Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What I'm going to ask here is very difficult for system analyst's like me to do and is generally done by experts.

In my office, I'm running windows xp as a server(ofcourse it's a client os). It has many applications installed and has the partitions of 50GB, 80GB and 177GB sizes of data. I'm asked to migrate xp system to windows 2008 server.

The following things should be migrated from xp to 2008 server:

  • Installed applications: As far as I know I'll be installing each and every application one by one. Wondering is there any other way I could do this easily.

  • File & Folders: I should move all the files and folders of each partition(even from active partition). In linux(ubuntu) I used the partition cloning commands like 'dd' and 'ddrescue' which easily cloned the entire partition without any risk. Here I don't know but to copy & paste.

Here the major problem for me compared to above two.

  • I have sun virtualbox installed on xp and 3 ubuntu virutal machines running on it and these three machines are actually used as servers. This is typical one and I don't know how I'am going to do this. Each virtual machines has atleast 10 snapshots and moving these to the new one...? I have no hope. Here I'll be left with flood of errors and it's for sure.

Dear experts, please guide me to accomplish this.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Outline your Move :
Download these tools they might help (you can google them) :
**Symantec BESR 2010** (Evaluation version - Fully functional - 60Days)
**Disk2VHD** - Sysinternals (Converts running machines (xp, 2k3, 2k8, 2k8r2, w7, vista to a VHD file which can be used in Hyper-V).
Delete unwanted Snapshots (ofcourse after verifying that the current state is working as requierd)

Q : What do you have on your Ubuntu VMs ?
Q : Do you have any other applications on your XP machine other then these VMs ?
Q : What is the new Server Hardware ?
Q : What is the future growth expectations ? Users, Server Load ?
Q : How many users are there in your enviornment?
Q : What are you using these VMs for - What applications ?

Power down your Ubuntu VMs (after deleting / merging snapshots saves disk space), then Export those Ubuntu VMs in ovf format. via VBOX File Menu > Export Appliance.

You can convert your running xp machine into a vhd file (minus your ubuntu vms) and you can use that vhd in Hyper-V at a later stage.

share|improve this answer
Yes, I knew it's difficult and I'll have to do it everything freshly and everyone was saying it's a bit hard and ofcourse I also knew this because of which I posted here and their posts has good info.but did not tell me any alternate way something that atleast match a bit to this requirement. You've given useful information which I could try. The problem would be with vbox snapshots(can have only current one deleting all the snapshots). – user53864 Jan 15 '11 at 7:37
Can adjust without snapshots running only with the current one(as you said deleting snaps merges the snaps to base vdi) and then export. While importing on a new machine Its asks for all the snaps and the base vdi of the VM. It's a bit problem to take backup of vm when snaps are created(taking backup of vdi is worst as snaps are not murged to base vdi). – user53864 Jan 15 '11 at 7:56
I liked your p2v or v2p migration. Should try for xp and use it on the 2008 R2 server as you said. – user53864 Jan 15 '11 at 7:57
You can also power down your ubuntu vms and copy the vdi over to an external storage, setup a test virtualbox and see if that copied vdi works the way you want it to work. You may have to do the following inside ubuntu vms as sometimes the network may give a problem : Edit or remove: /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules if you choose edit fill in current mac address for eth0 which you get by ifconfig -a then reboot. Make a note of IP Addresses, subnet mask, default gateway and dns entries, hosts file etc before attempting. – rihatum Jan 17 '11 at 14:45… I will also recommend to setup a text box with virtualbox of same version as your production, copy a ubuntu vm from your existing setup and also create a new ubuntu server vm, take snapshots and then merge / discard them to see what effect they have - that will make sure that you won't do anything wrong while migrating to a new hardware server. – rihatum Jan 17 '11 at 14:50
  • Dont go to 2008. Go to 2008 R2.

  • Insatll 64 bit. Point.

  • Reinstall. One by one. Remove VirtualBox, use hyper-V role on server for that.

Basicalyl lots of manual work. Painfull as hell. Sadly not exactly a way around - Xp was a bad choice to start with, and now it is SO outdated that every move will require reinstalls, posibly version ugprades on the apps.

Make sure your applications all run under 2008. p is ancient - at that time apps had no enforced security. 2008 has no writes ni the programs folder as main paradigm. Many apps did not honor that and were broken. Check, get udpatres from supplies as needed.

Possibly hire an expert - otherwise you may come back here on an hourly basis.

share|improve this answer
I have to agree with TomTom. There is no "migrate", there is only "Clean install then move data across". – RobM Nov 9 '10 at 11:10
That's well known to everyone! – user53864 Jan 15 '11 at 8:06

Basically waht TomTom said, this is going to be highly painfuly and very time consuming. If you were going from XP > 7 you might have gotten away with it but going from an old desktop OS to the latest server OS is going to cause major headaches.

I would say see if you can pass this onto a decicated technician. As an anylyst I don't understand what you've been asked to do this. One thing will be certain, it's going to take a long time.

With the VirtualBox server images all you should be able to "merge" the snapshots of the servers, save the .vdi files and move them over to the new server. You'll have to change a few things with the settings such as the bridged network adaptor (which I presume you're using). If possible, create a new virtual machine, take a snapshot, merge it, then see how quick you can transfer it to another machine.

And one last thing: good luck.

share|improve this answer

I'm not sure what kind or load either role is putting on the machine, but the only way i'd attempt this would be with a 2nd machine.

  • 2008 is not a desktop OS, and you'l encounter grief if you try to use it as such
  • if those virtuals are at all important, migrate them one at a time
  • the process will be finished so much more quickly, the cost of the box should be easily recouped by the time you'll save in this easier process.

As others have said, this will be slow. It's achievable, and should result in a better setup (particularly if the concepts of server & desktop can be separated), but it shouldn't be approached lightly. Good luck!

share|improve this answer
Actually 2008 Server is perfectly fine as desktop os if you tune it and install the msising aprts (most of which are thedesktop esperience role / featuer). I know some people using it as such (to get hyper-v on their workstaiotns for development work). Works fine - after reconfiguration. – TomTom Nov 9 '10 at 12:15
I've heard of 2008 modding, and I can see the case for it on an individual workstation - though web browsing & doing other desktop tasks on a box critical enough to be dubbed 'server' will never be a good idea in my book. – Kara Marfia Nov 10 '10 at 11:25
I've heard of 2008 modding, and I can see the case for it on an individual workstation - though web browsing & doing other desktop tasks on a box critical enough to be dubbed 'server' will never be a good idea in my book. – Kara Marfia Nov 10 '10 at 11:26

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.