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Microsoft Windows SBS 2000 - Cloning

Posted on 2005-04-11
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Hi,

I've been looking around, and have yet to find what I'm looking for.  What I'm trying to achieve, is to create a 'clone' of my server, onto to a bigger harddrive (it's currently running out of space).  I'm not really prepared to add a second harddrive to the machine just yet.  The server is running Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2000.

Norton Ghost doesn't seem to work with NT based systems at all (I've contacted their office, and talked to them abit about this), and a search around the Internet only really brought up products that cost quite abit to purchase, such as Acronis True Image 8.0 Server for Windows, which costs $699.  Acronis True Image 8.0 (not server)(http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/requirements.html) seems to be for workstations, though it only costs $49.99.

All I want to do is do a clone of the current server's installation and configuration onto a second harddrive, and I'm not really prepared to pay $700, as it would most likely be a once off thing.

Let me know if there's anything out there that could help me

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Sebastion
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 13759627
You could mirror it.  Install the second hard drive, upgrade both disks to dynamic (if they aren't already), then mirror the drive.  2 problems with this, first, you would have to swap the drives around or remove the old one and make sure the new one is physically setup the same to ensure the boot process works as it should.  Second, if your purpose in this is to expand the c: drive, it wouldn't work that way.  You would have a larger hard drive with more unpartitioned space, but it wouldn't be able to expand the c:
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by:Sebastion
ID: 13759716
I never thought of mirroring, and I haven't had any experience with it.  Is this something built into the OS, or do I need some other software?  

For your first-mentioned problem: I do plan on removing the old harddrive, and using the new one in place of the old one.  For the second: what if I partition the new drive into two partitions before the mirror, one being the same size as the current harddrive, and the other being the rest?  Would this allow me to mirror the drive and still make use of the larger space?  or does the mirroring process involve re-partitioning/formatting of the target harddrive?  I have no real qualms about c: being the same, as long as there is extra space as a whole for people to add more files and what-not.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 13759761
Mirroring is built into Windows Server OSs.  It is NOT available in Workstation OSs.

Before doing anything, make sure you have a KNOWN GOOD BACKUP OF ALL DATA.

Put the new drive in, go to Computer Management/Disk Management, and DO NOT partition the new drive.  Leave it as RAW.  Then convert the disk to Dynamic by right clicking the drive and selecting the option to convert to Dynamic.  Do likewise for converting to Dynamic with your existing disk.  You'll likely have to reboot.  After rebooting, right click on the raw disk and select the option to create a mirror.  Give it time to sync up the data.  After it's complete (may take up to a day), your new disk will have one identical partition with the C: drive on it and the rest of the space will be RAW - which you can THEN partition as you wish.

Also, when removing the original disk, CAREFULLY note the configuration of both drives and cables (and jumpers) just to be safe so you can put things back if you must later.  It should be this simple, but especially with MS Software, nothing is certain.
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by:Sebastion
ID: 13759852
Sounds simple, I'll give it a go, though I'll have to wait until the weekend (or possibly Friday), as the server is pretty much in constant use until then.

A quick question, would I need to put the new drive physically in, or is it fine for it to sit on a USB external case during the mirroring process?  In the external USB case, the server finds the harddrive fine, but I'm not sure how the mirroring software would do.  Eventually, the new harddrive shall be inside though.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 13759880
I've never tried that... I would say in THEORY it should work, but I would directly connect it to the controller instead.  Among other things the process will be faster and probably more reliable.


Besides, doing things this way, you should have a valid backup in the event the whole system fails (still, make that backup.  Mirroring usually works fine, but I did have one server that, upon converting the source drive to dynamic refused to boot.   Microsoft sent me a tool to revert it back to basic without data loss, but I had to spend $250 on the call.  So just be careful and make backups.  (Also, that was the only time oout of probably a dozen or more that I had a problem).
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by:two22
ID: 13762273
Sebastion

'Norton Ghost doesn't seem to work with NT based systems at all'--I'm not sure that is exactly true.

If you use Ghost 2003 DOS version, it functions fine with NTFS partitions and because it is not run under the  Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2000 server OS, it should allow the cloning of HDD data to a second HDD.  Does Server 2000 use a file system different from NTFS?

Ghost 2003 and other versions may not allow for use within the Windows environment, but the DOS version could probably work for you.
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by:r-k
ID: 13767924
Yes, two22 is right. I use Norton Ghost 2003 to clone our Win/2000 server disk on a regular basis. The only downside is that it goes into DOS mode during the process, which means the system is offline for 90 minutes that it takes.

