System disk failure on WHS 2008? RRS feed

  • Question

  • So, here is my confusion.   In the scenario where you lose your primary drive and ALL you have left are your data pool drives, how does the server know to "reinstall/recover?"   Ie, I lose my primary drive, and a drop a new one in (no OS, no system data partition, nada) and it's plugged in as drive 0.  I have the data pool drives plugged in as well of course.   So, when I run the WHS installation will it see the data pool drives, and the new "primary" (empty) drive and go into recovery mode?   And if yes does it THEN proceed to "recover" share and file/tombstone information from only data on the data pool drives?
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 5:01 AM

All replies

  • This question can be answered (in exhaustive detail) by searching, because it comes up frequently. Always search before posting. :) Or you can go to the FAQ setion and find this post:


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 1:20 PM
  • Ken - I've read all the material posted (which I searched before posting, thank you) and it's inconclusive at best.  Frankly, it was a waste of time because my question is not answered.  Most of the previous posts you've made include links that no longer work or documents that no longer exist so I thought posing the question anew was much kinder than criticizing you for not updating your previous posts from 4 years ago.

    I've seen the FAQ.  I've searched the archives.  And this question has not been answered conclusively.  More to the point - the opinions about what to do in this situation seem to be more closely held than a reporting of the results of what works.

    Can you or someone else give a simple, short and conclusive answer to the query posed without presumptive attitude?


    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 4:51 PM
  • The short answer is:

    The server doesn't know whether to do a recovery or not. You tell it. That's pretty clear from, among other posts, the FAQ I linked. (Not written by me, I might add. :) )

    As for how it determines if it should offer the option, I believe there are a couple of scenarios:

    • If there's a pre-existing installation of Windows Home Server, in theory you'll see recovery as an option.
    • If no pre-existing installation is found (but a blank disk is), there are server data disks found, and (probably) some additional considerations Microsoft has never chosen to divulge, recovery should also be available.

    A problem for a lot of users is the way the hardware, BIOS, and setup all interact to determine whether to offer recovery or not. If your system disk isn't the "first" disk the BIOS offers up, you are likely to have problems, and even if it is the first disk, you could still have issues. There is no hard and fast rule I can offer you here; the best I can do is repeat advice I've given a lot (and that you've doubtless run across): If you choose to build your own server, experiment with the hardware configuration, installation process, and recovery process until you understand how your environment works and what you need to do to see the recovery option. It's your server, so you're the "system builder"; that means you're accepting responsibility for uncerstanding all the possibilities. In many cases, nobody but you has the configuration you're working with, so there's precious little chance someone else will solve your issue for you.

    The other piece of advice I often give, if you need to recover your server and you're not getting the recovery option, is to give up. Try once or twice to see if you can tweak connections, etc. to get recovery offered. If you can't, move to a new installation, on a new drive, with all old drives disconnected. Then follow the instruction in the FAQ on recovering data after server failure. I give this advice because it's probably faster and less frustrating than messing around for days or weeks and never succeeding.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:26 PM
  • thanks Ken - I can report that performing a server recovery with an empty disk in position 0 does not restore the server successfully (on my system configuration, HP MediaSmart 485).  I will try the Software Installation DVD next and see if it offers to rebuild the server and report back any results.

    I have spoken with HP tech support for this product and they can offer no tangible solution.  

    I appreciate that you don't really know the definitive answer.  Neither do I, but I am willing to try to extend the solution with my results.  I have the debug harness to view the server and am able to enter BIOS setup as needed.

    If the server is unable to rebuild or recover itself then I will look for my data among the secondary drives on another machine.  Certainly a fresh install is the default last-gasp of this sequence.





    Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:15 AM
  • OEM servers have a different recovery process; the only way to restore the MediaSmart is to use the recovery disk HP supplied. A generic Windows Home Server installation disk may or may not work, but if you're trying to go that route you'll have the problem of connecting an optical drive in addition to monitor, etc.

    You'll find complete information on the process in the documentation supplied with the server, but your options will be recovery or factory reset.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 27, 2011 10:44 AM