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Problem running Microsoft apps and Windows functions after reinstall of Windows Server 2003.

Posted on 2007-10-15
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I added a drive to my server Friday, and attempted to rebuild the RAID array (with help from Dell tech support).  The rebuild failed, at which point we had to build a new RAID array, wiping all of my data.  After the new array was built, I had to reinstall Server 2003 Standard Edition, SP 1.  I then restored my backup, including system state.  The server was on SP 2 when it was backed up.  During the restore, I got several prompts stating that I was overwriting system files with more recent versions, and asking if I wanted to restore the original files.  I said No to all of the prompts.  At the end of the restore, I was prompted to reboot, and on reboot, Windows wouldn't open.  I then reinstalled Server 2003, SP1, and this time, said Yes to all of the prompts.  After restore and reboot, Windows is now able to open.

The problem I'm having is that almost all Windows functions and Microsoft apps won't work.  IE, Windows Explorer, all Office products, all give the message:
"Runtime error!

Program: XXX

This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way."

Third party apps seem to work fine - PC Anywhere, our accounting software.  And I do have internet connectivity, even though IE won't run.  But I need the rest of my functionality.

I suspect this still has to do with system files, and with the conflict between SP1 and SP2.  I tried uninstalling SP2, which worked, and I'm now showing as being SP1.  And I now get a prompt to install updates (I can't go to Microsoft Updates, because IE's not working, so I have to just wait for the update prompt in the System Tray), which includes a ton of security updates, as well as SP2, and I downloaded them, but they all fail to install.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Question by:krlaw6
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by:bkellyboulderit
ID: 20082981
You need to reinstall the OS and then apply the appropriate service pack to bring it to the same revision as the previous install, before you actually do the restore. This assumes the backup is current.

In this case, bring the OS to SP2 before you restore.
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by:krlaw6
ID: 20083004
bkellyboulderit:

Do I need to worry about any of the other server updates, or just SP2?
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by:bkellyboulderit
ID: 20083043
I don't believe you need to worry about the other updates. The main thing is that the SP is the same.

It's best to have the same driver levels for the RAID drivers (if possible).

You may have some minor issues afterwards, but all in all this works well. I (lots o people) have restored even DC's with NTBACKUP successfully like this.
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Author Comment

by:krlaw6
ID: 20083089
Not sure what you mean by the same driver levels for RAID (I'm a bit of a novice at a lot of this).  I had RAID 1 (I think) before all of this, with 1 drive and 1 redundant drive.  When I went to install a third drive to increase my space, I was told by the techs at Dell that we'd have to switch to a RAID 5.  I believe that's what I have now, so it's not the same as when the backup was created.

One further question - I'll have to reuse the same backup that I started with, correct?  (I have users entering data already, to make up for the lost weekend.)  Otherwise, if I make a new backup before beginning this process, I'll be backing up messed-up system files, right?
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by:bkellyboulderit
ID: 20083127
correct. use the older backup that has the good stuff on it, but first backup your existing data first, and then restore the user data files only on that newer backup  after restoring your server with the correct backup. That way you don't lose the stuff they just did.

The raid level (1 or 5) is not so important. Just the raid software (if possible). Otherwise, don't worry about it, because that's all you can do.

SO, restore good backup first then restore only the user data that's changed since then.
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by:krlaw6
ID: 20084754
OK, I tried that, and it didn't work.  First try - restored O/S, manually set partitions to match what I had before (using Disc Management), manually updated to SP 2 (using the downloaded file from MS KB), and all that seemed to work fine - O/S was working, and it showed as SP 2.  Then I restored my backup - C:, D: and System State, choosing to replace duplicated files.  After restore & reboot, Windows couldn't open up - got error stating that ntoskrnl.exe was missing.  (This happened before, too.)  
Second try - same as before until restoring backup.  This time, chose to keep duplcated files, instead of replacing them.  I still got a message during restore that I had overwritten a system file with a newer version, and I needed to put in the SP 1 disc to restore the original file (this happened on the first try, too).  Put in the Server 2003 disc with SP 1, and that seemed to take care of it, but I got no positive messages stating that.  After restore, Windows can open up, but I'm in the same situation as before - no IE, no Windows Explorer, no Office programs.  Get Runtime error when I try any of them.  
Everything seems to work fine until the restore.  I could try restoring without including the System State, I suppose, but then NONE of my programs would work without reinstalling, and I'm not sure I have all of the disks from the previous IT guy.  And I don't know what other problems it might cause to not restore the System State.  
Thanks.
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bkellyboulderit earned 2000 total points
ID: 20085598
You may not be setting the options in the restore correctly.

