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Imaging Windows NT 4 to Virtual PC

I'd like to replace a server with a new one, but there's a legacy app we need.  It's running under Windows NT 4.

My thought was to create an image of the hard drive, restore it under a Virtual PC on the new server (other than this app, we just need file sharing - the new server will either be XP Pro of SBS 2003) - any caveats?  My guess is it will not work because the hardware on the Virtual PC will be different?

Also, if this will work, what software should I use?  I'll need to create an image of the drive on one machine and restore it to the other Virtual PC.

Thanks in advance.
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christo87
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christo87
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
NT was not QUITE as susceptible to hardware changes as subsequent versions of windows, if memory serves me.  Acronis (for servers) should be able to do this, but I concede, I'm not 100% sure of how well it will work with NT4 (primarily due to age, but then again, migrating NT4 boxes to virtual machines IS a common enough practice, it might work fine.

As for what to run it on, I don't think I'd put it on an SBS box, mostly because nowadays, with Exchange, and the MSDE databases and other things running on the SBS box, memory is going to be at a premium.  So while I encourage you to get and use SBS if you don't have it (and if it's otherwise A fit for your environment), I would suggest using Virtual PC or VMWare or Virtual Server on another system altogether.
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ocon827679Commented:
I'd use Virtual PC for your VM.  You are not going to be able to image the hard drive and restore it to the VM.  NT is very hardware dependent and imaging a machine was dependent upon using the same hardware, which you won't be doing.  You will need to load the OS from the install CD, and install your application.  Take a look at http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2005/03/01/383399.aspx for some good info.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I grant you, it's been a while since I worked with it, but I have to disagree - NT is NOT very hardware dependent - there are TWO items that are crucial - the Disk Controller (which acronis may be able to take care of) and the graphics card - which can be corrected by booting to VGA Mode.  Yes, you may need to install some drivers once migrated, but it should NOT be a significant problem.  NT doesn't do much with Chipsets or other such core motherboard systems that 2000 and 2003 do, causing problems.

Some discussions with similar/same topics supporting my point:
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=141655

VMWare:
http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/features.html
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ocon827679Commented:
I think that what  I was trying to say is that NT was a true PIA when it came to hardware.  Drivers were always an issue because of the security system put in place to keep the hardware from talking directly to the OS.  Over time trying to get newer hardware that had NT drivers became almost impossible.  

I don't believe that just imaging the drive is going to work.  The reason is that the HAL may be different and certainly the disk controller might be diferent.  Also as I recall anytime anyone ever tried to clone a machine it only worked when the hardware was the same.  Going from a stand-alone box to a VM is not going to be similar hardware.  

I guess the best way to find out is to try it, if it works then Yeeha!!  If not then you're stuck starting with a fresh load of the OS and application.
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christo87Author Commented:
OK, thanks for all of the suggestions!  Here is my next scenario if the first idea doesn't work: freshly install the OS and copy the files.  What would I need to do to copy the files exactly, retaining all attributes?  Is there a piece of software that can simply make an image of the files I select for restoration later (noob question, but I want to make sure I do it right)?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You didn't identify the legacy app.  You MAY be able to copy the data - you may have to figure out how to restore it.

If you use the PROPER software, that should be ok and I think your chances will be quite good.
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christo87Author Commented:
The software is called OSAS - it's an accounting platform.  As far as I can tell, the users have a shortcut to the terminal on their desktop, and within that shortcut are some parameters that identify their system (everyone's parameters are different, I found that out after copying a shortcut for a new computer wouldn't work).

What software would be good for copying/retaining attributes?  This method is sounding more appealing because it sounds like it has a better chance of working :-)
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Your missing my point - If you don't have the installation media, you may not be able to just transfer it.  For example, it's a quick and easy process to just install some programs and copy the data over - sometimes you have to do more than that.  It doesn't cost much time to do a test install and see if you can do this - but again, as I've been repeatedly saying - if you get the appropriate software (Acronis) or maybe even use the free tools as posted in one of the links I offered for VMWare, going physical to virtual should be relatively painless.
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