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We have a server that was built by the guy before me (so I am told), so I can't provide any model information.

We have Windows XP on it. We use this server for many things, but one thing that will be affected by downtime is our clock-in system. Over the time that the server is down, users won't be able to clock in, and managers will have to input times manually.

I obviously have to update to Windows 7. I have a brand new hard drive and a copy of Windows 7 ready to go, but I want to do this with minimal downtime. My plan was to put the new hard drive in, and then just install the windows 7 on the new hard drive and use that as the boot drive, so i don't have to reinstall any other programs, and so I don't have to do a restore with our backup utility. However this would require me to turn off the computer, and since we have employees clocking in at all hours I would like to avoid that.

We were going to use Windows Server 2012 but we didn't want to spend the money and really don't need any of the additional functionality, we only use this for clocking in and to store scanned documents.

What are some other ways I could install an OS with minimal downtime? Would it be possible for me to install it while the computer is on by just putting the Win7 disc in and installing it to the new volume, and then just doing a quick restart and booting from that drive?

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closed as off-topic by TheCleaner, Sven, TomTom, Tim Brigham, Katherine Villyard Apr 5 at 4:09

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Welcome to Server Fault! Questions on Server Fault must demonstrate a minimum understanding of the technology in question. Otherwise, the post often turns into a discussion forum, instead of straight Q&A. Based on your question's details and tone, the best advice we can give you is to hire a consultant to help you out or do further research on the basics of how to do what you are after. If you run into specific issues WHILE or AFTER doing your upgrade, ServerFault might be the proper fit for that type of question. –  TheCleaner Apr 4 at 19:54
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We have Windows XP on it. We use this server for many things Alright, you're doing it wrong. Very, very, very wrong. First, don't run a server with a client OS if you can possibly avoid it, and second it's best practice to limit your servers to a single role/application. In response to your question, the way to do this is to buy new hardware, install an OS, configure it, and swap it out. For the two use-cases you mention, and the fact that it's running XP you can probably pick up a PLC or cheap desktop/server to replace it for a couple hundred bucks. –  HopelessN00b Apr 4 at 19:58
    
@HopelessN00b - My very answer. Submitted seconds after your comment. –  joeqwerty Apr 4 at 19:59
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However this would require me to turn off the computer, and since we have employees clocking in at all hours I would like to avoid that. - It seems like it was a pretty critical system, surely you had some kind of plan that dealt with what would happen if that system failed? Shouldn't building a new system basically follow the same procedure? –  Zoredache Apr 4 at 20:04

1 Answer 1

We have a server that was built by the guy before me (so I am told), so I can't provide any model information. - Can you not look at it or run a hardware inventory program on it? Why can't you determine it's model information?

We have Windows XP on it. - OK. Then it's not a server.

I obviously have to update to Windows 7. - Why would that be obvious to us? Why do you obviously have to update to Windows 7? Because of the impending EOS of Windows XP? If so, it looks like you've waited until the last minute to figure out what to do with this important computer running a critical LOB application. That's poor planning and poor management.

What are some other ways I could install an OS with minimal downtime? I'm assuming that your company has a budget for things like paper clips, sticky notes, etc. Purchase a new computer, install the OS of your choice on it. Install your time clock software on it. Test it. Replace the existing computer with the new computer. Done.

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