entire disk, and Edit partitions on this disk.

The software has easy-to-use copy wizard, which is suitable for computer green hands in particular. You can choose different methods based on your own situation. Next part details steps with screenshots on how to clone hard drive on Windows Server 2008 with sector-by-sector copy method.

Steps to mirror hard drive on Server 2008 without reinstalling

In the first place, connect SSD to your machine. You can connect it via external disk enclosure or SATA-USB port. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Server on your Server 2008.

Note: in order to make copy progress smoothly performed, you can check error on source hard drive before you start.

Step 1. In the left pane, click “Copy Disk Wizard”. In the pop-up window, select the copy method depending on your situation. Here will choose the first one.

Disk Copying Methods

Step 2. Select Server 2008 boot disk as the source disk.

Select Copy Disk

Step 3. Select the new SSD as the destination disk.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. A note will prompt up and displays something you may need about successful boot.

Boot Note

Step 5. You’ll find all partitions and volumes on source disk are now having intact duplication on destination disk. This is a virtual result, you need to click “Apply”>“Proceed” to mirror HDD on Windows Server 2008.


Step 6. To boot from cloned SSD on Server 2008, you can change boot priority to SSD in BIOS or just remove old hard drive directly to test. The second method is recommended.

Change boot priority


  • This operation will be completed in PreOS, i.e. it requires a reboot for mirroring HDD.

  • If mirror MBR to GPT disk, you need to change Legacy to EFI/UEFI to make system bootable. The pre-condition is that your computer support UEFI boot mode.

  • After everything goes well, you can reformat the hard drive to use it as a secondary storage.

  • Above steps also apply to mirror hard disk drive in Windows Server 2019, 2016, 2012, 2003.


As you can see, mirror hard drive on Windows Server 2008 (R2) is not as difficult as you think. With the help of professional hard drive cloning software, everyone should be able to do hard drive mirroring and cloning on Server.

What’s more, if you’re running OS on MBR partition table, this software can help you shrink extended partition on Server 2008 like a breeze as well. More advanced features like merge partitions, move partition, and convert system disk to GPT on Server are embedded with this Server partition manager.