Create new WHS restore DVD from current setup (HP MediaSmart servers only) RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • If you own a HP MediaSmart WHS you might not know that this server has a small built-in flash drive that hosts the server recovery software. These servers don't have a DVD drive so you cannot recover the OS by booting a DVD, but instead you use a special procedure described in the manual involving booting from the flash drive and accessing the recovery DVD from a PC in the network.

    Anyway, doing a OS recovery keeps your data, but any settings, add-ins, users, etc you have created will be lost and needs to be recreated. This is not such a good thing.

    The guys over at 4hack3rs (wow, 31337 guys) have discovered that the same procedure can be used to create a new restore image from your current OS setup, so that instead of rolling back to a factory fresh server, you restore to what every you had when you last created an image.

    The image created can be burned to a DVD and used instead of the original recovery DVD if you choose to.

    Link to article: http://forhackers.com/?p=12

    I've not tested the procedure myself, so use at own risk.
    HP MediaSmart EX475, 2GB ram, 2x512 + 1x120 GB storage. Author of WHS File Manager Add-In, WHS Jungle Disk Add-in and WHS Media Connect Configuration Add-in. http://blog.paks.no/whs-add-ins/
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 7:47 PM

All replies

  • I'm going to recommend very strongly against this.

    The 4Hackers article uses tools that are supplied in the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) which used to be distributed with the system builder software. The problem with that article is that the tools assume that the master server image has been put through a very specific system preparation process (a Windows home Server version of sysprep,  for those familiar with that tool) which scrubs much configuration-specific information off of the system. If used on a system disk out of a running, fully configured server, there is a strong probability that you will experience issues related to performance, functionality, and even data loss when you later restore that image.

    Unlike Pål, I have tried this in a laboratory environment (read: not on my production equipment, which is all most people have). There are configurations in which it will not mess up your server; they are not the common configurations that we see in the real world. Do not do this to your functional production server, whether an HP or something you have built yourself, without using the proper tools.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, April 19, 2009 2:15 PM
  • Ken, what are these proper tools you speak of?
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 2:33 PM
  • Read and understand the information in the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) which you receive with a full OEM/System Builder software package (and not with NFR software from e.g. the Microsoft Company Store, or with an OEM server from e.g. HP). Once you've done that, start experimenting in a lab environment. Don't experiment on your production server; the guys at forhackers were lucky, I think.

    I won't provide a "how to" for this process, as there are specific requirements for successful image creation, and if you've been using your server it no longer meets those requirements.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 3:23 PM