Identifying and replacing a hard drive RRS feed

  • Question

  • My WHS (pre-2011 version) has started to report backup failures and lost files due to errors on a hard drive.

    I have two identical 1TB and 1 500GB drive installed. It seems one of the 1TB drives are failing, and from the little logo it seems to be the one with the OS on it.

    1. Any hints on hos to figure out whihc of the two drives this actually may be? It has been 3 years or more sine I installed it and I can't remember now. In hindsight, I should have physically marked the drives.  Can I safely just putt the power on a drive and see if it will boot? If it boots with one data drive missing, will I lose more of my data is I shot it down?

    Also, the server is headless (no monitor, keyboard or anything) so I'll have to  wait until I can open remote console on another PC to verify it it has booted.

    2. How do I replace the hard drive with the system partition without data loss? Any links to a procedure?


    Saturday, September 22, 2012 12:35 AM

All replies

      • You can safely shut down, disconnect one drive, and boot back up to see if it's the "right" one.
      • If it's a home-built system, recovery will require you to reinstall monitor and keyboard. If it's from an OEM, you should have received recovery media with the server. You'll find instructions on how to use the recovery media in the server's manual in that case.

    The general recovery method for a home-built server will be to boot the server installation media once you've replaced the failing drive. Artway through the initial graphical setup phase, you should be asked what kind of installation you want to do; choose the reinstallation or recovery option, not the new installation option. If you aren't offered a recovery option, do some searches in the Windows Home Server forums here, and also visit the FAQ section here, as there are several FAQs that can help you with recovery, and with the possibility that you might not get recovery to work.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Saturday, September 22, 2012 1:57 AM
  • So wait... 

    I can try and deactivate the failing drive and see if I have enough space on the remaining drives.  If not, then can I install the new drive and attempt to install the WHS OS on that new drive and it will recognize what is going on?  

    I did look for the FAQs, since I thought this would be covered, but I must have been blind. Could not see them. Still don't - a link (even just to the FAQ URL) would be highly appreciated. Searching the forum is a needle in a haystack. 

    • Edited by MikeB75077 Saturday, September 22, 2012 6:18 PM
    Saturday, September 22, 2012 5:12 PM
  • The FAQ section is over here. 

    Reinstallation/recovery is basically the same as installing from scratch; if you're recovering a server that's failing, however, you'll be given an option at the start of setup (don't remember how many screens in, sorry) to recovery or install from scratch. This depends on there still being at least one "server disk" still installed, and on proper drivers being injected at the proper times.

    Failure to have all remaining server disks available will prevent reintegration of the contents of unavailable disks during recovery, and failure to supply drivers (Vista, preferably, in the initial graphical installation phase, then Windows Server 2003 x86 or XP after the reboot into text-mode setup) can prevent reintegration, or can block the recovery process entirely.

    I would make one try @ recovery, after copying all remaining data off your server's storage disks. If that fails for any reason, drop back to a clean "from scratch" installation.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Monday, September 24, 2012 6:56 PM
  • This has not worked as I was expecting/hoping.

    I put two new drives into my WHS without removing any drives. One was a new 1TB HD to replace the failing storage, and a 20GB SSD that I had lying around. My thinking was that I'd like to install WHS itself on the 20 GB SSD and thus to some extend "isolate" my data from the OS.

    On booting the WHS Install DVD, I did get the option to reinstall, but it did not ask me to designate an installation location or anything - it could "see" all the drives and gave me a list of them, as well as the partitions on the old "system" disk.  When I chose reinstall, it simply overwrote the 20 GB partition on the failing hard drive. Not my expectation.

    Now I am faced with another option - disconnect the two existing drives, leaving only the new empty HD and the SSD visible. That should force a new install to those disks and hopefully a coice to allow me to designate the SSD as the OS drive, if not, nothing lost, then I have WHS back on a 20 GB partition on the 1TB HD. But what them?  Can I simply reconnect the old drives and add them in? Will WHS recognize them for what they are and somehow preserve the file structure? I fear not, and I don't want to experiment. 

    Am I missing a key piece of the puzzle here?

    Sunday, September 30, 2012 11:24 PM
  • You will not be able to install or reinstall on the SSD; it doesn't meet the minimum required size for a system disk in Windows Home Server.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Monday, October 1, 2012 12:56 AM
  • I thought the WHS minimum size was 20GB?  Leaving that aside, I also had the new 1TB disk and was not offered that as an option to install to. 

    I have read through some of the material in the FAQ, and it seems as if I am SOL on preserving my PC backups.  Nor have I seen any way to save the shared folders, other than to manually move them to different storage for the time until I have a new WHS installation. This seems totally wrong and a very wea kpoint in the design of WHS - which is moot, since WHS is no more.

    Monday, October 1, 2012 2:02 AM
  • You will not be able to install or reinstall on the SSD; it doesn't meet the minimum required size for a system disk in Windows Home Server.

    Well Ken, you were dead wrong on this one. It installed on the SSD just fine. Now I have a much safer configuration, IMHO. My OS is now separate from my data and should I ever lose my OS drive again, I can install it without (hopefully) clobbering my backup data to the extent that I had to do it this time.

    Now to see if WHS will recover the data that is on the other hard drives if I connect then....

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 2:45 PM
  • ... Well Ken, you were dead wrong on this one. It installed on the SSD just fine. ...

    Sorry, but the minimum system requirements for V1 are:

    • 1.0 GHz Intel Pentium 3 (or equivalent) processor
    • 512 MB RAM (4 GB Maximum)
    • 65 GB internal hard drive as primary drive
    • 100 Mbit/s wired Ethernet

    There are ways to defeat the hardware checks (to allow installation for testing purposes on less capable hardware), but in order to use a 20 GB SSD as the system drive you also have to defeat the way Windows Home Server splits the system drive into two partitions. Doing this is harder, less likely to succeed, and more likely to result in serious problems if done incorrectly. Using any of these methods in production is unsupported and not recommended.

    As for reintegrating storage pool drives that weren't present when you reinstalled: Windows Home Server will not reintegrate these drives. There is a FAQ which will help you recover the files they contain, however.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012 7:52 PM