Posts Tagged ‘Migration’


Guess I am like the cobbler’s kids who didn’t get their shoes when everyone else did.  I am the last of my clients, save one, to migrate off SBS and onto Windows 2012 R2 Standard.  I thought you could benefit from some of the issues I ran into, and solved.

Here’s my scenario.  Have a Hyper-V server running SBS 2011 as a virtual machine.  Created a new virtual machine and installed Windows 2012 R2, did updates.  Unfortunately, it sat for several months while I finally got a few days to do he migration.  More about that later.

Long ago, I migrated email and SharePoint to Office 365, so I had disabled services and IIS application pools on SBS.  My starting point was to fire them up again in order to remove them.  I did not want AD to migrate with all of those extra objects.

Removing Exchange Server 2008 R2

This did not start off well.  When I launched EMC, it failed to connect to the SBS server.  I ended up putting it aside for a few days but came back to it.  I had tried to guess or remember which services should be started, but I seemed to have failed.  I also only started the Exchange-related application pools.  I easily tracked down an article describing which services start automatically, fired them up, and enabled those that should start manually.  BTW it describes all of SBS services.

That did the trick, and EMC successfully opened.  But I knew that in order to uninstall Exchange, I had to remove the mailboxes.  Fortunately, I had a small number of them.  And to make it easy, I used Exchange PowerShell commands to do this.

Get-Mailbox | Disable-Mailbox
Get-Mailbox -Archive | Disable-Mailbox -Archive
Get-Mailbox -Arbitration | Disable-Mailbox -Arbitration

First, please note that my scenario had with SBS – a single mailbox database and server.  That is why there are no qualifying parameters on the commands.

If your first thought is to use EMC to remove mailboxes, CAUTION!  That method removes both the mailbox AND the user from AD.  If you do want to remove some users and their mailboxes, do that but otherwise use Disable-Mailbox.  There is a Remove-Mailbox command but it also removes both user and mailbox.

So what the first command does is get a list of mailboxes which are piped to the next command.  The second does the same thing but gets the archive mailboxes.  You will then not be surprised the third command gets the arbitration ones.

I tried just getting archive and arbitration mailboxes, but the id names were too long to display in their entirety, so piping was essential.  And easier. And faster.

I then tried to uninstall Exchange but got two failures.  The first block came from Trend Micro Worry Free Advanced that it was using the database and the second was the Offline Address Book in Public Folders.  I uninstalled the messaging agent for Trend Micro but getting rid of the OAB was harder.

First I tried to simply delete the public database but it was not empty (I knew that from the OAB warnings).  I then tried to create a new, empty one to mount but then Exchange would not let me create a second one.  So under Tools, I chose Public Folders and expanded the tree and selected OAB then the firs entry and deleted that.  It was the only entry I could delete.

Luckily, I was then able to uninstall Exchange.

Removing SharePoint

Could not have been easier.  Just uninstall from Control Panel.

Back to Windows 2012 R2

I had already joined the domain and installed Active Directory Services, so I was ready to promote it to a domain controller by starting the configuration on that role.  Just added to the existing domain and it just worked.

I needed a few more roles on this new server, and then trouble started.  I tried to add both Remote Access and Windows Update at the same time and the installation failed.  Separately they also failed.  Again and again.

I cheeked for updates and found plenty and installed and rebooted.  Still no luck in adding roles or features.  I finally found this article which pointed me to a fix.  Note that I modified both policies that it refers to.  After the gpupdate, installation of roles worked fine.

I had not run into this issue before with 2012 R2, so I think it is related to both the GPO settings from SBS 2011 and that AD is at 2008 R2 levels and cannot be promoted until SBS is removed from the domain.

But this puts me well on my way to being where I want to be.

Now I just have to move Worry Free Advanced and get client machines set up under Windows Essentials role.


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

You might have some confusion, as I did, about migrating from Windows 2003 (not SBS 2003) to SBS 2008. This is not so tough, but there are a few things you need to know. Let me help.

First, because there is no limitation on having Windows Server 2003 join an SBS domain, there is no 21 day clock to worry about. So a great part of the migration preparation and timing are things you don’t have to worry about.

Here are the steps you do need to do:

  1. Run forestprep and domainprep from the SBS 2008 DVD on the Windows 2003 machine.
  2. Don’t run the KB update for Exchange Server 2003.  It doesn’t work and isn’t needed.
  3. Create an answer file and use it for the SBS 2008 install.

