How To Manually Clone The Primary Server When This Is Running Windows 2008R2 - 2016 In Order To Build A Secondary Server



This Knowledgebase article provides the step-by-step procedure necessary to manually clone a Primary server which is running Windows Server 2016 in order to build a Secondary server for Neverfail Engine. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This KB article can be used to also rebuild a new Primary server in case the ex-Primary crashed and the Secondary server is the only one that remained healthy and has Neverfail Engine running on it. To achieve that, the Physical Identity of the remaining Secondary server will have to be changed first into Primary from the Machine tab of the Neverfail Configure Server Wizard. After this steps, the below procedure can be applied. 

*Before you begin please read this entire article.

More Information

Initial Assumptions

  • The Primary server is running a version of Windows Server from 2008R2 until 2016
  • The Application needed to be protected is installed and running on the Primary server
  • Windows and Neverfail Engine are installed on the C:\ drive


On the Primary Active Server:

  1. Stop the Neverfail Engine service.
  2. Open Windows Service Control Manager and set the Neverfail Engine Service to Manual.
  3. Open the Neverfail Configure Server Wizard and choose Stop Web Services when asked.

a. Select the Machine tab.

b. Change the Physical Hardware Identity of the server to Secondary.
WARNING: Do not change the Server Identity in any situation other than this.

c. Click the Finish button.

5. Launch the Windows Server Backup utility.

a. Start the Backup Once action.

b. Select Different Options.

c. In the next screen, select Custom and press Next.

d. Click Add Items and select System State and any other drives that contain protected application critical program files or any other application that is required to be present on the replacement server. Click OK and then click Next.

e. Select the destination of the backup using a local location or directly on the Secondary or on another server. If the destination is remote, a Share or Administrative Share location for that server must be provided.

f. Before starting the backup you may want to exclude large files located on the drives selected (see step d, above) to reduce the size of the backup files.

Note: Exchange or SQL databases or any other data that is included in the Neverfail filter set is not required to be cloned because Neverfail automatically synchronizes them.

g. Use the following procedure to exclude data:

  • Navigate to Start > Run, enter Regedit, and click OK. 
    IMPORTANT: Always create a backup before modifying the registry.
  • Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToSnapshot
  • Create a new multi-string value (Exclusion) and add to it all the folders and files that should be excluded from the backup (press Enter after each excluded folder or file).
    Note : The recursive exclusion syntax for all files under a folder is: <FolderPath>\* /s. You may specify files directly without wildcards. See the Microsoft knowledgebase article linked below for the syntax for the various exclusion options. The best practice when working with registry long data values is to limit them to 300 characters so please create additional multi-string values to accommodate this.

h. After the backup is complete, run the Neverfail Configure Server Wizard again.

i. Select the Machine tab.

j. Change Physical Hardware Identity back to Primary.

k. Click Finish

6. Restart Neverfail Engine service from Windows Services console or from Engine tray icon in the Taskbar.

7. Open the Neverfail Management Client and select the option to Stop Replication but leave the Protected Application running.

8. From Windows Service Control Manager, set the Neverfail Engine service back to Automatic.

On the New Server (the Secondary):

  1. Copy the backup file from the Primary server.
  2. Recover the files and folders:

a. Start Windows Server Backup. Go to Action -> Recover.

b. Select A backup stored on another location, click Next.

c. Select Remote shared folder, click Next.

d. Type the path for the backup (for example, \\localhost\D$). Click Next.

e. Check that the correct backup is selected and click Next.

f. Select Files and Folders, click Next.

g. Select the first disk the needs to be recovered (for example, Local disk C:) and click Next.

h. Select another location and browse to the corresponding drive; select to overwrite the existing versions with the recovered versions select Restore Access Control list (ACL) permissions to the file or folder being recovered and click Next.

i. Review the backup recovery items and click Recover. 
Note: Perform steps a.-i. for any additional drives that must be restored.

3. Restore the System State

a. Perform steps a.-e. from Step 2.

b. Select System State and click Next.

c. Select Original location, click Next and acknowledge the warnings. A window displays the message: The specified backup is of a different server than the current one. We do not recommend performing a system state recovery with the backup to an alternate server because the server might become unusable. Are you sure you want to use this backup for recovering the current server?

d. Click OK. Another window displays the message:
If you perform a system state recovery from a backup on a remote shared folder, if there are network connection issues during the operation, the computer that you are recovering may become unusable. Instead, if possible, copy the backup to the local computer and then perform the recovery. Do you want to continue?”

e. Click OK if the conditions are met. Then click Next.

f. Clear the Automatically reboot the server check box and click Recover.

4. When prompted for a restart, disconnect Network Cards (unplug all cables from physical machines) and restart the server.

5. Allow Plug and Play to continue and restart the server if prompted.

6. It may be necessary to remove ghost NICs. If ghost NICs are found, open a command prompt and run the following commands:

  • set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
  • devmgmt.msc
  • in the device manager snap-in click View -> Show hidden devices
  • Uninstall all ghost NICSs without deleting driver software for those devices.

7. On the Machine tab of the Neverfail Configure Server wizard, verify that the Identity and Active Server are configured correctly.

8. On the Public tab of the Neverfail Configure Server wizard, verify that the Public IP is correct and the NIC corresponding to this IP is selected. (double click on the IP).

9. On the Channel  tab of the Neverfail Configure Server wizard, verify that the Public IP is correct and the NIC corresponding to this IP is selected (double clicking on the Channel IP's) and then click Finish.


10. Use the route print command to check that all WAN routes are correctly configured.
Note: It may be necessary to re-authenticate Windows.

11. Reconnect the Public and Channel cables.

12. In the Taskbar, right click the Neverfail Engine Server icon and select Start Neverfail Engine.

13. Open the Neverfail Management Client and start replication.

14. Set the Neverfail Engine service to Automatic using the Windows Service Control Manager.


Applies To

Windows Server 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 and 2016


Related Information

Microsoft knowledgebase article — Excluding Files from Shadow Copies
Knowledgebase Article #1816 — How to Replace a Windows 2000 Server
Knowledgebase Article #851 — How to Replace a Windows 2003 Server
Knowledgebase Article #1774 — How to Replace a Windows 2008 Server
Knowledgebase Article #2613 — How to Replace a Windows 2008 R2 Server

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