locked
Server Reinstall Process hosed IF .... RRS feed

  • Question

  • At the moment I am pretty distraught due to two reasons. My own mistake plus an obvious issue with WHS.

    First, I had a drive going bad, heard it clicking. Even though the drive that was going bad was NOT the system drive, when I first put together the box I had it in my mind that IT was the system drive because I had set it up as primary not knowing WHS installs to largest drive (which is stupid BTW).  So, knowing this was indeed the drive. I wrote down my account information and so forth, shut down the box, swapped drives and re-fired the system with the WHS install disk.

    I selected Server Reinstall and the very moment that I hit the commit button, I realized that disk I replaced was a data drive and not the system drive, but still the correct drive to replace. At that point I thought oh well, it will all be fine because of the duplication and this would be a good test on the reinstall process anyway.

    Not more than 5 seconds into the re-format process for the system disk, the power here goes out. I had this system on my workbench and not on an APC unit. So I re-fired the system, rebooted from the WHS disk and guess what? It will only go for a full install, No reinstall option to be found.

    The system will not boot from the system disk either.

    Soooooooooo, I am a little frazzled that this process failed due to a power outage. There's obviously a flaw in it if that is the case. Meaning, I should have been able to refire the system and continue with, or start the server reinstall process over.

    How can I get my system drive back without having to pull all the drives and transfer them to other disks and what not? Surely there's a sensible answer to this? I hope?

    --Joe
    Sunday, March 15, 2009 5:41 PM

All replies

  • Hi Joe,
    Windows Home Server does not install itself to the largest disk, it selects the disk, which is offered as boot disk by the system (interface to which connected, Bios settings, drivers play a role here).
    If you have no backup of data in the shared folders (no, duplication is no replacement for a backup, it only covers the scenario of a dead harddisk), carefully read the FAQ How to recover data after server failure before going on.
    Best greetings from Germany and good luck
    Olaf
    Sunday, March 15, 2009 6:03 PM
    Moderator
  • I am not concerned with recovering the data. it's all there and not missing.

    What i want is to continue the server re installation process. I would like to do so WITHOUT having to pull the data drives, extracting data to another system and then allowing a new installation to re-format all my disks.

    The process that failed was the server re installation process. I have no qualms with the data at the moment.
    Sunday, March 15, 2009 6:12 PM
  • jfigura said:

    I am not concerned with recovering the data. it's all there and not missing.

    What i want is to continue the server re installation process. I would like to do so WITHOUT having to pull the data drives, extracting data to another system and then allowing a new installation to re-format all my disks.

    The process that failed was the server re installation process. I have no qualms with the data at the moment.


    You should be able to get the Server Reinstallation option again by formatting the C partition on the primary drive or, more likely, using a tool such as diskpart to remove the C partition from that drive (just make sure you are selecting the correct partition).
    Sunday, March 15, 2009 6:38 PM
    Moderator
  • Decided to pull the system drive, drop into my XP workstation adn was going to pull reformat the system partition.

    Never made it that far. After dropping driv in workstation it refused to boot. Blue screened. Repeatedly blue screen. Tried to get into system booting from XP Install disc, it blue screens too.

    Managed to use a general purpose boot disc, claims dirve volume is now corrupted. Not sure if its just the MBR or what but it's a mess and unaccessible. I fail to see how just dropping the system drive from WHS would cause this, but all was fine until I tried to boot my workstation with the WHS system disc installed.

    <shaking head> - Going to have a beer and see if I can get this mess sorted out.


    Monday, March 16, 2009 2:35 AM
  • Just to follow up:

    I put the system disk on another workstation and deleted the C partition. I then placed back in the server, ALONG with the data disk that is failing. This did not work. It still wanted to do a fresh install.

    I pulled the system disk and replaced with the original drive I was going to replace the failing data drive with, while still keeping the failing data drive in place. This DID work. As I type this the server is now reinstalling and rebuilding.

