Question Following another question about domains and workgroup settings for Win Server: two drives now inaccessible

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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i'm in sort of a pickle here.

Recent history over days:
Foolishly thought to convert my Win 10 boxes from WORKGROUP to DOMAIN under my Win Server box.
Lost one system disk to being locked after trying to revert to WORKGROUP
Tried to reinstall Server Connector software on my main system. Because I had two HDDs that I didn't want to backup in hot-swap bays, turned off the system (just to be safe), removed disks from bays, rebooted, attempted installing connection software under a different machine name.

Windows installed the connection alright: but despite a registry entry that would circumvent DomainJoin, system was added to server as a Domain member.

Fiddled with resetting logon to local account -- same account name as for domain, but Users showed two different user folders [local account] and [local account][server domain]

When resetting logon, it pops up as "other user". I can logon, get the same desktop, but the two drives -- reinserted between shutdown and startup aren't recognized. One has my scheduled Macrium backups. Macrium PE bootable USB shows the drives, but cannot find the files.

The drives aren't visible on the Windows Explorer. Disk Management under Computer management shows the drives as healthy. But no access from Explorer.

Each drive was on a different controller. a Media disk was connected to the onboard Intel controller, the Macrium disk to a PCIE Marvel controller.

I need to get these drives back, and I need to restore my logon screen to what it was.

My latest last-ditch effort has been to run system restore from windows going back to the earliest time this morning when i tried to install the connection software. I went through this three times -- last one being the unwanted domain member addition.

I need to get this all back together. My other problems with this machine may have been solved by running the SFC /SCannow program through elevated command -- those were thought to be hardware problems -- shown in other threads.

Right now, it's restoring system registry. First pass failed -- reported to be because of AV software, which I turned off this time.

Need help. Must get those disks back, and my Macrium images.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Unless you have actual training / certs in Windows Server Domain Administration, I wouldn't have messed with it. Corporate Domain Security is no joke.
Sorry that I can't help further, this is way outside my area of Windows expertise.



Do you have a Linux Mint boot USB? I would make one, using a different Windows PC, using Rufus Portable and a Linux Mint ISO. Then I would plug the drive(s) that you want to access, sequentially, into a powered USB-SATA dock. Boot the Linux USB, navigate to the usb-sata dock, and dump the contents / files to another removable USB HDD.
 

igor_kavinski

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2020
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It may be possible to get into a local admin account on that machine and try to get ownership of the locked drive(s). May take a long time depending on the number of files on it.

I just hope for your sake that you didn't choose to encrypt said drive(s). If you did, you are really screwed.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
1,187
126
Unless you have actual training / certs in Windows Server Domain Administration, I wouldn't have messed with it. Corporate Domain Security is no joke.
Sorry that I can't help further, this is way outside my area of Windows expertise.



Do you have a Linux Mint boot USB? I would make one, using a different Windows PC, using Rufus Portable and a Linux Mint ISO. Then I would plug the drive(s) that you want to access, sequentially, into a powered USB-SATA dock. Boot the Linux USB, navigate to the usb-sata dock, and dump the contents / files to another removable USB HDD.
I could tell you this was a false alarm, but I agree 100% -- 150% -- 1000% with your remarks here. [You've been very helpful over the months, and I feel like I'm burdening everyone.]

This all began parallel to my "hardware-troubleshoot" and Windows repair (last mentioned) as I was redeploying Win 7 machines (which were always backing up to server and then started showing failed backups) and my Win `10 system -- which never backed up to the server, even for having access to it. I initially thought that this was a problem that could be resolved by converting from Workgroup/Homegroup local accounts to domain accounts.

I once was able to come up to speed given my vast library of Microsoft bibles. I don't have the time for that anymore, and I should've at least read Terry Walsh's book on 2012 Server Essentials R2 -- in my Kindle library cover-to-cover. but -- I didn't.

Anyway, the Restore just completed and worked for two things: It brought back my local account logon screen -- not showing "Other user" and no picture of yours truly. The picture hasn't come back, but that's a trivial and easy fix.

The second thing -- causing my panic with this thread -- my two drives are back, bad, and on-top. The restore point was dated early today before I got into this pickle. It DID come back with the machine name that I don't want, but I changed it back to what it was, rebooted and all is well.

