Install/setup error

Dell Dell poweredge 2800 server intel xe...
February 17, 2010 at 03:46:18
Specs: Windows server 2003 R2 Standard Edition
Hi Guys,

We have an issue with a server that crashed and we attempted a repair of the Windows 2003 installation but we keep going round in a loop. Error we get is:

"Setup was unable to access files needed to continue. This could be caused by an error in the CD media or the CD is no longer present in the drive"

At this point the mouse and keyboard are dead and the only thing we can do is reboot the machine.

Have tried checking the boot.ini file, disabling the CD drive in Bios, re-running the repair process using another W2K3 media, re-ran the repair using SCSI drives on a floppy from Dell, Changing the boot sequence to Hard Drive then CD rom, entering recovery console and running chkdsk. (Also tried chkdsk /r and waited over an hour with no reports). Tried keyboad and mouse via PS2 and USB.

I have uploaded the boot process to youtube so you can see the process:

I can access the file system using ERD Commander 2007 but see the error, "The following registry hives of the installation specified are corrupt or missing: SAM", everything looks normal, no entries in the Runonce and RunonceEx Keys. We are currently running a backup of the system using Norton and Hirens 10.1 disk.

At a loss as what to try next as dont want to do a full re-install due to this server having several applications on it including SQL2005 so it would take a couple of days to do a full install (and require consultants to come and setup some applications).

Any idea's / tips would be greatly appreciated....

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May 17, 2010 at 00:33:26

Please remember when reading the below I have very little details about the setup.

Question - How was the O/S originally deployed? Local or DRAC install?

Couple of suggestions.

Make sure the boot device in the bios is the HDD(s) etc and not the CD Rom itself....

Has anyone tried different disks or CD ROMS - I had a crap issue (not unlike this) with a new install of a W2K8R2 server (DC) - upgrade a client to 2008 Domain - everything looked okay - but some crazy issues showed corruption in the system files - I 'upgraded' the server to the SAME version of the O/S with a different disk to resolve the issue... The client has had zero problems since.

Use ERD to look in to the systems registry - find where the install files are being retrieved from - if the system lists it as a CD drive and the server is not able to see the drive - copy the media to the local system - then change the path to reflect this new location - make sure you are using the RIGHT version of the O/S.... R2 or not R2 - STD or ENT etc

Windows keeps copies of the SAM on the hard drive - I forget exactly where but I'll look it up. If you already know where they are - then simply rename the original ones - then copy the backups in to the place of the ones you renamed

I never saw any notes about safe mode (f8) - get in to safe mode if you can and disable most everything that is not pertinent to the system and try again.

If the system has SQL on it but no actual running applications that need to reside on the server (which normally is the case the fix is super quick. Simply reinstall the O/S and patch it up (parallel install - or overwrite who cares) - then rename the SQL directories - if the server is built right then there will be multiple drives - so simply rename each dir on each drive - reinstall SQL - the only option to be concerned with is pointing the DATA drive to the same location as it was originally - find this out by two easy methods - 1) look in the registry (before rebuilding) 2) simply locate the original master mdf and ldf files. - when you install SQL use the same paths - the rest of the install options are kind of who cares :) - except for SSRS but again not overly difficult. - Once SQL is installed and patched - simply stop the services - flip the directories - reapply the patch to be sure everything is on an even setting and restart the services - bam - SQL is back alive -joy :)

If SSRS and OLAP are installed on the original setup then a few more steps are required - but since this was not mentioned - I doubt it is an issue.

Anyway - getting a SQL box back up - 4 hours max - no consultant required - I have done this 100's of times over the last 15 years.... oh yeah - but I am a consultant and a SQL guy :-)

Eat the Elephant one bite at a time and the task becomes as small as a mouse :-)

I am sure I can come up with a thousand other ideas so let me know if you need any

Before doing anything get the databases backed up - boot with ERD - backup to USB - or used CLONEZILLA (FREE) and bang out a image

Try this also - convert the server to VMWARE with Vconvertor and VMServer 2.0 - both FREE!!! - then screw with the image which means you won't screw up the main system any further - this removes data loss as a risk :)



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