What is a bare metal recovery?
Bare metal recovery (BMR) is a feature of Windows Server Backup that allows you to restore your operating system (OS) or the entire system to another machine with dissimilar hardware from “bare metal”. It does not require any installed software or system on the destination machine, so you can also use BMR to restore physical machine to virtual machine and back.
What do you need to prepare?
Windows Server Backup (WSB) was first introduced in Windows Server 2008. To perform bare metal restore, you need to create a bare metal backup of Windows Server 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), or 2016. When creating the Windows Server bare metal backup with WSB, you need to select the item for Bare Metal Recovery.
To be able to use Windows Recovery Environment, you need a Windows Server recovery disk or installation disc. If you want to restore Windows Server 2012, the recovery disk must be made in Windows Server 2012.
Make sure the destination hard drive to receive the bare metal recovery has enough disk space. If you want to restore to a new machine, the new hard drive needs to be the same size or large than the source disk that was backed up regardless of the size of the data.
How to perform a Windows Server bare metal restore
With the things prepared, you can follow the steps below to restore your Windows Server to another machine. This method applies to Windows Server 2008, 2012, and 2016 including R2. Some details on entering the recovery environment may be different.
Windows Server bare metal recovery:
1. Insert the Windows Server installation disc on your new server and boot from it. Select the Language and keyboard, and then click “Next”.
2. In the next screen, click “Repair your computer” instead of “Install now”. Then select “Troubleshooting”, and then “System Recovery Options”.
3. All the recovery options will be listed here. If you prefer to use the command line, you can select “Command Prompt” to perform WBadmin bare metal recovery. Otherwise, select “Windows Complete PC Restore” to restore server.
4. In the next screen, the latest backup will be selected by default, and you just need to click Next to continue.
5. After specifying the backup version, click “Finish” to start the bare metal restore. This might take a while depending on how much data to be restored.
When the process is complete, you can boot your old OS on the new server machine. As mentioned, if the destination disk is smaller than the source disk, the recovery will fail with an error: Could not complete the server restore.
If that may be your case or you want to something simpler, you can try a server backup software to restore the server to a dissimilar hardware.
Bare metal restore with AOMEI Backupper
AOMEI Backupper Server is backup and restore software that works for Windows Server 2008 (R2)/2012(R2)/2016. Unlike Windows Server Backup, it allows you to restore to a smaller disk when performing bare metal recovery.
As you know, your new server may have different firmware with the original. In that case, Windows Restore will fail because of UEFI/BIOS. In that case, you can use AOMEI Backupper because it is capable of restore from MBR to GPT disk directly, and vice versa. It provides a 30-day free trial, which is way enough to finish your bare metal restore.
Before you can restore Windows Server to a dissimilar hardware, you need to create a system image backup or hard drive backup, and then create a bootable media using a USB flash drive or DVD/CD.
To run Windows Server bare metal recovery:
1. Connect the bootable media to your new server and boot from it. After loading the main interface of AOMEI Backupper, click the "Restore" option.
2. In the next screen, click “Path” to locate the image backup you created before.
3. Specify the destination location to receive the server bare metal restore, and then click "Next” to continue.
4. In the next screen, Operation Summary, make sure the “Universal Restore” option is checked and then click “Start Restore” to start the restoration.
In a short while, the process will be complete. Then you can start your server and enjoy. Compared to Windows Server Backup bare metal recovery, Universal Restore of AOMEI Backupper is easier and faster. You do not need to worry about firmware and capacity of your hard drive or SSD.
If you just want to move the system to a server with the same hardware, you can just clone hard drive with AOMEI Backupper and then install the cloned hard drive to your new server machine.