Anyway, it appears that I was wrong in my assumptions about "what machines would back up and which wouldn't" causing me to think that domain membership might resolve it. WORKGROUP and HOMEGROUP machines can back up just fine to Server Essentials 2012.

And -- there are no more Win 7 systems in this house anymore. I remember you're asking me when I was going to get rid of that old OS. Well, it's gone now from every system here.

Never had any hardware or OS-related problems with that server box or 2012 Essentials R2. But on this Win 10 system, having to fall back on System Restore and a lucky set of restore-points -- too much of a close call situation. That's why I had Macrium set up locally in the first place. That Macrium Reflect is absolutely stellar. If you want to use a brute-force approach to something that works, restoring an entire disk and its volumes with Macrium is the surest most reliable experience ever.

I could dump the server, but for a pile of media recordings and especailly the backups. I'm going to keep it for a while.

What a freaking relief, though! I must proceed on my other tweaks today with deliberation and caution. Here's a thought: apparently Server Essentials 2012 (and all its incarnations) keeps a database of machine names that were connected, at least under the domain. Installing the connector software was not deterred by the SkipDomainJoin registry hack, and I'm sure I'd set the system up for WORKGROUP. But the alternate machine name was somehow stored invisibly in the server OS, and changing the system to that second name precipitated today's misery.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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It may be possible to get into a local admin account on that machine and try to get ownership of the locked drive(s). May take a long time depending on the number of files on it.

I just hope for your sake that you didn't choose to encrypt said drive(s). If you did, you are really screwed.
No -- early on, as these features were becoming available, I swore off it. Who's going to want to hack my hard drives? Jhiy-na? The Russian Mafia?

There's that secure-boot feature in BIOS which I'm sure I sidestepped on all these systems. I neither need nor want drive encryption. What for? My vast fortune deposited around 10,000 banks? My collection of P-Boy Playmate centerfolds from Marilyn Monroe's time until PB became "politically correct?" Someone would have to come into this house (I'm mostly home most of the time), steal my computers, and even care about what's on those drives.

The banks have good enough encryption and security -- thank you. I have to keep a database of accounts and passwords, and sometimes I forget to update it. Once upon a time, there was Windows 3.1, the early days of the internet, floppy discs -- complete control of your computer. Now, if I just want to read something online, I've got to create an account.

So I've expressed my peeves about MS in the Software-Windows forum. If I bring up "settings", it shows only my MS Account info, but I logon to my computer with a local account. SCREW that domain s***, as Larry might observe of the trouble.

Anyway, I'm back, I'm bad, I'm on top. Just for a very lucky restore-point. I'm backing up my Macrium backup files to a 1TB NVME/USB3 disk, right now. I will make sure that I change the security permissions on those backed up backups to "Everyone" before I set it aside, or just stick it in my pants pocket forever.

I miss the 20th century. I don't know whether I should feel sorry for Millennial Mainstreamers, or just pissed off the way the mass-consumer market has distorted MS OS-design priorities. I USE CLASSIC SHELL, G**D***-IT!
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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Anyway, guys -- this is the little difficulty I was trying to resolve that cost me a good part of this Sunday day.

I have 12TB of pooled storage with duplication on my Essentials server. Even so, a disk with media files and an active disk of full, differential and incremental BACKUPS under the local Macrium installation does not need to be backed up to the server. I can put that stuff on the server at will, but I want local-to-server backups merely for my OS boot drive and a drive that conains all my software installation files. So I wanted to disconnect those two drives, so that when I install the Connector and run backup, it has an easy job to finish successfully.

But Essentials doesn't allow you to do that. When you open the connector applet, and start the initial backup, you don't get a chance initially to pick and choose the drives you want backed up. You only get that choice under the Essentials dashboard once you've completed a successful initial backup.

I want to KILL, but Microsoft is TOO BIG to kill . . .

AFTERTHOUGHT: So I wasted everyone's time. Who would I turn to, though? Here's what I think happened.

