Here is my experience of Windows Home Server 2011 aka Vail installation under Hyper-V R2 server (Core2 Duo E7600, 8GB RAM, 500GB RAID 1 and 3TB RAID5). What could have gone wrong it actually went but let’s go by steps.
- During file copy at the very beginning I was experiencing couldn’t copy file XY. Problem: corrupt ISO file I was using. Solution: re-download the file.
- The setup make it further but I started experiencing random reboots and BSODs during install, this time it was happening soon after initial files copy finished. On the bright side I caught few of them and they were mostly mentioning memory corruption. Time for memtest86+ and for RAM test. It turned out that one of four Patriot DDR2 2GB CAS6 memory sticks was bad. Solution: Throw out the problematic stick and run the server with three sticks. Also donated to memtest86+, well deserved.
- Memory issues were still present during setup. Argh. Solution: Throw out the third memory stick (they like to work in pair it seems and a pair and a third wheel obviously isn’t something one should use) and replaced it with two older 1GB sticks I had collecting dust.
- I’ve made it to the step when setup says “Waiting for installation to continue” and shows a marquee progress bar. Except it didn’t finish. Ever. Now what. After peeking into log files located at C:\Users\All Users\Microsoft\Windows Server\Logs I’ve more or less soon understood that it has something to do with the “waiting for a web page to show”. After more digging I’ve found out that there were problems connecting to the internet and the internal web page wasn’t showing. Problem: the network card didn’t get an address from my DHCP for some reason. Solution: I’ve set a fixed IP and DNS records.
Hint: Type Ctrl+Alt+End to simulate Ctrl+Alt+Del from Hyper-V client. Pick Start Task Manager and File/Run. Run explorer.exe and you can browse around the file system.
It took me a couple of days to make it through but at least I did it. Hura. It took me that much because I was installing on a 1TB VHD disk on a RAID5 array and setup takes time each retry.
So, that’s it. Now it looks fine.
I was running a Windows Home Server under VMWare Virtual Server as a guest machine. It had a dedicated 750GB hard disk to host a fixed size virtual disk spanning entire hard disk.
These days I am migrating this and other virtual machine to the Hyper-V 2008 R2 free server and here is how I did migrate it.
- Uninstall Virtual Server Tools from guest machine (this is important at this point in time because later it can’t be done easily through add/remove programs).
- Shut down guest.
- Copy all VMDK files to a spare (new) 1.5 TB Seagate disk. This step isn’t strictly necessary but it was for me because the source disk had troubles reading some sectors – if I wanted to proceed I had to have all the files on a good disk. This step took something like 4 hours over 1Gb LAN.
- Download and run VMDK to VHD Converter.
- Convert VMDK files (as input select the one without numbers if your virtual disk is partitioned across many files, i.e. SomeDisk.vmdk). I converted to the same hard disk (it barely fits) and it took something like 7 hours.
- Copy the resulting VHD to the Hyper-V server (I could pick the server as target location in step 5. but I felt more comfortable doing conversion locally). This step again took something like 4 hours.
- Create a new Virtual Machine on Hyper-V server, attach the resulting VHD file as its disk.
- Run the machine, activate OS (it will detect “huge” hardware change and it will require activation).
- Install Integration Services (Action/Insert Integration Services Setup Disk on connection window) and that’s it.
- Hard disks are growing fast in size but network speed doesn’t. Thus such transfers will be slower and slower due to the sheer amount of data to transfer between disks.
- Such operation might take whole day
- If you use an external disk like I am then you should really stick with e-Sata instead of USB 2 or firmware (it is up to 4x faster)
- Have enough free space on hard disks