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Replacing a PC on the network


byronomo
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I tend to hold out on replacing PCs with newer models for at least 5yrs and then buy the most capable machine available (within reason) with the hopes that it will last 5+yrs.

 

I've just purchased a new machine to replace my "Main PC" (in my office at home used the most often for daily tasks, finances, etc.) that was purchased in 2005 (P4, Running XP Media Center).

 

In my network configuration, I basically store all files/data to my shares on my Windows Home Server (EX475), leaving my PCs with basically just having applications and configuration files stored locally. All PCs are backed up to WHS.

 

In the "old" days (5yrs ago when I didn't even have multiple PCs), to replace a PC, I would've either figured out a way to connect the old PC to the new PC so that I could transfer all required files (which would've naturally included data/media at the time) or I would've physically removed the old hard drive from the old PC and placed in an available bay on the new PC.

 

Now, in the WHS era, I am considering the following:

1. Relocate the old PC down to my "server room" and put it on the network, and run it "headless". I think I should be able to access it via RDP whenever I need to pull something off of it. As mentioned, the vast majority of data/media is already stored on the local shares, so I will basically just need to install applications on the new PC as needed and the frequency of needing to access the old PC should decline over time---and at some point I can consider myself "fully transitioned".

2. Physically remove the old PC from the network (wipe the drives and give it to a relative, or use it for some other application), but retain the backup of this PC on my WHS.

 

 

My questions:

1. Is this a reasonable way of going about what I'm trying to accomplish or is there a more elegant/efficient solution?

2. Once I remove the old PC from the network and wipe its drives, can I still restore files (on an individual basis) from the backup housed on the WHS to another network location (share or individual PC) without requiring the old PC to be on the network?

 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice/recommendations offered!

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No need to keep the old PC online if you don't want to. If you've backed it up with WHS, you can grab files as needed from the backup. Besides WHS backup, there are other backup solutions whose images you can mount when you need to pull some files. A free one is DriveImage XML. I've used it for years on my XP machines and it still works well. The image mounts quickly and you navigate as though you were looking at the machine in Windows Explorer. I mention this in case you run up against the 10 PC limit and need to dump it.

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Yes and Yes. This is exactly how I would do it. Just make sure you turn off the back ups for the old pc in WHS so you stop getting warnings. Otherwise, good thinking!

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Both Jim and DVN are correct. What I usually do is copy all data, favorites, outlook files, etc, out to my server, and go. Alternatively, you can pull just the drive out and attach it to you new computer and pull files off of there as well until you are convince you have them all. The image suggestion is good depending how large and how many drives you have as to whether or not you want to go that way. And of course you have you WHS backup.

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I'll definitely jump on the bandwagon.

 

Also, before WHS, I was using redirected folders in a Win2k3 domain at home with XP clients. What I've discovered with Windows 7 and WHS, however, is I can do basically the same thing with libraries. Mapping my libraries to WHS shares makes it even easier to keep my important data off of my client PCs. Upgrading/swapping out new computers in my house is a whole lot easier now.

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