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Server Reinstall - SATA Card & External Drive Enclosure - Drivers? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I need to do a server re-installation and have an external - 4 drive enclosure that connects the 4 drives to my WHS box via one eSATA cable (port multiplier setup).  I had to install a SATA controller card for this device and of course the Drivers (Silicon 3132 Chipset based).  I know I need to supply the drivers on a floppy for the text based part of the WHS install - for the main (SATA) drives - been down that road before when I did the initial install and got a BSOD.  But not sure what I need to do and/or how critical it is on the server re-install to provide drivers for the add-in SATA card?

    Several drives in the enclosure are part of my storage pool - so can I assume I absolutely need to install the drivers during the server re-install?  I have 3 other drives on the main SATA controller (motherboard) that are also in my storage pool - that will be "seen" and available if I do the "norm" F6 driver install (that I've had to do before)...is this "enough" to get through the server re-installation - and then install the drivers for the add-in card AFTER WHS is up & running - or does WHS need to see ALL Storage Pool Drives from the get go?

    If it's the latter - I'm confused about providing drivers for the "first part of the install"  - that I've read about in various posts - never had to do that - WHS always recognized ALL of my drives connected to my onboard SATA controller - only needed to provide them for the text based "F6" prompted part of the install.  So for the add-in SATA card - will I need to do something new/different to provide WHS with THOSE drivers on the first part of the install also? 

    I've already created a second floppy with the Si3132 drivers for the F6 part of the reinstall - sounds like I need to make sure there is a "testsetup.oem" file on that floppy pointing to the driver?  Will the first part of the install use/recognize the drivers on a floppy?

    Any assistance/pointers would be greatly appreciated as I really don't want to have to do a complete new install and have to migrate over 10TB of data.

    Monday, August 29, 2011 6:50 PM

Answers

  • Any drive connected to an HBA which

    • requires drivers for Windows Home server to properly use the drive, and
    • is integrated with server storage

    will require drivers to be injected via the "Press F6" prompt and floppy disk in order for that drive to be reintegrated with server storage as part of the server recovery process.

    As to exactly what you're going to have to do, I honestly can't tell you. If your HBAs are in PATA mode, rather than AHCI or RAID mode, you may not need drivers at all, for anything. If all your drives are currently connected to HBAs that are in AHCI or RAID mode, you're probably going to have to supply more than one set of drivers on floppy at the "Press F6" prompt.

    Some or all of your drives may also be seen during the initial graphical phase of setp without drivers. It's entirely safe to proceed up to the point where you're asked what kind of installation you're doing to see what drives are visible without drivers.

    So, how to proceed? In a perfect world, you will already have practiced the server recovery process with a mix of drives connected to all of your controllers, so you'll already know exactly what drivers are needed, and when. I always advise people building large servers, with multiple HBAs, to do exactly that so they don't find themselves in your current situation.

    Since it's not a perfect world, you have a couple of options. The one I like best is to start setup and see if all of your drives are visible. If they are, you're in good shape; there's a high probability that you'll be able to recover everything using the standard recovery/reinstallation process. If not all drives are visible, but your system drive is visible without drivers and you have Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP drivers for those that aren't, try injecting drivers for the disks you can't see. If the drives are then visible, you should be able to choose to store those drivers on disk for the next phase of setup, which normally removes the need for the floppy disk(s).

    What if you have trouble with drivers at the "Press F6" prompt? At that point, I generally recommend that you stop trying to coax setup into doing what you want. Go buy a large drive (2 TB drives are dirt cheap), install a jumper if needed because the drive is an Advanced Format drive, and do a new installation with only that drive installed and connected. then:

    • Connect a drive which used to be in server storage (preferably the largest one you've got).
    • Copy everything you find in <driveletter>:\DE\Shares\etc. into the shares on your new drive.
    • Add the drive you've just copied data off of to server storage.
    • Repeat as needed until all old drives have been processed.

