locked
Replacing my 'System Drive' RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I'm new to the forums, and WHS.  Here are some specs:

    Mobo:  ASUS M3A78-EM AMD 780G SB700 AHCI enable and drivers installed
    Proc:  AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz
    RAM:  4x512 Corsair XMS2
    HDs:  80 Gig WD (System drive)
              2x320 Gig WD (Storage Pool)
              1x640 WD in external eSATA enclosure (WHS share backup)

    I have a couple questions:

    1.  I'm looking into replacing my system drive (80 Gig) with a larger drive to support larger file transfers.  I read on these forums some posts from Ken Warren that said having a small system drive will cause all kinds of problems, and I don't want that to happen.  Right now I do not make large file transfers, but I may in the future.
        
        a.  What other issues will a small system drive cause?
        b.  How do I go about replacing the drive?  Do I just replace the old drive with the new, pop the DVD in and to a server re-install?
            Will this work since I have AHCI installed and enabled?

    2.  If the above procedure does not work, and I have to completely rebuild the server, how do I go about recovering the shares from my external backup drive?  Does WHS have a restore utility for this, or do I have to move the files over manually?

    3.  I would like to take my external drive off-site and store it, but WHS does not give me the option to temporarily remove the drive.  It will only let me remove it permanently.  Is there a way to make an eSATA drive available for temporary removal, or should I switch to an external USB drive?

    I'm sure these questions have been answered numerous times, but I can't seem to find definate answers, as the discussions tend to get off topic.

    Thanks for your time!

    -Tad
    Monday, December 1, 2008 5:50 PM

Answers

  • Tad,

    Welcome.
    1. The general consensus over the beta period, was that a system drive of 350 to 500Gbb is ideal. However, this depends on what you can afford, but personally, I wouldn't go below 300GB as I do transfer some very large files at times.
    The drawback with a small drive, apart from being an extremely small 'landing zone' for your transfers, is that if you get to the point of a nearly full system, then this space would be overwhelmed very quickly if it had to be used.
    The method of replacing the system drive is just as you said, replace with larger drive and boot from the DVD, this should give you two options, New Install and Re-Install. Select the reinstall, and WHS will be installed and all the indexing and tombstones will be rebuilt; if you have a large amount of data stored, then this portion can take quite some time and can appear to be doing nothing, you just need to let it complete. There is no reason why AHCI should be a problem, you just need to remember that you will need to use the appropriate drivers as you did during the original build.

    If you have to extract data from your drives, then this will be available under the x:/DE folder, (you might need to ensure that you can 'View all Files & Folders' enabled), and also note that some folders might appear empty so you will need to examine all drives.

    How have you integrated your external drive, I have a couple of eSATA ones and in both cases, I use the "eject selected disk" option in the Remove Drive dialogue box when I rotate them off-site.

    Colin




    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    • Marked as answer by Thaddeus.cto Monday, December 1, 2008 6:29 PM
    Monday, December 1, 2008 6:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Tad,

    My rotation is, I guess, different than most. The two drives get rotated each week, but I also backup all the changes to my Shared Folders every night to another WHS which is at the other end of the Country. (That one is, in turn, backed up to mine).

    My eSATA drives were 'brand-new' and just placed in a self built eSATA box.
    If your external drive has been used for backing up your Shared Folders, and you have done this with the inbuilt Console tool, then the folders on that drive would be formatted as 'year-month-date_time, with the Shared Folder structure being preserved underneath that and visible on any computer.
    The reference to the x:/DE, is to internal data drives that store the original data and covers the possibility of one of those folders actually being the one that stores the tombstones, not the actual data. Seeing these folders would only ever be necessary if you dismantled your server and added the drives to another computer, whereas the external drive file structure is already visible to any computer that can attach to it. (For example, I can connect directly to the one thats now attached to my server, just by going to \\servername\E$ ).

