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AHCI Reinstall RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a WHS installation on a fairly new ASUS P5Q-E Intel P45 based motherboard. I did the install using AHCI mode. Looks like my SYS drive is failing, so I want to replace it. Unfortunately, no matter what I do, I see no option to perform a reinstallation!! If I keep the BIOS with AHCI, then boot with the WHS DVD, it errors out saying it cannot find a drive large enough to install. I load the necessary drivers, but it still doesn't find what it needs. I then change to IDE mode in the BIOS, but then the only option i get is a new isntallation, and not a reinstall. Is WHS really the POS that I think it is??!! 
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 6:34 AM

Answers

  • Hi,
    SATA drivers are somewhat difficult to handle in a reinstall context, because they are not part of the original OS installation.

    Which size has your replacement disk? Should be a minimum of 65 (better 80) GByte, since otherwise installation is not possible indeed.
    Also this disk should be connected on the same place than the former system disk and be detected as disk 0 to ge the chance for a reinstall.
    Could also be a problem, in which position the DVD drive is connected. Some experiences did show in an IDE scenario, that the DVD drive should not be a primary drive if a disk is the secondary drive for the same controller.

    Since you say your former system drive is failing this may have caused messing up some of the structures used by WHS setup to detect, if a reinstall is an option. In this case you should disconnect the data disks by pulling the cable and perform a fresh install. After this is finished and all Windows Updates are applied you can attach the data drives one by one and copy the files from the hidden folder DE\shares (can contain either original files or duplicates) on each disk to the equivalent share on your server using the UNC path \\server\sharename or the shortcut Shared Folders on server on the desktop. After finishing this you can add the disk again to the storage pool.
    Client backups may be lost in this process, but they can usually be redone.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:18 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,
    SATA drivers are somewhat difficult to handle in a reinstall context, because they are not part of the original OS installation.

    Which size has your replacement disk? Should be a minimum of 65 (better 80) GByte, since otherwise installation is not possible indeed.
    Also this disk should be connected on the same place than the former system disk and be detected as disk 0 to ge the chance for a reinstall.
    Could also be a problem, in which position the DVD drive is connected. Some experiences did show in an IDE scenario, that the DVD drive should not be a primary drive if a disk is the secondary drive for the same controller.

    Since you say your former system drive is failing this may have caused messing up some of the structures used by WHS setup to detect, if a reinstall is an option. In this case you should disconnect the data disks by pulling the cable and perform a fresh install. After this is finished and all Windows Updates are applied you can attach the data drives one by one and copy the files from the hidden folder DE\shares (can contain either original files or duplicates) on each disk to the equivalent share on your server using the UNC path \\server\sharename or the shortcut Shared Folders on server on the desktop. After finishing this you can add the disk again to the storage pool.
    Client backups may be lost in this process, but they can usually be redone.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:18 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the response. My computer was identical to before, except that I replaced the 750GB SYS drive with the new 1TB drive. Same sata channel.

    Looks like I finally got it to work! I will never use AHCI mode again for WHS, as the OS does not support it for a reinstall. Its kind of silly, because it identifies that there is no place to install the OS, and wants me to load drivers. I load the drivers via floppy, and it seems happy with them. However, it doesn't seem to actually use them, as it will complain again about no drive to install on! This should be a BIG CAVEAT mentioned that don't use AHCI, as reinstall will not support them. I had to go into the BIOS, set SATA to "IDE - Compatibility Mode". I previously tried "IDE - Enhanced", and while the install process now found the drives, it didn't allow for a Reinstall option. With the "IDE - Compatibility Mode" setting, the Reinstallation option popped up. Took a long time for the re-installation to complete, as the Data Recovery step had to incorporate all the data on four 1.5TB drives and one 1TB drive.

    I then had to clean up the backup database, and this took sometime. They were all corrupted, so I lost them all. I will now have to reinstall the connector on my computers and back them up before anything happens! I tried to backup the backup database to an external drive before this whole process, but the backup folder was mysteriously a couple of hundred GBs. Not sure why it was so big, as it was only containing data from three computers, and those computers don't have alot of non OS data on them.

    Anyways, good to be running clean again. Sorry for my harsh words about call WHS a POS, but I will stick by this with respect to AHCI support for a reinstall!! ;-)
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:44 PM
  • Hi,
    if the connector is still installed on your computer, you should go the following way:
    Apply all valid Windows Updates to the WHS via console, until none is offered any more.
    (Maybe your backups have only seen as corrupted, because the version of Windows Home Server was older than the version which created these backups? In this case the format may have changed making the older version think, the backups are corrupt.)
    After applying all updates up to at least the same level your WHS had before on each client run discovery.exe from c:\Program Files\Windows Home Server. This should reestablish the connection without the need to reinstall.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Wednesday, December 24, 2008 12:47 AM
    Moderator