Getting a 2000 image restore to run on a very different server

rmorphis
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This would be nice if it could work. I'd like to make an image of a machine, and restore it to another machine and to get it to run without a complete reinstall. Here's the trick, assume a completely different platform i.e. multi-processor to single processor, scsi to IDE, etc. Also, image cannot be modified before it is taken, I've found some KB articles (ex: Q249694) that descibe the process by doing a bunch of script and registy modifications before the move. That's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for some recovey console file swappingand some specific driver changing to just get the OS up and running in safe mode, then strighten out all the rest of the hardware changes. Lets make this a domain controller for good measure. I've just started messing around with this scenario and have gotten to INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
after some repair (because of the SCSI & IDE, not boot.ini). Using identical hardware is also not an option. If registry merging is necesscary, it must be done through recovery console on an os that won't load. Has any one done this? Thanks in advance!







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Commented:
Thanks Jimck, Sysprep might work, but it involves being run on the source machine before it's brought down, modifying the existing machine. I want to be able to bring this installation back online on different hardware without modifying the source installation....
This is a bit tricky, to say the least, to pull off what you are after.... I have done something similar with windows NT 4 Domain Controller with Exchange 5.5 & Sql 7.5, but have not yet tried with W2k.

There are several issues in your post:

1) INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
This arises when the operating system does not have the correct device driver to talk with your boot device.  This requries that many different device drivers are installed in the hope that your new machine will have one of these devices.  EG. Adaptec SCSI cards, Generic (not chipset specific) IDE Drives.  You could install using an Adaptec 2940 card that had spare.  You could use it temporariliy in the new machine for install, then after image restoration  add the specific device drivers for whatever SCSI or IDE hardware in the new machine, then move the drives across onto the new devices.

2) Differring Hardware Architectures.
Thankfully changing the HAL in windows 2000 is so much easier than in NT4... you just change it in the device manager from the system properties applet in control panel.  Naturally if you choose a HAL that is incompatible with your hardware then the machine won't boot.  So you change your HAL to the lowest common denominator: i.e. A NON ACPI Single Processor HAL.  If your system is never going to not be ACPI capable, then you may choose a ACPI one to create your image with, but don't use the ACPI Uniprocessor HAL, as that requires an APIC (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller - required for multiple CPU capable systems, extrememly rare on non multiple CPU boards, and capable of having IRQ's that go beyond 16)  Use the ACPI PC, or standard PC HAL to make your image, and change it after installing.  APIC's can operate in legacy dumb IRQ controller mode, but a standard IRQ controller will hang your operating system while it looks for a APIC even in safe mode.

When doing this for NT4, you need to install the operating system in multiple CPU capabe, single CPU mode, and update to latest service pack, grab the appropriate files that change when changing HALS, then install again in single CPU non multiple CPU capable mode and use that as your base, with the other files available for swapping in to change the hal... then you can use uptomp to add support for a second processor if required.

3) Domain Controller.
This one is the trickiest...
As jjmck says, sysprep is a tool that is used to reset the SID of the computer, so that it creates a new one on first startup (which has to be unique in the network).  The SID identifies the computer, so just imaging a W2k install to a new computer won't work if both computers are in the same network because two computers will have the same identity.
Sysprep is used to stop this from happening, and keeps all you program installations intact.  It's intended use is to deploy the same applications and operating system to dozens of machines without this problem.

It depends on you intended outcome how to tackle this.  Being a Domain controller in and of itself is not a problem.  If you intend to take a snapshot of the user accounts in a moment of time and only use it in time of disaster when you have a catastrophic failure of a domain controller that you are unable to recover from, and you wish to use this image to reestablish the Domain (because ther are no backups) then Sysprep should not be used.  You will wish to maintain the SID and role of the computer within the network.  If you wish to add another server and add it to the domain, then migrate roles as required between the two computers, then the route I would take is to not use sysprep for the image, restore the image to the new computer while OFF THE NETWORK, then run SYSprep on the new machine to give a new id, then add it on to the network  and have the domain database synchronise between the two.

I'm not sure how active directory and the question of roles would react to this scenario, however... it couldbe a bit tricky... Active Directory restore mode I'm almost certain won't work if the SID is different, and if you are adding a second machine to the domain, I'm uncertain how the question of Server roles would react.

I hope this sheds some light on what you are trying to acheive.