    In this case, you're abandoning the backup database. If it's essential for some reason that you keep it, you're going to have to get the recovery process to work with all the original disks. We can offer some support, but it's going to depend on your perseverance, I'm afraid; hardware choices affect how easy it is to get a recovery to work, and it's not easy to determine up front or at a distance what the effects will be.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:51 PM
    Monday, August 29, 2011 7:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Have you read these FAQs:

    Data recovery

     

    Drive failure risks

     

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:52 PM
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:50 AM
  • I'll be honest. In your situation, I'd get two or three unused drives (one for each separate controller you're using), connect one drive to each controller, perform a complete installation of Windows Home Server, and experiment with the recovery options. This is where every home-brew server should start: from a set of hardware whose characteristics in both new and recovery scenarios is fully known. Anything else is likely to lead to issues during a recovery, issues which you may have to get right the first time in order to manage a complete recovery of your server. I don't say this to lecture you, but to try to drive home that this is what a system builder (i.e. the computer shop on the corner) should be doing before they sell you a computer or a server (though they rarely do; most just install, give you the computer, and hope nothing bad happens), and as a system builder yourself, it's something you need to do as well if you don't want to find yourself panicking in an emergency.

    As for where you are today, and what will happen if not all drivers are found: any drive connected to an HBA whose drivers aren't available during setup will not be integrated with the storage pool. Any file whose shadows were all on drives not integrated is "lost" in the sense that it won't be in your shares post-recovery. If the drives themselves are functional, and you can load drivers for the controller later, then you can copy data from those drives (location previously given) into your shares, and add them back into server storage.

    If even one drive is missing during recovery, it's likely you'll lose the backup database, as I said previously. The database isn't duplicated, and thus the loss of any component of the database damages the database as a whole.

    Regarding "seeing this coming": I did, in the sense that the recovery process assumes that the person doing the recovery has an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of their hardware, and that good choices were made in the hardware selection process so as to minimize issues downstream. Most enthusiasts miss the mark on both counts (though it's likely some will take umbrage at my saying so). I recommend buying prebiuilt systems from reputable manufacturers for a reason, though that's difficult in the US at the moment...


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:51 PM
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 12:59 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • When you reinstall you should be shown a list of recognised drives so you will know what the installation has provided drivers for. You will need to provide the remainder as you say on floppy etc. It will definately be a good idea for WHS to see all your drives from the beginning rather than have it start complaining about missing drives and having to supply drivers later.
    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Monday, August 29, 2011 7:01 PM
  • Any drive connected to an HBA which

    • requires drivers for Windows Home server to properly use the drive, and
    • is integrated with server storage

    will require drivers to be injected via the "Press F6" prompt and floppy disk in order for that drive to be reintegrated with server storage as part of the server recovery process.

    As to exactly what you're going to have to do, I honestly can't tell you. If your HBAs are in PATA mode, rather than AHCI or RAID mode, you may not need drivers at all, for anything. If all your drives are currently connected to HBAs that are in AHCI or RAID mode, you're probably going to have to supply more than one set of drivers on floppy at the "Press F6" prompt.

    Some or all of your drives may also be seen during the initial graphical phase of setp without drivers. It's entirely safe to proceed up to the point where you're asked what kind of installation you're doing to see what drives are visible without drivers.

    So, how to proceed? In a perfect world, you will already have practiced the server recovery process with a mix of drives connected to all of your controllers, so you'll already know exactly what drivers are needed, and when. I always advise people building large servers, with multiple HBAs, to do exactly that so they don't find themselves in your current situation.

    Since it's not a perfect world, you have a couple of options. The one I like best is to start setup and see if all of your drives are visible. If they are, you're in good shape; there's a high probability that you'll be able to recover everything using the standard recovery/reinstallation process. If not all drives are visible, but your system drive is visible without drivers and you have Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP drivers for those that aren't, try injecting drivers for the disks you can't see. If the drives are then visible, you should be able to choose to store those drivers on disk for the next phase of setup, which normally removes the need for the floppy disk(s).

