Migrating to Windows Small Business Server 2011 : Understanding the Migration Process (part 2) - Creating an Answer File

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2. Creating an Answer File

An answer file is a script containing responses to the prompts generated by the Windows SBS 2011 Setup program during the operating system installation. The use of an answer file is optional in a clean Windows SBS 2011 installation, but it is required for a migration.

Although the Migration Preparation Tool enables you to run the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Answer File Tool right on your source server, you do not have to run it there, nor do you have to run it immediately after preparing the source server for migration. You can run the Answer File Tool from any computer running Windows at any time.

To create a migration answer file, use this procedure:

  1. Insert Windows SBS 2011 Disk 1 into the computer’s DVD-ROM drive. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 screen appears.

  2. Click Create an answer file. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Answer File Tool appears.

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  3. In the Installation type box, select the Migration from existing server (Join existing domain) check box.

  4. Fill out the fields in each of the following sections of the Answer File Tool:

    • Installation settings Specifies whether the new server should download the latest installation updates from the Microsoft Updates website during the setup process and whether the setup program should perform an unattended installation. In an unattended installation, the setup program does not display the options for which it finds settings in the answer file; if you leave this check box cleared, all the options appear during the installation, with the settings from the answer file preloaded for the installer’s approval.

    • Clock and time zone settings Enables you to specify a time zone for the new server. You cannot modify the actual system clock time using an answer file, so if you select the Manually set the clock and the time zone for the server option, you must set the clock in the system BIOS before beginning the new server installation.

    • Company information Contains the same name and address fields as the Company Information page in the Install Windows Wizard.

  5. Scroll down to see the rest of the dialog box, and fill out the fields in each of the remaining sections:

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    • Source (existing) server information Contains fields in which you specify information about your existing server running Windows SBS and your domain, including the server and domain names, the computer’s IP Address and Default Gateway settings, and the name and password for an administrative account.

    • Destination (new) server information Contains fields in which you specify the name and IP address values you want to assign to the new server on which you will install Windows SBS 2011. When performing a migration, the name that you specify for your new server must be unique on your network. You cannot use the same name for your source server and your new one.

  6. Click Save as. The Save as combo box appears. Save the answer file to the root of a USB flash drive or floppy disk, using the file name SBSAnswerFile.xml, and click Save.

  7. Click Cancel to close the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Answer File Tool.


    The previous procedure covers the information fields you must fill out when creating an answer file for a migration to Windows SBS 2011. When you select the New installation option in the tool’s Installation type section, the program replaces the migration-specific sections—Source (existing) server informationDestination (new) server information—with three new sections: and

    • Server information Enables you to specify server name and internal domain name values for the new server installation. There is also a Full DNS name text box, in which you can specify a name for your AD DS domain with a suffix other than local.

    • Network administrator account Contains the same fields as the Add A Network Administrator Account page, which the setup program uses to create an administrative account on the new server running Windows SBS 2011.

    • Network settings for the server Enables you to specify whether the setup program should detect a router on the network and configure the server’s TCP/IP client using the router information automatically or use the IP Address and Default Gateway settings that you supply.

Apart from these field changes, the procedure for creating an answer file for the installation of a new server running Windows SBS 2011 is exactly the same.

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