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Building a Recovery Partition? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I read somewhere that if you buy a Hardware WHS it has to come with a recovery partition I presume because it has no DVD drive. It seems like a neat idea, does anyone have an idea about what you would need to do to have a recovery partion on a home built server? I would assume you need another partition but what bits of software would you need to load and what extra is required.
    Someones bound to ask this, so it might as well be me.
    Thanks
    Frank
    Thursday, September 20, 2007 1:11 PM

Answers

  • For the OEM units, there's a requirement that there be a recovery button, which when pressed during boot will put the BIOS in a mode that will allow booting off of an external USB drive, USB flash drive, or internal flash. Presumably that recovery media would either run an unattended reinstallation, or it would start the process of a reinstallation over your home network.

    That's the official recovery mechanism. Some vendors are apparently doing an end run around this by creating a copy (maybe compressed) of the C: partition elsewhere on the system drive which can be used to restore from minor OS errors. I believe you'll still have to reinstall if your system drive fails, though.
    Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:06 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    Couple of additions (I rarely get to do this with Ken ...).  For the System Builder SKU there is a "Server Reinstallation" option when you boot from the Windows Home Server DVD on an existing Windows Home Server system that can be used to format the SYS partition and lay down the WHS bits again.  As with the System Builder SKU it is assumed that the home server hardware as a DVD drive and a monitor, mouse and keyboard can be plugged in (if necessary).

     

    Since, OEMs do not have DVD drives, monitors or keyboard/mouse connections it works a little differently, but in the end it is more or less the same result.  The recovery / reinstallation of the SYS partition with an OEM hardware solution is called "Server Recovery".  OEM units actually have a 256MB internal flash partition that includes a copy of Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) that is designed to load the correct network drivers and put the home server into a "listening" mode.  To get into this mode, each OEM will have some sort of recovery button or other sequence for getting the server into this mode.

     

    Each OEM will provide a recovery DVD.  A user will launch an application on one of their home computers, that has a DVD drive, to initiate the Server Recovery process.  The application on the home computer will connect to the home server over the home network and take the image of the SYS partition as prepared by each OEM,and move the image from the recovery DVD to the SYS partition on the home server. 

     

    Friday, September 21, 2007 1:47 AM

All replies

  • IMHO a recovery partition is just a waste of HD space for a home built system. 

    Thursday, September 20, 2007 2:02 PM
    Moderator
  • For the OEM units, there's a requirement that there be a recovery button, which when pressed during boot will put the BIOS in a mode that will allow booting off of an external USB drive, USB flash drive, or internal flash. Presumably that recovery media would either run an unattended reinstallation, or it would start the process of a reinstallation over your home network.

    That's the official recovery mechanism. Some vendors are apparently doing an end run around this by creating a copy (maybe compressed) of the C: partition elsewhere on the system drive which can be used to restore from minor OS errors. I believe you'll still have to reinstall if your system drive fails, though.
    Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:06 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    Couple of additions (I rarely get to do this with Ken ...).  For the System Builder SKU there is a "Server Reinstallation" option when you boot from the Windows Home Server DVD on an existing Windows Home Server system that can be used to format the SYS partition and lay down the WHS bits again.  As with the System Builder SKU it is assumed that the home server hardware as a DVD drive and a monitor, mouse and keyboard can be plugged in (if necessary).

     

    Since, OEMs do not have DVD drives, monitors or keyboard/mouse connections it works a little differently, but in the end it is more or less the same result.  The recovery / reinstallation of the SYS partition with an OEM hardware solution is called "Server Recovery".  OEM units actually have a 256MB internal flash partition that includes a copy of Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) that is designed to load the correct network drivers and put the home server into a "listening" mode.  To get into this mode, each OEM will have some sort of recovery button or other sequence for getting the server into this mode.

     

    Each OEM will provide a recovery DVD.  A user will launch an application on one of their home computers, that has a DVD drive, to initiate the Server Recovery process.  The application on the home computer will connect to the home server over the home network and take the image of the SYS partition as prepared by each OEM,and move the image from the recovery DVD to the SYS partition on the home server. 

     

    Friday, September 21, 2007 1:47 AM
  •  T. Headrick wrote:
    Couple of additions (I rarely get to do this with Ken ...).
    So sue me, I was in a hurry. Smile
     T. Headrick wrote:
    OEM units actually have a 256MB internal flash partition
    Is that a requirement now? The only set of OEM requirements I've seen is from July, and seems to indicate that the flash memory is optional.
     T. Headrick wrote:
    that includes a copy of Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) that is designed to load the correct network drivers and put the home server into a "listening" mode.  To get into this mode, each OEM will have some sort of recovery button or other sequence for getting the server into this mode.

     

    Each OEM will provide a recovery DVD.  A user will launch an application on one of their home computers, that has a DVD drive, to initiate the Server Recovery process.  The application on the home computer will connect to the home server over the home network and take the image of the SYS partition as prepared by each OEM,and move the image from the recovery DVD to the SYS partition on the home server.

    The rest is what I would expect if that flash is a requirement now. Though I might be tempted to use a larger flash drive and put an entire compressed/encrypted server recovery disk on it. Then crow about how "They make you put a DVD in a drive somewhere, then run a slow recovery across your network. We let you do it by pushing a button." I suppose I'll never make a good Marketing Weasel™. Smile

    Friday, September 21, 2007 3:32 AM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
     T. Headrick wrote:
    OEM units actually have a 256MB internal flash partition
    Is that a requirement now? The only set of OEM requirements I've seen is from July, and seems to indicate that the flash memory is optional.

     

    Most of the OEMs are using flash memory that contains the WinPE recovery image.

    Friday, September 21, 2007 6:13 PM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
     
     T. Headrick wrote:
    OEM units actually have a 256MB internal flash partition

    Is that a requirement now? The only set of OEM requirements I've seen is from July, and seems to indicate that the flash memory is optional.

     

    The flash memory is optional but if implemented must be at least 256MB. This is the cleanest method for performing a recovery the other two options requre plugging in a USB Flash Drive or a USB DVD Drive.

    Friday, September 21, 2007 7:50 PM
  • I have a problem re-installing WHS (I do not want to loose existing data on older discs that are already present)

     

    see: http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2765152&SiteID=50

     

    is this the solution to that problem ?

     

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:15 AM