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I have a Windows Server 2012 production server I am running with RDS set up. I want to copy everything I have done to set up this RDS server (user profiles, files, settings, etc) and make a second server identical to it. Obviously, I would want the second server to have a different name and SID so they can both be active in the same network and joined to my domain.

I currently have a Windows Backup image of the first server that I am trying to deploy to the second server, but I am afraid I may be going in the wrong direction.

Thank you in advance for your help!

  • Is P2V into VMware platform not an option? Or can you setup another server with WDS in your environment that could image RDS one after you run sysprep on it? – Mat B Jul 22 '13 at 23:22
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According to Microsoft, you can sysprep a Windows 2012 server running RDS. Since you already have a backup of a functioning server, you can:

  1. Restore that backup.
  2. Disconnect the network cable.
  3. Boot the server.
  4. Make sure you have a functional local administrator account.
  5. Run c:\windows\system32\sysprep.exe and pick OOBE. You don't need Generalize unless the hardware is different.
  6. Reboot.
  7. Let the server boot up to the login screen.
  8. Connect the network cable.
  9. Log in as a local administrator.
  10. Join the computer to the domain.
  11. Proceed. (Profit?)
  • . . . this sounds like a lot more work than just building a new machine :-P – voretaq7 Jul 22 '13 at 20:30
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    Seems like it would take less time to do this than it would to install from scratch, apply 1001 updates, configure 300 different parts... (then again, practice makes perfect). Disconnect, sysprep > OOBE > reboot... not terribly difficult – WernerCD Jul 22 '13 at 20:53
  • So... I tried this. Got to step 9 and when I try to log on as a local admin I get a message saying the specified domain does not exist. Spoke too soon. Had to do a hard reset on the server since there is not shutdown UI at the login screen. But after booting back up, I can now log in! – Pratt Hinds Jul 23 '13 at 13:38
  • This ended up working rather nicely. Usable server in less than an hour, compared to a full day of setup. Thanks! – Pratt Hinds Jul 23 '13 at 16:58
  • Thanks for this, just use this to clone one of terminal servers and replace one that was ailing. Worked great, and saved us having to figure out some really odd behavior. – Adam Nofsinger Sep 15 '17 at 13:38
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Your best bet is to build a new server, join it to your domain, then configure RDS on it. Imaging an existing server, and then attempting to break it down and reform it into a new one is going to be a huge headache.

  • Bah! Foiled by technology again... I was afraid of this. I have customized one of the user profile's registry quite a bit for security purposes. Is there a good way to copy those profile settings from the original server to the new server? – Pratt Hinds Jul 22 '13 at 18:53
  • For clarification, if from the Windows Setup I were to specify "Upgrade" and use a different product license key, would the SID still be the same? – Pratt Hinds Jul 22 '13 at 18:56
  • If you are setting this up as a terminal server farm, you should look very strongly at setting up roaming profiles. – Zoredache Jul 22 '13 at 18:56
  • I'm not sure what you are asking in the second comment. – DanBig Jul 22 '13 at 19:01
  • Never mind my second comment. Just tried it and MS actually will not let you perform an in-place upgrade with the RDS services installed. – Pratt Hinds Jul 22 '13 at 19:08
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I needed an identical copy of a user's machine once and used Redo Backup to create a bare metal restore. Very easy, fast and complete success. Given it was a PC and not a server I don't know how well this would work for you. If you can play with your second server, I would just give it a try. http://redobackup.org/

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    This will not work on servers. Servers, unlike workstations, can be very picky with cloned SIDs and that sort of thing especially when dealing with RDS. – Nathan C Jul 22 '13 at 19:17
  • Thanks for the info - as I said - I never tried on a server OS. But don't you think after cloning and renaming, THEN joining the domain under the new name would take care of this? – Dante777 Jul 22 '13 at 19:22
  • SID remains the same which as far as I know causes issues with Active directory. – Pratt Hinds Jul 22 '13 at 19:37
  • Good point. You could un-join, create clone, rejoin the first server, rename the second (non-AD) server, then join that one. – Dante777 Jul 22 '13 at 19:46
  • @Dante777 There's a lot of things that go into the Server OS (metadata, lots of it) that make it very difficult to clone them correctly. The always recommended way is to install fresh (or use a bare image that has just the OS install). – Nathan C Jul 23 '13 at 2:06

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