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Restore WHS from external USB backup RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a feeling this has to have been addressed before, but I simply can't find anything relevant or current so I apologize in advance if this is redundant.

    My WHS primary hard drive has failed... or rather is in the process of failing (CHKDSK is running as I type this and it doesn't look pretty).  I had PP1 installed and I made regular use of the server backup feature utilizing two separate external USB hard drives and rotating them in and out of circulation... always storing one of them offsite.  I've found plenty of information about restoring client PCs, but nothing about restoring the server itself... or at least nothing written since the server backup feature of PP1 was released.

    So I guess my question is this:
    What is the procedure for restoring WHS itself and how do I get the data from the external USB backup drive back into WHS?

    Thanks!
    Jason
    Saturday, October 10, 2009 8:28 PM

Answers

  • I have a feeling this has to have been addressed before, but I simply can't find anything relevant or current so I apologize in advance if this is redundant.

    My WHS primary hard drive has failed... or rather is in the process of failing (CHKDSK is running as I type this and it doesn't look pretty).  I had PP1 installed and I made regular use of the server backup feature utilizing two separate external USB hard drives and rotating them in and out of circulation... always storing one of them offsite.  I've found plenty of information about restoring client PCs, but nothing about restoring the server itself... or at least nothing written since the server backup feature of PP1 was released.

    So I guess my question is this:
    What is the procedure for restoring WHS itself and how do I get the data from the external USB backup drive back into WHS?

    Thanks!
    Jason
    You just replace the hard drive and perform a Server Reinstallation.  See the FAQ post:  How do I upgrade from the evaluation/trial to a full copy of WHS? for details on how to do that (even though that is not your situation, the same steps still apply).  Then, just restore your backups from your USB drive (if necessary).  NOTE:  If you have Folder Duplication enabled on all of your shares, you probably won't need to restore your data from your external drives since all of your data would have been stored on 2 different physical drives within your server.
    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:17 PM
    • Marked as answer by blueOrbit Sunday, October 11, 2009 3:56 AM
    Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:17 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I have a feeling this has to have been addressed before, but I simply can't find anything relevant or current so I apologize in advance if this is redundant.

    My WHS primary hard drive has failed... or rather is in the process of failing (CHKDSK is running as I type this and it doesn't look pretty).  I had PP1 installed and I made regular use of the server backup feature utilizing two separate external USB hard drives and rotating them in and out of circulation... always storing one of them offsite.  I've found plenty of information about restoring client PCs, but nothing about restoring the server itself... or at least nothing written since the server backup feature of PP1 was released.

    So I guess my question is this:
    What is the procedure for restoring WHS itself and how do I get the data from the external USB backup drive back into WHS?

    Thanks!
    Jason
    You just replace the hard drive and perform a Server Reinstallation.  See the FAQ post:  How do I upgrade from the evaluation/trial to a full copy of WHS? for details on how to do that (even though that is not your situation, the same steps still apply).  Then, just restore your backups from your USB drive (if necessary).  NOTE:  If you have Folder Duplication enabled on all of your shares, you probably won't need to restore your data from your external drives since all of your data would have been stored on 2 different physical drives within your server.
    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:17 PM
    • Marked as answer by blueOrbit Sunday, October 11, 2009 3:56 AM
    Saturday, October 10, 2009 11:17 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, that worked better than I'd expected.

    For anyone else that may come across this...
    I replaced the bad drive.
    Left all other drives as they were.
    Booted from the install DVD.
    The install DVD automatically selected SERVER RESTORE as the install option.
    Ran through the install process.
    After the install was completed I went into the console through RDC and all the shared folders (including ones I'd created) were there.
    Selected VIEW BACKUPS for the server itself.
    Selected the latest backup and clicked RESTORE (it gives you the option to "fill in the missing data" or "replaced everything")
    After that the only thing left to do was re-create the users and re-run the Connector installer.

    I love this product!

    Sunday, October 11, 2009 3:55 AM
  • I wish to follow a similar procedure as you did, however my install DVD does not give me the option SERVER RESTORE.
    Did you get your WHS recently?

    Right now, all I am getting is new Install since the reinstall operation failed.

     It is not clear to me how I would do a server restore from my USB backup.

    Should have read up on it before the system disk croaked. 
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 3:31 AM
  • I wish to follow a similar procedure as you did, however my install DVD does not give me the option SERVER RESTORE.
    Did you get your WHS recently?

    Right now, all I am getting is new Install since the reinstall operation failed.

     It is not clear to me how I would do a server restore from my USB backup.

    Should have read up on it before the system disk croaked. 
    Once a Server Reinstallation fails, you usually have to remove all traces of the OS on the 20 GB partition.  You can try formatting that partition.  If it doesn't work, try using Diskpart on that 20 GB partition.
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 3:35 AM
    Moderator
  • Well, I am having a small problem with this.

