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WHS v1 Client Restore to new Hardware


byronomo
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I run HTPCs all around my house which are all backed up to my WHS. Several of my HTPCs are Lenovo Q150s.  I just bought a new Q150 and would like to configure it IDENTICALLY to the others. 

 

Is there a way for me to Restore a backup image from one of my existing Q150s to the new one and subsequently set the machine name as different, enter the valid Windows key and configure the new PC as a new WHS client?

 

If possible, I'm trying to avoid configuring the new client from scratch.

 

 

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I don't see why it wouldn't work, depending on what OS you are running on the HTPCs (you haven't said, except that it appears to be Windows of some sort).

 

The one caveat I would make is that, after the Restore is complete, do not leave the new HTPC connected to your LAN. Before it reboots, disconnect the network cable, then boot it up and change the Computer Name and key. Don't forget to uninstall the Connector at the same time.

 

Once all that is done, shut down, plug the network cable back in, and boot up. You will likely have to activate the key. Install the Connector and do a test backup.

 

Potential Gotchyas:

 

Part of my belief that you should be able to get away with this is because you're using WHS2011, not a Windows Domain. If it was a Domain I think you would have trouble with the new HTPCs SID being identical to another computer on the network.

 

Windows may not let you change the key while the new HTPC is disconnected from the LAN. In that case, I would try changing the key after reconnecting the new HTPC to the LAN.

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Thank you very much for your comments and guidance.  I am running Win7 Ultimate on this client and WHS v1 on the server.

 

I will give it a shot being mindful of some of the potential pitfalls that you've highlighted and will report back on how it all works out.   Thanks again!

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I'm happy to report that it worked!

Here is a brief summary of the steps that I went through that helped me accomplish this.  Below these steps, I'll list a few missteps.
 

  1. Prepare a bootable WHS v1 recovery USB stick to boot from that contains the proper drivers to restore a client PC.  Make sure and put the LAN adapter drivers on that same USB stick.
  2. Boot the new client from the USB stick (make sure PC is connected to your LAN---wired connection preferred)
  3. Restore the new PC using the desired backup from one of your other clients (Machine Name="ORIGINALPC")
  4. For me, I decided to retain the recovery partition on the new PC, so I only restored the main (largest) drive from ORIGINALPC
  5. After the restoration is complete (took just under 1hr) reboot the new PC
  6. Before the new PC boots, remove the LAN cable and the recovery USB stick.  Then allow PC to boot to Windows Desktop.
  7. Go to the Computer properties and change the machine name (Machine Name = "NEWPC")
  8. Also in Computer properties, enter a valid product key for the instance of Windows on NEWPC (but you won't be able to Activate it, just yet)
  9. Uninstall the WHS Connector using Control Panel
  10. Shut down NEWPC
  11. Plug LAN cable into NEWPC and boot
  12. Activate Windows
  13. Install the WHS connector by going to http://192.168.X.X:55000 (the address for your WHS).  When you go through the installation, you will only have the options to repair or to uninstall the connector (even though it was already uninstalled in step 9).  Select the option to uninstall the connector and it will remove some remnants of the connector and then it will take you directly to installing the new connector.
  14. When the installation finishes, you should have the WHS Icon in your system tray and hopefully it is green!

 

I hope I didn't leave out any steps, but that's the gist of what I did---following ikon's directions above.

 

A few small snags for me:

  • Initially, I tried to get "cute" by renaming the new PC ("NEWPC") and installed the connector on it BEFORE restoring the ORIGINALPC image. My goal was to back up the NEWPC in its original state (basically factory default) and retain that image in my backup history, which would make it easy to restore that PC to its original state, should I ever need to.   At this point (since I hadn't done it in a while), I'd forgotten that WHS restore allows you to restore specific drives rather than just a bare metal image of the drive, so I was thinking that I was going to loose a perfectly good legal windows instance (Win7 Home Premium).   This did NOT work. Ultimately the WHS got VERY confused upon the restore while still using NEWPC as the machine name. It did kinda connect to the new PC, but I got some errors.  Also I noticed that ORIGINALPC had taken on the description of NEWPC in the PC list on WHS console.  The tray icon remained red, and returned an error stating that my antivirus wasn't running or up-to-date (and it was).  I fixed this by basically uninstalling the connector, removing the PC from the backups from WHS console (give it about 10-15 mins to drop off the WHS system registry) and the basically going to step #13 above.  
  • If you are running media center and utilize your WHS, you will have to re-install the Windows Media Center Connector (I have no idea why the instance from the original image didn't just work automatically)

Aside from that, everything worked perfectly---this saved me a TON of time in setting up a new HTPC.  The alternative would've required me to re-install, configure:

  • 2 HDHR Primes
  • Tuner Salad
  • GuideTool
  • MyChannelLogos
  • MyMovies
  • HuluDesktop for MediaCenter
  • Netflix
  • Do a TON of Windows/Driver Updates
  • Several HTPC-friendly hacks (concurrent user sessions, large icons on Windows user screen, boot straight to WMC by retaining user credentials, etc)
  • Set up screen saver to show random family photos from server
  • Custom Power/Sleep settings
  • UPS monitoring software
  • Remove bloatware and install anti-virus of choice
  • Configure browser settings
  • Map desired network drives
  • and several others

 

Thanks again for your help!

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