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How do I boot off the 2nd mirrored drive on my server if i remove the first hard drive or if it fails?

Posted on 2007-12-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I am using (3) Dell Poweredge 2650 servers with dual XEON processors and two IBM Ulrastar 76GB hard drives. The operating system is windows 2003 standard r2. Imirrored the two drives by using the computer management windows utility.

When I try to simulate a hard drive crash and attempt to boot off of the second hard drive in the server it just pauses at the bios boot screen after the SCSI bios discovers the devices available. When I stick the first drive back in or in its correct place with the second drive, it asks if i want to boot to C: or the mirror and loads windows fine. (it doesnt seem to matter what position the second mirrored drive is in.)
I changed the bios boot device order in the bios as well.

I can do this on three different Dell Poweredge 2650 servers.

The raid keys were removed before I received the machines and the mirror never has been a problem.
I would just like to be sure I am not doing this for nothing.
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Question by:samsung21
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by:athouston
ID: 20425574
Please clarify, are you using the Windows disk manager to create the mirrors or the Dell Array manager software or the Dell RAID controller BIOS.
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Author Comment

by:samsung21
ID: 20426870
I mirrored the two drives by using the windows 2003 computer management windows utility and then selected disk management.
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by:mastoo
mastoo earned 50 total points
ID: 20427785
Look at the discussion on disk signatures in the link below.  Illustrates that it is a good idea to do a test like you are doing ahead of time because booting from a failed software-mirror isn't necessarily automatic.

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/4b8002b4-d096-4045-8ffe-c152a4bfc3571033.mspx?mfr=true
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asweetwood earned 75 total points
ID: 20431776
You need a "Fault Tolerant Boot Disk".  The easy way to make one is to format a floppy as a bootable disk using windows XP (or similar), delete all the contents (especially the hidden files used to boot DOS , e.g. msdos.sys, io.sys, autoexec.bat, etc..).  Then copy NTLDR, Boot.ini, and NTDetect.com FROM THE SERVER WITH THE MIRROR to your formatted, blank floppy (these files vary from one OS to another, files copied from an XP machine cannot be used to boot a 2003 Server, so be sure to get the right ones).  Last edit the boot.ini so that the Drive used is the first one available.  This is a gotcha, because if you have a boot.ini file set up to allow you to boot either or Primary disk or your mirror, then it probably looks something like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\Windows
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\Windows="Microsoft Windows 2003 Server" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\Windows="Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Mirror" /fastdetect

... where the 5th line specifies the first partition on the first disk, and the 6th line specifies the 1st partition on the 2nd disk.  The problem is, when you pull out the primary disk to simulate a failure state, even though the 2nd drive does not move physically, it becomes the 1st drive in Windows.  So where you would naturally think that you would boot drive 2 partition 1 (above) if the primary drive failed, you acutally need to boot drive 1 partition 1.  Which means that if my boot.ini looks like it does above (and works) before I pull the Primary disk, after I pull the Primary Disk I could either select the option to boot the default OS (not a typo), or use a different boot.ini formatted as:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\Windows
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\Windows="Microsoft Windows 2003 Server" /fastdetect

.. which is what I have on my FT boot Disk.

Good Luck
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Author Closing Comment

by:samsung21
ID: 31413313
Thank you everyone for your input.
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