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RAID5-crash WHS cant start, no repair/re-install RRS feed

  • Question

  • Dear,

    I have an WHS with two RAID5 volumes (a total of 6 harddrives). The first RAID-volume crashed (I dont know why). When repairing the RAID (from the RAID-controller) I got the RAID-volume in degred-status but fully functional.

    When starting WHS it starts up and shortly stops with error:

    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt
    C:\windows\system32\config\system

    WHS install DVD says it only can install WHS, no repair or re-install options are shown...

    and... I have lots of data without backup on this WHS... what should I do? The raid-volumes seams fine from the RAID-controlers perspective...

    Regards,
    sad WHS user...

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 12:25 PM

All replies

  • Hi,
    RAID is not supported in Windows Home Server. Often underestimated, but in such situations the statement becomes very true.
    To get the reinstall option offered you need to provide the drivers (a second time later during the setup process on a floppy drive) and ensure, that the virtual disk with the system volume is detected as the first drive.
    The error message you get is pointing to a damaged registry hive - which also with other versions of Windows often ands in a reinstall, repair install, system restore. Unfortunately all methods are not available in Windows Home Server.

    Data without backup is always bad, since RAID is not a replacement of external backups. (Overvoltage, fire, theft, malicious or careless users are only some of the factors, which can hit your server and all disks with the data if not backed up appropriately.)
    If you can boot from a Vista or Windows 7 DVD, you should be able to access the volumes via command line. Better would be to add a single disk, install a temporary operating system or even Windows Home Server on it, while the other disks are disconnected, and then plug in the RAID array again. Recover your data as described in the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.

    Good luck
    Olaf
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 1:00 PM
    Moderator
  • First, you should look into the cause of your RAID volume issue. Probably it's a failed hard drive; in that case replace the drive and rebuild/verify the array following the procedure outlined in the manual you received with the RAID controller. Nothing on that array is protected from disk failure until the missing disk has been replaced, and the degraded array will doubtless perform very poorly until repaired.

    Once that's done, try again to perform a server reinstallation. Make sure you provide drivers for all RAID controllers that have arrays in the storage pool, and make sure the hardware detection screen shows all your "drives" correctly. If you get the option to reinstall, proceed, supplying the drivers a second time (on floppy) at the "Press F6" prompt just after the reboot into text mode setup.

    If you don't get the option to reinstall, you can either proceed as outlined by Olaf, or you can boot some other OS that's capable of accessing your array and reformat the C: partition, then try another reinstallation. If that fails you will likely have to proceed as outlined by Olaf.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 6:00 PM
    Moderator
  • Dear Ken and Olaf,

    Thanks for you support! I got an idea that my failed harddrive is causing some inconsisting... just an idea, I removed the failed harddrive and WHS booted! no error and it runns ok as it looks, I am currently copying all files from this WHS... it's a lot of data (4+ TB) so it takes a awhile. I will post an update later...

    meantime, what is the best config of a WHS? I have 6 x 1 TB SATA drives and its all connected to an UPS.

    Tomas

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 7:13 PM
  • Dear Ken and Olaf,

    Thanks for you support! I got an idea that my failed harddrive is causing some inconsisting... just an idea, I removed the failed harddrive and WHS booted! no error and it runns ok as it looks, I am currently copying all files from this WHS... it's a lot of data (4+ TB) so it takes a awhile. I will post an update later...

    meantime, what is the best config of a WHS? I have 6 x 1 TB SATA drives and its all connected to an UPS.

    Tomas

    The supported configuration would be to install WHS on a single drive, then add the other drives to the storage pool afterwards (making sure you back up all of the data on those drives first as each drive will be formatted once added to the pool), thereby eliminating RAID completely.  Also, FYI, using a UPS on your server is unsupported.
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 1:40 AM
    Moderator
  • Dear all,

    Thanks for all support!

    I was able to read all data from the two RAID5-volumes from an new install of WHS on an new harddrive (a totalt of 7 HD's, 1 + 3x1 + 3x1). After this I replaced the failed harddrive and reinstalled WHS on an six single HD's (no RAID) and everythings is working great. I lot a lot of space by this config but as this the supported config I chosed this simple/expesive config (50% utliizatsion of HD's).

    Is RAID-support in the roadmap of WHS?

    Thanks a gain for your support!

    Tomas
    Monday, November 30, 2009 9:00 PM
  • ...
    Is RAID-support in the roadmap of WHS?
    ...
    Microsoft hasn't said one way or the other. given the market focus of this product, I would doubt it, however. RAID is a difficult technology to manage (witness the issues you had) at the best of times, and with a good bit of technical skill. Since Windows Home Server is targeted at non-technical users who buy a server with software from e.g. HP, and I don't see this changing any time soon, it would not be likely that Microsoft would explicitly support RAID.

    Regarding disk space: your configuration was already "wasting" 1/3 of the total space in your arrays. When you consider that some system components are not duplicated (the backup database, for instance, which is likely to be one of the largest single consumers of space in the storage pool), and that you have the option of not duplicating shares whose contents you can recreate, the actual waste is nowhere near 50%.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, November 30, 2009 9:17 PM
    Moderator