Bare Metal Backup Fails, Server 2008, OS Partition not NTFS, Safe to convert to NTFS?

Posted on 2011-11-01
Last Modified: 2012-06-17
**EDITED** (Check bottom)

I've seen this question some what asked, but let me point emphasis on exactly my scenario and the issue that I'm facing.

I have a Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role, hosting 2 guest machines that are Sbs2008, and Server 2008 R2 with SQL 2008 SP2.

The Server is a Dell Power Edge T710, ordered with No Operating System.  I created the Raid 50, sectioned off two partitions, C, and D, drives, and installed Server 2008 R2 on the C drive.

Everything went smooth, the system is up, live and in full production.  The problem I'm having is backing up the system or implementing the best strategy to back up the system.

My original goal was to use SCDPM 2010.  However, I've come to learn that my Host Machine must be part of the domain to use DPM 2010.  Well that causes a problem, because the Guest machines are the Domain Controllers.  I don't want to install a 2nd physical hardware box and promote it as a 3rd Domain Controller, both of my guest machines already have that role, plus I don't want to spend money on more physical hardware.

Using the Windows Server Backup that's included with Server 2008 R2, I've enabled the VSS writer, and everything should be a go... but, here where my question lies.

When I installed my Operating system (server 2008 r2) on the C drive I partitioned in the raid array, some how a "OS" partition got created that's "Fat32" and 2 GB in size.

I'm assuming the boot tables are on this OS partition... I'm not sure if Server2008 Install created it, or if it was something that Dell Created (if I remember correctly I created the raid 50 array, and that should have wiped out anything Dell did)...

With this "OS" partition being FAT32, I'm unable to do a "bare metal" backup, because it can't copy the system state, or the "OS" partition.

I've read that people have converted this partition over to NTFS, but I'm very scared/hesitant to do so.

Does anyone have experience doing this?  How safe is it? What should I look out for?  Could it bring down my entire system, thus putting my company out of production?

I'm interested in getting my "bare metal" backups created, so I can restore the server in the worst case scenario... Ideas and thoughts on how to handle this "OS" partition, and or DPM 2010 would be most welcome.


I went into disk management and assigned a drive letter to the "OS" partition, and there were no files visible.  I ensured "view hidden" was enabled, yet still no files.  The partition was 2gigs, 1.99 gigs were free, however I can find nothing there.  It's showing around 15meg used under drive properties.

There is another 55meg partition with no volume label, not volume type (formatting), and 100% free, 55meg, of 55meg.

Other than those two, everything else is accounted for.  Would an empty FAT32 partition keep the system state from copying over?
Question by:Americare
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    Can you take a screen shot of Windows Disk Management and load it here?
    LVL 77

    Expert Comment

    by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
    2G + 55 Meg Partiton == The operating system will not install onto this small a partition.
    Need a lot more information: size of the raid 50 volume
    did you use f6 to install the raid drivers during the install.

    not counting any virtual machines that may be on this server 16G is about the minimum size I've ever seen.


    Accepted Solution

    I know that the operating system isn't installed on these partitions... I just didn't know if Server 2008 could place the boot record on a different partition or if it's capable of booting this way.

    The Total raid 50 size is around 1 TB, the C drive is partitioned into about 200gig, the D drive is the rest of the drive 800ish.

    The OS is installed on the C: drive, but like I said, this little 2gig "OS" partition is there, with no drive letter, and I wan't sure if Server 2008 was placing any boot table files there...  also 14 meg is used, and there are no files on the partition... at least none that I can see when I mount the volume, or navigate to it using CMD and do a "dir"

    So what could use up 14 meg?

    I set the system up almost a year ago, so I can't remember if I hit f6 to install raid drivers, I'm sure that I did... I can't imagine ever installing a raid and not having to load the drivers, but to be honest, I don't remember.

    I'll post the screen shot of disk management tomorrow when I have more time, thanks for the replies.

    Author Closing Comment

    Closing the topic, no good solution posted.

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