How to Restore a Backup to Computer with Different Hardware

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Article ID: 139822 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q139822
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This article explains how you can restore a tape backup from one computer to another computer with different hardware, and maintain user accounts and working environment. This procedure may be needed if there is no backup domain controller or fault tolerance implementation on the network and the primary domain controller is down for some time.

A backup set is intended to be used as a disaster recovery utility to maintain your system by backing it up and restoring it to the same, not a different computer. When you restore to a different computer you may encounter problems, due to hardware differences between the two computers.

This procedure is not recommended by Microsoft and therefore is not supported. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance, stability or reliability of this procedure.


NOTE: If you need to only change the primary hard disk and controller while maintaining user accounts and desktop settings, please see the following article(s) in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 112019
TITLE : Changing Primary Disk System After Installation
If you want to restore a Windows NT backup from one computer to a similar computer, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
130928 Restoring a Backup of Windows NT to Another Computer
To restore a tape backup from one computer to another computer with different hardware, and maintain user accounts and working environment:
  1. From the original computer you need a tape backup of the registry and all other files you want to transfer.
  2. Partition and drive information should be set up the same as the original computer. However, the primary partition should be a FAT partition and initially Windows NT should be installed onto a FAT partition (it can be converted later). Use the same computer name and domain name as the computer that is being replaced.
  3. Create a directory off the root called CNFGTEST. From the backup set restore the Registry (%SystemRoot%\system32\config directory) to C:\CNFGTEST on the hard drive.
  4. Delete SYSTEM.* and *.EVT files from C:\CNFGTEST.

    NOTE: These files must be deleted in order to remove hardware specific information.
  5. Boot to DOS and copy the remaining files from C:\CNFGTEST to the current %SystemRoot%\system32\config directory.

    NOTE: You cannot replace SAM or Security hives while Windows NT is running.
  6. Reboot the computer and make sure that everything is functioning in Windows NT. When you restart user accounts should be in place.
  7. If you use TCP/IP with DHCP and/or WINS, you can restore the %SystemRoot%\SYSTEM32\DHCP and the %SystemRoot%\SYSTEM32\WINS directories. It may be necessary to reestablish the DHCP scope.
  8. The %SystemRoot%\SYSTEM32\SPOOL and %SystemRoot%\SYSTEM32\REPL directories can now be restored. If you were using TCP/IP printing, printer queues will have to be re-created and IP addresses reassigned.
  9. Convert to NTFS if the original install was NTFS. To replace data with permissions you must convert to NTFS. To convert the file system to NTFS, type the following from the MS-DOS Command Prompt:

    convert <drive letter> fs:ntfs"

    Next, restore the user data.


Article ID: 139822 - Last Review: November 1, 2006 - Revision: 4.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
kbenv kbhardware kbusage KB139822

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