We still need floppies? Seriously, Microsoft?!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!