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Windows Server 2003 will not launch upon boot on Power edge 700 server

I have a Dell Poweredge 700 (Bios A01) set up with 3 Maxtor 7y250m0 disks in a raid 5 array running Windows Small Business Server 2003.

This machine was running fine but suddenly will no longer boot up.  The PowerEdge seems to boot fine and the raid array shows no errors and the Starting Windows 2003 screen shows up but it only stays for a few seconds (enough for the little scroll bar to travel across once) and then the whole systmes shuts down and starts to boot up again.  This will go on indefinitely.  So, it gets to the windows screen but no further.

Thanks,

John
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Do you have a backup of your system state?

Author

Commented:
Unfortunately, I do not.  This was setup by a previous sys admin.  What do you mean by System state?  Are you talking about a backup that would be burned on a disc?  If so, there might be some places I could look.

Thanks,
One of the selections in the backup is to backup the system state, this is a backup of the state of the system, such as hardware drivers, com controls, registry settings, etc... Of course this backup is only as good as the last time these settings were modified. If your system state backup is too old it would be useless. The problem you are having is most likely in the system state, if you had a good backup of the system state you could restore the system state and it would probably fix this problem, but the system state would almost have to be done everyday for it to be effective.

When the server boots, can you hit F8 and bring up the server menu, select safe mode and boot in safe mode?

Author

Commented:
F8 gives me the option to boot in safe mode but the same thing happens.  I will be coming back to this probably either tomorrow or Monday but I am stopping for the day.

Thanks, for the help

John

Author

Commented:
I am still not having anyluck.  I tried booting from the CD but without the raid controller driver loaded it does not see any disks.  I was going to put the raid drivers on a diskette and then boot from the cd with the diskette available but the drivers I need (ATA raid controller) are 6MB.

Author

Commented:
I am bumping up the point valu on this question because I really need to get the data off of this server and I am not having any luck.  Please help.
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Top Expert 2005

Commented:
Does this system have a ROM based BIOS that you can access during POST?

If so, you may want to see what the OS is set to if that option appears.  Otherwise, if there are power options available in there, set them to the opposite that they show now and try booting again.

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Top Expert 2007

Commented:
Do you perhaps have automatic updates turned on - or otherwise know why it rebooted beforehand?
I would suggest Last Known Good (F8 to get to the boot menu) first.

And as an aside, the reason for the infinite reboot loop is that you have it set to automatically restart on system failure.  The problem is that it's an unrecoverable failure and thus the reboot cycle.  If/when you get it booted up, you'll want to change this (for this and all servers you support).  Follow these procedures:
1) Click Start->Run->Sysdm.cpl <Enter>
2) From the Advanced tab, click Settings under Startup and Recovery
3) Deselect Automatically Restart under System Failure - click OK, and OK again.

Odds are what's happening is you're getting a system dump prior to the reboot.  You may be able to retrieve that, but it would involve booting from another medium - Knoppix CD, Remote Recover, etc.  By default that dump is written to %SystemRoot%\Minidump, but that can be altered to another partition.

So, just 3 disk set Raid 5 in this server?

You might also try dropping memory, removing any additional processors, or any optional cards, etc and try to boot again into safe mode.  If you're getting a hardware dump, you may get lucky and get the offending component removed so that you can at least boot up to determine what that component is and get it repaired or replaced.

Good luck!
~sb
Enterprise Architect
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Top Expert 2008
Commented:
Any chance that one of the drives is pulling the others down? If you pull a drive from the RAID, any differences?
Has the machine been moved or woerse, had preventative Maintenance performed on it recently?
Keith AlabasterEnterprise Architect
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Thanks :)

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