    #1 - This is good as I managed to get my workstation back up but it is really hosed. Can't connect to logical disk manager, no access to System Restore, anti virus wont load, etc etc. I really need the backup image from the server in order to put my workstation back together.

    #2 - This is also BAD as this shouldn't happen. The system disk and its data was intact. If I deleted the original partition, WHS should still provide an option for server restore. I hope the MS team takes a good luck at this scenario. If it happened to me, it could happen to anyone. Power outages are random and a fluke, but it could still happen.

    Now all I am praying for is that the system backup/restore process works as advertised after I get my server fully rebuilt.

    --Joe
    Monday, March 16, 2009 5:54 AM
  • Another follow up:

    After going thru the entire process, on the final reboot where supposedly everything would be done, I get:

    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: "System32\Drivers\Ntfs.sys


    Now here is the funny part:
    "You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original CDrom. Select "R" at the first screen to repair."

    Really? WHS presents no such option. After all, they made for the "average" non technical person. So let's just confuse that person by giving them an option to fix their issue that doesn't exist! Typical Microsoft.

    I give up on this for today. It's just too late. Guss I'll have to figure out how the hell I can insert ntfs.sys into the system directory tomorrow. Or just do the reinstall process again. Either way it's ridiculous.
    Monday, March 16, 2009 7:14 AM
  • Hi,
    the repair offer has to do with the Windows Server 2003 legacy of Windows Home Server and is code, which the WHS team could not change.

    Regarding your message it seems to be the case, that your system volume is either not there or that the boot sequence of your disks in the Bios does not match the installation (causing boot.ini point to the wrong volume).

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, March 16, 2009 9:28 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf Engelke said:


    Regarding your message it seems to be the case, that your system volume is either not there or that the boot sequence of your disks in the Bios does not match the installation (causing boot.ini point to the wrong volume).


    That doesn't make any logical sense. The BIOS doesn't change on it's own when the WHS is done installing itself. The drive is still where it is supposed to be.

    How could the system volume not be there when WHS was done installing? It had rebooted a number of times etc etc. Or yet, if the system volume wasn't there, I wouldn't even get to the point that I get this message.
    Monday, March 16, 2009 4:07 PM
  • jfigura said:

    Another follow up:

    After going thru the entire process, on the final reboot where supposedly everything would be done, I get:

    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: "System32\Drivers\Ntfs.sys


    Now here is the funny part:
    "You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original CDrom. Select "R" at the first screen to repair."

    Obviously things went wrong already in the beginning. The correct procedure would have been to logon to the WHS console, remove the failing disk, and then replace with a new one.

    During the reinstall process I'm afraid you got the disks mixed up somehow (not sure though)

    Right now I would advise you to:

    1. Check which of the disks are data disks (the disks which only have a single partition with a hidden DE folder in the root)
    2. Disconnect any disk which is not a data disk.
    3. Format the disk (not only C partition) you intend to use as a system disk, make sure this is a healthy error free disk
    4. Make 100% sure the intended system disk is the primary disk
    5. Boot from the WHS install DVD, choose server reinstall. Leave the DVD in place until install has finished completely.
    6. If the process succeeds don't be surprised if some data or client backups are missing.

    Probably there are other ways to correct you current problem, however I expect this will only lead you to the next problem, so I will not go into details on this.

    jfigura said:

    After all, they made for the "average" non technical person. So let's just confuse that person by giving them an option to fix their issue that doesn't exist! Typical Microsoft.

    I give up on this for today. It's just too late. Guss I'll have to figure out how the hell I can insert ntfs.sys into the system directory tomorrow. Or just do the reinstall process again. Either way it's ridiculous.


    This statement is not correct if you build your WHS. In that case you are the OEM and as such you are supposed to have sufficient knowledge to handle this kind of issues. If not you can always get (paid) support from MS. Personally I agree with you it's not good that the server reinstall is no longer available when the reinstall fails for some reason (power outage or whatever). However it's something you could have known in advance (being an OEM).