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    • Marked as answer by Thaddeus.cto Monday, December 1, 2008 7:19 PM
    Monday, December 1, 2008 6:55 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Tad,

    Welcome.
    1. The general consensus over the beta period, was that a system drive of 350 to 500Gbb is ideal. However, this depends on what you can afford, but personally, I wouldn't go below 300GB as I do transfer some very large files at times.
    The drawback with a small drive, apart from being an extremely small 'landing zone' for your transfers, is that if you get to the point of a nearly full system, then this space would be overwhelmed very quickly if it had to be used.
    The method of replacing the system drive is just as you said, replace with larger drive and boot from the DVD, this should give you two options, New Install and Re-Install. Select the reinstall, and WHS will be installed and all the indexing and tombstones will be rebuilt; if you have a large amount of data stored, then this portion can take quite some time and can appear to be doing nothing, you just need to let it complete. There is no reason why AHCI should be a problem, you just need to remember that you will need to use the appropriate drivers as you did during the original build.

    If you have to extract data from your drives, then this will be available under the x:/DE folder, (you might need to ensure that you can 'View all Files & Folders' enabled), and also note that some folders might appear empty so you will need to examine all drives.

    How have you integrated your external drive, I have a couple of eSATA ones and in both cases, I use the "eject selected disk" option in the Remove Drive dialogue box when I rotate them off-site.

    Colin




    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    • Marked as answer by Thaddeus.cto Monday, December 1, 2008 6:29 PM
    Monday, December 1, 2008 6:11 PM
    Moderator
  •  Thanks for the quick answers Colin!

    That takes care of my first question.

    I have my eSATA plugged into the eSATA port on my mobo.  Perhaps the controller on the mobo for eSATA does not support hot-swapping.  I had to format the drive on another PC before adding it to the WHS as an external backup drive, as I kept getting an error saying that the drive did not have a partition.  I formatted it in NTFS.

    So, the data from my external eSATA backup drive is stored in x:/DE ?

    Oh, another question:  what is your backup rotation schedule for the external drives?  I have one drive now, but I'm wanting to get a two drive rotation going as soon as I can.

    -Tad
    Monday, December 1, 2008 6:28 PM
  • Tad,

    My rotation is, I guess, different than most. The two drives get rotated each week, but I also backup all the changes to my Shared Folders every night to another WHS which is at the other end of the Country. (That one is, in turn, backed up to mine).

    My eSATA drives were 'brand-new' and just placed in a self built eSATA box.
    If your external drive has been used for backing up your Shared Folders, and you have done this with the inbuilt Console tool, then the folders on that drive would be formatted as 'year-month-date_time, with the Shared Folder structure being preserved underneath that and visible on any computer.
    The reference to the x:/DE, is to internal data drives that store the original data and covers the possibility of one of those folders actually being the one that stores the tombstones, not the actual data. Seeing these folders would only ever be necessary if you dismantled your server and added the drives to another computer, whereas the external drive file structure is already visible to any computer that can attach to it. (For example, I can connect directly to the one thats now attached to my server, just by going to \\servername\E$ ).

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    • Marked as answer by Thaddeus.cto Monday, December 1, 2008 7:19 PM
    Monday, December 1, 2008 6:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the help Colin!

    I could not for the life of me get the system to allow me to remove the eSATA drive temporarily.  It also sees it as an internal (SCSI) drive rather than an eSATA drive.  I could've tried removing the drive anyways, and when adding it select not to format it, but I didn't want to have to do a full backup everytime.  If I did it this way, do you think it would see that the system would see my old backups and continue backing-up only new and changed files as it should?  Right now I'm using as a USB external, and I can temporarily remove it now.

    That's quite a robust backup solution you have there.  I currently just take my backup drive out and store it in a cabinet at work.  I still need to get another drive and tray so I have a rotation going.

    -Tad
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 3:57 PM
  • For hotswap features, you must be using the SATA AHCI mode drivers for your hard drive controller. They are usually provided by the chipset/motherboard manufacturer and not included in Windows until Vista
    Monday, December 8, 2008 3:11 AM
  • As you read in my original post, I installed AHCI drivers before asking my questions.  Hot-swap is supported, but not the way USB hot-swap is supported.  I don't have to shutdown my server to remove a drive or add one, it just doesn't give me the temporary removal option that it gives with external USB drives.  So I think I can completely remove my eSATA drive, then when I go to add it back, I just tell it not to format the drive.

    -Tad

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 4:19 PM