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Upgrading Windows Home Server Trial to OEM will not give me the option to re-install... What to do? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Any help here would be great.  I have 23 days left on Windows Home server 120 day evaluation.  I have read several posts on the Internet and the closest sugestion I have found was this:

    • Set BIOS to boot from optical drive.
    • When prompted, hit any key to boot from the drive.
    • When the installation window appears, select ‘Reinstall Server’.
      • NOTE: If your system drive is not the first drive listed, it will not give you the option. If this is the case: shut down the server, and unplug all drives but the system drive. Once setup is running and reboots the first time, reattach all the drives.

    I have two problems here.  I have 5 terabytes of used storage so copying my data off is not an option.  The problem I have with the above suggestion is that most of my drives are the same make and model so which one do I leave plugged in.  The BIOS shows the following:
    IDE Channel 0 Master - Pioneer DVD
    IDE Channel 0 Slave - None
    IDE Channel 1 Master - WD 1TB
    IDE Channel 1 Slave - None
    IDE Channel 2 Master - ST31500341AS - 1.36TB
    IDE Channel 2 Slave - ST31500341AS - 1.36TB
    IDE Channel 3 Master - ST31500341AS - 1.36TB
    IDE Channel 3 Slave - ST31500341AS - 1.36TB

    WHS tells me that the System is on one of the 1.36TB drives but I dont know which one.  I am scared to death to just start unplugging drives for fear of breaking something.

    There was another suggestion from another thread here to use a prtition software to remove all traces of the C: partition.  I am not sure how to do that and am terrified I will screw that up as well.

    Any help would be most appreciated... 23 days and counting =(

    • Edited by Nitnoy Tuesday, June 30, 2009 4:59 AM
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 4:53 AM

Answers

  • First off i want to say thanks to those that helped get me through this.  I wanted to do a final post to let everyone know what i had to do to finnish this task.  I dont undersdand why it had to be so hard but its over now and I can move on.

    I never did get the system to do a simple upgrade, either it wouldnt detect my DVD drive or wouldnt give me the option to re-install.  I really dont understand why if I moved my DVD drive or one of the other drives to a new position, it would not boot from the DVD... this was very frustrating. I tried all combinations and finaly took the hard road.

    I first had to find the SYS drive since most of my drives are the same make and model this was a bit challenging. WHS shows the drives in the store by the drive type and size.  Since 4 of the 1.5 TB drives were all the same make you cant tell which is which.  I had to disconnect all the drives and hook them back up one at a time until it started to boot.  Thats the sys drive.

    Next I had to remove the backup of my data to get enough space for the next step

    Once that was done I started to remove drives from the share.  This takes a long time as it had to move all the files off the drive to unshare it.

    Once I got 3 srives removed, I then disconnected all of the drives, put the WD drive in by itself and installed a clean copy onto it, and re-install all of the drivers.

    Now I had to install all but the sys drive one at a time and look for the drive with my remaining data on it. This wasnt so bad as all of the removed drives were named removed and they didnt have any data on them.

    Once found, I installed the other non sys drives, put them in the share to get enough room and copied over the files manualy from the previous store.  this also took over 5 hours for each drive.

    Now I had to install the sys drive onto another computer and format and remove the sys partition.  I probably could have just removed the partition but Im paranoid so I took the extra step.

    After the sys partition was removed I could then install the final drive into my new WHS and copy the remaining files.  when I added this drive to the system, on bootup it said it couldnt find my setting and loaded a default.  this scared the ____ out of me but it turned out to be just the setting for Explorrer and the background screens (Whew)... Microsoft please I am faint of heart...

    Note ***I still have not formatted the last two drives and added them to the store because I am still going through my data to make sure I didnt leave anything out.

    I settup my accounts and re-installed the client software on my 5 computers, set them to backup, and started testing my video files for corruption. 

    All is working fine now and I am much happier.  This probably could have been done an easier way but like I said I am paranoid about loosing my data.  I have a large collection of DVD's (Over 560 Disks), it took months to record them all onto the WHS and set up the Database to play them properly on the client machines.  With all the problems I was having trying to get it to re-install automatically, I just didnt trust it in the end.

    Thanks again for all the advice I couldnt have done it without you...

    Nit

    Friday, July 3, 2009 8:05 AM

All replies

  • To find out which disk is system disk shut down the system, then disconnect power to all but one of the 1.36TB disks and try to boot. If the system fails to boot try the next disk. If the system boots mark the disk. Then you should be able to use the method you mention in your post ("NOTE: If your system ......"). Alternatively you can check if your BIOS allows you te set another primary disk to get the reinstall option.
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 7:43 AM
    Moderator
  • OK... I did that and found the boot Drive, disconnected all of the other drives with te exception of the Hard Drive and the CDROM drive, reboot and it doesnt seem to want to boot from the CDROM drive at all now.  The CDROM light comes on momentarily and it asks to press any key to boot from CDROM, I press a key and it boots from the Hard drive anyway.

    Am I doing something wrong?

    BTW I did find a HD Boot Priority setting in the Bios and set the SYS drive to position 1 and it still will not give me a re-install option.

    22 days and counting =(

    I do have my data backed up in the Server.  That is what is taking all the space.  Is it possible to drop the backup, remove drives from the system via WHS remove option, and then copy the files off to the removed drives manualy, take those drives out once completed, install the new install of WHS, then manualy copy my files back?  This sounds like a real pain but I am getting desperate here...
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 3:40 PM
  • How far into setup are you progressing? You need to get to the screen where you're offered a choice of installation types before you know if you're being offered reinstallation as an option.