    Monday, March 16, 2009 4:13 PM
    Moderator
  • brubber said:

    Obviously things went wrong already in the beginning. The correct procedure would have been to logon to the WHS console, remove the failing disk, and then replace with a new one.

    During the reinstall process I'm afraid you got the disks mixed up somehow (not sure though)

    Right now I would advise you to:

    1. Check which of the disks are data disks (the disks which only have a single partition with a hidden DE folder in the root)
    2. Disconnect any disk which is not a data disk.
    3. Format the disk (not only C partition) you intend to use as a system disk, make sure this is a healthy error free disk
    4. Make 100% sure the intended system disk is the primary disk
    5. Boot from the WHS install DVD, choose server reinstall. Leave the DVD in place until install has finished completely.
    6. If the process succeeds don't be surprised if some data or client backups are missing.

    Probably there are other ways to correct you current problem, however I expect this will only lead you to the next problem, so I will not go into details on this.

    jfigura said:

    After all, they made for the "average" non technical person. So let's just confuse that person by giving them an option to fix their issue that doesn't exist! Typical Microsoft.

    I give up on this for today. It's just too late. Guss I'll have to figure out how the hell I can insert ntfs.sys into the system directory tomorrow. Or just do the reinstall process again. Either way it's ridiculous.


    This statement is not correct if you build your WHS. In that case you are the OEM and as such you are supposed to have sufficient knowledge to handle this kind of issues. If not you can always get (paid) support from MS. Personally I agree with you it's not good that the server reinstall is no longer available when the reinstall fails for some reason (power outage or whatever). However it's something you could have known in advance (being an OEM).


    First I have to ask, what was the point of your post? Regarding the disks themselves, i already made clear that initially I messed up. HOWEVER, that doe snot mean it wasn't a recoverable issue. What made the issue worse was the power failure.

    Second, I explained already that the data disks are in the their proper places, even the one that is failing. This coupled with a new system drive that wasn't formatted or partitioned allowed for the server restore process to begin again, with all the data drives intact (except for the data partition on the original system drive of course) - So your answers regarding disks etc wasn't of any particular value.

    Third - My comments about the "Typical Microsoft" comment were rhetorical in nature. Your comeback regarding OEM knowledge etc clearly is not. As one poster said, the repair messages were left over from server 2003 and couldn't be removed? Really. I find that incredulous. If that is the case then this is just MS slapping together a product without thinking issues through. Similar to the way they released Vista on the world. You trying to belittle my perceived lack of knowledge has nothing to do with the issues at hand.

    As for my post from last regarding the NTFS.SYS corrutpion, I am pretty sure what caused this is the USB thumb drive I left in place which had a bootable partition on it. I was going to boot into DOS and replace that file but for fun decided to see what happened after I loaded a Server 2003 install disc. 

    The system drive ha snow been unpartitioned, reinstalled, the thumb drive removed and WHS is quietly reinstalling again. We'll see what happens.



    • Proposed as answer by abualfadhel Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:08 AM
    Monday, March 16, 2009 5:07 PM
  • jfigura said:

    First I have to ask, what was the point of your post? Regarding the disks themselves, i already made clear that initially I messed up. HOWEVER, that doe snot mean it wasn't a recoverable issue. What made the issue worse was the power failure.

    1. Give a brief outline of the best procedure in case of disk failure, in particular for other users that run into disks problem and find this thread.
    2. Like I said before I fully agree power or any other interruption of the install proces should not prevent a user to do a (forced) server reinstall. Perhaps you can file a bug report or suggestion on the Windows Home Server Connect Feedback site.


    jfigura said:

    Second, I explained already that the data disks are in the their proper places, even the one that is failing. This coupled with a new system drive that wasn't formatted or partitioned allowed for the server restore process to begin again, with all the data drives intact (except for the data partition on the original system drive of course) - So your answers regarding disks etc wasn't of any particular value.

