P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server–Part Five

Part Five – Last Tweaks and We’re Running

This is the last post in a Five part series about my experience doing a P2V conversion of my SBS 2003 server to Hyper-V. 

Here are links to the other parts:

 Part One – Creating the VHD

 Part Two – Creating the VM

 Part Three – First Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Four – Second Run Tweaking the Server VM

Last Tweaks

When the server reboots for this third run, we again get warnings about service failures. We need to investigate those.

third run 1 service failure

When we log in, the Windows Product activation warning also appears. We’ll take care of that later. Click the No button.

first login 1b activation error

So the first thing to do after we get the server desktop is to open the services MMC and check to make sure the services that are set to open automatically are started. Perhaps we’ll find the cause of the service failure warning?

Click first in the status column and then in the start-up column. Any service that is set to start automatically but isn’t started will be at the top of the list. The only services that aren’t running are “Performance Logs and Alerts” and “Microsoft .net Framework 4”. That’s typical on an SBS 2003 box. So what caused the service failure warning? Time to check the event log.

third run 1a all services OK

Checking the System event log shows that the only failing service was the “Parallel port driver service”.

third run 1b check event logs

This is pretty common with modern servers, both physical and virtual. They just don’t put parallel ports in them any more. There are two ways to correct this, depending on whether you’re a GUI or command line type. In the GUI, open regedit and navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Parport. Change the value of the “Start” DWORD to “4”.

third run 1c parport svcs registry

Or from a command prompt type:

sc config parport start= disabled (make sure there is a space between “start=” and “disabled”).

third run 1d parport command

Configuring the SBS 2003 Backup

So other than the parallel port issue, all the regular  SBS 2003 services are started and running correctly. Now we need to turn out attention to the backup. I was previously using a USB hard drive connected to the server  as a destination for the built-in SBS Backup. You can’t connect a USB drive directly to a Hyper-V Guest. Windows Virtual PC has that capability, but not Hyper-V. However, you can attached the USB drive to the Host server, take it offline and then make it available to the guest O/S as a pass through disk.

After connecting the USB drive to the host Hyper-V server, open Server manager and select “Disk Management”. Locate the USB drive (in this case, it’s Disk 3). Right click on the left side of the disk and select “Offline”.

third run 2 take usb offline

Now go into Hyper-V Manager, select the Virtual Machine and then in the Action Pane, click “Settings”. When the settings dialog box opens, locate and click on the SCSI controller. Make sure “Hard Drive” is highlighted (it’s the only choice) and then click the ‘Add” button.

third run 2a add scsi hard drive

Select “Physical hard disk:” and then select the USB drive from the drop down list. Press the “OK” button.

third run 2aa add physical disk

I should point out that the ability to do this “hot add” of a SCSI Hard disk to a running VM is a function of Hyper-V R2. If you are running the non-R2 version of Hyper-V, you will have to shut down the machine in order to perform the step above.

So now that the USB Drive has been configured as a pass-through disk, we can open My Computer and confirm that it’s available to the O/S. It show up as Drive K: with a volume label of “Comstar250A”. That’s the drive letter and volume label it had when it was connected to the physical server.

third run 2b usb drive shows in VM

So now that the backup drive is present, we can run a backup and make sure it works. Open Server Management on the SBS Server, click on Backup on the left column and then click “Backup Now”. The SBS Backup starts running.

third run 2c test backup

Make sure the backup completes successfully.

Run the SBS 2003 BPA

As a further test to make sure the server is running properly, I ran the SBS 2003 Best Practices Analyzer. It was already installed on my server. It’s available for download from Microsoft here. The  results of the scan on my server were acceptable with only two warning items. Both of these can be safely ignored.

third run 2d sbs bpa scan

Activate the Server

Having confirmed that the server is running properly in the new virtual environment, it was time for me to activate the server. I am running the Action Pack version of SBS 2003, so moving the license to different hardware is allowed in the Eula. If this was an oem copy, it would probably still work, but it would be running in violation of the oem license agreement.

If this was only being done for a test run of a migration, the 3 days that you are allowed to run the server before having to activate it may be enough. I did a test migration to SBS 2008 last year using essentially the same technique and I managed to complete it with the 3 days.

Click on the Activation Icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.

third run 3 activation icon

The Activate Windows box opens. I chose to activate over the internet which is usually the easiest option.

third run 3 activation

I chose not to register with Microsoft.

third run 3a register

I have successfully activated my copy of Windows.

third run 3b activated


The server has performed flawlessly as a VM since it was converted in late February 2011. In fact, the performance seems better than it was on the Physical Hardware. This is despite the fact that I am still running with the dynamically expanding virtual hard drive that Disk2VHD created. I have read that the performance of a dynamically expanding VHD in Hyper-V R2 is not significantly different than a fixed size disk, but I haven’t tested this yet.

I am getting ready to test a migration to SBS 2011 using the Microsoft Migration method. Having the server in a virtual environment already means I can simply copy the VHD and spin up another VM in an isolated network to test the migration.

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