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Can I restore a server without overwriting the OS?

A Windows administrator moving from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2003 R2 wants to perform a restore of a previous server to a new one without overwriting the OS on the new server. Server management expert Laura E. Hunter explains how to tackle this task.

We recently purchased a new PE 2950 server from Dell and would like to use Veritas NetBackup to restore the current server to this new one. However, we are moving from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2003 R2 and don't want the restore to overwrite the OS on the new server. We use NetBackup 6.0 for our backups. This is a very busy server that fulfills a lot of functions in our organization, and I don't want to have to reinstall all the software and printers to this new server. Any suggestions?
If your backups consist of Windows Server 2003, then any restores that you perform will also be Windows Server 2003, so you would need to upgrade to R2 after the fact. You should also exercise caution in restoring a backup from one server onto a completely different server, as hardware and software incompatibilities may result, particularly if this server is an Active Directory domain controller. I recommend testing the restore extensively in an isolated lab before attempting to implement it in a production environment.

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