The drives had previously had drive letters assigned. I pulled them off the system -- care to avoid any damage -- but when I reinstalled, the drive letters weren't there, they didn't appear in Explorer, but the drives DID appear in "Disk Management". They MAY have been online, but they didn't have drive letters. I might have simply tried re-assigning drive letters. Even so, Macrium (Win PE) reported an error finding a backup on the unlettered drive volume. Maybe Macrium needed a letter, maybe it didn't. But a disk check shows nothing wrong with those backup files, so . . . I've almost finished copying to the NVME/USB3.
 
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igor_kavinski

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I have 12TB of pooled storage with duplication on my Essentials server.
Storage spaces? Maybe the server version is better. Never want to try it on Win10/11 because of the really bad benchmarks I've seen. If I'm ever going to try something like storage pooling, it might be with SnapRAID. Everything else is just too complicated.
 

igor_kavinski

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By the way, I think you may agree with this: DOS ERA DRIVE LETTERS NEED TO DIE and should have, like yesterday!

Stupid stupid Microsoft still limiting us to drive letters till Z when in their own Excel product they have columns going beyond Z. For what? To avoid breaking some software? They can design all kinds of crazy abstraction layers for GUIs and whatnot but not for drive letters??? What's wrong with them??? Lazy bastards!
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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I'll respond to both of your posts, without creating the more-than-usual TLTR.

I'd been using Stablebit for years -- breaking away from RAID configurations. I'd had a RAID5 for the server with your $300 controller card. I found an 8-port Marvell controller for less than $100. I never really had problems with Stablebit. I watch it going through its balancing act, where it redistributes across the pool to keep the drives balanced or equal in space consumed. Never seems to miss a lick.

It also has a Scanner feature that appears in the server dashboard, allowing it to scan and test each and every drive. I let that happen monthly. Never had any problem with it. but -- as you say -- it's for the server.

As for drive letters. I go back with this technology to 1982 -- first IBM PC in 83. MS-DOS. Floppies. Then 20 MB hard disks. An old fart like me gets comfortable with established paradigms.

One somehow has to identify and work with drives, partitions and volumes. I personally don't want someone to upset the apple-cart. Ha! that could be a pun! I don't have much time to invent puns deliberately. I have many JOBS to do these days. Ha! Ha!

So Igor! Do you hate Apple the way I do? I learned to hate my i-phone. I'm an Android man, myself, so I like my Samsung phone and my tablet. Anyway -- Android but not Androgenous . . . You should check out the tablet mounted on the dashboard of my 27-year-old SUV, feeding half the Library of Congress music collection via Bluetooth to my 1995 digital receiver . . . I've got rear-view night-vision, hands-free calling, voice recognition and voice navigation.

Ah -- I'm full of prolix palaver. It's another TLTR.

Well, the backup to server has gone above 30% now . . . I'll be relieved when it's over. Then, put the other drives back online, and "customize" the backup for the boot disk and the one remaining storage drive still online.

Then I can move on with my life . . I hope . . .
 

igor_kavinski

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So Igor! Do you hate Apple the way I do?
I hate Apple in general for their overpricing. Got the first iPad Mini on sale. Turned it on a grand total of maybe 2 times. Then someone last year gave me an iPhone 6S Plus for free. Turned it on for a grand total of less than 5 times I'm sure. Just not entrenched in that ecosystem for the time being. In future, might be forced to. I managed to get through the 42 bootcamp using a damn nice 27 inch iMac (they gave us no choice). Understood the allure as it just lets you focus on your work without it getting in your way like Windows does. Still, found it hard doing things the Mac way.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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Well -- backup completed 62% so far.

I can't keep up with all this stuff in my head. So I was asking myself "Why is Win server backing up the storage drive first? Why haven't I seen drive activity on the boot drive yet?'' Storage drive 400 GB, boot drive 170GB.

Nobody ever told me, but I would've thought it would be logical if the server didn't need to back up redundant files among two clients with the same OS. So maybe that's why Drive C: activity remains low during this process.

OK -- 70% and the boot drive activity is going gangbusters.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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Wow, you mean System Restore actually worked?
See, that's why it was so easy to miscalculate my choice of dealing with our household "eco-system" of LAN and computers.

Restore from Windows Server -- "Home server 2011" and this 2012 Essentials -- has saved our asses at least a few times over several years. It always seemed reliable, as long as the backups continue successfully like clockwork.

