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WHS 2011 messed up after installing Cloudberry add-in update, issues with recovering server to previous point in time. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a custom machine that I have setup with a 500GB main drive, a 1TB dedicated backup drive for the server and then a 12TB RAID drive for client backup and another 21TB for other storage. See attached image below. 

    I have had server backups enabled since I setup WHS 2011 and they go back for quite a while.  See image below.

    The backups, obviously, include the entire reason that I was using the server backup to begin with... Getting a backup in the event I need to restore the WHS 2011 system to an earlier point in time.

    Now that I have a need to restore WHS 2011 to a previous point in time I have tried two ways.  The first way would seem like it couldn't be done, but the wizard sure makes it seem like it would work.   

    Notice the word "DRIVE" to restore above.  (nice that MS forums limits to two images per post!)

    Notice I can choose a backup from a previous point in time.  (nice that MS forums limits to two images per post!)

    Again, above, a reference to restoring drive C.  Which usually means the drive that has the OS on it.  (nice that MS forums limits to two images per post!)


    Above I can pick what I want to restore.   (nice that MS forums limits to two images per post!)

    Oh, but I can't install to Drive C.  I know there is another thread on this that states that you have to restore from the installation DVD, but really, what is the purpose of the above?

    So, I have all these copies of the server backup.  I went and rebooted the WHS 2011 machine with the WHS 2011 DVD installation disc and went into repair.

    I was given an option to restore from the day before, which obviously is still corrupted.  What on earth happened with all the backups that I had WHS doing up to this point?  Are they simply a waste of time and I should have been doing some other backup of the WHS 2011 HDD for an full image instead? It almost seems like it is using shadow copies to do the restore from Windows 2008 vs. something that WHS is doing.

    This is all seeming less than obvious on how to recover from something like a corrupted WHS 2011 installation or worse a total HDD failure.

    I've read all the documentation on line, which has little to no value regarding restoring a server, which has been less than helpful.

    It almost seems that I will have to reinstall WHS and figure out how to rejoin all of my client backups that I have already done. 

    Any help would be appreciated.    

    Friday, January 3, 2014 7:07 PM

Answers

  • I did a full restore and then the machine wouldn't boot, even if I had another boot device (i.e. optical disc) in the machine and the BIOS had the order having USB and optical disc booting first.  The machine could see the HDD.  I pulled the HDD and put it in another machine to inspect and all the partitions were setup correctly.  It seemed that the restore put the drive in some state that caused the Intel motherboard to just hang on post.  The post error was something around recognizing a legacy device. 

    I've never seen a MB behave that way before.

    At any rate, I started the process over and choose a different backup data and the process worked fine.

    Something must have been corrupted with that particular dates image or there was some glitch on the restore process.

    At any rate, it is up and running fine now.

    • Marked as answer by Andy Qi Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:28 AM
    Monday, January 6, 2014 5:19 PM

All replies

  • Well clearly you will not be able to use the WHS2011 OS to restore itself from a backup, so booting from the installation DVD is the way to do it. You should be able to restore all the other Server drives using the method you describe as well as any data you happen to have on C:, but not the OS itself.

    As for your problem though, not sure what the solution is, but you should be able to see all previous backups and choose which one to reinstall (having booted from the DVD). What I do not understand is why your Server backup disk has a drive letter - it should not have one. Do you know how it got that?


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.


    Friday, January 3, 2014 7:18 PM
  • I only see one backup available when I use the DVD method.  It is the last one that was done.  Clearly from the screen grabs above there are more backups.  Getting the last backup from the DVD method is absolutely no use to me and I doubt how it would be of much use to anyone else unless they had a total drive failure.  

    In regards to the drive letter, when I was taking the screen grab, I was wondering why it didn't have a drive letter and I just assigned it a drive letter for the screen grab.  Does it make a difference if there is or is not a drive letter assigned to the drive?

    If I try the repair method of just Windows 2008, I interestingly only see the same one available backup.  In fact the process seems identical to what I see from the DVD method.  Why wouldn't I be seeing all the backups that are shown on the screen grabs above or are those some "other" type of backup that isn't used for a DVD restore process?

    What are my options if I just do a total re-install on the system.  How difficult will it be for me to get back to all the client backups I have?