    From your last post I concluded you were not in a defined state. Obviously something went wrong during server reinstall, so I suggested this procedure to make sure you wouldn't get into a state that's even worse. I wasn't aware you had already checked the disk after the reboot (ntfs.sys) error. If for some unexplained reason the system was installed on one drive and the second time would be installed on another drive you would not only loose data but also run into more problems. I agree it's an unlikely scenario, but sometimes these things happen.

    jfigura said:

    Third - My comments about the "Typical Microsoft" comment were rhetorical in nature. Your comeback regarding OEM knowledge etc clearly is not. As one poster said, the repair messages were left over from server 2003 and couldn't be removed? Really. I find that incredulous. If that is the case then this is just MS slapping together a product without thinking issues through. Similar to the way they released Vista on the world. You trying to belittle my perceived lack of knowledge has nothing to do with the issues at hand.

    I didn't mean to belittle you. Reading back my post I agree the last sentence was not OK. SORRY FOR THAT! However IMHO your remark "They made it for the "average" non technical person" is not correct. OEM version is meant for system builders that are supposed to have more then average knowledge.

    AS Olaf already pointed out WHS installation is effectively a multi staged install, and the solution in the error message is pointing to the second stage, text mode install of basic server 2003 functionality. With some effort you can get to this stage and then use the repair option. However since I was not sure if this would solve your problem and I didn't know your skills I did not want to drag you into this procedure but instead advised you to do server reinstall after making sure only correct disks were there in correct place. In most cases this would the best way to recover.

    jfigura said:

    As for my post from last regarding the NTFS.SYS corrutpion, I am pretty sure what caused this is the USB thumb drive I left in place which had a bootable partition on it. I was going to boot into DOS and replace that file but for fun decided to see what happened after I loaded a Server 2003 install disc. 

    The system drive ha snow been unpartitioned, reinstalled, the thumb drive removed and WHS is quietly reinstalling again. We'll see what happens.


    OK, Good luck! Hope this works out and you don't loose any data.








    Monday, March 16, 2009 7:01 PM
    Moderator
  • jfigura said:

    That doesn't make any logical sense. The BIOS doesn't change on it's own when the WHS is done installing itself. The drive is still where it is supposed to be.

    How could the system volume not be there when WHS was done installing? It had rebooted a number of times etc etc. Or yet, if the system volume wasn't there, I wouldn't even get to the point that I get this message.


    that may not make sense, but in my 3 disk SATA system the Bios also decided to shuffle the boot sequence of the disks during a server reinstall, and I have no clue why. But it happens, and the error was identical, so I pointed you to that possibility.

    No more, no less.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, March 16, 2009 7:25 PM
    Moderator
  • I pulled all the data manually from the drives before starting on this adventure. Thus far, when i do hit the second stage of the Win2K3 install, I am met with various errors, such as DMIO.SYS is corrupted and others. I am at this point convinced it is due to the use of IDE Controller card that I used to expand the system. In the first stage of the WHS install I can load the drivers from a USB key, it recognizes those drives and all seems well. During the original install, I did not have the card in place. I added it after, then added the drives to expand storage.

    Since this old box uses all IDE drives, I guess I am going to have to try pulling a drive and seeing what happens when I try to restore the server with just three drives and an optical.

    I tried moving the optical to the IDE controller and was met with unfavorable results. The very first screen of the WHS install that asks you time and keyboard method? Those options are left blank with nothing to select. If I try to moe forward, the machine reboots.

    I am not at this point so much worried about the data because I have it. I am just hopeful maye I can get it back up to restore my workstation but that now seems unlikely.


    Monday, March 16, 2009 9:56 PM
  • If you NEED to supply storage or other drivers during the intial phase of install you will need to supply them again during the text mode phase of install (Hit F6 somewhere in the first phase of text mode install, a message indicating this will be at the bottom of the screen) EDIT: You probably need to supply the drivers on diskette at this stage.

    Installation errors you describe are often (not always) caused by the DVD drive. If you have another one available it's definitely worth a try. Could also harddisk problem. Sometimes running chkdsk -f -r on the primary disk helps.