    What if you have trouble with drivers at the "Press F6" prompt? At that point, I generally recommend that you stop trying to coax setup into doing what you want. Go buy a large drive (2 TB drives are dirt cheap), install a jumper if needed because the drive is an Advanced Format drive, and do a new installation with only that drive installed and connected. then:

    • Connect a drive which used to be in server storage (preferably the largest one you've got).
    • Copy everything you find in <driveletter>:\DE\Shares\etc. into the shares on your new drive.
    • Add the drive you've just copied data off of to server storage.
    • Repeat as needed until all old drives have been processed.

    In this case, you're abandoning the backup database. If it's essential for some reason that you keep it, you're going to have to get the recovery process to work with all the original disks. We can offer some support, but it's going to depend on your perseverance, I'm afraid; hardware choices affect how easy it is to get a recovery to work, and it's not easy to determine up front or at a distance what the effects will be.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:51 PM
    Monday, August 29, 2011 7:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken/Phil

    OK, so I started the Server RE-Installation and went as far as the step where it presents the drives it sees.  The 4 drives in the external case were not recognized so I loaded the drivers from the Floppy - then 2 of the 4 drives showed up so on a whim I clicked back and then went forward again and all 4 drives were there. 

    Not sure if I have to do something to "save" those drivers - sounds like an option may pop up so I can "save" them for use during the TEXT based install phase if I understand correctly?  But also sounds like I should stand ready to press F6 just in case?

    While 2TB drives are cheap, I don't live conveniently near somewhere I can buy one...so would be stuck waiting on mailorder from newegg.  But - I do have 2 empty 1 TB drives in the enclosure - so theoretically if all else fails as far as the norm re-installation - I should be able to do the copy/add to storage process above?  I had to do that once before (with a lot less data on another system) when I missed the F6 prompt :-(

    I don't really "need" the backup database at this point - just not thrilled about having to move close to 10TB of data around...any guesses as to how long THAT will take ;-)

    Just want to make sure I'm aware of all the "contingencies" I may encounter (well all the ones you folks have run across).

     

    Thanks for any additional feedback


    • Edited by Puulima Tuesday, August 30, 2011 10:12 PM spelling
    Tuesday, August 30, 2011 9:47 PM
  • URGENT - PROBLEM Encountered during the F6 Stage

    Everything was rolling along fine - It did NOT prompt me to "save" any drivers for later use (my SATA Controller Card Drivers) - so expected I'd need to supply during the F6 stage of the TEXT install.  That came around and did the drivers for my onboard (mobo) SATA drives - no issues, then I swap out the Floppy Disk and press "S" again to load the drivers for the ass-in controller card and the list that pops up is the drivers from the FIRST FLOPPY??

    It says to press ESC to go back, but doesn't help, the list isn't being "refreshed" - it's not reading from the second floppy?

    So not sure what to do now...3 of my 5 2 TB Storage Pool drives are on the onboard controller, the other 2 are in the external case. 

    Wondering what would happen if I select something from the provided list (list of drivers from floppy #1) - will it read from the disk and present an updated list perhaps?  Or will it error out? 

    If I skip this and move forward, will WHS "recover" all of my data or will it think the 3 drives are everything - and/or report some error noting data is missing - and will that cause bigger problems (like data loss)?

    Really stuck here...didn't see this one coming.

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 12:28 AM
  • Anybody able to assist? 

    I'm assuming that if the other 2 drives aren't "seen" the data recovery process will be flawed. Not sure what will happen though and whether it's still a good idea to push forward (since I have 60% of my drive space seen) or scrap this install - start over - and do a new/clean install with just the 1 drive that contains the SYS volume on it - and then add back some blank drives to the storage pool and copy files from the old data drives.  Re-reading Ken's post - almost sounds like he saw this coming!  Not exactly an "F6" problem - In Googling, I found quite a few posts related to Floppy Drives NOT refreshing the data they see  so sounds like an old hardware issue vs. a Window Home Server install - or - F6 issue.  I got brave and tried a few things; pulled off and replaced the power connector to the floppy drive - same for the data connector, those forced the drive to re-read the disk, but the %^$^ system still reported back with the OLD list of drivers from Floppy #1.

