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Old 05-25-2009, 08:46 PM   #26
RebateMonger
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Default guide to replacing WHS system disk?

Interesting.

I'm going to use the language adopted in Joel Burt's article, here.

The "Primary" disk is failing. The Primary disk contains the C: (System) partition and the first part of the (Data) partition. Among other things, the Data partition on the Primary disk contains all the tombstones for the entire server.

We remove the Primary disk and replace it with AN EMPTY DISK.

=============

Joel Burt is saying that, as long as the new (empty) disk is the first bootable disk in the BIOS, then the WHS Installer will:

a) recognize this as a former Windows Home Server
b) will offer a Server Reinstallation
c) will re-install WHS on the empty disk
d) will search all remaining drives for data files
e) and will build new tombstones onto the newly-created parition on the new disk.

Anybody tried it?
Edit: I'm setting up a new virtualized WHS server with two virtual disks and I'll see what happens when I replace the Primary disk with a blank disk.

One "minor" problem is that you are going to lose any data files or backup databases that were stored on the original (Data) partition of the Primary disk. If you are using this technique to swap out the Primary disk (it's failing or you just want a larger Primary disk), then you aare going to need to figure out which files were stored on the first Data partition. WHS doesn't offer any convenient way to do this.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:43 PM   #27
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Default guide to replacing WHS system disk?

Yea, thats the problem. If the drive is dead completely, anything that was on the System disks "DATA" partition is gone. If you're just upgrading to a larger one, you can always throw it in another computer and pull the data off that partition.

I've had drives that were "dead" in one computer work perfectly fine in another, though, so there's still hope.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:16 AM   #28
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Default guide to replacing WHS system disk?

OK, I just finished creating a virtual two-drive WHS box. One 80 GB drive and one 30 GB drive.

After moving 30 GB of data files onto it, I replaced the original (virtual) Primary disk with an "identical" (but empty) virtual disk. The new, empty, disk was the first hard drive listed in the "Virtual BIOS" of Hyper-V 2008 Server.

They didn't lie. After booting to the WHS Install DVD, it found the new (empty) Primary disk and the (old) Secondary Data disk. There IS a "Server Restore" option that comes up, along with the option to build a "New Installation". The note when you select the "Server Restore" option says:

"Choose this option to restore your Windows Home Server if your Primary hard drive fails."


I haven't clicked the "Server Restore" button yet. Maybe I'll let it run overnight. I made copies of my original two VHD files, so I can get everything back to play with it some more.

But there IS an option to repair a multi-disk WHS (as best you can) when the Primary hard drive has failed.

I can see a couple of "gotcha's" here:

First, unless you have prior backups, folder redundancy, or can otherwise grab the files, you are going to lose any data or backups that were on the old Primary disk.

Second, if folder redundancy wasn't enabled, you may never be sure of exactly what you lost. All of the tombstones are on the "failed" Primary disk. Because of the way that WHS' Drive Extender works, you could have data folders that look perfectly fine, but are missing files that happened to be on that Primary disk.

If the original Primary disk is accessible at all, it'd probably be easiest to inventory it OUTSIDE of Windows Home server, since WHS does a good job of hiding what's actually on a disk. Also, there will be a 4KB tombstone for each "real" file on your server. You'll want to search the (original) Primary disk for files that are larger than 4KB to avoid mistaking "real" files from tombstones.

Edit:
The "Restore Server" function worked fine. Amazingly, the 25 GB or so of ripped Video files apparently had already been moved to the Secondary data disk before I "yanked" the Primary disk, so I actually didn't lose any data at all. If I had more data or had backups, I'd certainly have lost data. This particular "disk failure and server recovery" went remarkably well.
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:03 AM   #29
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Default guide to replacing WHS system disk?

Quote:
Originally posted by: RebateMonger
Interesting.

I'm going to use the language adopted in Joel Burt's article, here.

The "Primary" disk is failing. The Primary disk contains the C: (System) partition and the first part of the (Data) partition. Among other things, the Data partition on the Primary disk contains all the tombstones for the entire server.

We remove the Primary disk and replace it with AN EMPTY DISK.

=============

Joel Burt is saying that, as long as the new (empty) disk is the first bootable disk in the BIOS, then the WHS Installer will:

a) recognize this as a former Windows Home Server
b) will offer a Server Reinstallation
c) will re-install WHS on the empty disk
d) will search all remaining drives for data files
e) and will build new tombstones onto the newly-created parition on the new disk.

Anybody tried it?
Edit: I'm setting up a new virtualized WHS server with two virtual disks and I'll see what happens when I replace the Primary disk with a blank disk.

One "minor" problem is that you are going to lose any data files or backup databases that were stored on the original (Data) partition of the Primary disk. If you are using this technique to swap out the Primary disk (it's failing or you just want a larger Primary disk), then you aare going to need to figure out which files were stored on the first Data partition. WHS doesn't offer any convenient way to do this.
Actually, there is a way. You can remove that drive and put it in another system, and copy the contests of "\DE". Now if the drive is completely failed, then yes, that is not possible.
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