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System drive failure, question about Server Restore option RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am in the process of resintalling WHS after a system drive failure. The system drive has been replaced with a new unit. I have booted from the WHS install DVD and I am now at the "Select an Installation Type" dialog, and I have selected the "Server Restore".

    On the dialog it says:

    Choose this option to restore your Windows Home Server if you primary hadr drive fails.
    IMPORTANT: Your installed programs, settings, Computer Backups, and
    unduplicated shared folder content will be lost.

    Restoring your Windows Home Server will recover duplicated Shared Folder content.


    Is this true? I expected it would preserve non-duplicated shared folder data also, as indicated in other threads.

    All of my backups and data are on the other drives in my server, there were only tomstones in the data partition on the system drive.


    Thanks,
    PaulyB.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 1:55 PM

Answers

  • Hi,
    "Is this true? I expected it would preserve non-duplicated shared folder data also, as indicated in other threads.
    All of my backups and data are on the other drives in my server, there were only tomstones in the data partition on the system drive."

    are you sure? If your server had a longer history, backups and files in shared folders from the pre Powerpack 1 time frame may still have been located on the D: drive (since a relocation is only triggered, if the drive is nearly full).
    The same may happen, if the disk space on the other drives was not big enough to cover backups, shares and duplicates.

    Besides that the warning is a generic message everyone gets, who performs a reinstall. From my experience more often than not backups may still be there, but no longer be usable. So it can well be, that your data and the backups will be fine after server reinstall, but this is not guaranteed.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:33 PM
    Moderator
  • AFAIK you should be safe (concerning both data and backups) if there were only tombstones on the primary data partition if you choose "Server Reinstall", and make sure you install to the correct disk.
    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:24 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • AFAIK you should be safe (concerning both data and backups) if there were only tombstones on the primary data partition if you choose "Server Reinstall", and make sure you install to the correct disk.
    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,
    "Is this true? I expected it would preserve non-duplicated shared folder data also, as indicated in other threads.
    All of my backups and data are on the other drives in my server, there were only tomstones in the data partition on the system drive."

    are you sure? If your server had a longer history, backups and files in shared folders from the pre Powerpack 1 time frame may still have been located on the D: drive (since a relocation is only triggered, if the drive is nearly full).
    The same may happen, if the disk space on the other drives was not big enough to cover backups, shares and duplicates.

    Besides that the warning is a generic message everyone gets, who performs a reinstall. From my experience more often than not backups may still be there, but no longer be usable. So it can well be, that your data and the backups will be fine after server reinstall, but this is not guaranteed.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Olaf and brubber.

    I am quite sure about the shared data being on other drives. I had to recover from other file system errors on a previous occasion which led to WHS believing a removed drive was still in the pool... in that instance I had to inventory everything and was able to recover the lot, including backups, and it all went onto secondary drives.

    Of course there have been backups and more data added since then, but the free space has always been much larger than the primary data partition. My understanding from reading the technical briefs is that new data will always end up on secondary drives when there is plenty of free space.

    That generic message threw me a bit because from reading the threads I got the impression that data (other than anything on the blown drive of course) would be recovered by a server reinstall to a new primary drive.

    Cheers,
    Paulyb.
    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 12:52 AM
  • Hi,
    I got the impression that data (other than anything on the blown drive of course) would be recovered by a server reinstall to a new primary drive.


    that impression is correct. At least for duplicated folders you will always have a copy on another disk, so as long as not two disks or the controller fail at the same time, the recovery for these is possible.
    The backup database is more difficult to recover. It consists out of many big files collecting clusters and an index for assigning these clusters to the PCs and data - without redundancy.  So if only one file is gone missing or even unreadable, this may already mean that the clusters cannot be puzzled together in the proper arrangement.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 1:20 PM
    Moderator
  •  Some follow up info.

    I went ahead with the server restore on the replacement system drive. It worked perfectly.

    Interesting points to note:

    • The new drive did not appear as "Disk 0". Disk 0 was one of the existing data disks.
    • The restore doesn't prompt or even tell you which drive it is going to format/partition/install the OS on, which makes one a bit nervous when there are four other data disks sitting in the machine.
    • But, it is smart enough to figure out that it needs to install the OS on the only disk it doesn't recognise. (At least I hope that's what went on, and not some random selection ;-) 

    Overall I am very impressed with the way WHS handles a system drive failure.

    Cheers,
    PaulyB.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:41 AM
  • PaulyB...

    I have a question about your experience.

    I have a similar problem as you, but mine differs in that:

    1) The drive that contained the SYS partition's DATA partition was nearly full of data.

    2) The drive that contained the SYS partition didn't completely die... it just won't boot anymore.

    So, I'm moving to replace the SYS drive with a new one, and then plan on hooking the old drive up externally to transfer over the files in the DATA side.  However, I want to make sure I'm understanding what everyone is saying...

    Concerning the phrase "unduplicated shared folder content will be lost", is the phrase only meant to refer to data on the previous SYS drive that can no longer be accessed?  In other words, data on my other drives will not be effected, whether it was duplicated or not, correct?

    Thanks all for the help.
    Friday, March 27, 2009 5:48 AM
  • Hi Charlie,
    for answering your question it may help to read the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.
    Regarding the risk of data loss according to above message: Its related to the files, which may be stored on d:\DE\shares solely and computer backups, if parts of the backup database are stored on the D: drive.
    (Its usually better to open a new thread than to hook up to an old, answered thread.)

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, March 27, 2009 11:01 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf,

    My System Disk shows up in my machine (An Acer Desktop) as drive 4.

    Does this mean if this disk were to die I would have a problem doing a Server Reinstallation??

    This is kinda scary.    I always assumed the Server Reinstall would let you tell it which disk is the OS Disk.

    Flad
    Friday, March 27, 2009 1:13 PM
  • Hi Flad,

    It scared me too. However, with the old primary disk removed and a new one installed, the server reinstall worked out where to put the OS without asking any questions, even though the new disk was not disk 0. If you follow that path you should be able to recover any unduplicated share data from your failed drive after the reinstall:

    Add the failed drive as a backup disk
    copy the unduplicated share data from that disk to your shares

    However, that backup database is probably lost. In my case it was.


    Cheers,
    PaulyB.
    Friday, March 27, 2009 1:31 PM