Make sure the SBS 2008 machine is on the same network as the 2003 server.  Then, insert the USB or other device containing the answer file and begin the install from the DVD.  As a suggestion, when you create the answer file, check the box to make the installation unattended.  It eases some work on your part.

The first few things you need to do at this point are different from migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008.  Some things you don’t do, and others are unique to migrating from Windows Server 2003.

  • The Administrator built-in account will still be operative in the domain once SBS 2008 starts up.  You should create the network administrator account that will eventually replace it in the SBS 2008 console.  When you have removed the 2003 server from the domain later, you can disable the Administrator account.
  • The domain users probably won’t be visible in the SBS console.  You will need to do a bit of adjusting.  I cover the possible steps later.
  • The domain computers probably won’t be visible in the SBS console either.  Again, I will cover the steps later.
  • You don’t need to do, and in fact cannot do, the migration step shown on the SBS console tasks.  Just click the check box and move on.
How do you make the domain users visible?

I found it took two steps.

  1. On either server, open the Administrator tool for AD users and computers.  Find the container where your domain users are located, select the users, and move them to the SBSUSers container located under the MyBusiness container.
  2. From the SBS Console, click on the Users and Groups tab, and you should be on the Users sub-tab. If you have created a new network administrator account here, it should be visible, but the existing domain users should not be.  On the right hand task pane, click on “Change user role for user accounts.”  A window will appear that asks you to select the role  to be applied to users.  Select the appropriate role, click next, and at the bottom of the user accounts list, click on “Display all user accounts in the Active Directory.”  Then select all of the user accounts for the role you selected, and then complete the wizard.  Repeat for each different role you want to assign.

Once you have completed these steps, your existing domain users are visible in the SBS Console.

How do you make the domain computers visible?

This required only a single step.  Open the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from Administrator Tools.  Find the folder containing the domain computers.  Select them and move the selected computers to the MyBusiness/Computers Folder.

What next?

It is hard to cookbook exactly what the next steps are.  You probably want to relocate any shared folders and line of business applications to the new SBS 2008 box.  You also want to migrate from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2007 on SBS 2008. In order to do this, use System Manager on the 2003 box or Exchange Console on the SBS box to move the mailboxes.

You also need to re-home the pubic folders.  Once that is done, you can uninstall Exchange 2003 if you are sure that your mail is flowing correctly.  NOTE Make sure you run the wizards in the SBS Console or manually reset your router to forward SMTP requests to the SBS 2008 box! Also, if you use a smart host, configure it from the SBS Console.

If you have a custom connector set up in Exchange 2003, make sure it is set up and configured properly for Exchange 2007.  Delete any unneeded or duplicate connectors.

Follow the instructions in this article to remove Exchange 2003 from the domain: How to Remove the first Exchange 2003 Server.

Next, you can dcpromo the Windows Server 2003 from the domain, or if you have other uses for a domain server, it can be left as part of the domain.

I ran into this problem as a result of being in a rush and not carefully checking everything. Let me give you the short background.

SBS 2008 was to be installed in an existing Windows 2003 domain (not SBS 2003). The domain had only a single DC and a handful of client machines. A perfect migration scenario to SBS 2008.

There was a small challenge in terms of hardware. Windows 2003 Server was running on a 64-bit box, and the only other available box was a 32-bit but capable Pentium 4 one. What I did was to make a disk image of the existing hard drive onto a USB drive for backup, then physically move the drive from the 64-bit box to the 32-bit one. It booted up just fine and immediately began running as the existing 2003 DC. I put a fresh hard drive into the 64-bit box, plugged in the USB dongle with the answer file, and started the migration.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had one small maintenance task to do after the 2003 DC came up on the 32-bit box. I had to change the properties on the NIC to give it a static address. That turned out to be very important.

While the migration install got going, I raised the domain and forest levels of the existing domain. Then off to bed.

When I got back to to the systems the next day, I was surprised to see a message that Active Directory Replication was taking longer than expected. I gave it more time and went about some other things. In fact, I gave it more time several times. My “other tasks” became looking for problems in the event logs and in KB articles and other blogs. Nothing showed up.

Don’t ask me why I checked the settings on the network card, but I did. The static IP, gateway and all were just fine, but I had accidentally switched digits on the primary DNS server, which should have pointed to the DC itself. Instead of 242, I had entered 142.

I changed the setting, and low and behold, the progress bar on the SBS 2008 migration install starting moving again.