Whether NetHelpDesk is installed in your local Windows environment, located on a data centre elsewhere, or on our NetHelpDesk hosted platform (SaaS model), moving NetHelpDesk and its files is a straight-forward process. As long as the environment is a Windows environment, the migration should be swift, with the minimum of hassle.
There is a checklist of items to consider whenever migrating NetHelpDesk, and to keep in mind, regardless of the switch situation:
1) Installation Environment.
NetHelpDesk is a Microsoft Windows product, and built to be installed in a Windows operating system. It works with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 onwards, and in virtualised environments also. As long as it is Windows, NetHelpDesk works.
2) SQL Server Database.
NetHelpDesk’s data is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server environment. The installation version of SQL Server on the new server, needs to be the same or newer version, in the new environment. In other words, if SQLServer 2012 is currently being used, it cannot be migrated to a SQL Server 2005 environment. We recommend SQL Server 2008 R2 and onwards.
3) E-mail Integration.
Depending on how you connect to mailboxes to process e-mails in and out of NetHelpDesk, preparation is key. If you connect to a standard POP3 mailbox, the migration should be relatively quick. If using Mail Profiles installed on the current machine to connect to an Exchange Server mail environment, receive connectors will need to be set up in Exchange to expect to receive requests from the new NetHelpDesk server, to process e-mails. These permissions are vital.
4) Calendar Integration.
As with e-mail, if mail profiles are being used to connect to Calendars in an Exchange environment, these will need to moved also, and done by your Exchange administrator.
5) Billing Integration.
If you have QuickBooks integration, for example, this will also need to be installed on the same server as the new NetHelpDesk environment, as well as the Intuit class files, that allow NetHelpDesk to communicate with the QuickBooks Company file. Other billing platforms may also be affected, so preparation needs to happen before migration.
6) File Migration Speeds.
Migration from one server to another is a matter of transferring files, and dependent on speed and connectivity stability. If you know that migration of data can be slow in your environment, or the database and folders for NetHelpDesk are particularly large, time for the transfer of these also needs to be seriously considered, and its impact on your business.
7) Data Connectivity
If the new environment is in a data centre outside of your local domain, and/or you have previously used remote enabling software, such RemoteApp or Citrix, this will need to be considered also. Speak with your NetHelpDesk representative for more information.
Essentially, you are reinstalling NetHelpDesk Main Installation Files in a new environment. The only difference is now there is data in your database, whereas in the beginning, your database was empty. If the above is considered, and resource made available for any issues that arise from those responsible, there’s no reason NetHelpDesk migration shouldn’t be a smooth one.
In all situations, whether migrating NetHelpDesk from one server to another, or moving from our SaaS platform to a local one, the preparation remains the same. Should you have any concerns about migrating NetHelpDesk (NHD), please advise your NHD representative of all concerns prior to beginning this migration process.
Whilst NetHelpDesk tries to ensure a smooth transition, this document is by no means exhaustive.
PLEASE NOTE: Leave everything as it is on the existing server, and work with copies. Move a copy onto the new server. In the unlikely event anything doesn't go to plan, you still have a working instance of NetHelpDesk to go back to.
1) Prepare the new environment. The installation guide nethelpdesk.com/install will assist with this preparation.
2) You don’t need to run the installer programs again on the new server. It’s not necessary to do so, and can cause additional work. However, if you want to, you can.
3) Installation of the SQL Server environment is key for the database to be migrated successfully. NetHelpDesk installer comes with SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. If your database is in a newer version of SQL Server, you will need to ensure the new environment has this version before migration.
4) If the database is larger than 10GB, the SQL Server cannot be the Express (free) edition, and a full version of SQL Server purchased. NetHelpDesk doesn’t sell this third-party software, and needs to be sourced by your team in accordance with your company policies and procedures. If you are moving from the NetHelpDesk SaaS model, speak with a NetHelpDesk representative to determine the size of your database prior to installation.
5) If QuickBooks is used for Billing, the same version of QuickBooks and the foundation class files will need to be installed in this new environment.
6) If using Mail profiles to connect to mailboxes for e-mail and/or calendar integration, these will need to be setup also.
7) All communications in and out of your DB will need to be stopped during the migration process. There will be a period of time when NHD will be unavailable to your Agents and your end-users.
8) Because of this, your organisation will need to decide the best time to migrate, and take in any considerations for any issues that may arise during the migration process. NHD prefers that this is not done on a Friday or at the weekend, so that we can support you. However, if this is the only option, speak with your NetHelpDesk representative to make special provisions for you.
9) Provisions will need to be made for urgent calls from your Customers / End-users outside of the NHD process, and a disaster recovery plan in place to operate without NetHelpDesk. This is highly unlikely to need to be invoked, but the worst case scenario should be anticipated as good practice, in accordance with your company’s policies and procedures.
