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I am going to be setting up a "real" server, but it's not being shipped for another week. I was planning on setting up most of the server's functionality using an extra workstation I have. I wanted to set-up Windows Server 2003 or 2008, IIS, Terminal Services, Firewall, and Antivirus on this regular machine. I'd also be installing software like Winzip and VMWare that'll be used on the server.

I can't ghost the machine, as far as I've done in the past, because the motherboard/cpu/etc. will all be different. Is there any way to export all of the "server settings" or something like that so I can move everything from test to production? Is there any software out there that does something similar to this? Some things I'm going to have to wait on such as setting up the file server completely in its raid configuration, but I'd like to get the simple server stuff and network setup out of the way.

Has anyone done this before? Do I need software, open-source or not, to do this? Or maybe there's a way to export all the server settings in some way? Thanks in advance!

Justin

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3 Answers 3

Yes this is possible on a case-by-case basis. But a more important question is whether you should do this, or build the production server in accordance with the documentation you've created when configuring the test server.

If you do it this way and re-build from the ground up, you verify that your steps are repeatable, your documentation is valid, that you captured all ten of those 'minor tweaks' you made to the test server to get it working, and you are well poised for a future recovery of that server of deployment of additional similar machines. This is a Very Good Thing (tm) and the approach I would urge you to take.

Outside of that if your deployment process is already fully documented and you're just looking at a way of performing some tasks before you receive the bare metal... then no. There are products which will (theoretically) give you machine independance (PlateSpin, Altiris SVS) but none of these will be elegant or cost-effective for your needs, and will take a bunch of time to set up.

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If you use Windows Server 2008 it is possible to create an image of your installation. There is a tool called Disk2VHD that will pull your setup configuration into a VHD. You may be able to use the VHD Image to install from, but I'm not sure how.

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Install on the old server as you have in the past.
Before you shutdown the last time, open C:\boot.ini, add /detecthal to the end of the Win Server 03 line (remove /fastdetect if it's there)(This works on WinXP and 2003 only).
Use Ghost (or ImageX from the WinAIK, free here) to make an image file of the system, and drop the image on the new hardware.
It should boot right up, you might have to remove the old NICs as described here.

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