Pete

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Author

Commented:
Thanks Pete, We're attempting to make an identical network as quick as possible, with all different hardware. I know we can remove a domain controller, isolate it, seize all roles and start from scratch, but that just takes care of the active directory. Ideally, I'd like to be able to do this with any mail, web, db, or domain server, to basicly move it to another machine without a complete rebuld. All SID and computer name will remail the same, conflicts won't be an issue. I've done hal.dll swaps in NT4 to get around some of this, and was hoping for the same in 2K.  The main thing we're trying to do is restore to another platform, and be able to at least get the os up in safe mode. Then we can deal with all the other hardware conflicts and the directory restore. I think I'm able to get around the HAL (I may be wrong), I think I'm stuck on the controller drivers. If you have an image with a source you cannot modify, how can you get that OS up with disimilar hardware? I would think there is some trick to get the machine up on another platform. Thanks again Pete.

Commented:
1) Have you investigated the Windows 2K Feature known as RIS?

Remote Installation Services.

There is only 2-core system you would need to cater for (Mainboard dependant, not sure what they were, You would need to create 2 images, after this you should be ok to restire images with PXE capable network cards on the clients offcourse)

2) If you need all other user setting etc to be transferred from the old to the new system then 2K has that sorted as well. Win2K is able to mange all the users data, Profiles, Documents, Settings...etc from the server so that you could basically kill a box, install a new one with RIS and When the user logs on it looks and work like before.

3) You could even push all the software from the server so that it installed on first use.

Any case if you use these features you will be able to replace a machine completely with little intervention required.

Author

Commented:
Thanks DawidS, but I don't think RIS can help here. The limitations are as stated, and there is no problem restoring the image to the new platform. We're not trying for a fresh install and rebuild of all applications and services, also it's too late to do a sysdiff or wininstall. We have the transfered image in place and are trying to force it to boot up and still retain it's original config. I'm increasing the points to 300 because this because this seems like a tough one. Thanks Again DawidS.
Morphis,

The technnique I described without sysprep should work for your situation, since maintaining the SID and Role is required.  The key is to get some common storage device to boot from - either generic IDE, or grab an external SCSI card that you can move to install into each machine, then install appropriate drivers and move the partition image onto whatever storage system you are going to use permanently.

Once you have changed the HAL, as described in my earlier message...

If all of your systems are capable of IDE, then use an IDE drive big enough to hold your operating system running on generic drivers (not chipset specific ones) otherwise go out and get yourself a second hand Adaptec SCSI card, 2940UW should be suitable. and a SCSI drive big enough to hold the opreating system as it exists.

Plug it into the machine, and install the drivers.

Image your current W2k install onto the SCSI/IDE disk.

Reconfigure your BIOS to boot from the SCSI card/IDE to verifiy it is working correctly.

Move the SCSI card and drive/IDE drive to the the new machine.

Boot from it in the new machine.  Install the appropriate drivers/HAL. Then copy the image from the HARD disk onto whatever subsystem you are using - RAID, whatever.


Pete

Author

Commented:
I think I follow you, install the large IDE in the original system, restore the image to that and boot using the original HW. The part I find a little vauge is installing the appropriate drivers (post image). Lets assume an large IDE copied from a SCSI HW Array. Then disable the array and boot to the IDE. I'm wondering if I'll see that INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE error, but lets say the machine does come up, then I can change the HAL and just move the IDE drive to say a desktop machine and it will come up? It's a little more intrusive than I hoped, I wanted to just deal with the image and final HW, but if it works it's better than nothing, however I can't test it out immediately (production boxes). Please let me know if I'm missing something. Thx...
Sorry, Morphis - it gets a little difficult trying to communicate these ideas when they are this complex.

Yep, you're getting the idea now... once the device is in the old PC, and the storage driver required for the IDE is installed in W2k, do the other noted changes to HAl etc. then create the image across to the IDE - since the driver is already installed in the image, ICACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE will not turn up... note that this is only true if the GENERIC ide (not VIa/AMD/Intel specific chipset IDE driver is installed)

Move the drive across to the new machine, boot from it, install drivers/hal required for the new machine's storage and processor subsystems, and copy image from the ide to new storage system...

An alternative is to add the device (such as IDE generic driver), and image to a CD... but it still requires that you restore the image to an IDE disk in the new machine, then add appropriate drivers.

If you were going from one RAID system to another, and the RAID is on cards, not motherboards, then you could plug the old raid card with the appropriate cable into the new machine, still hooked up to the old disks... and install the new drivers and copy image across to new RAID array, then remove the old raid array and card.

Bottom line is this sucks... simple fix: MS to allow an F6 keypress on bootup to allow mass storage device drivers to be installed before boot from floppy.  That would save a shitload of headaches like this one.

Pete
I didn't explain the bit you were vague on...

