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So, i have installed and configured windows server 2016 about 25 times and each time its on a new hardware build. Well, yesterday, we did a server OS replacement on top of the existing hardware in a domain. The planning and preparation was great, almost two weeks in advance.
The day before, what should we consider and double check?
Here are two things to do and not to do.
1. even though you have an full server bare metal image backup, do a robocopy backup of the entire data shares the night before along with serial numbers (belarc kind of stuff). If you have 500gb of data, it will take about 2.5 to 3 hours to back it up separately to an external usb3 drive.
2. schedule an extra hour aside to deal with installation woes. If you have a Saturday morning deadline at 9am, make sure you start at 6:30am, not 7:30am. That should leave you with about 25 minutes if you failure to do it correct the first time, and if done correction to 1.5 hours of leeway.
1. ...leave the network cable plugged in!! Make sure you unplug the network cable - otherwise windows updates will be sought and cause your installation to delay by more than an hour. if unplugged, installation is about 30 minutes until you get the login credentials. if plugged in, more than an extra hour will pass "Getting Things Ready" forever! if you have to halt the server, unplug network cable, do a quick reload to windows.old and windows.old.000 and you will be fine. lesson learned.
2. ...try to activate windows server 2016 after you join the domain. Make sure you activate before you join the server to the domain. If you don't the activate windows and change product key will not work. if you do connect to domain, then disconnect from domain and activate and then reactive to domain. don't worry. just a couple reboots and 15 minutes later you are back in business.
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