System disk failure! Result = loosing plenty of data! Solution? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello

    I have goggled this problem and search this forum but I can´t find anything that really applies to my problem.

    I have a WHS System complied with six 1TB disks (S-ATA) and one 500GB system disk (IDE)

    The problems started last Friday when my server had restated during the night, the problem continued and after a while I found out that the system disk had some bad sectors, check disk could not repair the damaged sectors neither could western digital’s software, the problem became worse and after I while the system became totally unresponsive.

    My problem is, my server contains plenty of data, it only had/has about 700GB free space, all the data on the server was/is NOT duplicated because the data is not critical, and some of the data is duplicated.

     My first test was inserting a New S-ATA disk in the system, my motherboard only has 6 S-ATA connectors on the main controller card, so therefore I were forced to remove one of my disks from the collection to be able to install my new system disk. Sadly the results were not what I were expecting, during installation I was only presented with “New Installation” option, not “Server reinstallation”. After hours of reading and searching for this problem I tried to put the disk in the same order as before.
    Now I was able to choose “Server reinstallation”, I managed to install the system on the damaged disk, but I don’t feel like having the damaged disk as a system so now I need to change it…

    Now the real problem presents ii self…
    If the disk would have been a “non” system disk I could use the option “Remove disk” from server storage, the data would then be moved to the other disks, regardless if the data is Duplicated or not.
    My problem is that I would like do detach the “DATA” partion of the System disk, normally the disk only contains the “DATA” partion but the system disk has both “DATA” and the system part “SYS”

    Question: Is there any possibility to detach the “DATA” partion on a system disk?

    I know many of you are going to answer “This is no problem, turn on duplication on all folders” Sadly this I the one thing I can´t do. This would require me to purchase new disks with 4.56TB free space. This option is too expensive.  

    Next if I choose to continue anyway and say “Fine, I lose the 200GB data I have store on my system disks “DATA” pation” do I make a mistake? I have read the technical brief on “Windows Home Server Technical Brief for Drive Extender “it says:
    Drive Extender Migrator service uses the secondary data partitions with the most free space to store the secondary or alternate shadows of new files.  When Folder Duplication is enabled, the Migrator service fills the secondary data partitions with the most free space, and uses the primary data partition as a last resort.”

    Does this mean that if I’m copying a folder containing 100 zip files to my server the files is going to be placed with 1/7 on each disk?
    If this is the case I would lose more than the 200GB of data that is stored on the system disks “DATA” partion!

    The next question I´m facing is, I´m going to upgrade the system disk from an IDE interface to a S-ATA. I have read a lot about this and I think that I have a new problem here.
     Is it true that I need to have the system disk on ch0 on my first S-ATA controller to get the option “Server reinstallation”.

    To sum up some of my questions

    1.       Is there any possibility to detach the “DATA” partion on the system disk?

    2.       If I want to upgrade from an IDE to an S-ATA system disk do I need to put the disk on the first controller ch0?

    3.       My server contains plenty o small zip files, does the DE separate zip files over all the disks or do it store it based on the folders “On folder on one disk”

    Regards - Niklas

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:49 PM

All replies

    1. No.
    2. You should make sure that your system disk is the "first" disk presented to setup. If it is, and if some/all of your other disks are visible, you should be given the option to reinstall. You may need to supply drivers for some or all disks to be visible; if the system disk needs drivers for setup to see it, you must supply those drivers twice: once in the initial GUI phase, then again just after reboot, at the "press F6" prompt in text mode setup. In this case you will have to supply drivers on floppy.
    3. Microsoft hasn't released details of the storage allocation algorithm Drive Extender uses, only generalities. Those general rules are:
      • DE will prefer not to store data on the system disk until all other disks are full.
      • DE will prefer to store data on the disk with the smallest amount of free space, as long as there is "enough".
      • DE will reserve a small amount of space on each drive permanently.
      The result is that files in the same folder will tend to be written to the same disk (or disks, if duplication is enabled) if written to the server at the same time. There's no guarantee if you copy the files a few at a time. 

    Note that by choosing not to use duplication, you have implicitly chosen to accept the possibility of complete data loss in any share for which duplication is turned off.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:29 PM
  • Hi

    Thank you for answering!

    I solved some of my problem. I bought 2 new hard drives (2TB each) an moved 2TB of files to an external drive. After this I could enable duplication on all my folders and detach the S-ata storage drive on the first s-ata chanel.

    I thought that my problems now were solved…

    I now have a server fully duplicated, now I inserted another new hard drive on the first S-ata channel.

    But I still don’t get the server reinstallation option.

    What do I do wrong!

    I think that I read everything on the internet regarding this problem J


    Thursday, September 23, 2010 6:24 PM
  • Here's what I would try,

    Turn off the server and unplug all the storage drives. Then plug in you your new system drive only. install the WHS software on the new drive. Don't bother with windows patches or anything.

    Turn off the server and plug in all the storage drives. Boot to the CD and you should get a reinstall option.

    make sure that all your drives show up when prompted and that your sys drive shows up first.

    Friday, September 24, 2010 4:46 PM