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System restore to dissimilar hardware, something which high end backup/recovery products can do, is a really useful feature. However, how does it work on a Windows Server restore?

Thanks

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Not always .. in my experience! –  Ben Pilbrow Oct 7 '10 at 19:52
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Can you please clarify what you mean by "how does it work"? Are you after a technical treatise, which is outside the scope of this site, or are you interested in the process from an admin's perspective? –  John Gardeniers Oct 7 '10 at 20:32
    
Server 2003 or 2008? Different beasts altogther. Google "Windows Server ASR". –  Simon Catlin Jul 28 '12 at 22:04

2 Answers 2

Normally, it is as simple as restoring a drive image to the target and replacing the HAL.dll with a generic version.

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assuming you have the right storage drivers –  SpacemanSpiff Nov 21 '10 at 2:12

I've performed a few forklift upgrades using image-based backup technology (e.g., LiveState, Acronis, ShadowProtect), but typically to virtual machines. The key factors are

  1. Boot into Safe Mode
  2. Set non-essential services (e.g., Exchange, SQL Server) to Manual startup
  3. Install networking drivers
  4. Remove registry references to the old NIC bindings at HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ {GUID}, where {GUID} is your old physical NIC. This can also be identified with the sub-key .\Parameters\Tcpip\IPAddress, which should contain the static IP of your server. If you don't do this Windows will complain that the IP settings are already assigned
  5. Configure your new NIC with the static IP information
  6. Boot into normal mode and complete any outstanding driver installation
  7. Reconfigure services for normal startup

An important thing to consider when performing a forklift upgrade is your licensing. OEM Windows licenses are bound to the hardware they were purchased with. Some versions of Windows do not have provisions for virtualization.

If you're doing this for a virtualizaiton, Sysinternal's disk2vhd (for Hyper-V) and VMware Converter (for VMware) are better technologies for migration.

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Second vote for disk2vhd when virtualizing. I managed to P2V a single node of a two-node active/passive cluster that was running on fiber SAN storage with 6 SAN disks successfully when all other tools failed (including SCVMM). It's an incredible tool considering it is free. –  icky3000 Feb 28 '11 at 7:53

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