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Replacing system drive RRS feed

  • Question

  • OK so I built my whs out of spare parts, and I made the mistake of installing the OS onto a small 80GB drive. I also have a 120GB drive installed for data and another 640GB drive being shipped. After reading up it appears that it is best to install the system drive on a large hard drive as opposed to the small 80GB that I used. So my question is, what is the best way to move system partition and primary data partition over to the 640GB drive? Obviously, I'm a little worried about losing my data. I would like to have the 640GB as my primary drive along with the 120GB. I would then remove the 80GB completely. I have Acronis imaging software, but I'm not sure it will play nice with whs. My other thought would be to take out both current drives and reinstall the OS on the 640GB, then pull the data off the other drives before formatting, but I'm not sure that I wouldn't corrupt the data. Thanks for any help.

     

    Specs: P4 3.0Ghz

               2GB DDR2

               80GB primary

               120GB secondary

     

    Saturday, July 19, 2008 3:02 PM

Answers

  • Googling doesn't actually get you as much as you would hope on Windows Home Server, because a lot of the information is here in the Microsoft forums.

    The modifications you have done are just as much customization as installing software, creating services, etc. Windows Home Server is designed to be a headless appliance on your home network. It works best when allowed to be just that. The more modifications you make to the system, the more chance you will change some setting or functionality that is actually essential to proper operation of Windows Home Server. And the more extensively you modify your server, the less willing you are to reinstall when you do have a problem, precisely because on a heavily customized server reinstallation is a pain. But all that customization is done in an unsupported (in the realm of Windows Home Server) way, using unsupported tools and techniques. I'm not telling you not to do it, but I am saying that if you have a strong need for a great deal of customization and additions to get the server to a state that seems useful to you, then Windows Home Server may not be your best alternative.

    As for your drives, with two drives it's relatively easy to figure out how they will typically be used. Windows Home Server prefers to store the primary file shadow (the only copy if duplication isn't enabled for a share, the first of two otherwise) off the system drive. With two drives, that means that the secondary shadow (in a duplicated share) will tend to be stored on the system drive. In addition, Windows Home Server prefers to store the backup database on a single drive, and off the system drive. So that will tend to be stored on the secondary drive as well.  Really, the most efficient way to install drives in your server is to install them in matching (more or less, in terms of size) pairs when you are running low on space in your storage pool. Like I said, I think a pad of a couple hundred GB is about right, but that might vary if you have a different mix of files than I do.

    You would probably be well served to check out the support page on the Windows Home Server subsite.
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:03 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • If both of your current drives are part of the storage pool, and you have duplication turned on for all shares, then you should be able to remove your current system drive and replace it with the 640 GB drive, then perform a server reinstallation (an installation mode that will preserve the data in your storage pool). If your storage pool is close to full and you don't have duplication turned on for all shares, then you can try turning it on and waiting. Windows Home Server will generate a network health warning if it can't duplicate some files. If after a few hours you don't see any such warnings, and you see that the server has finished balancing, you should be able to proceed as above.

    If your storage pool is full and you don't have room for duplication, proceed with your other thought above (remove all drives and install from scratch). Your files will be spread across both drives, in a hidden folder in the root of each drive: <driveletter>:\DE\Shares\etc. On your old system drive, you will only find files on the second larger partition, and the files in <driveletter>:\Shares\etc. are not real files, they are tombstones.
    Saturday, July 19, 2008 3:49 PM
    Moderator
  • I appreciate the response. You're right on in that my storage pool is almost full and I can't duplicate, so I guess my option is to fresh reinstall and pull data. I really hate the thought of having to reconfigure my whs due to all the users that I have set up and all the custimizations that I have done to my remote site, but I guess there is no other way. Question though, if I slapped in another hard drive so that I would have enough room for a server reinstall, how do you begin the reinstall? Also, would I still have to basically redue all my users and configuration settings anyways? If this is the case then there is really no advantage to me over a clean install vs. server reinstall? Lastly, I have read conflicting suggestions on system drive size. Do you recommend the OS on the 640GB and pool the 120GB or vice versa? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm just diving into the whs thing.

    Thanks in advance
    Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:14 PM
  • To do a Re-Install, is the same procedure as an Install; that is, you boot from the Server DVD and select the appropriate option. The advantage of a Re-Install over the new Install, is that all your backups and data is preserved, (if you have enough disk space so that files aren't having to be saved on the system disk).

    Another option that is available in the Power Pack beta, and will also be in the final whenever that arrives, is the ability to copy all your shared folders from the server storage pool, to another drive in the server which isn't part of the pool.

    The consensus on system disk size, is somewhere between 300GB and 500GB, depending on the size/price point you can go to. The larger the system disk, within reason, gives you a larger 'landing space' for any files you transfer to the server. Also, if you are considering going with folder duplication, then the ideal would be for your data drives to be of a similar size.

     

    Colin

     

    Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:41 PM
  • Small hard drives limit your use of Windows Home Server. If you have a 640 GB drive and a 120 GB drive, you will never be able to duplicate more than 120 GB of shares. Probably you will not be able to duplicate anywhere near 120 GB, becuase the backup database will also probably occupy space on that drive.

