Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

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Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby Chimera » 28. Feb 2021, 20:43

I am relatively out of the loop with newer VM software. I used to mess around with VMs quite often several years ago, but I'm a bit out of practice, so consider me new. Here's the situation:
I have a friend who owns a bowling alley, and has contacted me to help him with his computerized scoring system. He obtained it legally from another bowling center that was shutting down, and got all of the infrastructure as well as the server that ties everything together. The older server is a Windows 2000 Server box, running on a Pentium 4, with SCSI hard drives and the scoring server software already installed (obviously). The problem is that this old server is showing signs of impending death, and we need to get this system back up as soon as possible (It crashed pretty hard when it was taken live with several lanes operational). Would it be possible to clone the drives over to a VM and have everything run from there? I know that emulating W2K server is possible, and I know that emulating SCSI interfaces is possible, but I'm not sure what the best way to approach this issue is. While we do legitimately have the program on the source drives, we do not have a way to re-install the program if those drives fail. I have successfully created clone images of the drives (on drive with two partitions). I have a new host system with a 10-series Core i5 and 16GB of RAM, which should have no problems hosting this VM, I'm just at a loss as to where to start with this project. Any advice? Just pointing me in a direction would be enough.
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby scottgus1 » 28. Feb 2021, 23:42

I would suggest using a Macrium Reflect boot CD to make a Macrium image of the shut-down Windows 2000 server. Then restore the image into a VM with a SCSI drive for storage. If you show us the 2000's Device Manager and Disk Management we might be able to give more advice.

Also, read through this whole thread viewtopic.php?f=6&t=94678 a 2000 convert to VM. The OP never reported back if successful, but the ideas are all good. Especially note the MergeIDE requirement.
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby Chimera » 2. Mar 2021, 00:29

Thank you very much for the link and advice. I seem to be having trouble getting the older machine to boot with a Macrium rescue disk, and I'm not sure why, but I have a few more things I can try. If I manage to get this whole thing working, I will definitely post a record of my journey to help anyone else who might have this problem in the future.
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby mpack » 2. Mar 2021, 14:26

Chimera wrote:Thank you very much for the link and advice. I seem to be having trouble getting the older machine to boot with a Macrium rescue disk, and I'm not sure why, but I have a few more things I can try.

Stick to getting Macrium to work - otherwise all you do is create even more problems elsewhere.

So concentrate on why the Macrium Rescue cd doesn't boot. Start by making sure you use a PC with a CD drive, enable CD boot in the PC BIOS and make it first in the boot order. If the "older machine" has USB boot capability that that's even better, because you can now create the archive on that same drive.
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby Chimera » 3. Mar 2021, 23:58

I've created several versions of the Macrium PE Rescue media, and none will actually boot in the older machine, even with the 32-bit versions, but I was able to image the disks bu connecting the computers by making a crossover ethernet cable and accessing the drives that way. I used Macrium on the new machine to create an image of the two partitions on the older machines, which gives me a .mrimg file, which I need to utilize as a live, usable image. Is ViBoot a reasonable solution to this, in conjunction with VirtualBox, or is there another path I should start sniffing out? It's worth noting I'm currently operating with the free version of Macrium, although I have no problem with buying a version if necessary.
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby scottgus1 » 4. Mar 2021, 07:12

Free Macrium should work just fine.

Chimera wrote:I used Macrium on the new machine to create an image of the two partitions on the older machines,

Be sure these 'partitions' are the entire disk of the original PCs, not just the lettered C drive. There's a master boot record needed too.

Did you run MergeIDE in the old computer first? (referenced in the topic I linked to above). If not you might have trouble.

If your image file contains the entire disk, now you need it inside the VM. Mpack had a tutorial explaining restoring a disk image into a VM, but I regret I can't find it to link it.

Assuming you have a modern Windows 7 or later host from the subforum you posted in, I would do the following:

1. Make a 2000 VM with suitable disk and RAM sizes. If the old computer had multiple CPUs or a multi-core CPU, use two processors in the VM. Else use one processor. Let all the other 'hardware' be what Virtualbox chooses.

2. Use the host Windows PC's Disk Management to make a fixed-size VHD (not dynamic-expanding, not VHDx) 105% bigger than the image file. Mount this VHD to the host OS. (web-search how to do this, it is not hard)

3. Copy the image file into the mounted VHD.

4. Unmount the VHD from the host OS and attach it to the VM as another disk file.

5. If the Macrium Restore CD started off as an ISO file that you burned to CD, put the ISO file into the VM's Optical drive. Else, insert the Macrium CD into the host CD drive, then set the VM's CD drive to point to the host CD drive.

6. Start the VM and let the Restore CD or ISO boot. Restore the image on the VHD to the primary VM disk.

7. Take out the Restore CD or ISO, and reboot the VM, and see what happens.

8. Once the VM is working, shut down the VM, then release, remove and delete the VHD.
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby mpack » 4. Mar 2021, 11:38

scottgus1 wrote:Mpack had a tutorial explaining restoring a disk image into a VM, but I regret I can't find it to link it.

Accessing huge Acronis Images After a CD Boot.

Discusses Acronis rather than Macrium, but basically the same, and Macrium is the better choice today (for a start, Acronis is not free).
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Re: Cloning an old server into a VM. Necessary for specific software to run

Postby scottgus1 » 4. Mar 2021, 18:46

TYVM! It's in my list now.
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