    Also, what does "Operating System" supposed to be referring to on the sever backup screen grab below if I supposedly can't restore it?  

     
    Friday, January 3, 2014 7:43 PM
  • In looking at the server backup drive there just seems to be one directory that is deleted and recreated with each WHS 2011 Server Backup.

    Then there just is one VHD.

    

    So, looking at the files in the backup drive, where on earth are the files that are referenced in the screen grabs above that show multiple backups?  Is this by design?

    Friday, January 3, 2014 8:19 PM
  • I only see one backup available when I use the DVD method.  It is the last one that was done.  Clearly from the screen grabs above there are more backups.  Getting the last backup from the DVD method is absolutely no use to me and I doubt how it would be of much use to anyone else unless they had a total drive failure. 

    Well that's not how it should work and doesn't on my 2 systems. Perhaps the database is corrupted or somehow allocation of a drive letter has done something although it appears you had the problem before you allocated it one? I am not sure how to repair a corrupted Server database if that is indeed the problem.

    The "Operating System" is what you would expect it to be (C:) and it's informing you that it was backed up not that you can recover it by the method you want to - DVD boot is the only supported way of doing that.

    Re-installations are easy, just be aware that it will format everything on the disk it installs the OS on, not just the installation partition. The method to recover the rest of that HDD (E: in your case but it's normally D:) is from a server backup!! I notice that your 100MB System Partition also has a Drive Letter (D:) which it shouldn't. I can't help feeling this arbitrary allocation of drive letters may be the cause of your problems.


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.


    Friday, January 3, 2014 9:14 PM
  • Inside the other .vhds at the bottom of your last screen shot?

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    Friday, January 3, 2014 9:16 PM
  • I only see one backup available when I use the DVD method.  It is the last one that was done.  Clearly from the screen grabs above there are more backups.  Getting the last backup from the DVD method is absolutely no use to me and I doubt how it would be of much use to anyone else unless they had a total drive failure. 

    Well that's not how it should work and doesn't on my 2 systems. Perhaps the database is corrupted or somehow allocation of a drive letter has done something although it appears you had the problem before you allocated it one? I am not sure how to repair a corrupted Server database if that is indeed the problem.

    The "Operating System" is what you would expect it to be (C:) and it's informing you that it was backed up not that you can recover it by the method you want to - DVD boot is the only supported way of doing that.

    Re-installations are easy, just be aware that it will format everything on the disk it installs the OS on, not just the installation partition. The method to recover the rest of that HDD (E: in your case but it's normally D:) is from a server backup!! I notice that your 100MB System Partition also has a Drive Letter (D:) which it shouldn't. I can't help feeling this arbitrary allocation of drive letters may be the cause of your problems.


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.



    You are correct that this was happening before I assigned the drive letter L: to the backup drive.  The other drive letters were always there, I never added them.  I don't have anything of importance on the system drive that WHS 2011 partitioned into three partitions.  After I do a re-installation, how does WHS2011 know that my existing backups are there and that when the machines start backing up again they will go to their respective locations?
    Friday, January 3, 2014 9:52 PM
  • The other VHD's are most like one for each of the partitions on the primary drive as their sizes would indicate the size of each partition. At any rate, nothing comes up and if WHS is truly looking for VHD's to restore the image, where on earth are all the VHD's that would be for all the other days that there are supposedly backups?

    Where do you see individual directories on your server backup drive that have a directory / folder name that is the date/time that it was backed up?  Do you see more than one of them?  If not, where are the VHD's for the previous days backups. 

    I know that it replaced the directory I had from the night before because now it says the latest backup to restore from DVD is 1/3, whereas last night it said 1/2. 

    So clearly, I am missing out on something here and I am not understanding what it has to do with the database for a full image restore if the image restore simply comes from a VHD on the server backup drive.  In this case the previous VHD directory is deleted and a new one with a date/time stamp is put there.

    It appears that doing folder/file restores are in a different location than doing an image restore.  This is quite frustrating as the documentation, setup procedure and UX indicate that you have days and days of backups. 

    Can you do a screen grab of your whsbackup drive to compare with the one I posted?

     

    Friday, January 3, 2014 9:58 PM
  • You are missing out on something! WHS puts the server backup into a single VHD file and stores months of backups there, which if things are working correctly are all available for recovery purposes - just what you want.

