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Backup/image system of existing WHS (oem) installation for easy restore? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    Does anyone have a suggestion for an easy way to back up the system partition?

    I've built my own WHS (using the OEM version of WHS) and it now has 9 hard drives and about 4 TB of data. I stupidly did not make a sysprep'ed image to create a recovery disk when building the system and, from other posts, gather that train has now left the station since I've activated and used the server. My priority is obviously to not risk the data since I don't have anywhere to back it up (the WHS *IS* my backup using duplication) but I'm feeling increasingly uneasy about the prospect of potentially having to reinstall WHS if the system disk fails. By the way, my WHS is an old computer so has a DVD drive, monitor, keyboard etc. if it has to.

    My first thoughts were along the following lines, but I'll happily defer to the more experienced :)

    a) Is it possible to disconnect all data drives, do a fresh install of the system and then create a sysprep'ed image as normal, after which reconnecting the data drives and somehow getting the server to recognise the existing data and file structure? (Would the imaged system then need updating with all updates/service packs/etc or could these be added before imaging?)

    b) Is it possible to simply image the C: drive and use that as a "backup image" on a different computer, simply cloning it on to a new C: drive in case the old fails?

    c) Is it possible to install a RAID1 card and replicate the existing C: in RAID1? If so, how would WHS react in case one of the drives were to fail?

    d) Any other ideas?


    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 11:24 AM

Answers

  • I'm going to flat-out disagree with Olaf. Yes, it's possible to create a sysprepped system disk image, and have that image re-integrate any secondary storage drives found with data on restore. This is effectively what OEMs such as HP do in the creation of their Server Recovery disks.

    It's not easy, but it's (mostly) documented in the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK), a disk that you should have if you have purchased a copy of Windows Home Server from e.g. Newegg or Amazon. The OPK is not included with Not For Resale copies of Windows Home Server, 120 day evaluation copies, or the downloads on MSDN, Technet, and (during a public beta) Connect.

    If I ever have a few free evenings, I plan to document the steps required.

    As for your other questions, no you can't image the system disk and restore that image at a later date, because there's a significant quantity of volatile data that needs to be correct for Windows Home Server to work. You could use RAID 1 to protect your C: and D: partitions against failure of the system drive, but that doesn't protect you against OS corruption.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 4:02 PM
    Moderator
  • a) No. Only with a heavy workload, as described in the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.
    b) No.
    c) Possible yes, supported no. Several people had also issues, if it came to a real incident, since rebuilding thr RAID sometimes changes the disk serial number.

    Do never rely on your server as the only backup. Folder duplication protects against one specific issue - a single failing harddisk, but not against catastrophic events like the overvoltage taking all disks away, a fire in your home, theft, a virus attack changing your files, a simple user error altering or deleting the wrong files.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:12 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • a) No. Only with a heavy workload, as described in the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.
    b) No.
    c) Possible yes, supported no. Several people had also issues, if it came to a real incident, since rebuilding thr RAID sometimes changes the disk serial number.

    Do never rely on your server as the only backup. Folder duplication protects against one specific issue - a single failing harddisk, but not against catastrophic events like the overvoltage taking all disks away, a fire in your home, theft, a virus attack changing your files, a simple user error altering or deleting the wrong files.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:12 PM
    Moderator
  • I'm going to flat-out disagree with Olaf. Yes, it's possible to create a sysprepped system disk image, and have that image re-integrate any secondary storage drives found with data on restore. This is effectively what OEMs such as HP do in the creation of their Server Recovery disks.

    It's not easy, but it's (mostly) documented in the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK), a disk that you should have if you have purchased a copy of Windows Home Server from e.g. Newegg or Amazon. The OPK is not included with Not For Resale copies of Windows Home Server, 120 day evaluation copies, or the downloads on MSDN, Technet, and (during a public beta) Connect.

    If I ever have a few free evenings, I plan to document the steps required.

    As for your other questions, no you can't image the system disk and restore that image at a later date, because there's a significant quantity of volatile data that needs to be correct for Windows Home Server to work. You could use RAID 1 to protect your C: and D: partitions against failure of the system drive, but that doesn't protect you against OS corruption.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 4:02 PM
    Moderator
  • I also wanted to move the system partition to another drive as I realized that the drive will fail soon.

     

    I Managed o clone the drive - but: I tried to find a solution  to correct thes volatile data you mentioned. I found an article which seemed to describe a workaround: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6826

    In a nutshell: It did not work. I tried and checked several times. There seems to be much more than changing some registry entry. Does anyone know someone who might have successfully cloned such a drive in the meantime?

    Greetings,

    Werner from Austria

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 9:48 AM
  • Read this carefully. Make sure you pay close attention to details. Making a detailed list, with installation specific information, and checking off each item as you go is not a bad plan.

    And bear in mind that it's unsupported. By design, the recovery method for your situation is to replace the system disk now and do a server recovery (pr reinstallation, depending on the age of your media). Anything else is "at your own risk".


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:39 PM
    Moderator
  • I repeated this process for 3 times - without success. Always the same problem "the backup process did not start". I also tried to ignore the error and found out that some of the directory content of the fotos-share suddenly appeared in a different share under the directory name "common"occupying enourmos diskspace. FOr me this looked like a totaly confused data storage - so I decided to completly reinstall the OS. Also a process which is not so easys as it does not work like decribed in the ACER-documentation. The timing of holding the rest button versus starting the recovering process (waiting for server) on the client is "strange". After 4 hours I manged to do it in the right ways (I cant tell you anymore how I succeded). At the beginning I had CPU-loads of 100% for days. Now I started to stop services (firefly, media-sharing,...) and now the server seems to work.

    Thanks anyway for the help.

    Werner

    Saturday, August 7, 2010 6:10 AM