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RAID/Server 2003 Mirrored drive problem

Posted on 2009-06-29
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Hello Experts! I have a question for you! I have a Microsoft 2003 Server with a mirrored RAID set. I'll be the first to admit, I am not the best at RAID configs, but DO know enough to get by. Having said that...I ASSUMED (we all know what that means), that there were 2 SATA 250 GB drives installed in a mirrored set AND that there was another BOOTABLE drive with the OS on it. NOT TRUE. THe drives WERE mirrored, but housed. I thought that the technician that they had before me, had never built the RAID properly (This was due to MANY other issues that I found in a short time). Nevertheless...I rebuilt the RAID losing all data. Or so I thought... I swapped drive 0 with drive 1 and the RAID resynced. I thought that I was out of the woods...not yet. The system would not boot into the OS. I then swapped drives again (back to their original posistions). Still no luck. Is there a way to make the drive boot again. I believe that all data is there and in tact, but I think that there may be a problem with the boot sector. Any ideas?
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Question by:CHRS3000GT
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by:mds-cos
ID: 24741011
If I read your question properly, you are concerned about recovering the data itself -- not about the OS.  I also am reading that we are dealing with software mirroring here?

The safe way is to quit messing with the existing drives for now.  Either put a spare drive into the server and load a base install, or hook up your existing drives to another system.  Go into disk management to activate the drive, then see if your data is good.

You can also boot off the 2003 install disk into recovery console and use command line to get to your data.

Finally, you could download a NTFS aware boot disk from the Internet and use it to recover your data.
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by:CHRS3000GT
ID: 24741036
That's part of the problem (unfortunately). I can't get to the OS to see what was installed. I can get to the "SAS Manager". I forgot to mention, this is a Dell PowerEdge (not sure of the model/not onsite). The drives show "Optimal" in the manager. and I don't have another swappable drive as of right now....
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by:mds-cos
ID: 24741703
OK, so we are talking about hardware RAID here.  I sure hope your data is actually there.

Go the route of the recovery console or a NTFS boot disk to bypass the OS (if you don't already have one, Google "download NTFS boot disk").  Understand that I am not talking about booting off the hard drive and hitting F8 -- I am talking about booting off a CD or floppy.  The Windows Server install disk will allow you to go to a command prompt recovery console which gives you a handful of dos-type commands.  A NTFS boot disk is going to give you access to a broader feature set to recover your data.

Once you are sure that your data is safe, delete your RAID container then re-create it.  If the disk is bad you will find out during this process.


Sorry for the difficult solution, but I have seen guys blow away any chance of data recovery by trying to repair a RAID setup.  I still painfully remember an entire night spent bailing out a colleague who wiped the RAID on a live DELL server trying to fix something, then discovered his backups were not running right.

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Author Comment

by:CHRS3000GT
ID: 24750206
The data isn't really a HUGE concern. They only use it for ONE program and the data is backed up already on a flash drive. I just don't want to have to rebuild the whole system if there's an easier way.
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mds-cos earned 500 total points
ID: 24751710
Oh, I see.  Based on what you have told me, I would not try to get around the rebuild.  And frankly, I don't think you actually have data on the drives based on my understanding of the steps you have taken with the RAID.  But let's start with verifying if anything is on the drive or not....
 
- Stick your Windows Server CD in and boot from it;
- Go into the command line recovery console;
- Check for data.  Specifically check for the boot files (ntdetect.com, ntldr, boot.ini) if data is there;
- if data and boot files are present verify the ARC path in boot.ini.
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Author Closing Comment

by:CHRS3000GT
ID: 31598163
I rebuilt the Operating System. I thought I could work around it but this was the best answer. THANKS!
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