    However, the recommendation is to use your largest drive as your system drive, because running out of space on that drive will cripple your server. As a practical matter, you probably don't need more than a 200-300 GB drive as your system drive, as long as you don't tend to keep your storage pool very full (I try to maintain a "pad" of 200 GB or so).

    In your situation, I would revisit the decision to heavily customize the server. Because WHS is designed to be delivered preinstalled, and used as a network appliance by technically naive users, the only supported method of recovering from many issues is to use server reinstallation (for a system builder) or server recovery (for an OEM unit). If you need a heavily customized server, I would recommend Windows Server 2003 or SBS.
    Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:43 PM
    Moderator
  • @ CollinWH - I am already running power pack 1 beta, but I don't really see the benefit of backing up my shared folders to another drive, as opposed to just reinstalling on the 640GB and then just pulling the data off the old drives. It seems this would be faster since I'm only moving the data once.

    @ Ken Warren - I wasn't clear when I said customizations. I haven't modified the actual server all that much (a few services), I was mainly referring to the remote site, where I have changed out all the default images and text and modified some of the css. I've also added some asp.net apps through such as Wimpy players and custom photo albums. That's what I meant. Of course I could back up most of these modified files but it will be a pain. I am interested in what you are saying about limiting the server with small drives. I understand that I could only duplicate as much as my smallest drive will hold, but I'm a bit confused on the way drive extender works, specifically the "landing zone". I'm fine with using my 640GB as my system drive as long as whs will use all that extra space efficiently. Are you saying that by default my server will  move all the data it can to the 120GB drive and when it fills it will then use the 640GB? In that case it seems that using the 120GB as system and the 640GB as storage might be better. I doubt that I would be doing any 80GB+ transfers so the landing zone might be big enough? Alternatively, what about using just my 640GB drive alone? That would last me quite some time I think. Obviously no duplication, but I could back up some important folders to an external drive occasionally, since I'm using PP1. I have read that whs might actually perform better with just 1 drive due to cutting out the whole drive extender overhead. Any thoughts? Also, before WHS I was using Server 2003 and then 2008. That's a little more effort than I want to put out, and I love whs so far. It just works!

    To both of you I appreciate the time and I apologize about all the questions. I HAVE googled all this without satifactory results, so I'm not just being lazy. Thanks for your patience with my learning curve.

    Saturday, July 19, 2008 5:39 PM
  • Googling doesn't actually get you as much as you would hope on Windows Home Server, because a lot of the information is here in the Microsoft forums.

    The modifications you have done are just as much customization as installing software, creating services, etc. Windows Home Server is designed to be a headless appliance on your home network. It works best when allowed to be just that. The more modifications you make to the system, the more chance you will change some setting or functionality that is actually essential to proper operation of Windows Home Server. And the more extensively you modify your server, the less willing you are to reinstall when you do have a problem, precisely because on a heavily customized server reinstallation is a pain. But all that customization is done in an unsupported (in the realm of Windows Home Server) way, using unsupported tools and techniques. I'm not telling you not to do it, but I am saying that if you have a strong need for a great deal of customization and additions to get the server to a state that seems useful to you, then Windows Home Server may not be your best alternative.

    As for your drives, with two drives it's relatively easy to figure out how they will typically be used. Windows Home Server prefers to store the primary file shadow (the only copy if duplication isn't enabled for a share, the first of two otherwise) off the system drive. With two drives, that means that the secondary shadow (in a duplicated share) will tend to be stored on the system drive. In addition, Windows Home Server prefers to store the backup database on a single drive, and off the system drive. So that will tend to be stored on the secondary drive as well.  Really, the most efficient way to install drives in your server is to install them in matching (more or less, in terms of size) pairs when you are running low on space in your storage pool. Like I said, I think a pad of a couple hundred GB is about right, but that might vary if you have a different mix of files than I do.

    You would probably be well served to check out the support page on the Windows Home Server subsite.
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:03 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the info, Ken
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:20 AM
  • Just use ghost or arconis to copy the 80g to the 640g.

    I have done exactly that same thing.

    Only one issue I know of. That is WHS still shows the name of the older drive, Maxtor, when it is a Samsung. The size, 750G, though is correct.

     

    Sunday, July 20, 2008 12:16 PM
  • Have you used Acronis with pooled drives? I read elsewhere that imaging software only worked in single drive arrays.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 7:12 AM
  • I just wanted to update everyone in case someone else stumbles scross this topic. I got the 640GB drive today and plugged it in the home server along with the other 2 existing drives. Booted into my Acronis disk and cloned the 80GB over to the 640GB. I made sure to manully clone and resized the partitions accordingly. Powered down and swapped the plugs on the 80GB and the 640GB and booted the server flawlessly, all data intact. Only issue is that the home server console still identifies the 640GB by the 80GB model number. All sizes are reported correctly. All in all about 30 minutes down time and everything is still intact!
    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 6:48 PM