    Remember that very little changes on the server OS drive between one backup and the next, so it is only storing changes and consequently it does not back up the full server on each occasion - note the start and stop times of your backups (it could not run a full backup in that short time). Consequently you will not see individual VHDs for each backup. It's for that reason that I think that somehow your database may be corrupt or you have disk errors.


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    Friday, January 3, 2014 10:12 PM
  • You are missing out on something! WHS puts the server backup into a single VHD file and stores months of backups there, which if things are working correctly are all available for recovery purposes - just what you want.

    Remember that very little changes on the server OS drive between one backup and the next, so it is only storing changes and consequently it does not back up the full server on each occasion - note the start and stop times of your backups (it could not run a full backup in that short time). Consequently you will not see individual VHDs for each backup. It's for that reason that I think that somehow your database may be corrupt or you have disk errors.


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    Interesting. 

    Are there two databases then?  One for doing an image restore and one for doing file/folder restores?  If not, then it seems odd that I can see two backups a day for the last month, but can only see the last backup when doing a DVD restore. 

    I guess I can try restoring files from a month ago via the file / folder route and see if they restore.  If they do and there is only one database for both image and file/folder restores, then there must be something else going on as it would be odd that the database would only be corrupted for image restores and not file/folders, particularly if they are all in the same VHD. 

    Is there a consistency checker / fixer for the WHS database?

    Friday, January 3, 2014 10:58 PM
  • As far as I am aware there is only one database for both purposes - I agree what you are seeing is odd and not consistent with a working WHS2011 system. I am not aware of a method of checking the Server backup database unlike the Client backups (done from the Dashboard). Have you run a chkdsk /r on your backup disk?

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    Friday, January 3, 2014 11:12 PM
  • I have run CHKDSK on the drive and windows reports no errors.  

    I also could successfully restore files and folders from backups that were from a month ago and put them onto another drive.  I verified that the contents were valid and were actual files.

    So, I'm still at a loss as to what is going on as if everything is in the VHD, then how can I restore files/folders but not a full restore from anything besides the latest backup on the DVD boot method.

    I'm still not clear as to what the process is/will be if I do a fresh install of WHS2011 on the drive.  Do I need to re-match all the clients that are on the network?  What happens to all of my existing backups?  All backups are on a separate RAID drive as shown in the screen grabs above on the thread.  

    Saturday, January 4, 2014 5:53 AM
  • OK, well I figured it out....

    This is the part that I was never getting past...  Call me dumb, but since there is a grid that would indicate multiple dates to choose from, I was naively thinking that I only had the latest image.  

    Given that my only option at this point was to do a clean install, I figured I might as well see what happens if I select the latest backup...

    When I did this I then got to this screen.

    Given the above, I am starting a previous image backup.  I'm still confused as to why/how a user would have multiple locations for doing their backups to even have the first image be a necessity.  If there was, some verbiage on that multiple backups are actually in that image would have been beneficial.

    Looks like me dedicated drive for backups is going to pay off after all....

    Thanks Phil for hanging in there.

    Saturday, January 4, 2014 6:23 AM
  • Ah, pleased that you have solved the problem. I think that because you were expecting individual VHDs for each backup you also expected the System Image to show all time related backups rather than it just being the overall image containing them all. The page does say "Select the location of the backup ...." - you could of course have had more than one if you had more than a single backup drive.

    Anyway, the moral of the story is "Press the button and see what happens next"!

    I am pleased it is solved as I was running out of ideas!!


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    Saturday, January 4, 2014 1:13 PM
  • I did a full restore and then the machine wouldn't boot, even if I had another boot device (i.e. optical disc) in the machine and the BIOS had the order having USB and optical disc booting first.  The machine could see the HDD.  I pulled the HDD and put it in another machine to inspect and all the partitions were setup correctly.  It seemed that the restore put the drive in some state that caused the Intel motherboard to just hang on post.  The post error was something around recognizing a legacy device. 

    I've never seen a MB behave that way before.

    At any rate, I started the process over and choose a different backup data and the process worked fine.

    Something must have been corrupted with that particular dates image or there was some glitch on the restore process.

    At any rate, it is up and running fine now.

    • Marked as answer by Andy Qi Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:28 AM
    Monday, January 6, 2014 5:19 PM