SBS Migration – Can’t Find Source Server Fix

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Migration, SBS 2011, Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2008 Server
Tags: , ,

What Scares Me About Migrations

It’s always a bit scary doing migrations.  First, there is a lot of prep work to do that is designed to put your SBS 2003 or 2008 server in a state that is receptive to the migration processes.  Then there is – at least for me – two more scary moments.

  1. Will the information in the Answer File prove correct and sufficient for the migration to get started?
  2. Once the migration is finished and the destination server is being restarted, will it show errors or will there be a successful migration?

I have been disappointed as each of these scenarios have arisen.  I will address the second one in a subsequent post, but let me share with you a recent heart-stopping encounter with the first and how to fix it.

Finding the Source Server

In the answer file, you must provide among other things:

  • Source server name
  • Source server IP address
  • Source server domain name
  • Destination server name
  • Destination server IP address

Why wouldn’t migration not find the source server and how can you fix it? What migration has done by this point is established a good base in the destination server for it to operate.  For the network IPv4 properties of the network connection, they should be set so that:

  • IP address is what you provided for the destination server in the answer file
  • First DNS server is the IP address of the destination server
  • Second DNS server is the IP address of the source server

Toss in the source server name and domain, and you should be all set for a DNS query to properly resolve into an IP address.  It is my assumption that migration doesn’t rely on the  IP address you provide for the source as it wants to make certain DNS queries work.  Or maybe not as you will see.  Because even when all this is correct, migration continues to give you an error that it can’t find the source server.

Getting Access to the  Destination Server while in Migration Mode

Make no mistake about it.  When you get to migration mode, you have a working SBS2011 server below it, although not fully configured for the domain.  But how do you get to features and functions?

Pretty simply, actually.  While the migration wizard is in progress, just press SHFT+F10.  That will launch a command window.  From there, you can run command line executables to launch GUI objects.

Here is a short list you might likely need:

  • control.exe – launches Control Panel
  • services.exe – launches Services
  • control.exe /name Microsoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter – straight to Network and Sharing Center
  • taskmgr.exe – launches Task Manager
  • mmc.exe – Launches Microsoft Management Console

From these, you can get to an awful lot of Windows features.

But What About Not Finding Source Server?

I checked the network settings and they all looked fine.  I checked the DNS on the source server and it had the right values.  Stumped, I decided to make an end run.

The first thing was to get access to the hosts file.  I find the simpliest way is to use Notepad, so at the command prompt, type notepad.exe and press enter.  Then open the hosts file (remember to change file type from .txt to all files) in the path c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc:

Openng hosts file

The thought was to add the source server to the hosts file so migration might find it when DNS did not seem to.  I added the source server as shown here (your IP address ad server name should match the source server).

Modifying hosts file

Just be sure your destination server is set to use hosts.

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center as described earlier.
  2. Click on Change Adapter Settings.
  3. Right-click on the network and choose properties.
  4. Scroll down to IPv4 to highlight and click propertes.
  5. Click on the WINS tab.
  6. Verify your settings match the following, then click OK twice and close Network and Sharing Center.
  7. Click NEXT in the migration wizard, and it gets past the source server issue.

WINS settings

  1. Tong Wang says:

    Thanks for the article. I am getting the same problem, but unfortunately, the above steps didn’t solve the problem for me. My SBS can’t PING any computer on LAN, but other computers on LAN can PING SBS. Any idea what’s going on?


  2. Being able to ping in both directions is critical to successful migration. When you say other computers can’t ping SBS, are you pinging by NETBIOS name or IP address? IP address might succeed where NETBIOS might fail. If by IP address works, and I assume it does, but not by NETBIOS name, then the other computers are not getting DNS resolution to the new SBS server. Examine the DNS records, and as well, check to make sure that they are pointing to the correct local DNS server. IPCONFIG /ALL will reveal the settings.

    You didn’t say, but is the migration halting and saying it can’t find the source server?


  3. Tong Wang says:

    The migration is saying it can’t find the source server.

    I am pinging using IP addresses. SBS is, my DC/DNS is, so from SBS if I do:

    ping —– it didn’t work

    from DC/DNS server, if I do:

    ping —— it worked


  4. Hmm, have you tried reaching the source ( from the destination server (far easier if you call them source and destination to identify them more clearly) in other ways? If you try viewing the network from the destination server (which if I understand correctly can’t ping the source) and see if it shows up? ANy possibilty a hardware or software firewall could be preventing this? In my case, ISA server was also installed on the source server and had to be uninstalled prior to migration; it was not playing nicely.

    when you ping from destination to the source, what is the message? No reply, destination not reachable, ???


  5. Tong Wang says:

    Basically, the destination server didn’t recognize the LAN, in the Network and Sharing Center, it says un-identified network, instead of a normal domain network name. My source server doesn’t have ISA/TMG installed on it, and it can be pinged from other computers on the LAN. When I ping from destination to source, it says destination not reachable.


  6. Do SHFT+F10 on the destination server and do IPCONFIG /ALL to see what the settings are. I would also double check what the adapter settings look like, so from the same command prompt, type control.exe and then do network and sharing center, change adapter settings. Your IP address should be with a subnet mask of and a gateay address that is .1 or whatever your gateway is. DNS servers should be first destintion server and next source server.

    If these don’t come up, check your answer file to make sure the values there match the values you intend.

    Good luck.


  7. Are the NIC drivers installed properly?


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