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Recovering lost WHS system disk

    General discussion

  • If the WHS has enough storage on secondary drives, WHS should be able to completely reconstruct the system disk - from the contents of the secondary drives.

     

    Based on other posts on this forum, it appears this isn't possible - and that recovering the WHS system disk - at best, would only lose some settings - at worst, would lose all backup data stored on the server (which is completely unacceptable).

     

    Why not have an option for the WHS to backup its own 20GB disk partition (like it does for WHS clients)?  Recovering the WHS system partition would then be possible.

     

    And, why not have an option that would duplicate all of the data stored on primary data partition on the system disk?

     

    Without the ability to recover from a lost system disk on the WHS, it seems we're now putting all of our eggs in one basket - and hoping the system disk never fails - which somewhat defeats the entire purpose of having file duplication - and using a server for file backup and recovery!

    • Changed type Ken WarrenModerator Wednesday, November 05, 2008 11:39 PM Not a question, a product suggestion.
    Saturday, June 23, 2007 5:33 AM

All replies

  •  BobP. wrote:

    If the WHS has enough storage on secondary drives, WHS should be able to completely reconstruct the system disk - from the contents of the secondary drives.

     

    Based on other posts on this forum, it appears this isn't possible - and that recovering the WHS system disk - at best, would only lose some settings - at worst, would lose all backup data stored on the server (which is completely unacceptable).

     

    Why not have an option for the WHS to backup its own 20GB disk partition (like it does for WHS clients)?  Recovering the WHS system partition would then be possible.

     

    And, why not have an option that would duplicate all of the data stored on primary data partition on the system disk?

     

    Without the ability to recover from a lost system disk on the WHS, it seems we're now putting all of our eggs in one basket - and hoping the system disk never fails - which somewhat defeats the entire purpose of having file duplication - and using a server for file backup and recovery!

     

    This won't work.

     

    First off, if the System partition is gone, the drive won't boot at all... so can't get to the Data partition.

    Second, any drivers to enable the Drive Controllers in the system are part of the OS, and are on the System partition (which is gone).

    Third, the WHS storage system drivers itself are part of the OS, and are stored on the System partition (which is gone); without these drivers, you'd have no way of finding the actual data on the drives.

    Finally, you can't replicate Data partition to System partition, as the System partition is only 20gb!  Not nearly enough room.

     

    If you had a System partition failure, you'll either do a reinstall from the DVD disk, which reinstalls the SYS partition only.  Or you'll use the "special" procedure for your particular WHS appliance.

    The only time you should lose data in a reinstall/recovery scenario is if the entire Primary Drive failed, and there happened to be data still stored on the primary Data partition that hadn't been moved off yet by DE.   Otherwise, the reinstall process should find and recover all your data without an issue.

    At the very least, you STILL have access to the actual data on the drives themselves (if you know where to find them).  Tech Support for your particular manufacturer will be able to direct you to the process to get that data off in that scenario.

     

    Editorial:  People REALLY need to start doing some research of their own before they start throwing out criticisms and rants.  The system restore procedure (what we know of it) is discussed in a couple of threads on these forums already.

    Saturday, June 23, 2007 2:58 PM
  • Prelector said:

     BobP. wrote:

    If the WHS has enough storage on secondary drives, WHS should be able to completely reconstruct the system disk - from the contents of the secondary drives.

     

    Based on other posts on this forum, it appears this isn't possible - and that recovering the WHS system disk - at best, would only lose some settings - at worst, would lose all backup data stored on the server (which is completely unacceptable).

     

    Why not have an option for the WHS to backup its own 20GB disk partition (like it does for WHS clients)?  Recovering the WHS system partition would then be possible.

     

    And, why not have an option that would duplicate all of the data stored on primary data partition on the system disk?

     

    Without the ability to recover from a lost system disk on the WHS, it seems we're now putting all of our eggs in one basket - and hoping the system disk never fails - which somewhat defeats the entire purpose of having file duplication - and using a server for file backup and recovery!

     

    This won't work.

     

    First off, if the System partition is gone, the drive won't boot at all... so can't get to the Data partition.

    Second, any drivers to enable the Drive Controllers in the system are part of the OS, and are on the System partition (which is gone).

    Third, the WHS storage system drivers itself are part of the OS, and are stored on the System partition (which is gone); without these drivers, you'd have no way of finding the actual data on the drives.

    Finally, you can't replicate Data partition to System partition, as the System partition is only 20gb!  Not nearly enough room.

     

    If you had a System partition failure, you'll either do a reinstall from the DVD disk, which reinstalls the SYS partition only.  Or you'll use the "special" procedure for your particular WHS appliance.

    The only time you should lose data in a reinstall/recovery scenario is if the entire Primary Drive failed, and there happened to be data still stored on the primary Data partition that hadn't been moved off yet by DE.   Otherwise, the reinstall process should find and recover all your data without an issue.

    At the very least, you STILL have access to the actual data on the drives themselves (if you know where to find them).  Tech Support for your particular manufacturer will be able to direct you to the process to get that data off in that scenario.

     

    Editorial:  People REALLY need to start doing some research of their own before they start throwing out criticisms and rants.  The system restore procedure (what we know of it) is discussed in a couple of threads on these forums already.



    Just went through this process last night, after my system partition failed (for still-unknown reasons).  I don't think the gentleman's post was a rant, but the responder's answer is accurate - you can't recover a system partition if the system partition is required to do the recovery.  Pretty basic.

    Recovering just the stock WHS bits from the installation DVD is possible, and it's what I did last night.  All of the WHS-managed data was recovered just fine.  But I had to re-install all of my add-in programs, and one of those re-installations involved having to go renew and activation key with the vendor.  Major pain!

    Not gonna let that happen again.  This thing is a real server, just like down at the data center.  Needs to be managed as such.  No data center would run a server without having an up-to-date copy of the system partition ready to lay down in the event of drive failure.

    Two ways to do that: 1) mirror (RAID1) the volume that contains the system partition, or 2) Back up the entire system partition to a recovery image and maintain that backup via periodic snapshots (so you're not taking full image copies constantly).

    Since the former wastes precious spindle space, I like the latter.  Problem is that the cheap tools to do this are limited to XP/Vista.  You try to run them on Server 2003, and they want to sell you the $500 version.  (Referring to Acronis here, specifically).

    Bottom line here is that it's not very smart to run WHS, on which the entire home network depends, without the ability to quickly recover an up-do-date version of the system partition from an external location.  It's also not very smart to depend entirely on data duplication for the reliability of family-critical data, like photos and videos of junior.  Those should be duplicated, of course, but they should ALSO be archived off-site.

    IDrive is the only service I've found that will archive info from Server 2003 (e.g. - WHS) for a reasonable price.  Mozy thinks you're a business and wants huge $'s to deal with Server 2003.  If anyone knows of another service that will do incremental archiving to the 'Net for W2K3 for a reasonable price, I'd love to know abou it.

    I'll check out those other postings and see if they address the above at all.

    Bottom line is that while WHS is a good solution, it needs some fairly sophisticated additions before it can be relied upon as the durable repository of everything a family really cares about.  Microsoft should acknowledge that fact, IMHO.
     
    Friday, October 03, 2008 11:37 PM
  • I agree, that the ability to backup and recover the system partition in a simple fashion should be part of a future feature set of Windows Home Server.
    NTBackup is in - and with slight modifications it could do the job, I imagine.
    This could include automated daily backup, less restrictive handling of a changed harddisk / recreated volumes by the WHS software and a restore interface either on the installation DVD or on the Client Restore CD.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Saturday, October 04, 2008 7:22 PM
    Moderator