    If you manage to restore with all data disks in place there's a fair chance you will also be able to restore the backup database. If client backup data were (partially) stored on the failing disk or on the D partition of the original system disk they will definitely be lost.  Do you also have a copy of the client backup database? (stored in folders \DE\folders\{0000*)
    Monday, March 16, 2009 10:35 PM
    Moderator
  • I never realized I needed to supply the drivers a second time. I just assumed they were loaded into memory. Before I go any further, I will put things back the way they were, use a different dvd drive and add the drivers in the second time.

    Yeah I can pull the backup database if needed. I have not wiped any of the drives, including the data partition on the original system drive.
    Monday, March 16, 2009 11:04 PM
  • After fighting for an hour trying to get WHS to recognize the Primary Disk AS the primary disk to install to (it refused to do so until I removed one of the data disks from the system) I finally got things going. I changed DVD drives and ran the drivers at the second leg of the install. I got all the way to the end....

    As a progress bar came up that said "Recovering Data", I thought I was finally in the home stretch. A few minutes later, I got an error

    Installing Windows Home Server failed. The request isn't supported (error code 0x80070032)

    I opened the install log file and the last entries where the errors occurred were dealing with the qs.ini file on drive c and Drive d (error2) Drive X threw error 21. EDIT: After reading the log file a little further, it is apparently failing with the data rebuild process.

    So now my server is sitting here at a desktop. I can browse the web, browse the network, etc. It sees my system drive but does not see the other 3 data drives.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.


    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:37 AM
  • This is like a soap opera. I managed to get the process to continue and finish. I dumped the data drive back into the system and then rebooted. It finished the install process... However, it shows my shares, shows the PC's I had backed up.. but no data.

    When using the server storage tab it shows 667 gigs total space with 200 free... but no data. I'm confused. Starting new thread.
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 5:36 AM
  • From the server desktop, are the disk recognized by windows (Ex[plorer or else Start, Run, Compmgmt.msc, browse to Storage)?
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:26 AM
    Moderator
  • How much of the data is declared as System? Did you reboot the server another time, after the process was finished?
    If there is no data, this means that something has not been reintegrated properly. Visit the FAQ I mentioned earlier in this thread - this provides steps how to access your real data files.
    If you are doing it from the servers desktop, be aware that all disks, which are belonging to the storage pool besides D: are accessible via C:\fs\<volumemountpoint> - if this is neccessary, only perform read access in the first step to copy your data somewhere else (this "somewhere else" may also be a fresh created shared folder on the server, accessed via the shortcut Shared folders on server).
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:56 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf Engelke said:

    How much of the data is declared as System? Did you reboot the server another time, after the process was finished?
    If there is no data, this means that something has not been reintegrated properly. Visit the FAQ I mentioned earlier in this thread - this provides steps how to access your real data files.
    If you are doing it from the servers desktop, be aware that all disks, which are belonging to the storage pool besides D: are accessible via C:\fs\<volumemountpoint> - if this is neccessary, only perform read access in the first step to copy your data somewhere else (this "somewhere else" may also be a fresh created shared folder on the server, accessed via the shortcut Shared folders on server).
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf



    Yep, however the error is probably caused by a faulty partition or disk 
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:49 AM
    Moderator
  • Well that's just it. In order to get the rebuild process to even complete without error (as I mentioned earlier in thread) I HAD to put the faulty disk back in. It hasn't failed yet but SMART errors and event viewer indicate its time is limited. It would be my guess I couldn't properly remove the disk without the data appearing correctly.I haven't yet fired it back up to take a peek again. I know all of the data is there via DE.

    I am wondering if it would make a difference if I took the data that was on the DATA partition from the old system drive and moved it to the new DATA partition on the system drive?

    Is there a way to reinvoke the tombstone rebuild? It seems to me that this issue surely has been run into before in the past two years by MS.
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 1:21 PM
  • Hmm. I would expect more severe error.

