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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Perform Other Pre-Installation Tasks

Solution: The following is a list of the tasks that should be performed before the actual installation.

  • Check application compatibility
  • Disconnect the uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
  • Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool
  • Identify mass storage device drivers
  • Back up servers
  • Disable virus protection software
  • Prepare Active Directory

Some or all of these tasks are recommended, depending on the path of installation and whether this is a new installation or an upgrade from an existing OS; in addition, you need to perform the Active Directory prep only if you are going to promote your Windows Server 2008 machine to a domain controller and add it to an existing Windows 2000/2003 domain.

Now let's take a closer look at each of these tasks.

Check Application Compatibility

Before you install Windows Server 2008, you must be sure that any third-party applications you plan to run on the server will be supported. One way you can do this is to contact the application vendor and get documentation on whether the application will run on Windows Server 2008. In a real-world environment, the documentation is very important because if things do not work as expected, you may be able to save your job by providing the documentation. (Obviously, you would have tested the application on a development server first.)

Another tool that you can use is the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0 (ACT 5.0). This tool can be used to collect compatibility data about your environment into a centralized data store. Having this information can be essential when evaluating the risk involved with an OS upgrade.

Disconnect the UPS

During the installation process, Windows Server 2008 attempts to detect devices attached to serial ports. If you have a UPS connected to a serial port, you may run into issues with the installation, so be sure to disconnect it until the installation is complete.

Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

You can use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to test the random access memory (RAM) on your server. At the time of this writing, you can download this tool and a guide from http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp. After you download the tool, you can perform the following steps:

  1. Run the downloaded file mtinst.exe to start the setup for the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.
  2. Choose Create Startup Disk to install Windows Memory Diagnostic onto a floppy disk or choose Save CD Image to Disk to use a CD-ROM to which you can boot the server.
  3. Reboot the server to the disk you just created.
  4. The server will boot to the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool interface and automatically start the first test. It will continue to run tests with the same settings until you exit or pause.

Identify Mass Storage Device Drivers

If a vendor has supplied a driver file for your storage device, now would be a good time to have that file stored on a floppy, a CD, a DVD, or a flash drive. You should store files either in the root directory or in a folder named according to the processor architecture. During the installation, you will have the opportunity to load this driver.

Back Up Servers

Backing up servers is standard procedure when making any platform changes. Make sure you have a good backup of any critical data. When performing an OS upgrade, it is a good idea to make sure you have a backup of the boot and system partitions as well as the system state data. An alternative way to back up this configuration data is to create a backup set for Automated System Recovery (ASR).

Disable Virus Protection Software

Virus protection software can affect the speed of your upgrade. Every file that is copied to your server will need to be scanned.

Prepare Active Directory

There are two steps in preparing the Active Directory service for a new Windows Server 2008 domain controller:

  • Prepare the forest.
  • Prepare the domain.

Let's first go through the steps to prepare the forest:

  1. Log on to the Schema Master of your existing domain with an account that is a member of either the Enterprise Administrators, Schema Administrators, or Domain Administrators group.
  2. Copy the adprep directory from the sources\adprep on the Windows Server 2008 installation CD to the schema master.
  3. From a command prompt, navigate to the adprep folder you just copied. Then run adprep/forestprep.
  4. For a read-only domain controller (RODC), run adprep/rodcprep.
  5. Wait for the task to complete and replicate prior to running the second portion of the ADS preparation.

When you have waited for the changes to replicate, you can follow these steps to prepare the domain:

  1. Log on to the infrastructure master of your existing domain with an account that is a member of the Domain Administrators group.
  2. Copy the adprep directory from sources\adprep on the Windows Server 2008 installation CD to the infrastructure master.
  3. From a command prompt, navigate to the adprep folder you just copied and then run adprep\domainprep\gpprep.
  4. Wait for the task to complete and replicate.

Now that you have completed some or all of the pre-installation tasks, you can start with the installation of Windows Server 2008. But first you must decide which edition of Windows Server 2008 you need for your environment.

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