10) If you have a web portal, this will need to be disabled during migration also. Your end users may need to be notified of lack of access for the period of time of migration.
11) If you use Calendar integration, please advise your NHD representative before beginning migration. Mail profiles may need to be setup in the new environment prior to migration.
12) Should you have any other type of integration (QuickBooks, Sage, GFI Max or alternative RMM software, Office 365, Google Calendar, Remote Access software), please advise your NHD representative prior to migration. There are guides that have details of setting these up.
13) If using Windows Authentication for your Agents, and you are moving to the NetHelpDesk SaaS model, this will cease after migration. Ensure your Agents’ NHD passwords are updated, and end-users advised of how they will connect through the web portal in the new environment.
14) If your e-mail account/s are on an internal Exchange Server, please ensure that the person who manages this is available to the NHD representative during the migration process.
15) Delete all existing NetHelpDesk shortcuts that connect to the former environment. These will no longer be needed. You may wish to keep one for editing, to distribute post-migration if not using the NetHelpDesk SaaS model.
If migrating from NetHelpDesk’s SaaS Hosted Model, NetHelpDesk will be able to take a backup of your database and files, and upload them to your chosen FTP for you to download locally. We will do this when you tell us to, according to your schedule. This guide speaks to migrating NetHelpDesk, and these manual processes will need to be carried out by the person who will look after the NetHelpDesk installation moving forward.
It is important that the preparation work above is carried out before migrating of data begins. Failure to do so may lead to more significant “downtime” for your team than would be suitable. Speak with your NetHelpDesk representative for advice on this.
During the actual migration process, the following need to be considered:
1) ALL ACCESS to your NHD database should be ceased during the migration period.
2) When ready, ensure the NHServer process is stopped to stop any e-mails, and any scheduled tasks to launch NHServer are stopped and disabled.
3) Ensure all Agent users are logged out of your database during the entire migration period.
4) Ensure the web portal access for your end-users is stopped before migration begins.
As with all technical practices, make sure you back up everything as it is, should anything go wrong. Rolling back your changes whilst you analyse what went wrong (if it does) will keep your operations going, and minimise impact to your teams. NHD is the same as any other program in this way.
1) Take a backup of your NHD folder/s. Folders include the folders in the former file structure. Take a copy of the NetHelpDesk folder, usually on the root of the C drive, and called NetHelpDesk, with Log, SQL,Web,Win folders inside it.
If you have legacy NetHD, NHWeb and NHLogs folder structure, speak with the NHDSupport Team, who can assist with the migration to the new folder structure. It will help with future upgrades also.
2) Your NetHelpDesk database should be using Microsoft SQL Server. To move the data, you will need to create a backup file of the SQL database using SQL Server Management Studio.
3) If this isn’t installed where the SQL database is to be located, then it will need to be installed. Each version of SQL Server has its own version of Management Studio, and 32bit and 64bit versions also.
4) If you are moving from/to the NetHelpDesk SaaS model, please speak with your NetHelpDesk representative. They will do this part for you.
The database and this folder structure is all that is needed insofar as NetHelpDesk files.
5) In SQL Management Studio, log in as a SQL Server Administrator (sa), who has permissions to the instance as a whole. As with initial installation, we always recommend using a SQL Server Administrator authentication, as opposed to Windows authentication. It is easier, and usually without issue, if the login is known by the relative party.
6) Once you have logged into the Instance, go to the database and right click to bring up more options.
7) Click Tasks and then Backup.
8) Ensure that:
a. The database is selected that you would like to backup, and
b. The backup type is “full”, and
c. Back up to “Disk” is selected, and
d. You specify a path that you have access rights to. The NetHelpDesk SQL folder is the easiest.
The screenshots that follow are of SQL Server 2014. Regardless of which version of NetHelpDesk you are running, or the version of SQL Server being used, the steps remain the same. If you are unsure at any time, please speak with a NetHelpDesk representative.
If your company does not have the resource for some, or all parts of this migration, please speak with a NetHelpDesk representative, so that they can prepare options for you. NetHelpDesk relies on third party software integrations to get the most from the product, and it is usually these that cause any issues that arise, due to the permissions of the customer’s environment.
If you think any cost will be incurred during this process, speak with us before commencement of the migration process.
Your database for NetHelpDesk will need to be added to the new instance of SQL Server. NetHelpDesk uses this database to store and retrieve data and configuration to the main NetHelpDesk interfaces.
To Restore the .bak Database:
1) Open SQL Management Studio and log into your instance using your “sa” or relevant high level access account.
2) Right click on Databases and left click Restore Database.
3) In the Destination for restore section, in the To database field, enter a name for the database (e.g. NetHelpDesk).