    Personally I would try to copy all data on the failing disk to a new disk (If this disk is indeed the problem I expect this will also fail), then try and rebuild server with the disk containing the copied data. I would use Norton Ghost to copy. If you don't have this you can try copy in windows explorer or use DOS XCOPY.

    If the copy also fails try and run chkdsk -f -r on the failing disk, if repair succeeds you can try to copy data to another disk and / or try server reinstall again.

    There probably is a way to reinvoke tombstone rebuild, however never looked into that so don't know. In most cases the rebuild will be the most time consuming part of reinstall.
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 1:40 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,
    jfigura said:

    Well that's just it. In order to get the rebuild process to even complete without error (as I mentioned earlier in thread) I HAD to put the faulty disk back in. It hasn't failed yet but SMART errors and event viewer indicate its time is limited. It would be my guess I couldn't properly remove the disk without the data appearing correctly.I haven't yet fired it back up to take a peek again. I know all of the data is there via DE.

    I am wondering if it would make a difference if I took the data that was on the DATA partition from the old system drive and moved it to the new DATA partition on the system drive?

    Is there a way to reinvoke the tombstone rebuild? It seems to me that this issue surely has been run into before in the past two years by MS.


    the mix of ta server reinstall together with a missing data harddisk on top could cause such issues as you describe.
    Never copy data directly to a home server volume, always invoke the shared folder as target. Otherwise you circumvent drive extender, and this leads to more unnice side effects.
    I don't know about a way to reinvoke rebuilding tombstones. There are scripts running during the setup process, but personally I don't know, which triggers the tombstone regeneration and which prerequisites are necessary for it to succeed.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 1:40 PM
    Moderator
  • Olaf Engelke said:

    How much of the data is declared as System? Did you reboot the server another time, after the process was finished?
    If there is no data, this means that something has not been reintegrated properly. Visit the FAQ I mentioned earlier in this thread - this provides steps how to access your real data files.
    If you are doing it from the servers desktop, be aware that all disks, which are belonging to the storage pool besides D: are accessible via C:\fs\<volumemountpoint> - if this is neccessary, only perform read access in the first step to copy your data somewhere else (this "somewhere else" may also be a fresh created shared folder on the server, accessed via the shortcut Shared folders on server).
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf


    465 gigs is being declared as "system". And yes the server was rebooted. I have left it off all night and just fired it back up. Issue still present.

    Regarding your FAQ - I already knew how to access the data files. The issue now is that the only disk showing from the desktop on this box is the system drive with its data partition.
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 1:41 PM
  • jfigura said:

    465 gigs is being declared as "system". And yes the server was rebooted. I have left it off all night and just fired it back up. Issue still present.

    Regarding your FAQ - I already knew how to access the data files. The issue now is that the only disk showing from the desktop on this box is the system drive with its data partition.



    If you are referring to the server desktop, that's normal.  All you will ever see in My Computer is the primary drive (C and D partitions).  The secondary drives in the server are not visible from there.  Are the secondary drives shown in Disk Management (each one will be named DATA, but they won't have a drive letter)?
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:37 AM
    Moderator
  • kariya21 said:

    jfigura said:

    465 gigs is being declared as "system". And yes the server was rebooted. I have left it off all night and just fired it back up. Issue still present.

    Regarding your FAQ - I already knew how to access the data files. The issue now is that the only disk showing from the desktop on this box is the system drive with its data partition.



    If you are referring to the server desktop, that's normal.  All you will ever see in My Computer is the primary drive (C and D partitions).  The secondary drives in the server are not visible from there.  Are the secondary drives shown in Disk Management (each one will be named DATA, but they won't have a drive letter)?



    You should find the other disks in C:\fs\ folder if you are logged on to the server desktop.
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 4:45 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,
    the size of 465 GByte shows indeed, that the data is still stored on the disks, but no longer assigned to any of the other WHS components (Shared Folders, Backup).
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 4:54 AM
    Moderator