    My WHS currently has no OS on it. It tells me NTLDR is missing. It is hurting.

    When I tried the Reinstall, it formatted the OS partition. When it told me that it would be done in 51 minutes, I walked away to do something else.
    When I came back, it had run into some problem and was back at the NTLDR missing screen.

    The only positive thing is that I made regular backups of the WHS server onto an external USB disk.

    However, I somehow must get the WHS software going to even have a shot at restoring my old system.

    I am thinking of doing this:

    1. Get a new system disk
    2. Install WHS on it while the data disks are disconnected. (Do I need to follow the install/reinstall sequence here???)
    3. Get all the latest updates through Windows update.
    4. Restore my old system from USB backup but I have no idea how to this.
    5. Shutdown and reconnect the data disks.
    6. The system will wake up and begin re-configuring the tombstones.

    Will this work?



    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 3:04 PM
  • If your backups were made using the server backup feature, then your simplest course of action is:

    • Figure out what's going wrong in the installation. Probably this is a bad disk (your system disk), so run chkdsk on that disk (and the other disks in your server) by connecting to a computer with a funcitonal OS.
    • Start the installation process with all your disks connected.
    • At the hardware detection screen make sure you see all of them. If not, add drivers as needed and bear in mind that if you need drivers for your system disk, you'll need them again just after the first reboot, and they will need to be on a floppy disk at that point.
    • When asked what type of installation you want to do, you should have two options: new installation and (depending on patch level on your installation media) server recovery/server reinstallation. If you can live with abandoning everything, including your backup database, currently on your server (relying on the backups you've taken of the server shares) choose new installation and proceed. If you can't (need your backups) choose the other option, but be aware that replacing the system disk may result in loss of backups anyway, if any components of the database are stored on the system drive. 

    Assuming you chose to abandon everything, once Windows Home Server finishes installation and you've gone through the OOBE (on the server or by installing the connector on a computer), run updates on your server until it reaches Power Pack 3 and then connect the backup drive. Windows Home Server should recognize it. Now restore your shares from the drive. Use of the backup drive is detailed in the console help file.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 3:14 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you, Ken for the explicit answer.

    I am scared of this step: start the installation with all your disks connected.

    The reason I am scared of this is that I have a lot of my life on the server disks and I do not want to jeopardize the data.
    Examples are: about 10,000 photographs, all of my financial stuff, including tax returns. Correspondence, going back 15 years etc

    So, I am leery of exposing these data disks to the rigors of an operating installation where there is a finite chance all might be wiped out.

    I am not concerned about the backup database and am willing to abandon it.

    Are you implying that there is no way of, gracefully, reintegrating the data disks once the operating system is properly installed on a new system disk while the data disks are powered down?

    Thank you for your effort.
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 4:32 PM
  • It's impossible to reintegrate the storage pool "after the fact". It has to happen during reinstallation. But above you said:
    The only positive thing is that I made regular backups of the WHS server onto an external USB disk.
    So you already have everything backed up, right? That's why I would proceed with a new installation and let it wipe the disks. It will be much faster to restore from that backup than it would be to wait for the automatic reintegration of the secondary disks (which can take many hours, or even days if you have several terabytes of data).

    You should test your backup first, of course, to make sure you really have all your important data...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 4:59 PM
    Moderator
  • Wow, Ken.
    I just looked at my backup and found all my data there in cleartext, so to speak.
    All the shares are there.

    So I proceeded to make a copy of that data onto one of my disk on another system.
    I am well backed up..

    Sorry for being such a wimp.

    I am going ahead with your suggestion. Will post here when all is done.

    Juergen
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 6:43 PM
  • You should, of course, not go ahead with your new installation with the backup drive attached given that it will format all the drives that are detected. You're warned of this repeatedly, but some folks still manage to miss all the "Turn back!" signs... :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 8:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Everything went very well.
    Since I did not have a new disk handy, I figured, I would give the old disk another try. As practice, so to speak.

    I popped in the install disk into the CD/DVD drive and had the F6 floppy in the floppy drive.

    The system went ahead and installed itself, running CHKDSKS which it passed(??), pausing for about a half hour at the "installing Windows home Server", way at the end of the procedure.
    It came to and had everything the way I left it before I got the NTLDR error.

    The one difference, I did not get a chance to tap F6 a second time, so my SATA disks are IDE right now. The server seems to work more crisply than before, but that is probably my imagination.

    This whole procedure really was a piece of cake and I am not in fear of repeating it.

    This forum has helped greatly.

    Thanks, again, for the support, Ken.
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 2:54 PM
  • Leave the SATA disks as IDE; you give up a small amount of theoretical performance that's masked by bottlenecks elsewhere in the system (network, mostly).

    And I'm glad I was able to help.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 6:31 PM
    Moderator