How to change Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 to Hyper-V Role on Windows Server 2008 R2?

I decided to change my Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 to a Hyper-V Server Role. I do not want to describe the differences between the two products but I thought I will be able to manage the server from the GUI more easily.

I admit the advantages of the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 but I really missed that conventional GUI. And one more thing: the lack of the USB support was really hurt.

Once a day I decided I migrate my guests. I had only one bare metal, a management computer and an external hard disk. I would like to share with you my experience how I achived this challange:

  1. Open the Hype-V MMC, look the properties of the hypervisor over and keep a record of them (name of networks, MAC addresses, turn off behavior, containing folders..etc.)
  2. I started the Hyper-V MMC from my management computer which runs Windows 7
  3. I connected to my Hyper-V Server
  4. With a right click on the guest (VM) I chose the Export… option
  5. On the conversation pane I browsed my external hard disk out and I pointed to a pre-defined folder on it
  6. I submited and I waited to finish the export procedure (you can follow the process on central pane of the MMC)
  7. I did this with all of my machines until it run out
  8. (This step is a special one: I have a low-budget SATA-RAID card from Silicon Image and I had to go into the C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository folder to catch the driver for it up. Namely Windows Server 2008 R2 does not know the driver of this card in turn it is quite important in further.)
  9. This step would be very important but if we do not have a different bare metal machine we do not have chance to test our job. Namely there is a known issue after the exportation: you might get an error message during the import process that refers to an invalid .exp file. This message more than annoying. By the way if you have chance to test it before you import the machines onto your productive machine then do it. Install a trial version Windows Server 2008 R2 to your test bare metal machine, install Hyper-V Role, restart and import the guests.
  10. To continue the migration we must have a Windows Server 2008 R2 installaion medium (I had a compact disc since I had a bare metal machine) I we have to install the operating system.
  11. I moved the driver files of the RAID card to an USB key and when the installation process asked me to add the driver files in I chose the USB key and my array was appeared.
  12. I opened a command line window (using SHIFT+F10) and started the DISKPART application
    1. list disk
    2. select disk=1 (be careful which disk will be selected concerning to you system settings)
    3. create partition primary
    4. format quick
    5. exit
    6. exit
  13. After exit commands you will get back the screen of Windows PE and you have to finish the installation with next, next, finish. (Insalling Windows as usual)
  14. After installing change the password follow the instructions and install the Hyper-V Role from the Server Manager under Roles. Enable Remote Desktop Management. Restart the machine and log in again locally or remotly.
  15. Open the Hyper-V MMC on the host system, make sure the external hard disk is still connected to the bare metal, configure the hypervisor from your notes as it was.
  16. After all of the aboves click with right on the name of the HOST and choose Import… option.
  17. Browse your exported machines out from the external hard disk and the end your guest will be back to your newly installed host system. But it is not all, because in this case your files will be pointed to your external disk and this is not acceptable. It was not the reason of the external disk we used it for only a temporary container.
  18. We must Export… our guests again to our HOST machine to the proper folder on that machine. The reason why I use this because export command moves the connected folders and files (as .vhd, config and snapshot files) together and as matter of fact I prefer export then copy files (basically it is almost the same)
  19. Do it with all of your guests again and at the end Delete… them by using right click on the guest
  20. Finally Import… the machines again as I described above

Twenty simple steps and you get the success. Honestly I really did not beleive that it will work but it worked. I started my machines and they run like a charm.

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