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Need Advice: Decomissioning WHS2012R2: Proper steps for Client PCs


stumpy
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So I've been thinking about decomissioning WHS2012R2 for some time.  It's not that WHS2012R2 missed the mark, in fact its been quite a stable and capable platform since I began.  The challenge is that I'm not a server admin and the sheer complexity of WHS requires me to become one every time I want to do anything besides client backups or diagnose the system.  In addition, its really just made my whole home network complex and I'm in in a "simplify" mode right now.  Your recent podcasts on the sizable capabilities of the NAS pushed me to make the move.  I've purchased a QNAP TVS-471 and have copied all my data from WHS to the NAS.  Now the fun part...

 

With WHS, I've created a domain where all my client PCs are attached.  I'd like to remove that domain but don't want to lose all the client profiles and the data that is stored locally on the client in those profiles.  Is there some good step by step advice you would have to remove the clients from the domain (and any other necessary steps) so that I can retire the server without imploding my home network?

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W7

Computer > Properties > Change settings under Computer name, domain and workgroup settings. Click "Change" and enter the name of the Workgroup.

W8

ThisPC > Properties > Advanced system settings > Computer name Change

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I should have specified. I have two clients; one is w7 and the other is is w10. Do I need to create a workgroup and assign both clients to it? And is that all I have to do?

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I never even made my workstations domain members at home.  You can make your systems "clients" of a Windows Server 2012 Essentials, 2012R2 Essentials, or 2012R2 Standard (with the essentials role) without doing so.  That way, you can do client backup and some of the important things without the complexity of the systems being domain members.

 

Paul Braren of TinkerTry made an excellent video on it:

 

That said, I find I have to do very, very little to keep my Server 2012R2 Standard (with Essentials role) box running.  Most of it is just setting up some file shares for home use.  What issues are you having?  Before you decommission, I'd just like to see if any of us can help you make your life easier and still use what you have.

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Agreed, I would remove the clients form the Domain and put them back in as Wrokgroup members per the video above.  You might also want to work at Veeam Backup.  It's free and you could point the backups to still save to the server.

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That said, I find I have to do very, very little to keep my Server 2012R2 Standard (with Essentials role) box running.  Most of it is just setting up some file shares for home use.  What issues are you having?  Before you decommission, I'd just like to see if any of us can help you make your life easier and still use what you have.

same here - I rarely touch mine. can we help in some way?

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If you have it up and running then the only reason to "decommission" would be to save power.  It should not need much "maintenance" and will make an excellent, Media Server, File Server and Backup Server for starters. I use the inbuilt MS backup as well as Veeeam (Free) and only look at the Dashboard once a month to see if there are any alerts. My only addins are StableBit Scanner and Drivepool (not Free). I have all my important Data duplicated via Drivepool and also baked up to Amazon Cloud.

 

"Happy Essentials (SkipDomainJoin) Fanboy"

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I'd like to remove that domain but don't want to lose all the client profiles and the data that is stored locally on the client in those profiles

I've not tried removing the clients from the domain - I have to say that I'm happy with that aspect of my WSS 2012 R2 setup - but when I was migrating into the domain I had good luck with the free Personal version of a tool called User Profile Wizard from ForensIT which saved my bacon on a couple of the migrations that Windows itself did not handle neatly. If I read their documentation correctly it works just as well for a machine joining a workgroup as it does for one joining a domain.
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so it's not so much that it requires maintenance. In fact as I stated in the original post it's been quite stable and I've never had a problem with the server. It's my lack of knowledge that I have a problem with. For example, my network went haywire a few weekends ago and I'm not smart enough when I see the alert logs and what to diagnose. Ultimately there was some sort of hiccup wth the dns server and some sort of caching event which a reboot of my entire network seemed to resolve.

 

Another challenge is simplicity. For example to get plex server going I have to learn about setting the server as a service decoupling from any specific user. Probably nothing to you guys but takes more time than I have these days. With the NAS boxes, I literally only have to check a box to get it going. So I'm sure I sacrifice some functionality for ease of use.

 

The third point and something I'm sure all of you are familiar with.... I like trying out new things and tinkering. Whs 2012 r2 .... Done it for 2-3 years now and my hobby tells me it's time to try something new

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The third point and something I'm sure all of you are familiar with.... I like trying out new things and tinkering. Whs 2012 r2 .... Done it for 2-3 years now and my hobby tells me it's time to try something 

enough said! :)

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