Install the appropriate drivers post image:

After moving the IDE disk across to the new machine and booting from it, install the drivers required for the new storage subsystem on the new machine, along with an appropriate HAL, then copy the image from the IDE to the new storage subsystem.

Pete

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the clarification, I probably won't be able to give it a shot until the weekend.

One more question, The current box does have IDE enabled (for CD). Doesn't this mean the driver is already present? if that's the case I would think changing the boot.ini is enough to get it to boot from the IDE on any system (with the appropriate HAL)? eitherway, I'll give it a shot.

I'm adding another 50 points since I'm making you work for the answer. : )
Hmmm... it means that there is a driver for the IDE interface in your current machine installed.... but if it was installed by OEM software, eg. Compaq or HP server running setup via OEM disk, then it is likely that the IDE driver is chip specific... it needs to be ensured that the generic driver for IDE is installed.

Also, one other point, I have had a Compaq server with IDE port that would not allow me to boot from it... i.e. the interface was for CD-ROM interfaces only, and there was no option to change it in the BIOS.

This was why I was using a 2940 or 19160 SCSI card to do the dirty work - The drivers were going to be the same on both machines, and the card was transportable from one machine to the other.

If you cannot boot from your onboard IDE interface you need to use an external interface/drive combination that you can transport from one machine to the other.  i.e. either a bootable IDE card (with bios) and drive, or bootable SCSI card (with BIOS) and drive.

Thx for adding points, but not really necessary.

I'm in Melbourne Australia in case you are as well,  I  could give you a hand.

Pete

Author

Commented:
Pete, I just found the same thing on a Compaq 3000. Was able to do a quick test, but had to bring it back online.

I was wondering if I reinstalled the compaq system software partition if it would have come up.

I really didn't want to go SCSI on the detination box, but looks like I'll have to. I'll give it a try next time I get a chance.

I was hoping now that 2K is "PnP" that this would be easier. I think having to restore to nearly identical HW really makes Disaster Recovery a bitch. I would love to have a standby server without having to rebuild & reconfig from scratch. Maybe in .NET...

Thanks for the offer Pete, but I'm in Houston. TX.

R.
A simpler/cheaper option is to buy an external IDE controller with BIOS... the promise ones have been good in my experience, and cost about 25-30% of a SCSI interface.
Pete
How did you go, Morphis?

Author

Commented:
Not much luck, SCSI still giving me the INACCESSILE_BOOT_DISK error. Wondering if that Compaq system partition si causing problems. I'll keep hacking at it, I'll let you know when I make any progress or have any questions.

Thx,

R.

Author

Commented:
Well, I opened a support call to Microsoft since it's near the end of the year and if we don't use them, we lose them. I really didn't get very far. Once I began restoring to a Standard HAL machine, The controller seemed to be the issue. It would continue to freeze during the boot up.I disabled all the SCSI services but that didn't seem to help. I tried different cards and configs. I installed a parrallel instance and tried to make some changes in the registry but was pretty much flying blind. I finally was able to get it up in safe mode, but never any further. I also tried that Backup Exec IDR software, it not much help. It just helps you get the machine back up (on the same HW) and get to the tape drive to restore your backup. I tried it on some pretty similar hardware and it was useless. I thought 2000 would be more flexible than NT, but it situation it's not. I may have at it again if I get my courage up. Here's the response from Microsoft Enterprise Support Team:
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I had another look through our Knowledge Base and I spoke to my Tech Lead.   What you are trying to do is not a supported method of moving and image of Windows.   The reason that it’s not supported is because it will most likely not work.  If it does work after some “tweaking”, the Operating System will be so unstable it would be useless as a “Backup”.

 The best bet to create a temporary failover server would be to install Windows 2000, configure the applications that it would need and keep your backups current.  

This is the only truly trustworthy way of creating a backup server.    I hope that helps.  


-Bill

----------------------------------------

 Thanks for your help, I'm not closing the case yet, I'll let you know what happens.

Commented:
rmorphis

I've refunded all 350 points to enable you to post a 200 points "Points for <expertname>" Q for prosewall in the same topic area.
As requested in:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/Q_20431582.html

Please:
1) Post the link to the original Q in the "Points for <expertname>" and
2) Add in the original Q a comment with the link to the "Points for <expertname>", thus the email notif will warn the expert.

modulo

Community Support Moderator
Experts Exchange

Author

Commented:
prosewall, go to this link and comment and I'll accept your answer. I'm giving you 200 points for your responses, I going to move on to another recovery strategy. Thanks Again!

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Win2000/Q_20432030.html

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