    So I think I'm stuck here with doing a clean install and copy 10 TB of data over...unless anyone had any ideas here quickly?

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:26 AM
  • You can try pressing "F5" to see if that will force a refresh. It worked in DOS, and text-mode setup is pretty much just a cut down DOS...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:46 AM
    Moderator
  • Have you read these FAQs:

    Data recovery

     

    Drive failure risks

     

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:52 PM
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:50 AM
  • You can try pressing "F5" to see if that will force a refresh. It worked in DOS, and text-mode setup is pretty much just a cut down DOS...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Tried that...the posts I found on this issue also noted that but the responses indicated it didn't work there either. So I think I'm back to a clean install.

    Some clarifications:

    1) I need to use a "new" drive for the primary drive...IE: since the existing drive has DATA on it also - there's a risk there may be some data on there not replicated on the other drives - correct? 

    2) Wish I had a spare/blank 2 TB drive - would be a great way to add additional capacity since the current primary drive is only 250GB.  Based on your first response - that would be a good idea correct? I do have a spare 1TB drive so guess that will have to do for now.

    Thanks for the advice.

     

    UPDATE: I noticed that the lights on my external drive enclosure were on - seemingly indicating perhaps the drivers for it WERE "saved for later use" when I provided them for the first part of the install?  So decided to proceed with the re-install to see if it works.  Please clarify my understanding:

    a) if the drivers were not present - and therefore these drives are NOT seen by the re-install - there is no risk of "data loss" from any of the OTHER data drives - correct?  IE: I understand that WHS would rebuild the tombstones for the files it DOES see on the 3 drives that it does certainly see.  Is that correct?  If there is any risk of data loss, I'd obviously pull the plug on this installation and start from scratch

    b) I had data replication turned on for pretty much everything - so if ONE copy of most of my files are already present on the 3 (of 5) drives - how will WHS handle the fact that the duplicate is missing? 

     

     



    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:54 AM
  • Have you read these FAQs:

    Data recovery

     

    Drive failure risks

     

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Yup, read all that stuff.
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:52 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:52 PM
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:05 AM
  • I'll be honest. In your situation, I'd get two or three unused drives (one for each separate controller you're using), connect one drive to each controller, perform a complete installation of Windows Home Server, and experiment with the recovery options. This is where every home-brew server should start: from a set of hardware whose characteristics in both new and recovery scenarios is fully known. Anything else is likely to lead to issues during a recovery, issues which you may have to get right the first time in order to manage a complete recovery of your server. I don't say this to lecture you, but to try to drive home that this is what a system builder (i.e. the computer shop on the corner) should be doing before they sell you a computer or a server (though they rarely do; most just install, give you the computer, and hope nothing bad happens), and as a system builder yourself, it's something you need to do as well if you don't want to find yourself panicking in an emergency.

    As for where you are today, and what will happen if not all drivers are found: any drive connected to an HBA whose drivers aren't available during setup will not be integrated with the storage pool. Any file whose shadows were all on drives not integrated is "lost" in the sense that it won't be in your shares post-recovery. If the drives themselves are functional, and you can load drivers for the controller later, then you can copy data from those drives (location previously given) into your shares, and add them back into server storage.

    If even one drive is missing during recovery, it's likely you'll lose the backup database, as I said previously. The database isn't duplicated, and thus the loss of any component of the database damages the database as a whole.

    Regarding "seeing this coming": I did, in the sense that the recovery process assumes that the person doing the recovery has an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of their hardware, and that good choices were made in the hardware selection process so as to minimize issues downstream. Most enthusiasts miss the mark on both counts (though it's likely some will take umbrage at my saying so). I recommend buying prebiuilt systems from reputable manufacturers for a reason, though that's difficult in the US at the moment...


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by Puulima Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:51 PM
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 12:59 PM
    Moderator
  • Fully Understood...If I had more time, I'd play with the installation/recovery options - but that will have to wait.

