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My stupid mistake causes a WHS reinstallation to go awry... RRS feed

  • Question

  • This is my first post to the forums but I've been lurking for awhile now. Invariably, I think I already know the answer to my issue; however, I'm just tossing it out to the world to see if someone has a different take on it. Thank you for reading and responding.

    What I want to accomplish in simple terms: I want to be able to recover all the data, every last byte, from my previous WHS installation.

    Some background: I've successfully built, installed and ran a WHS server for about a year. I put my RTM WHS PP1 DVD on a UFD and even used a qs.ini to automate the installation (this is part of the problem, as you'll see in a bit).

    Everything worked perfectly, until about a month ago. One of my clients constantly failed to backup successfully (it turned out to be a bad sector issue with a HDD that I had to RMA). I actually went so far as to delete the backups and remove the client. Well, in trying to reconnect the client to the server, I was getting the enigmatic "unknown network error has occurred" message.

    I went through the Windows Home Server Troubleshooting Connector Installation, I installed the Connector Troubleshooter (32 bit / 64 bit), and I did all sorts of gymnastics to get it to connect to no avail. I even swapped out the client's HDD with a brand new one and reinstalled a fresh OS on it and tried connecting - no go.

    Strangely, all other previously connected clients would backup without any problems. In fact, Remote Access via web or Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) would continue to work.

    However, I know I probably caused some problems and broke some things because I didn't fully understand Disk Extender, tombstones, etc. I'll freely (sheepishly) admit that I accessed my data via the D:\shares directly through the RDC and would move my files around. I probably should have read the Technical Brief as soon as it was published, which was late last year.

    How I made my stupid mistake, which caused my WHS reinstallation to go awry: Anyhow, I decided that I would try to the server Reinstallation Option just to see if that would fix things. Well, it was late last night. I wasn't my mental best and this is where I made the really stupid user error. Instead of taking the time to search for my RTM DVD, I grabbed my USB flash drive that was labeled "WHS." Yes, this was the one I used when I initially installed my WHS. Yes, it still had the unedited "qs.ini" file on it. Yes, I forgot about all this and proceeded to boot to my UFD to try and "reinstall" WHS.

    You can imagine my panic as I saw the setup screen skip over Collection Information and the next few steps and just jump to the part where it starts formatting your system drive! "What the heck is going on?" I exclaimed in my mind (yes, no expletives - I don't swear). Then it dawned on me, "Oh my! The 'qs.ini' file!" Well, in my panic, I hard-powered down the machine (you know, hold the power button down for 2 seconds). And yes, I did that in the while the installation was formatting my drive(s). It was about 25% through...

    An aside: Actually, as I'm tying, I'm still wondering whether the formatting process got to my DATA partition? Fortunately, for me, most of my data drives (about 6TB) are contained in my RSV-S8. I had this unpowered. So, the only drives in the the WHS box, are three 1TB HDDs, one of which contained the System OS and the landing zone. 

    What I've done so far: Just for kicks, I found my DVD and put it in. With no 'qs.ini' file, it paused to ask for my input at the appropriate times. Unfortunately, the only option it provides is New Installation. I've since removed my three 1TB HDDs from the WHS box and placed them to the side. I grabbed a new 1TB HDD and am installing a fresh WHS on it.

    And so, while I'm waiting, I'm typing this... Any input will be sincerely appreciated. If you need more information, I'll be happy to provide it; however, I think I've typed enough and I think the install should be done by now...

    More than likely, I'll have to reconstruct my data, right? Ugh!

    Sunday, June 14, 2009 5:55 PM

All replies

  • Hi,
    check the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.
    For formatted volumes (besides C: drive, which is not important) you may need 3rd party data recovery software.)
    Best greetings from Germany and good luck
    Olaf
    Sunday, June 14, 2009 6:59 PM
    Moderator
  •  Well, it was late last night. I wasn't my mental best and this is where I made the really stupid user error.

    Read the WHS owners manual:  "Never configure the OS unless at peak mental capacity"

    The only comfort here is sharing your experience with others so we don't make the same mistake.  Thanks for sharing.
    Sunday, June 14, 2009 7:08 PM
  • You'll need some kind of data recovery software for the formatted drives. Since you say setup was still formatting, I wouldn't expect that anything has been truly destroyed.

    For recovering data, once you've dealt with data recovery on the formatted drives, you should follow the directions in the faq Olaf linked. You'll need to go through the FAQ for all the drives that were previously connected to your server.

    A note for the future: server reinstallation requires that all data drives be connected and visible to setup in order to reintegrate everything in the storage pool. There's no way to get a drive to reintegrate with the pool "after the fact".

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, June 15, 2009 3:00 PM
    Moderator
  • check the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.

    If you'll notice my paragraph that starts: "How I made my stupid mistake, which caused my WHS reinstallation to go awry: Anyhow, I decided that I would try to the server Reinstallation Option just to see if that would fix things."

    The link provided under the words, "Reinstallation Option" actually leads back to your FAQ, which is an invaluable resource. 

    When I get the time, I'll provide a step-by-step of what I did to reconstruct everything.

    Honestly? I'm still in the process of reconstructing and verifying my data. Only 2 more hard drives to go...
    • Edited by HoHum Monday, June 29, 2009 2:25 AM
    Monday, June 29, 2009 2:07 AM
  • Since you say setup was still formatting, I wouldn't expect that anything has been truly destroyed.
    Actually, I wanted to confirm something. My system disk is 1TB. As we know, 20GB is used by the system and the rest of it (~980GB) becomes the primary data partition. I had about 12 drives for about 10TB of storage. I had a little under 7TB of data.

    According to the Disk Management add-in, my system drive was only 2% full, which would probably consist of the 20GB system plus the 4Kb tombstones on the data partition, right?

    So here's my question: Considering the amount of space I still had for my data, would there have been any real data in the primary data partition on the system drive?
    Monday, June 29, 2009 2:21 AM
  • I recommend you check and see.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, June 29, 2009 2:36 AM
    Moderator