Windows Home Server Rebuild - Archiver Error during Install - Resolution RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I wanted to share my experience with rebuilding my home servers after a system drive failure. As this is in my opinion the most stressful event for most home server owners, I wanted to share my experience and work around.


    As many discussions have pointed out, the system drive is responsible for operating system, landing zone for new files being copied to the server, and storage point for tombstone records.


    Requirements for Rebuild:


    1.      All DATA disk must be installed and operational – If you do not have all DATA disks attached and powered, you will not see the reinstall option.

    2.      If you have an extra controller card (IDE, PATA, SATA, or SCSI) hosting hard drive which do not have native support in Window Home Server (Window Server 2003), you will need to have the drivers for the disk controller on a Floppy, Flash Card, or USB memory stick.




    1.      Place the Windows Home Server CD in CD/DVD drive and boot to it.

    2.      Once at disk screen, ensure the new system disk and all DATA disks are present in the window.

    a.      For add-in disk controller cards, Click load drivers and browse to the location of the drivers.

    3.      Select Reinstall Server and Follow normal install direction


    NOTE: This is the main point of this discussion. I have found that some add-in SATA and PATA disk controller cards have issues during the reinstall.

    1.      During the OS install, you will notice the standard Windows Server 2003 install process. If you are not paying attention, you will notice it asks the standard question for additional drivers, (IE....F6 at bottom of install screen). I have found the drivers installed at the start of the WHS rebuild DO NOT get passed along. This later causes issues during the rebuild process because the additional disk controller will show up as an unknown disk controller.

    2.      If you have this situation, Windows Home Server install will fail with the following error message:

        Restoring the archiver data failed:


    Reason for error: The add-in disk controller drivers are not installed during Windows Server 2003 install process. As such when the archiver process starts, any disks which are hosted by the controller are not present. With out all disks online and available, WHS can not rebuild the Tombstone files.  Please remember the WHS function is an overlay to the based Window Server 2003 operating system.


    3.      Please following the directions below to continue the install


    A. Move mouse to bottom of screen and you will see the START menu.

    B. Right Click on MY COMPUTER, Select MANAGE

    C. Select Device Manager

    D. You will notice your add-in disk controller is probably in unknown state with an escalation mark.

    E. Select the disk controller – Right click and Select UPDATE Driver

    F. Insert your floppy or USB Disk and install the driver.

    G. Once the driver is installed and the disk controller is recognized and operating, REBOOT the server.  (DO NOT BOOT TO THE DVD)


    4.      Once the Window Home server reboots, it will start install process at the ARCHIVER function. Since it can now see all of the DATA Disks, the ARCHIVE function will continue and start the process of rebuilding the primary Tombstones from the DATA disks.


    Note: Depending on the amount of data being restored and the speed of the disks, this process can take up to a day to complete.  My system has 2 Terabytes of storage capacity with 50% utilization and took 5 hours to rebuild the Tombstones.


    5.      Clean-up: I have found that once the server is reinstalled with all patches. The disk utilization is not necessarily correct. I have performed 3 rebuilds and each time the disk utilization percentages were not correct. To resolve this, I simply turned off Folder Duplication for all Shares. Waited about 15 minutes for the Tombstone records to catch up. Reenabled Folder Duplication for desired shares. Once the disks are done catching up, no more issues and your Windows Home Server is fully operational.


    I hope this post assist anyone who has had issues with the rebuild process.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008 5:51 PM