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Image Copy of WHS Server Drive RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello:

    This is a continuation of the "Ghosting A WHS Drive" topic submitted earlier... but this has new information.

    My goal is to make a perfect backup copy of my single hard drive WHS system so that if the drive fails (I don't have RAID), I can just remove the bad drive and pop in the backup copy and continue.  Again, I only have one hard drive in my WHS server.

    The moderator Ken provided valuable input on the last round of discussions regarding the issues when you use a clone software such as Ghost that runs when WHS is active.  I contacted Western Digital, the manufacturer of the disk drive that I use in my WHS server, and they proposed this hardware solution on how to make a perfect copy of a WHS server.  Ken... or anyone...... please poke holes in it if possible.

    The only way I can see this failing is if I had to revert to an earlier clone, and there is some kind of synchronization between the Server and each workstation that would no longer be in sync as moderator Ken suggested in my previous post.

    Anyway, here's what Western Digital suggested:

    (1) Download the Western Digital cloning software (Acronis for Western Digital) which can be downloaded from their site.

    (2) Don't install it on WHS, because they don't support Server 2003 or WHS server.

    (3) Instead, install it on Windows 7 (Vista or XP also work)  that has a Western Digital Drive and a DVD burner

    (4) Create an Acronis Boot DVD  on the Windows 7 system that has the cloning software.

    (5) Remove the Acronis Boot DVD from the Windows 7 system and have it ready for when you boot on the WHS server.

    (6) Shut down WHS

    (7) Plug in an internal second hard drive in the WHS server with exactly the same size and model as the WHS drive currently in the WHS server.

    (8) Boot the WHS server from the DVD you created on the Windows 7 system (so it is actually running a Windows 7 shell - NOT running WHS)

    (9) When the Acronis clone software starts, choose the "Clone Disk" option from the menu

    (10) When you give the OK to start, it will copy EVERY SECTOR exactly as it is on the WHS system disk to the second drive (it copies all partitions and boot info on the disk)

    (11) When the clone is complete, shut down the WHS server which is running the Windows 7 shell.

    (12) Unplug the cloned disk (so as not to confuse WHS with a new hard drive)

    (13) Start WHS in the usual manner

    What do you think about this?  It seems to have merit because you are doing a "hardware level" clone without having WHS running at the time.  However, as moderator Ken mentioned previously, if there is some kind of synchronization that will be lost between the Server and each workstation if an older backup is used, then it's an issue.

    Regards,

    Rich Locus

    Logicwurks, LLC

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 1:30 AM

Answers

  • Rich, did you read the blog post I pointed you to over here? It takes you through the exact steps you need to follow. The method suggested by WD probably won't work; you will find yourself doing a server recovery or full data recovery afterward.

    You can't, however, use cloning as a way to back up the system partition. As a result of the Windows Home Server design, there is no way to do that so that you can restore just that partition at some arbitrary future time.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by RichLocus Sunday, October 17, 2010 1:15 AM
    Saturday, October 16, 2010 1:53 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  •  please poke holes in it if possible.

    My opinion, not worth the trouble with this approach.  The cloned drive only captures an instance of the drive at a specific point in time.  As soon as you reinstall the original drive, the clone is out of date with any changes made.

    You really should consider a RAID1 card if possible.  It's unsupported, but, it does give real time protection.  The solution outlined does not.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 2:09 AM
  • Thanks for the comment.  I wish I had made a decision to go RAID when I purchased the system.  I wonder how easy it would be to upgrade my single drive to a RAID drive and keep all my history without having to do a re-install and again back up all my systems.
    Saturday, October 16, 2010 4:30 AM
  • Thanks for the comment. I wish I had made a decision to go RAID when I purchased the system. I wonder how easy it would be to upgrade my single drive to a RAID drive and keep all my history without having to do a re-install and again back up all my systems.
    This is one of the many reasons I decided to go with a virtual machine for my WHS. The virtual machine files are on on a RAID1 eSata enclosure, so the WHS does not know it is being RAIDed. For a single disk WHS it works very well, and the RAID1 has already saved me from one disk failure. The virtual machine lives on my Windows 7 HTPC which is on 24/7. but most of the time is not doing anything.
     
    It's not a high performance, or high capacity, system, but I only use the the WHS for photos and music, and (at least for now) I only back up the data of my main workstation, not the OS.
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Saturday, October 16, 2010 11:47 AM
  • Rich, did you read the blog post I pointed you to over here? It takes you through the exact steps you need to follow. The method suggested by WD probably won't work; you will find yourself doing a server recovery or full data recovery afterward.

    You can't, however, use cloning as a way to back up the system partition. As a result of the Windows Home Server design, there is no way to do that so that you can restore just that partition at some arbitrary future time.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by RichLocus Sunday, October 17, 2010 1:15 AM
    Saturday, October 16, 2010 1:53 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, Ken.  I read it in detail and now I see the issue.

    Regards, Rich Locus

     

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 1:19 AM