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Resize SBS 2003 System Partition

Posted on 2006-06-22
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Running SBS 2003.  Have a disk problem, data partition has NTFS corruption, system partition is ok.  Whilst I'm sorting this out I want to increase the size of the system partition.

On another machine I use Ghost to backup the system partition, then to restore it to a larger partition on a fresh drive.  I then re-install the drive in the server and want to use Recovery Console to do a FIXMBR etc.  I boot using the SBS installation CD, but Windows Setup doesn't seem to recognise the existing version of SBS and proceeds to go straight into a fresh install.

Any ideas, please?
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Question by:johnalphaone
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16962203
How large is the system partition?
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by:johnalphaone
ID: 16962440
Original is 12Mb, new one will be 30Mb.
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Lee W, MVP earned 350 total points
ID: 16962592
First, you mean GB?  Windows won't fit on a 12 MB.

You said the system partition is ok - so you can boot right?

Did you already use Ghost on the system?

Any time you attempt to expand the C: drive of a system, you run the risk of corruption and not being able to boot.  I know products exist that supposedly allow you to do this (including Ghost) but if you read their documentation, even these products warn you you should have a known good backup first.  Thus, I do NOT advise trying to do what you want to do in expanding the C: drive, especially when it's already 12 GB.  12 GB is more than enough space.  

How did you determine the data partition was corrupt?  Chkdsk?  What is its condition right now?

(Dell server, right?)
If you haven't already, you need to move files to other partitions.

Have you:
1.  Moved the Page File off the C: drive?
2.  Moved the Exchange Information Store off the C: drive?
3.  Moved the user folders off the C: drive?
4.  Moved the applications (Outlook, VSS, etc) off the C: drive?
5.  If you have enabled Volume Shadow copy on the C: drive, did you store the copies on a different drive letter?
6.  Moved the SQL Databases off the C: drive (if you have premium edition)?

These actions are not JUST to free up space - this kind of data should be on other partitions to ensure you don't have problems with Active Directory OR with Exchange and other services if the drive fills.
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Author Comment

by:johnalphaone
ID: 16962939
>> First, you mean GB?
Yes, sorry, long day.

>> You said the system partition is ok - so you can boot right?
Yes

>> Did you already use Ghost on the system?
No, I only have Ghost on a separate XP machine.

>> How did you determine the data partition was corrupt?  Chkdsk?  What is its condition right now?
Chkdsk gives up on it.  It's still corrupt.  I do have a backup.

>> Thus, I do NOT advise trying to do what you want to do in expanding the C: drive, especially when it's already 12 GB.
I'm not directly expanding the drive.  The Ghost restore is being done to a fresh drive.

>> (Dell server, right?)
Right

>> If you haven't already, you need to move files to other partitions.
Good advice.

However, I'm still curious to know why this doesn't work.  The old drive had an small extra partition before C:.  So I guess boot.ini is wrong.  My guess is that that's what Windows Setup uses to find existing Windows installations.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16963075
The boot.ini points to a partition and that small extra partition is what's causing the problem, almost certainly.

How does Chkdsk give up?  Do you have RAID on this server?  Hardware or Software RAID?  If you can, backup (again, to different backup media) whatever you can on the bad partition - then delete it.  Then recreate it and restore.
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Author Comment

by:johnalphaone
ID: 16967258
Ok, the answer to the original question is as follows.  The SBS 2003 installation CD supplied by Dell appears to be designed to work only with their Server Assistant bootable CD.  It skips all the usual Windows Setup stuff about choosing a partition etc.  When I retried with a standard Microsoft installation CD the Recovery Console was available.

Now I can boot the server with the fresh drive but the system partition has retained drive letter M: from the XP system.  SBS 2003 is not surprisingly quite unhappy about that.  I think it's probably time to cut my losses and go with leew's excellent advice on file placement.  Just before I do that, though, does anyone have a workaround for the drive letter problem?
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Assisted Solution

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 150 total points
ID: 16967950
I suggest that you DON'T try to use Ghost for this, it's not what that program is designed for.  Instead you need to use a true Partition Management program that will do this properly.  I use Acronis Disk Director Server which works wonders!   There's also this tool http://homepage.ntlworld.com/hiren.thanki/index.html which may only be legal if you have the proper licenses.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:johnalphaone
ID: 16978140
Jeff, yes agreed.

I've reinstalled SBS2003 from scratch using the Dell Server Assistant CD and specifying a larger system partition.  I then restored the system partition from the Retropspect backup.  I'll now move on to adopt leew's advice on the file placements.

Thanks for you help.
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16978495
Just FYI, you could have chosen those file placements during the initial install on the Data Folders screen:  http://www.sbs-rocks.com/sbs2k3/images/data.jpg

If you are going to move them after you should follow the guidelines in http://sbsurl.com/movedata

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:johnalphaone
ID: 16978513
>>you could have chosen those file placements during the initial install on the Data Folders screen
The original OS was Dell pre-installed.  My installation was just to get a running system from which I could restore from the backup.

>> If you are going to move them after you should follow the guidelines ...
Thanks, that should be helpful.
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16978577
Ah... that is a crummy thing about the OEM installs:  http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2004/09/26/14417.aspx

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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