Dell Poweredge Windows Server 2003 NTFS Boot Disk

Posted on 2007-04-10
Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I have a Dell Poweredge 2600 server (about 3 years old) running Small Business Server 2003 (basically Windows Server 2003). The system partition is 12Gb on a 33Gb mirrored disk (it was set this way by Dell engineers during the installation) which leaves 21Gb of unallocated space after the system partition.

The system partition is now full, I have tried removing everything non-essential to other partitions and I can't move any more. I need to install service pack 2 to use the latest version of Symantec Backup Exec with a new tape library but it failed due to lack of disk space.

If I can boot below the OS then I can use diskpart to extend the system volume size (Microsoft confirm this) but I am unable to create the correct NTFS boot disk. The sytem partition is two 33Gb scsi disks mirrored on a Perc 4/Di Raid controller. My boot disk has ntldr, and the raid driver mraid35.sys renamed as ntbootdd.sys. The boot.ini file is as follows:

[boot loader]
Default= scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\Windows

[operating systems]
scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003"

It boots fine but blue screens and reboots immediately. If you've got no pointers on the correct boot file can you give a switch to stop the immediate reboot so I can see the stop error.

Thanks in advance
Question by:robspot
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 18886468
Have you tried Partition Magic yet?

I also suggest you image the drive to bigger drive, that is easier and faster way.

Author Comment

ID: 18887713
Partition Magic won't run on Windows Server 2003. I have no space on my RAID setup for extra disks to image the partition to and it is a Domain Controller I am trying to alter.
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

Rob Williams earned 250 total points
ID: 18888773
I have been watching your thread as I am interested in this procedure, and have not heard of it before. Thought I would toss in a couple of comments.
To state the obvious, make a thorough back up first, or better yet 2 and test it. Though I came across some articles saying this was possible there are also respected sites with numerous warnings such as:

In your boot.ini file, is your bootable partition actually 2. Though possible, it is usually 1

There are some 3rd party tools but they are not cheap. Symantec used to have Volume Manager which I believe is still around, possibly under another name for about $1000, and Acronis has Disk Director Server 10.0 Partition Manager about $500
As for you NTFS boot disk have you looked at:

You might also be able to create a bootable BART CD from which you can run the utility:
Take a little while to build your first one but a great tool to have for all sorts of repairs.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 18889038
Your boot.ini looks good.  As Dell uses a service partition.

To see your stop error:
Boot the server with the disk,
As soon as it starts reading the disk, start pressing F8 repeatedly
If you miss it as it blue screens, reboot and start pressing F8 earlier.
Anyhow a menu should show up and allow you to suppress reboot on stop errors (sorry can't think of the exact wording).  Anyhow, select that and reboot and your machine will not reboot on a BSOD.

Have you tried to boot with a Windows 2003 install disk and load the recovery console?  

See this:
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 18889253
Ah, yes the ol' 39MB partition, forgot about that.  <G>

Author Comment

ID: 18889996
Thanks for your help guys. I will try F8 tonight and see what happens.

Hadn't thought of using 2003 install disk, will try that as well.

As for the third party products, I am considering Acronis but at about £300 it's a last resort

In the boot file should scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\Windows be any different for a disk on a raid controller. My partition is on array 0 which is a mirrored array of raid disks 0 and 1.

Thanks again, will report tomorrow.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 18890053
Even from an NTFS boot disk it should see the array as a single disk, if harware RAID, so config should be the same.
LVL 26

Assisted Solution

Pber earned 250 total points
ID: 18890429
The 2003 install disk recovery console allows you to use diskpart, so that might be the best.  One thing to make sure of is do you have good backup's of this server.  I know you mentioned you can't get the latest Backup Exec on the server because of disk space, but it would be good to have a backout plan.  You might want to try an NTbackup just as a last resort.

Another thing on your side is the fact that you have a hardware mirrored disk set.  Before you attempt to extend the disk, you could pull out disk 0 of the raid set.  Then attempt the upgrade, if things go south, power down, pull disk 1, place disk 0 back in power back up.  You may need to go into the Rom based Array manager (<ALT><F10> or A or something like that) and tell it that it is still an array.  You should be ok as long as you don't initialize the disks.

Another way to gain temporary space is to go through the Program Files folder (or any large folder) and move the data to a different server.  Alot of things won't work on the server, but allows you the headroom to extend the partition and then you can move the data back when you are done and things should work once again.  We've done this in a few situations and it allowed us to get around the disk issues.


Author Comment

ID: 18910791
I haven't forgotten about this thread, I'm struggling to get a backup working before I try the suggestions. Hope to report back soon.

LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 18910845
Thanks for the update, good luck with it.

Author Comment

ID: 19207686
Sorry guys, I just haven't managed to try the suggestions you've made but thanks for your help anyway. When I do get time I'll post a new question and we can carry on.

LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 19209610
Thanks robspot.
Cheers !

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