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Creating a ghost image from a Server 2003.

Posted on 2010-08-12
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Hi Everyone,

Here's the deal I have a windows 2003 server that is having hard drive problems and I want to create a ghost image of that hard drive. I first ran CHKDSK and found many errors I didn't run the fix (/F) command because Ive heard that it doesn't work properly and could crash the OS. Is it ok to create a ghost image knowing that the hard drive has errors is this ok?
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Question by:Rickvoyage
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defkamel earned 167 total points
ID: 33424544
If the NTFS file system is corrupt then the image you create would be corrupted as well. you should run a chkdsk /r from recovery console until no errors are found.  The only problems that could occur would be problems that are already present right now. Database corruption and things like that. If that occurs you would have to restore any corrupted databases from backup.
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by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 167 total points
ID: 33424562
Ghost will probably fail if the disk has errors, so you should run chkdsk /r before doing anything.
I have run chkdsk on numerous servers without issue. If you have disk issues, that will probably cause you other issues and may cause crashes, so I would get moving on that.
Make sure you have a good backup before doing anything (if you can).
Not sure about using Norton Ghost on a server - I use Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Server (BESRS - same thing but for servers). With BESRS you can clone the disk and put the image back onto a brand new disk without any issues.
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by:SysExpert
SysExpert earned 166 total points
ID: 33426410
You can tell ghost to ignore errors, check the options, but do so at your own risk.
I would also do a full NTbackup to an external drive and then also backup any critical data again.

Then do the ghost

I hope this helps !
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by:Rickvoyage
ID: 33428322
Thanks guys,

I will try all possible solutions, makes sense.
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 33429948
There's a BIG difference between chkdsk /F and /R.  /F will try to resolve filesystem errors, such as can happen if the power is cut mid-operation etc.  /R on the other had looks for and sets aside "bad sectors".  Bad sectors are spots on the disk where the magnetic signal is too poor to distinguish the recorded information properly, which can happen normally over time, or worse the magnetic surface scratched off (a crash).  Drives have "spare" sectors and badtracking/bad-sectoring relocates the chunk of information to a spare.  The problem is chkdsk does a LOWSY job of reading information off the bad spots because it gives up too easily after a handful of retries and so the bad spot gets REMAPPED alright but the new piece ends up containing nothing but zeroes and so files and folders affected by bad sectors more often than not are now "corrupted" themselves.  Save and pay attention to the log because you'd then be expected to replace all bad sectored files and folders from last known good backup.  You can get an idea by reading about http://spinrite.com
In the bad old days, that's what people did, verified backups every couple of days, a couple times a year thoroughly scan for bad tracks, and then do a full recovery, which also defragged.
Alternatively, programs like SpinRite 6 and HDDRegenerator take "heroic" measures and attempt to read off the bad spots literally hundreds of times and use statistical data sampling and analysis of signal variance to try to reconstruct most if not all 100% of the data off bad sectors (it takes longer to do so) to the spare sectors so then practically no files are lost/corrupt.  If you find yourself WITHOUT a backup then this may be preferable.  Interestingly, SpinRite is also a preventative measure, identifying "iffy" sectors that might work within a handful of retries but should probably be set aside BEFORE they become bad sectors, and this is what truly makes it a very worthwhile tool.
Since hundreds of retries could aggravate things if the drive is in the middle of crashing, a quick backup ignoring all errors is recommended first to at least have the hope of backing up some of the data.  Of course what's TRULY recommended is frequent regular and often verified known good backups all the time, so only the most recent changes aren't backed up already.
P.S. At the moment SpinRite does have some issues with a few humongous geometries of the newest and latest technologies and a NEW version of SpinRite is somewhat overdue and delayed by the fact the new capabilities are pushing it beyond the memory limitations of FreeDOS that it runs on so it's in the midst of a complete rewrite by SG http://grc.com.
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