Upgrading a File/Printer Server to W2k8 from w2k3 as VM - In place?

Posted on 2011-09-27
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi everyone, I had a situation arise that I wasn't really sure how to deal with.

We have our main file server that also runs print services. Its running Windows Server 2003. I want to upgrade it to Windows Server 2008 as a virtual machine and host it on our iSCSI SAN. I don't have a problem with this an am fully capable of performing it.

My main question is:
Everyone has shortcuts, mapped printers, etc. already made to the file server \\MAINFILESERVER . Can I just do a new image of 2k8, remove the 2k3 box from the domain, name the 2k8 VM the same thing as before, rejoin to the domain, and then import the file structure/shares and print settings (via printer migration tool) and be fine?

This would greatly reduce my efforts in this upgrade if this is an option. Let me know, thanks!
Question by:MikeC7
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Expert Comment

ID: 36710185
yes i have done this before. i have done this domains controllers also.

Make sure you install the windows xp drivers onto the printers on the new server.


Author Comment

ID: 36710212
Thanks mustang83, the users see no changes if I do this, say over the weekend?

Accepted Solution

mustang83 earned 500 total points
ID: 36710421
no if done right. You want to make sure you keep the same ip address and same hostname. This sorts other strange issues.

Ive used this technique on multiple occasions and works fine.

Give yourself time. I did the dc change over night but a weekend would be better as you can test on the sunday.
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Author Comment

ID: 36710552
I'm assuming it would be ok to copy all the files and join the VM to the domain. Then on the weekend take the other one offline, deassociate, and rename the other vm?
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 36710598
I would start the file migration first. You don't need to disjoin the old server from the domain; just rename it and change IP addresses.

Are you going to 32 bit Windows 2008, or 64 bit Windows 2008 R2? There seem to be lots of issues trying to get 32 bit XP clients to work with 64 bit print servers.

I suggest that you consider implementing a domain based DFS namespace in the future. This allows you to map drives and have shortcuts to \\domain.local\dfs\users\%username% , for example. You can change which server and share the "users" folder resides, which makes switching file servers, adding file servers, and using backup file servers so much easier because the UNC path to the files never needs to change.

Author Comment

ID: 36710762
Thanks for the info Kevinsieh, I was working with DFSR a while back and it was a nightmare. Windows somehow started moving renaming everything into temp files and luckily I found a lot of other people having the same issue and someone had a script to restore them all. It was like having a ghost wreaking havoc on your file server! I do agree it would be much easier to use file share aliases.
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 36711899
I use DFS-R and DFS-N as the core of my file sharing. If you had problems with DFS-R, you weren't doing something right. I would at least do DFS-N (even in a single server domain for future migration capability).

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37204699

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