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Transfering data drives from old WHS2011 install to a new server


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I installed WHS2011 on my parents HP MediaSmart server. It went fine for a short while then the system drive died and I suspect that the MediaSmart server has some PSU issues. The server still has the two data drives and those are working.


I've purchased a new HP Micro Server NL40 for them. I'm currently installing WHS 2011 again, this time on a 2tb WD Red drive.


Can I simply move the two data drives from the old server to the new server? Or will that some how mess things up?


As always all comments and suggestions are warmly welcome


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Before you try anything, please make sure you have a complete, verified backup of the data.


Yes, I think you should be able to move the drives over. You probably will have to go into Disk Manager and import the drives into the new system.


Be aware, you may have some issues with the shared folders, particularly if you've added your own shares (your shares will have to be re-created).


Assuming you've moved the default shares on the existing system from the OS drive to the data drive(s), you will likely have to do that again. You shouldn't lose anything during that process. Don't freak out when it talks about overwriting the existing folder; it simply means existing files would get overwritten if they already exist in source & destination. Since you would be doing the moves right after installation, there wouldn't be any files in the source, so no issue.

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Do you have sufficient drive for both?  If so, I'd leave the drives in place and RoboCopy the data over the LAN.

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thanks guys,

the old sys drive in old MediaSmart server is dead. So I have the mediasmart server with data drives in it.

On the new server I just have the new system drive.


I'm going to try and just transfer the drives physically from HP MediaSmart to HP MicroServer and the boot up the HP Microserver and see what happens. Hopefully the drives will just appear with driver letters. I would think that I can access the old server folders via the driveletter path f:\serverfolders\documents for example and then move the files to the new server folder locations.


Only thing is if WHS2011 will be confused about seeing ServerFolders directories on these newly inserted drives and mix them with the serverfolders created during install.


Before I follow ikons suggestion I'll create a copy of f:\ServerFolders to f:\OrgServerFolders. Then i'll migrate the empty brand new default shares from D:\ to the data drive.


I'll report back how it goes.

- Chr

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No, the server will not get confused about the folders. It already has the current path in the Registry. You simply have to right-click the current folders and select to Move them to the 'new' data drives. There is zero problem with having the same folder names on 2 different drives.


Just a reminder: you likely will not see the drives show up right away as drive letters. Most likely, you will have to use Disk Manager to Import the drivers into the new system.

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I got the server up and running and added the data drives. They got mounted automatically as F: and G:. The new system drive is mounted as C: and D:.

I then tried to move the default shares to the F:\ drive but I got an error message that the folders already existed. So I renamed the old ServerFolders directory and then did the Shared Folder move from the WHS2011 console. After that I simply moved the data back in to the relevant shares and recreated the non standard shares.


All in all fairly simple move.


Thanks for the help and advice

- Chr

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Yeah. Now that you mention it, I recall running into that; did exactly the same as you; pretty easy overall.


Glad it's all working.

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  • 3 years later...

I also have an older WHS2011 with hardware that is about to die, and I need to replace the systemboard, PSU, and hard drives. The old data volume is on 4 SATA drives configured as a RAID5 array using the old system's on-board SATA controller as the RAID configuration. So there will be no way to just plug in the old drives into a new replacement system (the RAID configuration won't be recognized). Besides, I need new higher-capacity drives in the new system to allow for growth. I plan to copy the data using Robocopy.


I'd consider Linux or some other NAS variant, but I have Windows apps on the WHS2011 and need to host them.  So I believe I need to find a way to reinstall WHS2011 on a completely new hardware platform. I am surprised Microsoft hasn't offered a WHS2016 or cloud-based alternative. I think I have only one path forward, and that is new hardware and reinstallation of WHS2011 on it.


I have the original install media for WHS2011. After re-installation of WHS2011 to a different IP with a temporary computer name. For a short time I will need both hardware systems up so I can do the Robocopy. I would plan to swap the IP addresses and computer names from the old server to the new server. I've had some luck in the past with physical-to-virtual ports into VMware, but I don't want to spend $$$ on licensing.


Two Major Questions:


1. Do I go with the traditional install of WHS2011 on new bare metal hardware?

2. Do I instead create a virtual host and port my existing WHS2011 as a P2V guest on the new hardware as a VM?


Option 1: Physical

a. How do I activate Windows Home Server 2011 on the new replacement hardware? 

b. Is there any practical way to migrate the existing WHS2011 backups and configuration to the new hardware?

c. Recommendations for a new bare metal hardware platform? I'd like it:

   -- cost is always a factor

   -- should I consider SSD flash or any volumes (does WHS2011 have built-in intelligence to recognize SSD and prevent disk defragmentation and other tasks that are counter-indicated on SSD, for example)

   -- support for RAID

   -- support large disk 

   -- prefer something faster than SATA disk, are cost-effective home consumer products with SAS controllers and SAS drives?


Option 2: VM

a. Is there a opensource alternative or a "home user" license for VMware ESXi vSphere that I can use without breaking the bank? 

b. same questions about the right hardware for the hypervisor host 





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