How long should a Server 2003 repair install take?

Hi guys,

We have an HP ML370 G4 server that just had its mobo die and was replaced with like for like. The replacement motherboard and existing hardware passed the HP diagnostics testing so I am faiirly certain we can rule out having faulty hardware still.

Now Windows will fail to boot after the mobo was replaced and disabling the auto reboot on BSOD option from the F8 boot menu showed a 0x0000007B BSOD.  Which lead me to think its unable to address the SCSI RAID 5 array, as after running chkdsk /r from the recovery console succeed after making 'one or more repairs'.

I am now well 1 hour into a repair install and it has been sitting on 'installing devices' stage and showing '33 minutes remaining' for about an hour 1 now.

It doesn't look like its frozen. The green dots in the bottom right corner is animating and the mouse is moving and the HDD lights are flashing (albeit somewhat infrequently) but it hasn't progressed for a very long time now and I am starting to worry something is wrong.

How long should I wait before giving it a kick in the guts and trying something else?

I vaguely recollect someone else having an extremely long repair install too and to just be patient but I cant remember where I came across it. I am hoping someone can share their experiences and reassure me to just be patient an let it complete.

Thanks in advance.
defectaAsked:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Let it run all weekend. Right now it is doing what it is supposed to be doing.
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defectaAuthor Commented:
Ok thanks for the reassurance. I figure if its not throwing an error I should just leave it be.

Are you saying it could literally be 24 -48 hours to complete? Or are you just trying to convey that I should let it run for as long as it takes?

If I had a chance to do this over again, would you recommend any additional steps that I didn't take or anything like that? I am just looking for ways to improve and reduce the downtime today because it has been significant. More than half the day.

I realise that the answer to my question would be hard to say without knowing our server environment but do you think this will be complete by morning? Its just gone 6pm here. It was just an Exchange server, BES server, DHCP server and file server running on an HP ML370 G4, dual 3.4Ghz Xeon with 4gig of RAM with 5 UltraSCSI 320 HDDs in RAID 5. How long would you think a machine of this vintage would take to complete the repair?

Thanks for your adivce.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Yes, it could take days, but that is outside the norm.  If you want faster rebuilds, get a controller that has battery backed up cache.  Also kill all the jobs that you can since they compete with the rebuild.
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arnoldCommented:
What status is reported for RAID 5 volume?

Usually the HP MB replacement should not require a repair install.

What was the server configured as?
Domain member, DC?
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defectaAuthor Commented:
Sorry just to be clear, it's not a RAID rebuild that I am waiting on. It's just the first stage of the install where it's been spending most of the time. At the 'installing devices' stage.

I'm not at work anymore so I can't check in on it. I have left it to its own devices for now. I have my workstation pinging the IP address of the the server so I can see when it comes back online but other than that, for now I am blind as to it's progress. Or lack there of. =]
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defectaAuthor Commented:
The server was a domain member and domain controller. There were no issues reported with the Raid volume before starting the install.
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arnoldCommented:
The reference to the RAID status deals with if it is degraded, there is a significant performance hit.  

My guess would be that it is sitting at a prompt for user input.
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defectaAuthor Commented:
Would you believe it got setup by my request when the mobo was replaced but no cable is currently connected. It has never been used previously.
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arnoldCommented:
ILO should let you access/manage the system for remote install etc. where you can see what is going on with/without the OS.
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defectaAuthor Commented:
When I get into work this morning I will connect a cable so I can use iLO.

In the meantime, I have another pressing concern which I will open another question for but I will mention here anyway. Just in case you guys can help.

The backup domain controller on the other server is doesn't appear to have taken over as expected. I was told it should just work if this server is down but that does not appear to be the case. Here is a link the new ticket I just opened. http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/2003_Server/Q_27501155.html
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defectaAuthor Commented:
OK so I am back at work now and the Server 2003 repair installation is at the exact same place in the install it was 14 hours ago.

I have now connected a cable to the iLO port and connected the other end to an HP J4850A ProCurve Switch 5304XL. How do I find out what the IP is for the iLO port without restarting the Server?

Should I still be waiting for the repair install to complete or is it a good chance that its screwed?

Right now I am focusing on getting the DHCP working so when everyone gets in in the next hour or so they can continue to work. Please comment is this thread to get the point if you can help me with the DHCP http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/2003_Server/Q_27501155.html
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arnoldCommented:
it all depends whether it was configured as a GC

AD sites and service, Default first-site or where ever the DC is in your setup.
expand the secondary and properties of the NTDS, you should have a check mark in the Global catalog.
The other issue is which DNS servers you are pushing to the clients.
i.e. do both AD DNS servers are set via DHCP or is it only one (the primary DNS that is currently offline)?

To seize roles by the current DC, you have to use ntdsutils but the Offline DC that is being repaired can not come back online without an offnetwork disjoin from the AD and rejoin.  Best to reinstall the OS in this case.

The issue is whether it will be faster to seize roles by the remaining (provided no data is only available from the other) and then reinstall the other and once done rejoin it into the domain as a secondary DC.

Check your DHCP server on what name servers it is pushing to the client.  If you have static assigned IP clients, check their DNS to make sure they reference two DNS servers.
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defectaAuthor Commented:
The problem was the disc being used was not SP2 when the Server had already been upgraded to SP2 prior to repair taking place.

It did freeze a few times at 33-34 minutes remaining but power-cycling the server and removing some mismatched RAM got it over the line and completed a successful reinstall with an Server 2003 SP2 disc.
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defectaAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help anyway guys. :)
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DavidPresidentCommented:
SP2 has nothing to do with the rebuild.  This is done by the firmware, not device drivers.  In fact, the system could just as easily have been at the BIOS prompt during the rebuild.

Now feel free to close, but the root cause for it hanging could certainly have been bad memory, and no experts suggested that.
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defectaAuthor Commented:
Sorry to be clear, there was no RAID rebuild, as I mentioned in my second comment.

We were only waiting on a repair install of Server 2003 to complete, which was hanging at the point in the installer where it says 33-34 minutes remaining.

I now know that if it hangs at that point for about 10 minutes to power-cycle the machine and it will skip the hardware that was being installed at the point in the installer that caused to stop progressing and it will pick up where it left off and continue with the install.

Hopefully that clears up any misunderstandings.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
that does, thanks. no objection from me to close for zero.
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Windows Server 2003

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