4) In the Source for Restore section, select From device, and set the path by browsing using the ellipsis button.
5) Click Add on the Specify Backup screen.
6) Navigate to the nethelpdesk.bak file downloaded in Step 1 above, e.g. …\NetHelpDesk\SQL\nethelpdesk.bak.
8) Click OK.
7) Ensure the checkbox in the Restore column is selected.
8) Click OK, and then click OK. Again.
9) Once completed, the database will be ready to connect to.
There will be a number of things to do, once NetHelpDesk is in its new environment. The NetHelpDesk support team will need to do this for you if migrating to the SaaS model, but will need your IT team to work with them for specific mailbox setup, and so on.
The data link file, which links the NetHelpDesk interfaces to the SQL Server database, will need to be updated. The data link file is called NetHelpDesk.udl, and one is automatically created and configured for you if following the installer.
If not, you will have to do this manually. To achieve this:
1. In the …\NetHelpDesk\Win folder, a sample SQL compatible UDL file called SQLServer.UDL can be found.
2. Copy this file and paste into the root of the …\NetHelpDesk folder, and rename it to be called NetHelpDesk.udl.
3. If one already exists, replace that existing file with this one.
4. Double click the file to launch the OLE DB Core Services program to edit.
5. In the Connection tab, specify the name of the server or the IP address, followed by “,14331” or whatever TCP port number you have specified in the Configuration Manager.
6. We strongly recommend that you Use a specific username and password, and use the ‘sa’ account mentioned previously.
7. If you must use Windows NT Integrated Security, make sure that the users connecting have full access to the SQL Server instance, similar to the ‘sa’ account mentioned previously. If not, the connection will not work.
8. Select the SQL database created above, whether upsized or empty.
9. Test the connection, and you will see the confirmation screen below.
10. If the test does not succeed, switch off the firewall on the server, to ensure this is not blocking connectivity.
11. Any other errors will be mostly due to permissions issues with the login(s) you are using. If using the “sa” account, these rarely, if ever, happen.
To use the NetHelpDesk Windows Interface, a shortcut is needed, and manually created if using the installer. If setting NetHelpDesk up manually, you will need to configure this manually.
The following graphic explains the main components of NetHelpDesk:
If there is a NetHelpDesk shortcut in the root of your …\NetHelpDesk folder, these can be amended as necessary.
1) Right click > Properties to amend. The shortcuts must have the following in order to be used:
a) The target line must point to the location of the NetHDClient.exe.
b) Immediately after this, the path of the NetHelpDesk.udl file needs to be specified.
c) Both of these must be pointed to the UNC path, so rather than C:\, it will be labelled \\(Server name)\.
2) Make sure that you give the new shortcut to your team internally, so that they can access it when they need to, following full migration.
Please Note: The NetHDClient.exe, the web interfaces, and the database can all be situated in three different places (e.g. Servers), two different places, or altogether in one. As long as the shortcut, and the NetHelpDesk.udl files point to right locations, NetHelpDesk will launch without issue.
3) Also make sure the NHServer has a shortcut configured similar to the main client one, and leave on the server.
4) If moving to NetHelpDesk’s SaaS model, you will be provided an installer to run on each machine that requires access.
5) Log into the Windows Application, click on N > Setup > Main Configuration > Advanced Settings > Folder Locations and change the folder paths.
6) If you want NHD to set these for you, as it did when you first used NHD, click the Reset Folder to Defaults option. Log out of NHD, and it will then reset the paths to the current location.
7) Create a new scheduled task to allow NHServer to process, or edit the existing one to point to the new locations.
8) If you also need to migrate the web portal, you will need to follow the instructions to set up the portal on the new server from scratch. These are in their own guide.
If during any of this process you get stuck, or need assistance, please contact our Support Team.
To manually reinstate the web interfaces, see the separate guide for manual installation of the web interfaces. The \...\NetHelpDesk\Web\ folder contains all the files needed for the web interface. These can be kept in the same installation folder as the main program, or copies placed on a separate server, if you have a dedicated web server.
Web Interfaces Installed on Different Server
If the web interfaces are installed on IIS on a different server to the main NetHelpDesk install location, you will need to tell the web interfaces how to connect to the database. In this case, you will need to take a copy of the NetHelpDesk.udl file and place in the …\NetHelpDesk\Log folder (specified in the cnetweb.ini file) and rename the file to be: NHDatabase.udl.
As stated before, you are essentially installing NetHelpDesk again on a new server, and all the same preparation will need to have been followed. To set up email integration, please the separate guide for this. Pay particular attention to the receive connector settings, if using Exchange.
Should you have any questions regarding any steps in this guide, please speak with the NetHelpDesk Support Team.
NetHelpDesk is available on a range of devices with industry-leading functionality available throughout.