Lose a boot drive on a workstation? Take a USB stick to the server, make a bootable restore disk for that server on the USB, go back to the client, reboot to the UEFI USB stick, access the server from the utility that pops up, restore the boot drive, folders, other drives -- any or everything you want. I still think of it as an insurance policy.

The local Macrium backup system also works great. THAT saved my ass a few times since I built the SKY-now-KABY Lake system five years ago. I used it twice since Thursday, brute force restores because of my "domain, machine name and server connector woes. But this last time, for taking the Macrium image disk offline the way I did, I had to use Windows system restore to a restore point of a few days ago.

I'm just not entirely sure what I'm going to do. We went from three users to one. I lost my brother in january, and Moms hasn't worked on her computer since 2016. I could simplify all this.

My cousin -- a mainstreamer -- tells me he as six computers, but they're old and nothing works. He has a laptop, and he's not happy with it. A lot of his online internet activity comes through his cell-phone. Another mainstreamer, widowed and former high-school girlfriend -- she has one computer, uses it frequently, but needs to replace a CR 2032 CMOS battery. The problem with her real-time clock is driving her nuts. I told her I could come over and fix it, but she hasn't responded to the offer.

So you wonder what people do about their data. Do they save any? Do they have accounting documents, piles of word-processing docs, a document archive, an Outlook.pst file of five or six gigabytes and saved e-mails going back twenty years? None of my friends of my age play any games or simulators.

They can thumb-type better than I can, though . . .
 

igor_kavinski

Diamond Member
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They can thumb-type better than I can, though . . .
Anyone who reads this may choose to be offended but I think of prolific thumb-typers as cellphone zombies. They will be walking on the street, oblivious to the world around them, furiously thumb-typing. Annoys me to no end.
 

igor_kavinski

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So you wonder what people do about their data. Do they save any? Do they have accounting documents, piles of word-processing docs, a document archive, an Outlook.pst file of five or six gigabytes and saved e-mails going back twenty years?
A lot of people I know just keep some of their most important data backed up to a USB flash drive. If I tell them that's unsafe and a recipe for disaster, the most they will do is maybe buy an external 2.5" USB 3.0 drive. That's the extent they are willing to go to safeguard their data. Most of them don't like to spend too much on computers, and will literally save a penny by going with the worst choice. You cannot get them to see how unreasonable they are being and if you tried, you would just waste your time.

One guy kept pestering me on how he could recover all his family photos after his external 2.5" HDD died. Over the next few days in different several minute sessions, I showed him how his drive had suffered an unrecoverable hardware failure and it would take a data recovery service to have any chance of recovering his photos. I had to do all that to get him off my back because he thought "I knew how to fix dead drives" and tried to convince me into doing my "magic". Sigh.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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IGOR! We seem to be of "one mind"! So I'm curious. Are you a "Boomer"? Or a later-gen tech-enthusiast?

There was a time when I'd go out in public on errands, and encounter people who seemed to be talking to themselves, so I thought they were out of place for not appearing homeless and schizophrenic. I finally got used to assuming they all had blue-tooth stuck in their ears, talking on the cellphone. But we're still living in an age of Crazy, regardless of those observations.

I also wonder how many people actually subscribe to Cloud storage. Do YOU store stuff on the Cloud -- like important data files? Everywhere I turn, the alternatives are subscription accounts hooked into your budget: Sirius Radio, for people who mostly listen to NPR with five or more NPR stations on broadcast FM anyway; cutting the cable so you've got your ROKU with Spectrum App, Sling TV, Hulu and some premiums. Subscription software. You wonder if the lemmings keep and follow a monthly budget . . .

Reporting back on my various cyber-crises, I'm pretty sure my "random shutdown" problem is fixed, and hindsight shows me how I could've saved money to arrive at this very same resolution for it. It could've been resolved early last summer! So I've got two known good motherboards for the parts locker or the ongoing build. The open-box was apparently perfectly good.

Now I'm back in LAN workgroup mode, two machines configured so far, good scheduled backups under Win Svr Essentials 2012 R2. Eventually, I'll either want to upgrade that server OS or pick a solution like yours. But -- not now. I have one more system to add -- which would be my laptop. After that -- the desktop build in-progress. I'll let it back up the laptop once, and then the dashboard will allow me to cancel backups for that system so I don't get "warning" signs for the laptop in the dashboard.