    The Floppy Drive I have was scavenged from a now 11+ year old PC in my attic - the first time I needed it for the F6 path - and apparently after much Googling - that's the issue.  I found several posts elsewhere where folks had upgraded their FD to something "newer" and the "refresh" problem went away.

    As for my attempt to push forward with the re-installation, turns out the Computer recognized the add-in card itself and one drive only (I could see the BIOS info for the card each time the PC rebooted) - so scrapped that plan and went back to the new/clean install.  Windows finished updating this morning - so on to copying.

     

    Hope this post helps somebody else in s similar situation...

    Thanks to Ken and Phil for their prompt assistance!

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:51 PM
  • What if you have trouble with drivers at the "Press F6" prompt? At that point, I generally recommend that you stop trying to coax setup into doing what you want. Go buy a large drive (2 TB drives are dirt cheap), install a jumper if needed because the drive is an Advanced Format drive, and do a new installation with only that drive installed and connected. then:
    • Connect a drive which used to be in server storage (preferably the largest one you've got).
    • Copy everything you find in <driveletter>:\DE\Shares\etc. into the shares on your new drive.
    • Add the drive you've just copied data off of to server storage.
    • Repeat as needed until all old drives have been processed.

    ok, so now I have a new challenge.  10TB of replicated files is a PITA to copy back to the NEW installation.  Far too many files to seek out the ones on each drive that have not already been copied - so for the first 2TB drive I copied ALL files and had it replace ones that already existed.  This was painfully slow and obviously a waste of time.

    Any ideas how to copy ONLY those files that don't already exist in the NEW WHS Storage Pool?  I have 4 more 2 TB drives to process.  I've been Googling for some sort of File Manager or Synchronization program or something that will find Dupe files and allow me to copy the ones that are NOT duped...but figured you folks might be able to recommend something for this task.

    Of course had I know I would run into these issues - I would have shut off the file replication before doing the "re" installation...

    Thanks!

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 4:13 PM
  • Try this:

     Snoop-De-Dupe

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Sunday, September 4, 2011 5:06 PM
  • After doing some reading - I think I need a File Sync program vs a Dupe File finder.  I need something that will do a one-way sync. I did come across SyncToy 2.1 - found some old threads and this link noting SyncToy 2.0 had issues with WHS - but sounds like 2.1 and/or the PowerPack 1 update to WHS fixed this issue.

    Anybody have any feedback on using SyncToy?  It would be for this initial sync'ing only - won't need it afterwards.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946676/en-us?spid=12624

     

    UPDATE: - Also - kust found one of the SyncToy posts where Ken noted he uses Robocopy to backup files from the WHS...found another post on WeGotServed that notes it works in a SYNC mode also - Wikipedia notes "Ability to skip files that already appear in the destination folder with identical size and timestamp."

    Sure sounds like that would work for me - but would like some feedback.  I'd like to be able to run it for an entire 2TB drive at a time - but not sure that it works that way? If the folders in the \DE\Shares\ folder on the SOURCE 2TB drives are the same names as the SHARES on the WHS - will that work?  Or do I have to go down one level?

    Ken - if you're out there - any feedback on your use of RoboCopy?

     

    UPDATE #2 - RichCopy

    Found this: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

    Anybody use this?  I've been playing around with RoboCopy (using the GUI v.3.1 - so looks like it's version XP010 or 5.1.1.1010) - and it looks like it will do the trick - but then saw there were newer versions of RoboCopy included with Vista/Win 7 - so was poking around for a new GUI and found this other program which is touted to be better than RoboCopy?  Need to read more...but in the meantime - any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

     


     



    • Edited by Puulima Monday, September 5, 2011 4:29 AM
    Monday, September 5, 2011 3:22 AM
  • I use SyncToy 2.1 64-bit on my client PCs to copy files between Clients and Server and Server to Server - I have never had any problem with it. Its GUI makes it easy to use but not as powerful or flexible as something like Robocopy. Synctoy has a "Contribute" mode
    (as well "Synchronize" & "Echo") which copies new and updated files one way only and does not delete anything in the destination folder, which makes it relatively safe to use.
    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Monday, September 5, 2011 7:00 AM