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I have used this method for moving NT 4.0 and Exchange 5.5 servers off of one hardware platform and onto new hardware. MS doesn't support this tip, but it has worked 100% of the time for me:
- Backup the original server using NT Backup (backup the C and D drives).
- Install a temporary installation of NT onto the NEW hardware. Install into a temp directory (i.e. c:tempnt). It is not necessary to install any service packs at this point -- unless this is required to get your tape backup device working.
- Copy the c:boot.ini file from the new server to a floppy diskette. Without this file the upgrade cannot be accomplished.
- Restore the backup of the old hardware to the new server hardware.
- Make sure the restore is complete before rebooting. Modify the c:boot.ini file with the new boot directory information that you saved onto the floppy. The partition number for the TEMPNT installation is the correct one for booting. You must modify the others to match it.
- Disconnect the network cable from the old Exchange server and move it to the new server. At this point, the old server should remain off the network. You can just turn the server off and leave it off if you wish.
- Restart the new server with the Windows NT installation CD in the drive and choose to upgrade Windows NT. Choose the default selections until you are prompted for the directory in which to install/upgrade. Do not install/upgrade the TEMPNT directory. Choose the directory name of the old Exchange server (eg. WINNT35, or WINNT.)
- Remove old devices that do not start properly after the restore. Install any new hardware devices that were not installed on the old hardware.
- Verify that all networking, Exchange Server and other services start properly. You will likely have to reconfigure the TCPIP settings of the server and possibly remove the old network adapter drivers.
- Reinstall Service Packs and hotfixes.
Dig Deeper on Legacy Microsoft Exchange Servers