Ideally, you want the mirror option as leew suggested, plus the occasional clone with Ghost as a fallback option.
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by:Sebastion
ID: 13768863
two22 and r-k,

Your probably right, though I sat on the phone to some of the support people at symantec for about 30 minutes trying to find a solution to my situation and I was told that I would be required to purchase Norton System Suite (somewhere around $600-$700), as it would be the only product I could use with NT based systems.  Other than that, they recommended that I do a search on the Internet for some other cloning software, or upgrade my server to SBS professional.

As a note, I did install Norton Ghost 2003 on the server (back when I first tried it) and when I tried to copy the harddrive, it would restart to DOS.  After attempting to start the process, it would error out and boot back into Windows.  I still have the two error logs of my two attempts, before I initially contacted Symantec (much earlier than the above mentioned contact).  Maybe I was using the wrong cloning method or something.  In any case, I had sent Ghost back to Symantec for a refund, and started looking at other options.

Regardless, I'll try the mirror option when I can though.
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by:r-k
ID: 13768909
I suppose there may be something special about your setup that caused Ghost to fail, but here is what I do: (Server/2000 with NTFS disk. I add the second (destination) disk as a secondary IDE device, so I have two hard drives, the C: drive and the destination drive, which is the same size (as C:) in our setup, but I assume could be larger as well).

Then, I launch Ghost from the system tray icon, then click on "Advanced", then click on "Clone" and after that it's pretty routine.  Someone I know does a similar thing except his destination disk is a Firewire external disk, and there also it works fine. Ghost version is 2003.

Good luck with the mirror.
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kanenet earned 600 total points
ID: 13768992
Sebastion,

Mirroring your hard disk will not give you the ability to move the system to a bigger drive.  Mirroring is an identical "REAL TIME LIVE" copy of your original drive and is updated in real time. Meaning, when using a mirrored setup,  information is written to the first drive and is the drive the system is running from, then immediately the information is duplicated on the second drive.  A mirrored configuration is for fault tolerance and protection from a drive failure.  

Do not make the drive dynamic. Dynamic volumes that are spanned across multiple disks are NOT recoverable using traditional methods.  Only a restore from backup wil recover a SPANNED dynamic volume.

GHOST does a horrible job of cloning drives from windows and will NEVER work properly due to the way Windows handles locked system files and volumes while running.

My suggestion is as follows:

1.) Install GHOST on a workstation.
2.) Make a bootable ghost floppy in GHOST.
3.) Remove your main disk from the system and make it a slave.
4.) Add the new disk to your system and make it the master.  DO NOT MAKE THE OLD DRIVE A MASTER ON EITHER CHAIN WHILE DOING THIS PROCESS.
5.) Boot the GHOST floppy.
6.) No special switches need to be set in GHOST when you boot the floppy unless the system is a DELL, HP, COMPAQ SERVER in which case you may have to set the option to clone the boot sector if the new drive will not boot.
7.)  Make sure you are cloning DISK TO DISK not PARTITION TO PARTITION
8.) Clone the drive
9.) ABSOLUTELY DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! - REMOVE THE OLD DRIVE FROM THE SYSTEM. This will ensure you do not destroy your GOOD copy of the drive.
10.) Boot the system.

Hope this helps.
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by:r-k
ID: 13769087
<quote>
4.) Add the new disk to your system and make it the master.  DO NOT MAKE THE OLD DRIVE A MASTER ON EITHER CHAIN WHILE DOING THIS PROCESS.
</quote>

Would you mind explaining the rationale behind this statement? I have been creating clone disks (of our Win/2000 server C: drive) for several years. Never moved the source  drive, and never had a single problem getting the target (cloned) drive to boot up on a second (identical) system (yes, I always test this after every cloning).

I can imagine this advice being useful only if he were to move his C: drive physically to another system, but that is entirely unnecessary based on my experience, i.e. you can do the cloning on the same system where the C: is installed to begin with.

It is true that Ghost can't make clones while Windows is running, but it always boots into DOS during the process.
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by:kanenet
ID: 13769165
I not looking to argue.  This will save time in installing the new master.  It's already done.   I've probably cloned about 10000 workstations and servers in my lifetime doing this work of I.T.  Our fellow compainion Sebastion is simply looking for a legitimate answer to his problem. I am assuming Sebastion is new to cloning and from reading the posts it would appear he needs some direction in getting the job done.

