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SBS 2003 recovery from NTBackup to new RAID volume and partition following Blue Screen

Posted on 2011-03-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I had a blue screen event on my SBS 2003 R2 server. When the server reboots it is highly unstable and a lot of services won't start (e.g. ISA, Exchange, SQL).

I have full C partition (OS location), system state, Exchange MDBDATA and SQL backup conducted by NTBackup for the days before the blue screen.

The C partition is on a RAID5 volume (CVOL) which has a SMART error and bad stripes. This is what I have done.

1) I have created a new RAID5 volume (DVOL) of the same size as CVOL on new disks.

2) I booted the server in safe mode and, using server management console, created a new D partition on the DVOL volume. I formatted it.

3) I have rebooted the server in DSRM safe mode and used NTBackup to recover the C partition to the new D partition, and system state from the NTBackup from two days before the blue screen.

4) I rebooted the server, entered the RAID array control utility (Ctrl-A as it's an Adaptec array) and promoted DVOL ahead of CVOL in the boot order, restarting the server when the change was accepted.

Problem. The server doesn't boot into SBS 2003 R2. I just get a blinking cursor. F8 to select the boot options such as safe mode doesn't work. I have to power down and reverse point (4) to get an OS load.

Question 1. What am I doing wrong?

Question 2. How do I create a complete restore of the OS partition and system state but to a new Volume so that I can avoid the SMART error and bad stripes that plague the original Volume?

Question 3. Is there anything specific I need to do so that I can eventually recover Exchange and all my SQL data bases?
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Question by:MarcusN
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 35188550
Assuming your backup is good, which is not always the case, but you have nothing to lose by trying:

Remove the old drives, install the new.  Create the partitions of at least the same size and same order as the old.  Install Windows from CD1 of the SBS set, (you will most likely need to feed it the controller driver with F6) Install the same Windows service pack as was on the operating system, then restore from backup.
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Author Comment

by:MarcusN
ID: 35190191
OK, I was hoping that was the option of last resort.

Why can't I restore the entire C partition (damaged volume) to my new D partition (healthy volume), including all the load points etc? Why don't I get a boot option to select the C partition OS or D partition OS? Why doesn't changing the boot order of the RAID volumes force the D partition OS to be scanned?

Or, when I simply restore the entire C partition and system state, am I forgetting to do something?

I really don't want to undertake a clean install, service pack deployment, drivers etc and then restore over the top if I can avoid it.

Finally, what is the point of my making daily backups of the entire C partition, system state, Exchange and SQL if I can't restore them to a new partition on a healthy volume? I can't be the only person with great and complete backups and this type of problem...
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 35192393
Finally, what is the point of my making daily backups of the entire C partition, system state, Exchange and SQL if I can't restore them to a new partition on a healthy volume? I can't be the only person with great and complete backups and this type of problem...

You can restore them.  Just do the windows  install, then the service pack, then the restore.  It is a limitation/feature of NT backup that all the dlls have to match.  Third party programs such as shadow protect and backup assist get around this for the most part.  This all changes in Server 2008 where you boot to the DVD and "restore from backup".
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Author Comment

by:MarcusN
ID: 35197371
OK, can I install onto the new Volume and set up the box to request which of the dual boot options I can select? Whilst my current installation is really damaged, I want to keep it just in case I have a problem with this new instance.
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Larry Struckmeyer MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 35197470
1) I have created a new RAID5 volume (DVOL) of the same size as CVOL on new disks.

Take the old drives out.  Put in the new drives.  Use the raid controller to create the RAID.  Install from CD1, add the service pack, restore from backup.  this will preserve the existing drives as the RAID info is stored on the drives.  Caution.   check with the controller mfg before removing the old drives that they can be put back should you need to.

I do sort of think that if you create two identical storage subsystems, that is two C and two D partitions, one old and one new, you MIGHT be offered a chance to boot from either one, sort of a "dual boot" system, but since you already know the old drives/raid is rubbish, do the restore and move on.

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Author Comment

by:MarcusN
ID: 35275481
Hi, sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but may I please ask one added question.

I take the damaged drives out, insert new ones. I create a new volume, format it and install SBS 2003 from CD1.

The installation reboots the server and a login screen appears. I log in and the installation continues, asking for NIC drivers etc etc. Do I cancel the installation now but install SP1, reboot and then recover from NTBackup, or do I have to go through all of the installation stuff completely before restoring from NTBackup?

I'm confused because I'll be ovwrwriting the entire C partition with the backed up C partition.

Thanks for helping with this matter.
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Expert Comment

by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 35277868
No need to install all the drivers, except for the ones needed to boot and see the backup media.  If you have tape, you will need the tape drive driver.  The needed service pack is WINDOWS, not SBS, and by now SBS 2003 should have long ago had Windows SP2 installed.  But you would know best by looking in your Server Change Log Book, the three ring binder next to the server.
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Author Closing Comment

by:MarcusN
ID: 35286655
This sounds like a frightening recovery option but it works. It has some small complications requiring regedit.exe to sort out, but it does work. Thanks.
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