Move disks to another computer

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To move disks to another computer

  1. Print this procedure or write down the steps before attempting to move disks from one computer to another.

  2. Use Disk Management to make sure the status of the volumes on the disks is Healthy. If the status is not Healthy, you should repair the volumes before you move the disks. For more information about repairing disks, see Related Topics.


    1. Open Computer Management (Local).

    2. In the console tree, click Computer Management (Local), click Storage, and then click Disk Management.

      Volume status is displayed in the Volume List and Graphical View:

      In the Volume List view, volume status is displayed in the Status column.

      In the Graphical View, volume status is displayed under the volume size and file system information.

  3. Uninstall the disks you want to move using Device Manager.


    1. Open Computer Management (Local).

    2. In the console tree, click Computer Management, click System Tools, and then click Device Manager.

    3. In the device list, double-click Disk drives.

    4. Right-click the disks you want to uninstall, and then click Uninstall.

    5. In the Confirm Device Removal dialog box, click OK.

  4. For basic disks, skip to step 5. For dynamic disks, use Disk Management to remove the disks you want to move.


    1. Open Computer Management (Local).

    2. In the console tree, click Computer Management (Local), click Storage, and then click Disk Management.

    3. Right-click the disks that you want to move, and then click Remove Disk.

    4. If the disks are external, unplug them from the computer. If the disks are internal, turn off the computer and then physically remove the disks.

  5. If the disks are external, plug them into the computer. If the disks are internal, make sure the computer is turned off and then physically install the disks in that computer.

  6. Start the computer that contains the disks you moved.

  7. Follow the instructions in the Found New Hardware dialog box.

    If the Found New Hardware dialog box does not appear, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then click Add Hardware to start the Add Hardware Wizard.

  8. Use Disk Management to detect the new disks.


    1. Open Computer Management (Local).

    2. In the console tree, click Computer Management (Local), click Storage, and then click Disk Management.

    3. Click Action, and then click Rescan Disks.

    4. Right-click any disk marked Foreign, click Import Foreign Disks, and then follow the instructions on your screen.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • To open Computer Management, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.

  • When moved to another computer, basic volumes receive the next available drive letter on that computer. Dynamic volumes retain the drive letter they had on the previous computer. If a dynamic volume did not have a drive letter on the previous computer, it does not receive a drive letter when moved to another computer. If the drive letter is already used on the computer where they are moved, the volume receives the next available drive letter. If an administrator has used the mountvol /n or the diskpart automount commands to prevent new volumes from being added to the system, volumes moved from another computer are prevented from being mounted and from receiving a drive letter. To use the volume, you must manually mount the volume and assign it a drive letter using Disk Management or the DiskPart and mountvol commands.

  • If you are moving spanned, striped, mirrored, or RAID-5 volumes, it is highly recommended that you move all disks containing the volume together. Otherwise, the volumes on the disks cannot be brought online and will not be accessible except to delete them.

  • Do not move multidisk volumes from computers running Windows NT 4.0 to computers running Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 operating systems. These operating systems do not support mirror sets, stripe sets, stripe sets with parity, or volume sets. Instead, you must back up and then delete these volumes before you move the disks, and then create new dynamic volumes and restore the data to the new volumes.

  • Every time you remove or import disks to a computer, you must click Action, click Rescan Disks, and then verify that the disk information is correct.

  • You can move multiple disks from different computers to a computer by installing the disks, opening Disk Management, right-clicking any of the new disks, and then clicking Import Foreign Disks. When importing multiple disks from different computers, always import all of the disks from one computer at a time. For example, if you want to move disks from two computers, import disks from the first computer and then import disks from the second computer.

  • Disk Management describes the condition of the volumes on the disks before they are imported. Review this information carefully. If there are any problems, this will tell you what will happen to each volume on these disks once the disks have been imported. For more information, see Related Topics.

  • You can only move GUID partition table (GPT) disks that are used for data storage among x86-based computers running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1), Itanium-based computers, or x64-based computers. If you move a GPT disk containing the Windows operating system from an Itanium-based computer to an x86-based or x64-based computer, you can access the data, but you cannot boot from that operating system.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also


Volume status descriptions
Disk status descriptions
Troubleshooting Disk Management
Working with MMC console files