ESXi Virtualize Server 2003 for Small Business, shuts down immediately

We are trying to migrate a Server 2003 installation from a physical server  to a VM on an ESXi.  The original server only had a 160GB hard drive in it and the guy that installed it sliced it up into 3 partitions.  That said, we're also trying to resize the partitions as a part of the migration.  At any rate, we have a Windows XP Pro VM on the ESXi server that we're using to do the migration and the actual P->V seems to go well.  We are able to boot the server but we get an error on boot notifying us that 'At least one service or driver failed during startup...'.   The VM goes through the boot process and gets to 'Preparing network connections'.  It will stay there for a time and then immediately start the shutdown process, with no opportunity to log into the server.  We have tried the P->V process multiple times, sometimes without resizing the partitions and trying each of the SCSI controllers, etc., with no luck.  
cybertechcafeAsked:
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Here is our HIR guide for SBS:
http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2008/02/sbs-shadowprotect-some-hardware.html

If you can get into Safe Mode, make sure that all of the drives have the correct letters, make sure the IP address assigned to the NIC is correct, if you can install VMWare additions, then reboot.

Run the above indicated processes to clean out the original hardware from the OS. Make sure to uninstall the hardware vendor's management software as that will cause issues too.

Philip
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
How is your SBS server licensed?  Is it OEM copy of SBS through Dell, etc..., or is it through a retail MS license?
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cybertechcafeAuthor Commented:
Actually, since originally posting this, we've had the exact same issue on a second server.  Both are being virtualized onto newly installed ESXi servers.  One is an OEM Dell and the other is a retail Server 2003 R2 (e.g., not SBS).  
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
The OEM will definitely have issues as you cannot re-license it.  The retail should work.

Try this.  Download Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Server or Acronis True Image Server trial version.  Image system and use VMware vConverter to convert image and see if you have the same issue
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cybertechcafeAuthor Commented:
Ok, very weird.  I just logged onto the server (non OEM) that I had attempted to virtualize over the weekend.  On the physical server, it's IP was x.y.z.20 and it reportedly failed when I tried to start it immediately after the virtualization.  I just attempted to log into the box via GoToAssist and the virtualized server answered.  The original server is still online (responding to ping requests to x.y.z.20) and now, somehow, the virtualized box is online as x.y.z.107 (an IP in their DHCP range).  It's reporting that I have 2 days to activate it.  Could my problem be that I'm trying to log into the servers too quickly after the virtualization process completes (typically within 5 minutes of the converter reporting complete)?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
You should not have the old server and new server on at the same time, it will cause havoc with DNS and AD.  Try activating the OEM license on the VM and you will find that it will not be possible unless you installed a retail version originally

The new VM picked up dhcp most likely and registered in DNS
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cybertechcafeAuthor Commented:
I've been setting the NIC not to connect at power on to avoid this (since the kerfuffle noted above).  We've been doing some additional testing and I just ran a successful P->V on an OEM licensed server, but I *was* able to replicate the error noted above *before* getting it online.  When the server comes up and begins displaying the pre-login dialog boxes (preparing network settings, etc.), an error pops up stating that one or more services failed to start.  If I *did  not* click on that message to make it go away, the server immediately shut down.  If I immediately clicked on it, I got the error that the server would have to be activated within 3 days and was able to get logged in and (ultimately) get the server activated.  It was kindof moot since this was a server that has been long since retired (e.g., wasted activation), but I did thing that was interesting.  

The Acronis thing did not go well, but I attribute a lot of that to my lack of knowledge of Acronis.
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cybertechcafeAuthor Commented:
Ok, just repeated the process on the server that we're continuing to have trouble with, and got the same results that we had before.  Ran the vmware converter on the running server (OEM license).  Conversion went well, set the NIC not to connect at power on and started the server.  It started, and I got the 'at least one service or driver failed to start...' message and, this time, clicked 'ok'.  Sat at 'preparing network connections' for a while, flashed the logon box and then (before I could send a <ctrl>+<alt>+<del>) went to 'shutting down'.  I'm about to start looking for a hammer :)
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
If you can log into safe mode uninstall all OEM software and drivers.  If not run a repair off the OS CD
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cybertechcafeAuthor Commented:
Well, the project is done, finally, and safe mode seems to have been the key.  The box was an original install from Dell of Server 2003 for Small Business with the Dell key in it (e.g., not the key on the COA label).  We procured a new license / key that was not the Dell key but still had to find a way to get into the box.  Booting into safe mode, then safe mode with networking and *then* normal mode brought up the activation window and gave me the option to enter the new key.  Note, this was not consistent, I rebooted out of it once and it took me several times to get back.  At any rate, back to the story.  I entered the new key and was able to activate the software, all seemed well (this is the part that we've done over and over again in the past).  I powered down the original server and then enabled the networking on the newly virtualized server and rebooted it and it went right back to the same issue.  It would boot and, immediately prior to the login splash screen, go to 'Windows is shutting down'.  I then booted into safe mode and used msconfig to do a diagnostic boot.  I then started enabling single services until I found the one(s) that caused it.  Ultimately, with windows user mode driver framework, uninterruptible power supply and virtual disk service, the machine will boot and is running *very* well.  We're getting regular snapshots and backups and are planning a bare-metal install of Server 2008 in relatively short order.
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