The WORST is OVER! I think . . . .
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,538
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One guy kept pestering me on how he could recover all his family photos after his external 2.5" HDD died. Over the next few days in different several minute sessions, I showed him how his drive had suffered an unrecoverable hardware failure and it would take a data recovery service to have any chance of recovering his photos. I had to do all that to get him off my back because he thought "I knew how to fix dead drives" and tried to convince me into doing my "magic". Sigh.
Some people never learn...
 
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igor_kavinski

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Or a later-gen tech-enthusiast?
GenX apparently. Don't want to trust the cloud or pay for subscription. Good old rust for me (scattered all over. Maybe on vacation at some future point in time, I will make sure to figure out what is most important and make minimum three copies of it).
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
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Well, this thread has a trail behind it, probably here, in motherboards, and in Windows.

It looked as though everything was tip-top yesterday. Both clients backed up successfully.

So -- what happens? I logged on to the 8-year-old system (a fallback) where the boot drive was locked when I rebooted, so reinstalled Windows 10 -- probably a blessing anyway. At this point, Windows wants me to sign in with the PIN I had created, supposedly using my local account. Next thing I see, the connector icon in the tray has turned gray. Still have access to the server folders, but no monitoring and the server showing the PC as "offline" bodes ill for future successful backups.

Cleaned up the client system, reinstalled the connector, this time making sure I used my password instead of the (freaking) PIN. So, I suppose everything is fine. And just on intuition or whim, I downgraded the server account for that particular client to "Standard User", reset the permissions on certain folders, and then used the server's main "administrator" account to log in with the connector.

If I want to continue my aging life with more than one computer and some shared storage system, I think I should look into __ what is it ? -- FreeNAS? How is your rig set up? What sort of hardware configuration? I'd seen some of those solutions before, but I don't remember any of the details.
 

igor_kavinski

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How is your rig set up? What sort of hardware configuration?
I like to keep things way too simple. Never try any special Windows features. Just bare essentials. A thinkpad with i7 Ivy Bridge CPU which is mostly what I use. It stays on all the time, only sleeping when I go to work. The Windows uptime on it is usually more than 200 days (Windows 8.1, automatic restart for windows updates disabled). Last time had to restart it only coz there was some serious memory leakage in some Windows GUI handling component, leading to all sorts of graphical glitches and general instability. Desktop is an i7-5775C with Geforce GTX Titan X. Use that connected to LG C8 OLED for movie watching and sometimes binge watching Youtube (you click one interesting video, then you see all these great recommendations and before you know it, you have over 100 tabs open in the browser!).
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,312
1,187
126
I like to keep things way too simple. Never try any special Windows features. Just bare essentials. A thinkpad with i7 Ivy Bridge CPU which is mostly what I use. It stays on all the time, only sleeping when I go to work. The Windows uptime on it is usually more than 200 days (Windows 8.1, automatic restart for windows updates disabled). Last time had to restart it only coz there was some serious memory leakage in some Windows GUI handling component, leading to all sorts of graphical glitches and general instability. Desktop is an i7-5775C with Geforce GTX Titan X. Use that connected to LG C8 OLED for movie watching and sometimes binge watching Youtube (you click one interesting video, then you see all these great recommendations and before you know it, you have over 100 tabs open in the browser!).
YEs -- I knew a Swiss psycho-pharmacologist who worked his way through U of Basel cooking and cheffing in Paris. In all things, what he said about cooking holds true: Simple is best. But I think your case points to something else as well.

If you have a system that works, and you avoid carelessness with things like vaping-pins in the USB, you don't need current-gen as long as the system is secure, even if MS stops providing OS updates.

I built computers more frequently when I was sure that I could hand them down to an extended family, but they've either died, become incapacitated or moved away.

All of these troubles -- just failing for instance to run sfc /scannow after the careless accident and thinking that it HAD to be a hardware problem -- points to my growing age. I need more than one computer, but it will be harder to embrace these build-it projects in the future.

Is your system with the LG set up as a dual-monitor feed from the Titan? I want to integrate my i7-2700K (which feeds both the desktop monitor and an LG HDTV) with my Roku setup. The only thing I need for the arrangement is software more current than Kodi -- maybe something like Plex.
 
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