From: http://searchwincomputing.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid68_gci1253630,00.html
---
Performing a bare metal restore

The problem with performing a bare metal restore when you don't have an ASR backup available to you is that running the restore means using NTBACKUP. Since NTBACKUP can't run without Windows, you'll have to install Windows before you can begin the restore process.

But performing a bare metal restore entails more than just installing Windows and running NTBACKUP. How you install Windows and whichever NTBACKUP options you choose determines whether the restore will be successful.

Installing Windows

In order for your restoration to go well, you must do three things when installing Windows.

You must install Windows in a manner similar to how it was installed before. You don't have to remember every service and subcomponent that was previously installed (although that helps). But you do need to make sure to install Windows to the same volume and path as it was originally installed in.
You must install the Windows service pack that was installed at the time the backup was made. I've found that having matching service pack levels makes a huge difference in how well the restoration goes.
Avoid joining a domain. This is the biggie. During the course of installing Windows, you'll be prompted for a computer name. Using the computer's original name is fine, but you do not want to join a domain. Why not? Because a computer account already exists in the domain. If you try to join a domain, you'll be forced to either rename the machine or delete the existing computer account. If you must join a domain in order to access the backup, you need to name the computer something besides its original name.
Restoring the backup

Just as you had to install Windows in a certain way, you must configure NTBACKUP in a manner appropriate for the task at hand.

By default, before NTBACKUP restores a file, it checks to make sure that the file does not already exist. If the file does exist, the backed-up version is not restored. In the case of a bare metal restore, this behavior is not desirable; it often leads to file version conflicts.

To change NTBACKUP's default behavior, select the Tools command from the Options menu. When you do, Windows will display the Options properties sheet. Go to the properties sheet's Restore tab, and you will see the three options shown in the figure below.

 

As you can see, the default option is to not replace any pre-existing files. However, this may lead to file version conflicts as a result of updates that have been applied to the operating system.

The second option is to replace only files that are older than the version that has been backed up. This is the option that works best when I perform a bare metal restore. Using the option to replace all files can lead to unsuccessful restores because critical operating system files are being replaced in the middle of the restore operation. Replacing only older files will result in some OS files being replaced during the restore, but not nearly as many as if you configured NTBACKUP to just replace everything.

Now you're ready to perform the restore operation. The thing to keep in mind about the restore operation is that when the restore completes, you must reboot your server to complete the process. When the reboot completes, your server should be back to normal.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server, Exchange Server and IIS. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. He writes regularly for SearchWinComputing.com and other TechTarget sites.

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Author Comment

by:krlaw6
ID: 20085666
Good deal.  That option - replacing only files that are older than the version that has been backed up - is the only one that I haven't tried yet.  I've tried replacing none, and replacing all.  I'll give it a try again this afternoon, and let you know how it works.

Either way, thanks again for your help with this.  
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Author Comment

by:krlaw6
ID: 20086071
bkellyboulderit:

I'd like to verify this sequence with you:
1. Reinstall the O/S
2. Get my partitions to match what they were before
3. Install SP 2 again
4. Change the options for NT Backup mentioned in the article
5. Then do my data restore.  

Does that sound right?
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by:bkellyboulderit
ID: 20086153
Yes. I believe the options in the backup were you're only real obstacle.

BTW, Remember to also backup the user files that have changed since you did this, and restore them after the server restore works.

Curious, how well was the server running before all this happened? Was ok?
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Author Comment

by:krlaw6
ID: 20086629
Well, luckily (in a weird way), since only a few applications are working right now, the only app I'll probably have to worry about backing up before I start this whole process is our Accounting application.  That's the only one that's being used today by my users.  (However, last night I backed up the Accounting app before retrying the whole process, and when I was done, I tried restoring it, and it didn't work.  I'm HOPING that that has something to do with the problems, and that if I back up, and this time the process works, that the restore of the Accounting app will work, too.  Otherwise, lots of manual entry.)

And  the server was working fine before all of this.  Which makes it more frustrating.  The only reason for all of this is that I wanted to add some drive space.  And I found out from the Dell tech AFTER I had begun the rebuild of my RAID array that I couldn't add space to my C drive, which was maddening, but the way things turned out, I am able to increase C (It had less than 1/2 a gig of space left).  Now I just have to get the server to work.  : )
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Author Comment

by:krlaw6
ID: 20089158
Thanks so much for your help, bkellyboulderit.  

Restore went great, and everything appears normal.  It looks like we're back in business.  

Thanks again.
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by:bkellyboulderit
ID: 20089219
Yeah!
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