2 Ways: Move Windows Server 2012 to New Hard Drive without Boot Issues

No matter you want to move entire Windows Server 2012 hard drive, or just migrate Windows Server 2012 operating system partition to a new disk, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server can make it easy to move Windows Server 2012 to new hard drive.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

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“My home business sever is running Windows Server 2012 on a very old Western Digital hard drive. Windows Server and applications have occupied about 50% of its total capacity, but it was generating a slow running and booting speed. So I purchased an SSD drive, and I wanted to move Windows Server 2012 to new hard drive rather than installing Windows Server and applications from scratch.
I could have done the clean install, but honestly, it is too complicated. So I prefer a simple move of existing system to the new drive, then a successful restart from the new drive.”– from answers.Microsoft.com

When your Windows Server operating system runs slowly on your current hard drive because it is too old, starting to fail or it is too small to hold a large amount of data, moving the Windows Server to a new hard drive can be an effective way to improve this situation.

Choose a proper tool for moving Server 2012 to new hard drive

We know that we can benefit a lot from migrating Windows Server onto a new hard drive (SSD/HDD), but how to realize it? The most traditional way might be reinstalling OS and other necessary software onto the new hard drive from scratch. However, it will be a time-consuming and complex process. Another recommended way is to clone the Windows Server from the source disk to the destination disk and then directly boot your machine from the cloned disk.

For this cloning task, it is not advised to use “copying and pasting” since that will make the directory or boot files invalid, then you cannot boot OS from it successfully. Thus, you can turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Server. It is a quite versatile tool to move Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), 2011, 2016, 2019 and 2022 to new hard drive. Take a look at what you can benefit from this software:

1. You can migrate the whole Windows Server hard drive to the new hard drive via its “Disk Clone” function.
2. “Migrate OS to SSD” wizard allows you to migrate only OS drive, not the entire system disk, to another hard drive.
3. Both ways support cloning OS partition or disk to a smaller hard drive as long as the available space of the destination disk is larger than the used space of the current system partition or disk.
4. You can align SSD partitions during the cloning process to improve its data writing and reading speed if your destination disk is an SSD drive.

Most importantly, after cloning or migration, you will be able to boot from the new hard drive without problems.

Two ways to move Windows Server 2012 to new hard drive

In this section, we will illustrate how to move or migrate Windows Server to HDD/SSD drive step by step via the disk cloning as well as OS migration features of AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Before continuing, please note:
To shorten the cloning and migration process, you can remove unnecessary files or software in advance from the current hard drive.
If you are moving Windows Server OS from MBR disk to GPT disk, please ensure your motherboard supports UEFI boot mode since you have to change BIOS Legacy to UEFI after everything is done so as to boot from the new drive smoothly.
Connect your new hard drive to your computer and make sure it is detected.
You can download its free Demo version to have a try first.

Download Demo Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003
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Way 1. Move entire Windows Server 2012 hard drive to new disk

This way is a great choice when you are eager to move everything from the entire Windows Server disk to another disk.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Server to enter the main interface. Right click the Windows Server system disk and choose “Clone Disk”.

Select Copy Disk

Step 2. Choose a proper method to copy the system disk, and click “Next”. Here we select “Clone Disk Quickly”.

Disk Copying Methods

①Copy Disk Quickly: only copy the used space to the destination disk, this allows you to clone large disk to smaller disk as long as the target disk is larger than the used space of the source disk.
②Sector-by-Sector Copy: copy all sectors to the target disk, so it must be larger than the source disk.

Step 3. Choose the destination disk and click “Next”. If it is an SSD drive, you can tick “Optimize the performance of SSD”.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Since we select “Clone Disk Quickly” above, here we can adjust the partition size. After everything is done, click “Next” to continue.

Edit Partition Size

Step 5. Here comes the note on how to boot from OS from the cloned disk. Read it carefully if necessary, then hit on “Finish”.

Boot Note

Step 6. Click “Apply” in the main interface to commit the pending operation.


Way 2. Move only Server operating system to new hard drive

This method is proper for users who want to move only Windows Server partition to new hard drive.

Note: Make sure there is an unallocated space on the destination disk to contain the current system partition.

Step 1. In the main interface, click “Clone” in the top toolbar, and choose “Migrate OS”.

Migrate Os To Ssd

Step 2. Then you will receive a note about this operation, you can click “Next” to continue.


Step 3. In this window, choose an unallocated space on target hard drive, and then the “Next” button.

Select Unallocated Space

Step 4. Here, you can change the size and location of this (system) partition being created. Then hit on “Next”.

Resize Partition

Step 5. A boot note will appear as well, read it and click “Finish”.

Boot Note

Step 6. Now click “Apply” on the top left and then “Proceed” to make this OS migration operation to take effect.


How to boot Server 2012 from the new hard drive successfully?

No matter which way you finally use to move Windows Server 2012 to new hard drive, in order to boot from it, you need to change boot order apart from swapping out the old hard drive.

Step 1. Restart your computer and keep pressing a certain key like DEL, F2, F8, F12, or ESC to access the Boot Manager.

Boot Manager

Step 2. In the Boot Manager menu, select Enter setup to get Boot Maintenance Manager. Then select Configure boot options.

Configure Boot Options

Step 3. Here, select Change boot order and use the arrow keys to change the device to the target disk in the next screen.

Change Boot Order

Step 4. Finally, go to Commit changes and exit.

Change Order

Then your computer might be able to boot from the destination disk now.

What if it fails to boot from the cloned hard drive?
If the cloned hard drive won’t boot, you can do as following:
1. Verify you have used the right boot mode (BIOS or UEFI) based on the partition table of the new hard drive. If your motherboard does not support UEFI boot mode, but your new system disk is of GPT, you can convert GPT to MBR in Server 2012 before OS cloning or migration.
2. Check if the MBR of the new hard drive is damaged. If it is corrupted, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant to create a bootable media and fix MBR in the WinPE environment.
3. Run SFC (System File Checker) commands to scan all protected system files and replace corrupted files with a cached copy.

Bottom Line

Now, you must learn how to move Windows Server 2012 to new hard drive. In addition, this versatile Windows Server migration software can help you transfer other Windows Server operating systems and Windows 7/8/10/11 from one hard drive to another one. More advanced features such as recovering deleted partition, quick partitioning a hard drive, or splitting a large partition into several small ones are also available in this disk manager software. To install such amazing disk management software on unlimited PC and Server computers, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Unlimited.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.