Install Windows on different Hard Drive & Machine

Posted on 2005-04-29
Last Modified: 2011-09-20

We have a server running on Windows XP Professional and we would like to experiment with Windows Server.

However, we would like to minimise downtime, therefore can we install Windows onto the second HD and then do a simple hardware swap of HDs with our server.

This therefore means that we have 12 hours to configure instead of 12 hours to install + configure.

Question by:amacfarl
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    If the hardware of the "temporary" server is the same as your target machine, then go for it.

    If the hardware is different, however, "dropping" a preconfigured server disk into "strange" hardware might cause more confusion than you want to have to sort out.

    In which case I'd suggest by all means use the "spare" server as a test machine to experiment with settings, options, etc., but then when you're happy you know how you want the WS configured,

    - take the working XP disk out of your main box
    - put a new blank disk in the main box (or pair of disks! RAID mirroring at least is a good idea for servers!)
    - install WS2003 from scratch using your gained knowledge and experience to speed it along

    A full install of WS2003 from scratch shouldn't take more than an hour or two if you have already worked out what configuration and options you want in advance.

    Hint - if doing Windows s/w mirroring of drives, leave that to last, it can be establishing the mirror as you work or, better yet, overnight, once you've finished the installation.

    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    Hey! First... you don't have a server with Windows XP...

    Secondly to test your scenario to go and download the Workstation. Should be a 30 day trial. Install your new server here and use bridged networking. You can now test everything you need.

    When you are installing new OS'es in VMWare - place the *.vmx file on you new harddrive. This leads to minimal use of system disk to run a new OS. You should have minimum 512 Ram. Dedicate 256 to the server.

    You could configure you XP to dual boot into server but if you have a fileshare on you XP you will loose Access. VMWare is well worth it's money.

    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    sorry for the late reply. I had a little family issue

    Many many thanks for all your answers.  Much appreciated.

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