    Assuming you're reaching that point and reinstallation is not offered, once you identify your current system disk I would consider swapping it with the 1 TB disk and trying again. If you're unable to get your server to offer the reinstallation option at the apporpriate time, here's what I would do:
    • Buy one additional disk, 1.5 to 2 TB.
    • Use that as your system disk and do a new installation, with all other disks removed from the system. (Powered down, data cables disconnected, etc.)
    • Connect one of your data disks to another computer on your network and copy everything you find in <drive>:\DE\Shares\etc. into your server shares. As an alternative, you could connect any drive except your old system drive to your server and copy from the drive to the server shares using the shortcut on the server desktop instead of copying across your network. Connecting to your server and copying this way is unsupported, but should be safe.
    • Connect the drive to your server (assuming it's not already) and add it to the storage pool. 
    • Repeat with each of your current drives
    • Turn on duplication for those shares you want protected.

    When you process your old system drive this way, you should not connect it to your server until you have reinitialized the disk by deleting all partitions from it. Connecting a second Windows Home Server system drive to a functional server can cause severe issues, which can usually only be resolved with (another) reinstallation.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 4:13 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the reply Ken.  I am at the point where it should offer a reinstall option but the drop down only gives a new install option.

    So are you saying it is ok to swap the drive cables from my System Disk to the 1TB disk that is in position 2?  I was afraid top do this because I didnt know if WHS OS tagged the drives in some special way that required them to be in a certain order once data was stored on them.

    I will try this and if it doesnt work then I will do what you suggest... it's the long road but hopefully it will get me where i need to go...

    Thanks
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:23 PM
  • Thanks for the reply Ken.  I am at the point where it should offer a reinstall option but the drop down only gives a new install option.

    So are you saying it is ok to swap the drive cables from my System Disk to the 1TB disk that is in position 2?  I was afraid top do this because I didnt know if WHS OS tagged the drives in some special way that required them to be in a certain order once data was stored on them.

    I will try this and if it doesnt work then I will do what you suggest... it's the long road but hopefully it will get me where i need to go...

    Thanks

    Yes, it should be ok (what Ken is trying to do is to get your current primary drive to the lowest drive possible in the boot order so WHS will see it first).  However, before you do that, do you see all of your drives on the Load Additional Storage Drivers screen?  Also, are these all SATA drives?  If so, do you have your SATA ports on your motherboard set to IDE/Legacy mode?
    Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:27 AM
    Moderator
  • Yes and Yes
    Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:33 AM
  • Yes and Yes

    OK.  Just wanted to eliminate that possibility first.  (FWIW, you might even try moving your primary drive to channel 0 master and move the DVD drive.  It can't get much lower than that.  :)  )
    Wednesday, July 1, 2009 3:21 AM
    Moderator
  • First off i want to say thanks to those that helped get me through this.  I wanted to do a final post to let everyone know what i had to do to finnish this task.  I dont undersdand why it had to be so hard but its over now and I can move on.

    I never did get the system to do a simple upgrade, either it wouldnt detect my DVD drive or wouldnt give me the option to re-install.  I really dont understand why if I moved my DVD drive or one of the other drives to a new position, it would not boot from the DVD... this was very frustrating. I tried all combinations and finaly took the hard road.

    I first had to find the SYS drive since most of my drives are the same make and model this was a bit challenging. WHS shows the drives in the store by the drive type and size.  Since 4 of the 1.5 TB drives were all the same make you cant tell which is which.  I had to disconnect all the drives and hook them back up one at a time until it started to boot.  Thats the sys drive.

    Next I had to remove the backup of my data to get enough space for the next step

    Once that was done I started to remove drives from the share.  This takes a long time as it had to move all the files off the drive to unshare it.

    Once I got 3 srives removed, I then disconnected all of the drives, put the WD drive in by itself and installed a clean copy onto it, and re-install all of the drivers.

    Now I had to install all but the sys drive one at a time and look for the drive with my remaining data on it. This wasnt so bad as all of the removed drives were named removed and they didnt have any data on them.

    Once found, I installed the other non sys drives, put them in the share to get enough room and copied over the files manualy from the previous store.  this also took over 5 hours for each drive.

    Now I had to install the sys drive onto another computer and format and remove the sys partition.  I probably could have just removed the partition but Im paranoid so I took the extra step.

    After the sys partition was removed I could then install the final drive into my new WHS and copy the remaining files.  when I added this drive to the system, on bootup it said it couldnt find my setting and loaded a default.  this scared the ____ out of me but it turned out to be just the setting for Explorrer and the background screens (Whew)... Microsoft please I am faint of heart...

    Note ***I still have not formatted the last two drives and added them to the store because I am still going through my data to make sure I didnt leave anything out.

    I settup my accounts and re-installed the client software on my 5 computers, set them to backup, and started testing my video files for corruption. 

    All is working fine now and I am much happier.  This probably could have been done an easier way but like I said I am paranoid about loosing my data.  I have a large collection of DVD's (Over 560 Disks), it took months to record them all onto the WHS and set up the Database to play them properly on the client machines.  With all the problems I was having trying to get it to re-install automatically, I just didnt trust it in the end.

    Thanks again for all the advice I couldnt have done it without you...

    Nit

    Friday, July 3, 2009 8:05 AM