The steps are there to avoid common pitfalls.  GHOST is a flaky program and if you have used it enough times, you will know it is a temperamental beast.  We don't all have the pleasure of running the latest and greatest hardware and software and sometimes ghost just doesn't like your particular installation and refuses to clone it.

By removing the old disk from the system, you ensure you do not boot the system with a bootable master on both channels.  This has the potential to destroy both of the installations by it reassiging drive letters incorrectly or reversing the SYSTEM AND BOOT drive settings in windows, moving pagefiles around and doing all the other great automatic things Windows likes to do.  I have watched this go badly for others.  I have seen it make both drives unbootable, I have seen it make the original drive unbootable after the second or (NEW) drive boots into windows and the OS crashes.

Ultimately the old drive will become storage anyway.  Since we've already made the new drive a master and the old drive a slave, we don't have to take the drives out of the machine or screw with hardware anymore.

This also ensures that the old drive stays intact and has no possible way of getting damaged should the cloning process go badly.  These are EXTRA precautions that you may not take, but it's better to be safe than sorry in this business.

BTW, if you have never had a problem cloning drives why then would you suggest mirroring to Sebastion?  This suggestion does not provide a clear solution to his problem and allow him to move his server to a bigger drive.  


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by:r-k
ID: 13769218
kanenet,

No offence intended. I was just puzzled by things you put in bold type, when really they only apply in some situations, which did not seem necessary in this case. There is even a risk involved in moving a drive when you don't have to.

Re. the mirror, that was not my original suggestion to do instead of cloning, just an option in case he wanted to do both a mirror and a cloning for extra safety.

PS: 10000 workstations, really? How long have you been in I.T.?
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Author Comment

by:Sebastion
ID: 13769950
kanenet,

Luckily, I still have Ghost installed on my main workstation (and the server), even though I had sent back the software, so I'll give your method a go before the mirror.  I'll still need to wait till the weekend though.  If this works out, I'll just repurchase ghost anyway.

Your right in the fact that I don't have much experience with Ghost (or cloning as a whole).  Just to clarify one of your steps:  In step 3, you mention to remove the main disk from the system.  Are you referring to my workstation, or the server?  I presume you mean the server, as the next step requires me to add the new drive as a master, but I just want to be sure.  Also, I can use the new drive as is? or should I format and partition it before I start the clone?

Other than that, the rest make logical sense.  I'll give it a whirl as soon as I can.
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by:kanenet
ID: 13771294
r-k,

Maybe 10000 is a bit of a stretch. Your comment kind of lit my fire.  Sorry.  I've been in I.T. for 13 years.

Sebastion,

For Step 3.) This is simply making your old server drive a slave and the new disk is a master as you suspected.

You do not have to do anything to the drive if there is no partition or information.  If you have a failed clone on the drive, you may want to low-level format the drive using drive manufacturer utilities to be 100% sure you won't have problems with the clone.

Hope it all works out.  Sorry for my short fuse last night r-k.

Kane.
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by:r-k
ID: 13772847
"Maybe 10000 is a bit of a stretch. Your comment kind of lit my fire.  Sorry.  I've been in I.T. for 13 years."

Kane,

No problem. I always understood you were helping. It's just rare these days that I meet someone who's been in computers longer than me (35 years), so thought I'd ask. Sorry if I offended you.

r-k
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by:Sebastion
ID: 13797033
kanenet, your suggestion worked perfectly.  Thanks for the help.  I might contact Symantec and tell them, because they didn't tell me anything like that on the phone :)

leew, I didn't get a chance to try your suggestion of mirroring, so I can't really comment on whether it worked or not, but I'll keep it in mind in the future.  Thanks for your input though.
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by:david_koutek
ID: 14524240
This may be a bit late but, Norton Ghost will work with windows 2000, just not on Server's like SBS 2000 or SBS 2003 systems.
I have cloned my SBS 2000 system's Hard Drive by removing it from the server and putting it into a computer that has Norton Ghost running on it. (and cleint workstation) You need to will need to use the IDE cable for the CD drive so you you have a D and a E drive. Just book up computer as normal and start Norton's (make sure you Clone the corrent drive)

I have done this many time and it works great.

   
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by:david_koutek
ID: 14524284
After I posted my comment I seen that this has allready been covered by others with more details.
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