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Server 2008 R2 boot loop after updates

Brendon Gaige
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I have a brand new Server 2008 R2 box, with an Areca 1222 Sata II RAID controller, 24GB of RAM, SQL 2008.

It has been running fine up until yesterday when I needed to reboot the server for updates.  After reboot, the server would load windows up to a black screen with mouse icon, and just before it loads the login screen, it reboots.  I have narrowed it down to being an update issue, but I cannot find out which one it is.  It will not boot in safe mode, only will boot to desktop in Directory Recovery mode.  I can then load up the control panel and browse to the updates section in add/remove programs, but it shows there are no updates installed at all.  ( I know this to be false.)  I am at my wits end, and really need to figure out a way to get this machine back up and running with out having to start from scratch and wipe everything.  Could use some suggestions please!
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Just to confirm : in control panel > add/remove programs > did you click on "view installed updates"
Usually a driver update causes issues like this , first of all you need to get rid of the reboot and get the actual blue screen . that tells you more. Or if you have access to event logs , check system log file and see if you can find the source of the crash .

to see the actual bluescreen , under system properties > advanced> startup and recovery>

remove the check mark next to automatic restart .

Also , I can help more if you send me the min-dump file under %systemroot%memory.dmp

Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
Yes I checked under 'view installed updates'.

The blue screen error is:

STOP: c00002e2 Directory Services could not start because of the following error: A device attached to the system is not functioning.

Error status: 0xc0000001

I will work on trying to get the minidump for you.
is this what's happening ?
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/258062

Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
When I try to run the 'ntdsutil files info' command in the command prompt, it just gives back 'Active instance not set. To set an active instance use "Activate Instance".  When I try inputting activate instance, it just spits out 'invalid syntax'.

Also where exactly is that mini-dump located?

I do see one error:

The following boot-start or system-start driver(s) failed to load: spldr
dump is located in system root e.g. c:\windows

it's called memory.dmp
instruction in the KB article is missing a part , that's why you get the syntax error. look at this :

http://terenceluk.blogspot.com/2011/05/message-active-instance-not-set-to-set.html

You should use this command : activate instance ntds
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
I found no such file in C:\Windows.
it's probably because server has been auto rebooted and never got the chance to create the dump.

Please make sure that you removed the automatically reboot option under : under system properties > advanced> startup and recovery>

Also you can check the path to dump file in the same window.

Once that is done , reboot and see if you get the blue screen . give it some time to complete the dump. then reboot and login to restore mode. you should see the dump.

it looks like something happened to directory service , did you DCPROMO this box right before applying updates ?
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
Ok, that set the active instance, but when I try 'files info' I still get the incorrect syntax.

Why I just try files, I get the following error:

Could not initialize Jet engine: Jet Error -530.
Failed to open DIT for AD DS/LDS instance NTDS. Error -2147418113
hmm . it doesn't look good , is this your ONLY domain controller ? do you have any system state backup of this ?
do you get the same error after issuing this :

ntdsutil
activate instance ntds
files integrity

Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
No it is not the only domain controller.  This box the clone/backup of our primary DC.  I do not want to have to start from scratch because we also have a SQL instance on this box that works with a proprietary software, and I have to get that company to remote in to connect all of the databases manually in SQL any time I set up a new instance.  They don't like doing this more than once...

I gave you the error earlier from the blue screen when I set the autoreboot to off... it was:

STOP: c00002e2 Directory Services could not start because of the following error: A device attached to the system is not functioning.

Error status: 0xc0000001

And about your question regarding DCPROMO... no, this box had been up and running as a secondary DC for about 3 weeks before this happened.  The ONLY software change in the last two weeks has been windows updates.

Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
When I try 'files integrity' it just gives me the syntax error.
Yeah ... looks like that for some reason active directory corruption happened.

do you have a system state backup of it ( before applying update ?) , would it be possible to demote it ?

I think at this point it is a good idea to involve Microsoft professional support .
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
No... Well actually I do have a system state backup of the primary server, they are exact duplicate clones hardware wise and settings wise... only difference is software keys ofcourse... Would that be a viable option?
didn't restore a system state backup recently , does it give you the option to ONLY restore NTDS stuff ? I guess best thing is to post this new topic in EE or Microsoft forum.
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
I don't understand your last statement/question...
I meant .. If you go for a system state restore , does it give you the option to select what to be restored ? ( e.g. NTDS only ) . I know windows 2003 had that option.
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
I miss the in-place OS repair install so much...

Still working to try and finagle the restore options to work.
I am asking Microsoft people as well. will let you know the outcome.
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
I have already demoted it from the domain manually and done the metadata clean-up, however it still will not let me do anything with the roles or services, and any time I try to run dcpromo, it just gives an error that it could not start AD services.  I am to the point where I am just going to wipe and reinstall.  I appreciate your time and effort into all of this.
Brendon GaigeIT Director

Author

Commented:
Was unable to completely resolve issue.  Had to wipe and re-install.
Sorry to hear that ...

Commented:
And it was my last chance to solve the problem on the free account.
Thank you all for unsolved problem. =(