Cincinnerdi Tech Stuff

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We still need floppies? Seriously, Microsoft?!

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Only one installation issue

The end of a long marathon, migrating to SBS 2008

Running SBS 2008 migration on a virtual server takes us on a detour down memory lane

Working on a migration of Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 to SBS 2008, I had jumped thru the previous 283 migration hoops (I exaggerate, but just a little) and was ready to boot the 2008 installer DVD with my handy SBSAnswerFile which Microsoft wants me to put on “…the root of a USB drive, floppy disk or a partition on the destination server.” Hmmm….

– USB drive is a no-go on the ESX server.
– Let’s put it on a 2nd virtual hard disk. No, the migration installer didn’t “see” it.
– OK, let’s put it on a virtual CD drive. No. It didn’t see it again.
– Finally, I went to the extra hassle of putting it on a virtual floppy. Success!

The blow by blow follows:

In order to create a floppy on my 64 bit Windows 7 VM, I downloaded the excellent WinImage tool. I “injected” (their term) the SBSAnswerFile.xml into the floppy and saved it as answer.vfd.

WinImage makes short work of creating a virtual floppy

I then uploaded it to the datastore into a folder I named ISO using the datastore browser, upload facility.

VMware wants it’s floppy images to have the extension “.flp”, so I simply renamed it using the datastore browser to answer.flp.

The floppy image shown in the datastore browser.

I then added the floppy image in the virtual machine settings so that it connects at startup.

Now, after seeing it NOT work many times, when the installation DOES see the answer file, you see the following:

A pleasant site to see

Ojala! The answer file was found and migration can begin!

On the other hand, if it DOESN’T see the answer file, you will see the dialog requesting information about the time zone. And the information input in the answer file for the time zone is, of course, not there.

If you see this BEFORE the "Start the migration..." dialog, the answer file was not found by the installer. Here, the screen follows the migration start dialog and the time zone is as entered in the answer file.

So, the SBS 2008 migration continues to be one of the champs in huge projects to be avoided. David Neale (Nerds On Site, London, England) prefers to bypass the migration approach and just install fresh and convert, saying, “I like the old fashioned approach.”

The following sites provided help on tools for this. Another case of “standing on the shoulders of giants.” THANKS!

– Scott Ledyard
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Written by scottledyard

2010, March 4th at 7:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the post – I went through the same trial and error and finally found a couple three posts culminating with your info in getting the answer file recognized by SBS2008 setup. I appreciate the screen shots so I could tell what to look for (I like lots of pictures…) Have you seen the work of Jeff Middleton at sbsmigration.com? Remarkable documentation of the migration process.

    veijones

    2010, March 28th at 9:36 am

    • @veijones Thx. I’ll check that out.
      Scott Ledyard

      scottledyard

      2010, March 28th at 9:39 am


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