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Preserving Hyper-V virtual machines during operating system re-install

Posted on 2015-02-11
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Hi

I've inherited a Hyper-V 2008 Server ( no GUI) which has two partitions.  The C: partition contains the host OS and the VHD for the site's DC/main server.  The F: partition contains two other VHDs for servers running Exchange and some application software.  Because of space limitations the DC virtual disk can't be moved off the system partition.

We want to upgrade the system to Server 2012 Standard Edition i.e. with a GUI.  As I understand it, there is no support for an in-place upgrade between 2008 Hyper-V server and 2012 Standard.  

So, we have to do a fresh OS install.  I am hoping to do a 2012 custom installation and install the new OS onto the existing partition i.e. not formatting it and thus preserving the VHD that is already there.  

Before we crack on with this I'd be grateful if someone could confirm that what I'm suggesting is actually valid.  Also, assuming it is, what happens to the 2008 OS files?  Are they simply renamed to Windows.old?

Many thanks

Mark.
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Question by:MarkoIreland
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by:Philip Elder
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We always install our hosts in the following manner:
 C: Host OS Only
 X: Data/VHDX/Configuration Files

With a properly configured dual partition layout we can flatten the host at any time or recover the host at any time without an issue. The import process in 2012 R2 is fantastic. Little if any tweaking of the VM's own OS is required after being imported. Integration Services would need to be updated.
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by:MarkoIreland
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Yes, this is the way I would configure a new server.  Unfortunately, we are bound with what is already there. I would love to move the DC vhd off the system partition but there is no room and no prospect of getting more hardware.
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by:Philip Elder
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Back up the VM(s) on the C:, flatten, re-install the new OS, update, and configure.

Restore the backed up VM(s) after setting up the base VM configuration on the newly installed host.
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Easiest way to do this would be to export the DC VM to an external USB drive (make sure you shut down the VM first), install the new host OS, then import the VM back into Hyper-V.

As a precaution you could also take a System State backup within the DC itself. This will let you restore from the backup in case something happens to the exported VM files.

I'd also make a copy of the VHD file(s) for the DC VM on a separate USB drive as you can always build a new VM in Hyper-V and attach the VHD file to that. Just note that with this method you will need to reconfigure the NIC settings again.

Make sure you note down the following before you blow away the old host VM:
- Virtual Switch configuration
- TCP/IP settings of the DC itself
- Locations of VHD and VM configuration files

This article doesn't exactly apply to your situation but there are some parts that are relevant: http://blogs.technet.com/b/tommypatterson/archive/2013/02/15/migrating-hyper-v-virtual-machines-from-server-2008r2-to-server-2012-part-10-of-the-migration-and-deployment-series.aspx
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by:MarkoIreland
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Thanks.  Will be taking a backup to external drives anyway as part of the process, but perhaps it would be cleaner just to wipe C: as you say and then re-import the VM.
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