raid 1

jdwilliams1 used Ask the Experts™
Can I remove 1disk from a RAID 1 array, do a repair on a windows  2k3 sbs machine, see if it's repaired and add it back ? Just as a precautionary measure, because I can access anything on this server. It's a PERC 320/dc raid controller. I just need to repair this DC, but I'm afraid to mess up the AD and Exchange if I do a windows repair.
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Neil RussellTechnical Development Lead

What is the fault? What are the symptoms? Lets start at the begining
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

You can but take backup prior to this step. RAID1 is a mirror and removing one drive from RAID does not make it unbootable. Anyhow the precautions like backup of the current configuration is obligatory.


I have a major problem here. On the only server in this company I cannot access anything. If I boot into windows I get no icons, no task mgr loads, but clients can access data and exchange runs fine.
The only way to get to anything is sfmode/cp. DSRM or safe mode loads then nothing. But in sm/cp  I can't run anything, regedit,sfc, mmc, msinfo32,etc. Each gives a different error or just never loads. It appears to load though. I can access usb keys, etc but I can only run a few things. (hijack this).  At this point I thing there is some kind of policy issue. I tried different users and RDC, still nothing.
As for the clients, as I said their fine, but from an admin standpoint it's a mess.
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What I am looking to do is remove 1 drive, run the repair. If it works, add the drive back, and resync.
RojoshoRTCC-III Level-2 Support

Hello jdwilliams1,

I am guessing that you are looking for a quick 'back up' of your system or down time for a backup is not an option - Correct?

In theory, and while the Array is ONLINE, YES, you can remove one of the RAID-1 mirrors, place a 'new/different' dism mech in, allow it rebuild and go forward from there, knowing that you have a complete back up of the disk set in the disk mech that you removed.

BUT, the fly in the oil is that for this to work, the Mirror Set MUST have no 'bad blocks' that would prevent the rebuild from completing - Rebuilding to a new/different disk mech is the most vunable state that an array can be in as any bad sector will abort the rebuild.  The worst case sencairo is that both mirrors have bad sectors/blocks in different locations and your rebuild on your primary fails with a bad sector and now your backup in hand fails on another bad sector.

SO, running a RAID utilty that does a scan of the data before 'breaking' the mirror would be a very important step.  But I haved tested this process with the HP RAID subsystems and it works very well so long as there are no bad blocks.

FRANKLY, this process can be a bit dicely and in most cases is not supported by most RAID manufacures (HP and Compaq for example).  If you are concerned about your data and your job is on the line, then a good old fashion backup is your best path.  You will have followed all IT precautions and can walk tall knowing that you can stand up and explain your actions - just my two cents on career advancement opportunties and career decsions  :)

Also, Neilser's request for more information is valid, based on what you wanted to do and  having been there, I just took a guess as to why you are doing this.  Details will allow us to help you more.


RojoshoRTCC-III Level-2 Support

Hey jdwilliams1,

Wow, several comments were made while I was writing mine - Sorry for the reducant information and request.

The fact that you did not see any ICON after logging into your normal user tends to indicate that your user profile is ether gone or corrupted.  That is the only time I have seen missing ICONs AND during boot up you get these new pop-up messages indicating that your profile is being created.

?When you are in Safe Mode, can you see the Administrator User in the 'Documents and Settings' folder?

?Do you have a back door user - a user with Administrator rights?  This will be very helpful when you want to start repairing things?

?The big 64 Million $$ question... Do you have a recent backup of the C:\ drive?
  . Reason for asking is that you may be able to reconstruct the user profile that you are missing - I assumed that it was the Administrator user, but I think you can follow my logic here.

  . It looks like you may want to open a case in the Windows OS side of the house as well.

Finally, What is the Manufacture of your RAID Controller?



Ok. I dont have a good backup, that I know of because when the company asked me to look into it, I can't see Symantec or anything. It's a Dell Poweredge sc1420 with an adaptec, I think, PERC 320/dc .
Yes when I log into safe mode/cp I go to the doc and settings / admin folder.
I have read that if you just reinstall or repair the windows installation, all should work.
But as a precaution, I was thinking just remove 1 disk, perform the  repair and hope all goes well then add it back.
No other user has admin rights and I can't add anyone.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Repair installation usually fixes this explorer.exe corruption issue.
You need to boot the server from backup software boot CD and take backup of the current configuration first.
Then run repair. This would be better than removing one HDD from RAID.
Use one of: Backup Exec by Symantec, Drive Backup 10 Server by Paragon or Acronis. They all have boot CD and with RAID controller you'd better to get WinPE based Recovery CD for one of the listed products.
RTCC-III Level-2 Support
Hello Jdwilliams1,

For a disk image backup process, I use Clonezilla and it is free.  Just download the ISO image and you can use PowerISO to burn the disk, it is free as well.

It is Linux based and works very well and you use the default selections to get it started.  You will need a USB disk mech with enough free space to hold your 'system' disk and you will need to have it connected before you boot the Clonezilla CD.

As for 'safe mode', it is good that you can see the 'Administrator' user, if you logged into the 'Administrator' user from Safe Mode, you should see some of your ICON that you mentioned.

As for 'repairing' the OS, yes, you can use a Windows Installation CD and select the SECOND Repair option (You will be offered the Repair option two times, you will want the second offer).  This process will look like you are installing Windows again, but in the end, if you make the correct selection, all of your data and applications will be there when it is over.  Having the disk image and the mirror disk will ensure that you can restore the system if necessary.

Finally, there is a tool out on the web called Bart's CD.  It is a WindowsPE OS which allows you to boot to the CD and run applications from the OS that is loaded on the CD.  Applications like Regedit, NTBackup and anyother Windows based applications that you preload into the image.  I am just starting to work with this tool, so I can not offer too much assistance on it, but I AM SURE that someone in the EE area can.  Here is the URL for it, it is worth the consideration.



Ok I did as suggested and made a backup, then I reinstalled Windows 2003 SBS and prayed. After restarting it trys to perform additional setup of AD, exchange, etc. At this point I cancelled and all is well.
The existing AD is intact along with the Exchange and SQL server instances. Whew,
I just don't like the feeling of watching a Windows install and not being sure of what's going to happen after the first login.
Thanks to all
RojoshoRTCC-III Level-2 Support

Thank you and good luck...

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