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Advice on steps to move WHS from one computer to another RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have my WHS on an old Dell with an 80 GB primary drive and a 200 GB external drive. WHS reports about 50-80 GB free depending on when the cleanup last was.

    I just purchased a new Dell that comes with 2x250 GB hard drives. I also have a 300 GB hard drive that I will be adding to it.

    What is the best way to migrate?

    Thanks,

    Mitch
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:42 AM

Answers

  • By design, the backup database is essentially fungible. If you were to lose it due to e.g. failure of a drive containing some components, you could recreate it by backing up your home computers again. Now, obviously this has an unspoken implication: the backup feature in Windows Home Server is not designed for long term storage (archiving) of PC images.

    As for the server backup feature, it's documented in the help. You connect a drive to your server, then select it and choose to "Add" it to the server. You'll have the option of using it in the storage pool or as a server backup drive. If you choose the latter, you'll have the option of formatting the drive or keeping the data on it.

    When you've backed the server shares up, you'll select the drive in the console again and choose to remove it. You'll be given the option of temporarily or permanently removing it. Normally you want to choose to remove it temporarily.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by Makman Friday, March 20, 2009 5:12 AM
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 5:44 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Makman said:

    I have my WHS on an old Dell with an 80 GB primary drive and a 200 GB external drive. WHS reports about 50-80 GB free depending on when the cleanup last was.

    I just purchased a new Dell that comes with 2x250 GB hard drives. I also have a 300 GB hard drive that I will be adding to it.

    What is the best way to migrate?

    Thanks,

    Mitch


    My suggestion would be a New Installation on your new computer, then copy the data from the old server to the new one through the network.  (The only other option would be to pull the drives from the old server and connect them - and only them - to the new server and do a Server Reinstallation.)
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:51 AM
    Moderator
  • So I can have two home servers on the same network?

    I forgot to mention that I have a 1 TB external drive as well. I suppose I could add the external drive to the old server (but not in the storage pool) and then copy my shares and backup database to it. Then I could reverse the steps on the new server. That would work too, wouldn't it? In the past when I have tried to move multigigabyte files over the network, I have found that it is exceedingly slow and sometimes never completes.

    Thanks,

    Mitch
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:59 AM
  • Makman said:

    So I can have two home servers on the same network?

    As long as they have different computer names, yes.

    Makman said:

    I forgot to mention that I have a 1 TB external drive as well. I suppose I could add the external drive to the old server (but not in the storage pool) and then copy my shares and backup database to it. Then I could reverse the steps on the new server. That would work too, wouldn't it?
     

    That is unsupported (since it requires logging into the server desktop).  But as long as you are copying from the network shares (not the actual drive letters), yes it will work.

    Makman said:

    In the past when I have tried to move multigigabyte files over the network, I have found that it is exceedingly slow and sometimes never completes.

    Thanks,

    Mitch

    If it's really slow and/or it never completes, I would suggest you start investigating your network setup.  Clearly something is wrong.

    Also, one other point:  If you are using the same license on both servers, you are technically violating the OEM license agreement.  (When you install any OEM license on a computer, that license is physically tied to the mobo and cannot be moved to another computer.)  It is within MS's right to not activate your copy on the new server.  I'm not saying they won't activate it (other users have done exactly what you want to do without issue), just that they don't have to.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 1:34 AM
    Moderator
  • kariya21 said:

    That is unsupported (since it requires logging into the server desktop).  But as long as you are copying from the network shares (not the actual drive letters), yes it will work.


    How do I copy from the shares to the external drive attached to the server without logging in to the desktop? For the database I can use the add-in to back it up to the external drive, and then restore it to the new server. Does the add-in have a restore function?

    Thanks again,

    Mitch

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:18 AM
  • Makman said:

    How do I copy from the shares to the external drive attached to the server without logging in to the desktop?
     

    You don't.  The point I was trying to make is what you are doing is unsupported.  The supported method of copying data is through the network shares to another PC in your home network.

    Makman said:

    For the database I can use the add-in to back it up to the external drive, and then restore it to the new server. Does the add-in have a restore function?

    I've never used the BDBB add-in.  I would assume there is (otherwise what's the point of backing it up? ;)  ), but you should contact the author of the add-in to verify (or just check his website).

    Makman said:

    Thanks again,

    Mitch



    Thursday, March 19, 2009 4:02 AM
    Moderator
  • So in other words MS has not developed a simple way for users to upgrade their hardware.

    Thanks

    Mitch
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:22 PM
  • There is a very simple way to copy your shares from server to server, and best of all it's fully supported.
    • Obtain an external hard drive large enough to hold your largest share.
    • On your source server, connect the drive and configure it as a server backup drive.
    • Back up as much as will fit, using the server backup feature that was added in Power Pack 1. If your shares are close to empty, probably everything will fit at once, BTW.
    • Connect the drive to your new server and restore from it to the shares on your new server.
    • Repeat as needed.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:39 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Ken, that is great to know!

    Where is the server backup feature? Does it appear in a menu once an external drive is added?

    What about the backup database? Does MS assume you don't need to move that? I am assuming I can use the add-in to move it, but that is not an MS solution.

    Thanks

    Mitch
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:44 PM
  • By design, the backup database is essentially fungible. If you were to lose it due to e.g. failure of a drive containing some components, you could recreate it by backing up your home computers again. Now, obviously this has an unspoken implication: the backup feature in Windows Home Server is not designed for long term storage (archiving) of PC images.

    As for the server backup feature, it's documented in the help. You connect a drive to your server, then select it and choose to "Add" it to the server. You'll have the option of using it in the storage pool or as a server backup drive. If you choose the latter, you'll have the option of formatting the drive or keeping the data on it.

    When you've backed the server shares up, you'll select the drive in the console again and choose to remove it. You'll be given the option of temporarily or permanently removing it. Normally you want to choose to remove it temporarily.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by Makman Friday, March 20, 2009 5:12 AM
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 5:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ken,

    First, I have to admit that I had to look up the word fungible. My new word of the day:-)

    I guess what constitutes long term storage (of the database backups) is debatable.

    Thanks for your help,

    Mitch
    Friday, March 20, 2009 5:08 AM
  • Indeed, an interesting word, this fungible - my really fat English/German translation book does not know about it's existence.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, March 20, 2009 9:11 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf Engelke said:

    Indeed, an interesting word, this fungible - my really fat English/German translation book does not know about it's existence.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf


    Fungibility on WikiPedia.

    It's a word out of contract law and commodities trading, and I'm not surprised that your English/German dictionary doesn't contain it, Olaf. :)

    I actually misuse the word slightly in this context. It implies a greater degree of similarity than actually exists between two backup databases. My backup tonight is not an exact one-for-one replacement for my backup last night, because files change in between. The basic concept is valid, though, given that I've been in IT for decades and I've never seen a full system restore done using anything other than the last good backup. (Single file restores are occasionally done from older media, of course.)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, March 20, 2009 11:52 AM
    Moderator