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I have been using an old Intel based Dell desktop as a Small Business server 2011 (SBS 2011 Standard x64) box for the last 6 months. Last week I purchased an older AMD Socket F server that will do just fine for this business (2x quad-core, 32GB ram, IPMI, SAS). I tried putting the existing SATA hard drive into the new box and it tried to boot but it would restart and then want to repair the installation. I only had a few hours to try this before the store opened at 8 so I had to put the drive back in the old machine.

What is the easiest way to migrate from the Intel box to the new AMD box? I have a lot of data already on the existing machine:

  • Exchange
  • SharePoint
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Point of Sale databases

If possible I would like to just migrate the data with as little hassle as possible. I only had a 1.5 hour window to migrate this morning but on Tuesday evening I will have 10 hours. I have some extra drives that I keep as hot-spare replacements that I can use to create a new OS drive if I need to use the SBS migration utility.

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One issue that I'm aware of is this: Perhaps your INTeL box is using AHCI mode, while the AMD one is set to legacy "IDE" mode. Try poking around in BIOS and make sure they use the same thing. – Mihai Todor Aug 12 '12 at 18:02
I just checked and they are both set to AHCI mode. I would never have configured it with a legacy setup anyways :) – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 12 '12 at 18:27
One word of warning. That SBS installation may be attached to an OEM license. The terms of OEM licenses prohibit moving them to different hardware. You'll want to check this before you continue with the migration. Windows will need to be re-activated regardless. – Charles Aug 12 '12 at 18:51

I am not familiar with the Windows SBS, but I would approach it this way:

  • create a clone of the existing OS hard drive to a spare one;
  • put that newly created clone in the new server and repair the OS;
  • as soon as it boots properly sync the changes;
  • if possible, keep the old machine for fallback, until sure the new config is good.

Good luck!

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+1 for cloning the drive and working with the clone. You can do this as many times as you need in order to perfect the migration process. Trial and error! – Charles Aug 12 '12 at 18:51
Can you recommend a good cloning utility? My experience with a few in the past have been less than successful. Or should I just take a full system backup and restore it to the new drive? – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 12 '12 at 19:24 looks like good tool to use. Also you may consider using dd under any Linux Live CD. In both cases your source filesystem would have to be unmounted, which in your case means downtime. How long the offline cloning will take depends on many factors, mainly on partition size. You could play with this if you start dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdc (be extremely careful with input and output for dd!) and interrupt in in few minutes. It will output some stats among which the throughput, so you could estimate your downtime. – grs Aug 12 '12 at 19:43
I am not so worried about down time. Once the store closes in the evening we really don't need to use the server (except for email). I've used clonezilla in the past on a different system but it didn't work out. I will try it again however. – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 12 '12 at 21:06
BTW Windows SBS is just Server 2008 r2 – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 12 '12 at 23:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The easiest way was to use SYSPREP. I made an image backup in case anything went wrong and then did the following by following this tutorial

  • Start an administrative command prompt
  • type in "%windir%\System32\Sysprep\Sysprep.exe"
  • Choose "Enter System Out-of-Box-Experience (OOBE)"
  • Check "Generalize"
  • Choose "Shutdown"
  • Hit "OK"

After about 20 minutes my server shutdown. I then moved the hard drive from the existing server into the new server. The server then went through a "applying computer setting phase" and about 15-20 minutes later I had a migrated server.

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+1 but the one step I would add is the single most important one - ensure you have a tested backup before starting. – John Gardeniers Aug 15 '12 at 6:56
It took a bit of time once it booted to windows to download all of the drivers and install them. I had to reboot a few more times but after that it was smooth sailing. – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 15 '12 at 21:00

As a followup, in my case, I connected the old server's RAID controller and array to the new server and booted from it. I then loaded drivers for all of the hardware in the new server, including the RAID controller. I then booted from a Win7 x86 PE disc and used Ghost11 to clone from the old server's array to the new server's array. The clone completed successfully and the new server was up and running with an exact copy of the old server's OS and data.

EDIT: I made another post before this one and apparently it didn't show up. Short version: Sysprep hosted my old server and my new server. After sysprepping, the old server gave an error message at logon indicating that it had lost its trust relationship with itself--I forget the exact message, but I was unable to log in. I ended up having to restore from a backup I'd made just before sysprepping the old server, and then I took the steps listed above. So, if you're going to sysprep a server, be absolutely sure you've got a good backup first, as it may bork your domain / OS.

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