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How do I move the system from Drive D back to Drive C

Posted on 2013-01-17
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Last Modified: 2013-01-17
We got a Server off lease where the system was installed on Drive D and we want it on Drive C. What product do I need and how can it be done. What software can turn a Drive D based System drive into a Drive C based system.
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Question by:bob_mechler
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Author Comment

by:bob_mechler
ID: 38790116
It's a Windows 2003 Server. The solutions I've seen are too costly.

Bob
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Expert Comment

by:Coffinated
ID: 38790124
I don't think it can be easily done, you can try cloning tools, but there may be too many registry refernces to D drive. In addition programs using .ini files would need to be edited.

You may could try migrating physical system into virtual just to test if that will work.
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Author Comment

by:bob_mechler
ID: 38790172
What does Microsoft Backup on the System Tools not back up. I'm assuming it won't back up the registry or any files in use by services etc.
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Accepted Solution

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jpgobert earned 2000 total points
ID: 38790212
Disclaimer... this may cause you nothing but grief or help you score a major set of geek points... it's really better to re-install but if you want to try... everything I wrote here is from memory as best as I could walk it through in my head...  (except the list of services that definitely won't accept a drive change)...

Few questions first...

What besides the base install of Windows Server 2003 has been installed?  If any of the following have been installed they can't be edited and will have to be uninstalled and then re-installed after fixing the drive lettering issue.
Certificate Services
DHCP Service
Exchange Server
IIS
SharePoint Services
Terminal Services
WSUS
WISN

Second, what's the disk & partition configuration on the server?  Obviously something caused this... are there any other partitions?  I'm asking because you can adjust this all you want but if you don't fix the root cause then re-lettering could happen again.

Check Boot.ini to find what the disk - partition mapping is for the active system partition... be prepared to edit it correctly if you make any changes to the disk / partition config on the machine.  As always, create a backup copy in a safe place that you can restore back if needed.

Backup the registry and then search & replace all instances of D:\ with C:\... just remember that once you reboot you'd better have the lettering worked out or you'll need to restore the registry backup and try again.

You may have text files on the machine that have a fully defined path in it for use by another program (settings file)... You'll want to run a text search on the machine (which can take a while) for files containing D:\ then prepare to edit each as needed...  The following site has an app named FileSeek that does an excellent job on these types of searches in Windows and is decently quick.  http://www.fileseek.ca/

Once you think you've gotten everything updated take a backup that's stored on external media (USB HD).  Once you have a backup, double check that you have a bootable disk with the tools you prefer to use to wipe the server's drive(s), re-partition and re-write the 2003 compatible boot files.  If you have access to diskpart, bootsect and maybe bcdedit you should be ok...

Once you've cleaned disk 0 with diskpart and created a new primary aligned and active partition on that disk you can format it, write the nt52 bootcode to the drive and restore the data from the USB backup you have handy.

If you've caught everything then things should boot... if it doesn't boot right away double check boot.ini to make sure it is properly written... you may likely run into additional items that give you grief but until you try you'll never know.

Any applications that give you grief, and which can be easily re-installed, are probably better off just being re-installed rather than dealing with glitches.
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Author Closing Comment

by:bob_mechler
ID: 38790464
Excellent.  Fortunately just IIS will need to be reinstalled. I can install applications from original media. Very informative.
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