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SBS 2003 RAID 5 better to rebuild failed disk or do chkdsk first?

dgrenda
dgrenda asked
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have an SBS 2003 server.  C: is 2 drives mirrored and is fine.   D: is 4 drives RAID 5.   I have 2 simultaneous problems.

ONE - I have the Intel storgage manager telling me a disk in D: is getting predictive failure errors and physical media errors (not a lot yet). The drive is not degraded yet however.

TWO - I have SBS2003 throwing ntfs events telling me to do chkdsk on the D: drive.

Which should I do first?  Replace the physical drive in D: and let it rebuild?  Or run the chkdsk with the /f and /r and THEN replace the drive?

Thanks!
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Commented:
I hate running chkdsk /f. I have had it thrash too many disks on me.  Personaly I would replace the disk and let it rebiuild and hope I didn't have to run chkdsk.

Commented:
I would replace the drive first, attempting to rebuild the file system with a disk that has physical errors could cause even more issues. The issues are probably a result of the drive failures...

Author

Commented:
Would you run chkdsk /r  or chkdsk /f first?

Is there a better option than chkdsk?  

Commented:
I usually run chkdsk /f and usually in safe mode.

Commented:
Just having a think about it I think it would be pointless to run chkdsk /r on a RAID as /r checks for bad sectors but these would be masked by the RAID controller.  

Commented:
I would run it from My Computer. Right click drive, properties, tools, check now.

Commented:
As I said in my first post I would only run it as a last resort.  I would let the RAID software see if it can fix the problems first.  I think there is a good chance chkdsk could blow your RAID.  make sure you have a good backup. Replace the disk and let it rebuild and hope the errors are fixed by the RAID contrller software.  You shouldn't need to run chkdsk on a RAID.

Author

Commented:
DCMBS  I appreciate your comments but I have heard otherwise. The Volume is what has the errors, whether it's 4 disks or 1 disk. CHkdsk operates on the volume if I understand.  The SBS operating system itself in the even suggested running chkdsk.

Commented:
OK. You're the boss.  I hope it goes well but do make sure you've got a good backup just in case.

You're right that chkdsk /f checks for logical disk errors and can fix them on a RAID but only if the underlying RAID is healthy.  If there are underlying RIAD errors then chkdsk /f can make things worse.

Author

Commented:
What about tduke13's option of right clicking the drive and under tools checking for errors?

Is the chkdsk better than this option?

Commented:
It's just another way of accessing chkdsk.  In this mode it will just report errors and not try to fix them.  You do have a checkbox to tick to say fix errors and this just applys the /f option.

Commented:
It will give you the info you are looking for. Backup is definitely recommended. I would get that failing drive out ASAP.
Just for ref, chkdsk /r implies /f (/r is the same as doing /r /f). Running chkdsk against a volume with a drive that's failing and getting worse is a bit pointless tbh, and the disk thrashing involved may well accelerate the demise of your disk - the whole point of the RAID array is all the data on that physical disk can be re-created from data on the other disks if required, so just get the disk out.
Also, again just FYI, the array will only be marked as degraded if one of the disks is physically missing or not starting at all, it's not related to the number of errors on the disk. Not fishing for points, just trying to clarisfy, it looks like you're already on the way to a solution.

Author

Commented:
No please, that is excellent advice as well marcustech. I will work this issue over the weekend and report back.

I still invite further input if anyone has any. Thank you all in advance.
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Commented:
Very often CHKDSK /f makes things worse so first save the important data from this drive to network share and only then run this CHKDSK d:/f/r commands.
The fact that NTFS event errors are shown could indicate that hardware level problems are bringing the chain of file system problems. So first HDD failing issue then file system.
Anyhow CHKDSK d: (without f key) should show you if you have any problem on the drive.

Author

Commented:
Replaced drive in server and it strangely came right online. Volume and everything looks good. Can't see any sign of a rebuild but it all looks ok. Size, logical, physical, etc. It WAS slot 5 of 0,1,2,3,4,5  RAID 1 (0,1) and RAID 5 (2,3,4,5) and there was little data space used in the RAID 5 array of 4 drives.

Anyway the chkdsk /f has been crusing and looks like it had a lot to fix. We'll see.  
If the drive just contains data, back that up safely (check it over) then replace the 4 drives with new ones, rebuild a fresh raid volume then restore data. Don't guess or mess around with raid it will cause you headaches later. Hard drives are cheap nowadays, your data & stress levels are too important.

Commented:
The question has been answered.  To say the question should be deleted just because the answer is not needed is not a valid reason for deletion.

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Commented:
I'm sorry. I'm new to this site.  What should I have done?
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Commented:
THank you all for your help and patience. I REALLY appreciate it. I'm getting the hang of this site.
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