Boot drive failed, please help me restore! =)

July 5, 2011 at 11:52:43
Specs: Windows XP
Hello,

Our Windows 2003 Server boot drive failed. This server does DHCP for our small business, as well group policy/domain controller/network drives. Unfortunately no back up was being made of the boot drive.

I've tried everything (to my knowledge) to repair the drive, from chkdsk to the 2003 CD repairing. On POST the drive is reported bad and suggested to be replaced by S.M.A.R.T.

I connected the drive to another computer, and can browse the drive's contents. I imagine there are some corrupted files within. However, can I restore my 2003 server back to original configuration, or near original, with only the drive's contents?

I don't suppose I can just copy and paste the Windows folder onto a new installation of Windows 2003 and expect it recover? I'm the programmer for this company, networking isn't my forte and the company doesn't have a network guy after the last one left. (They gambled on nothing bad ever happening but something bad has happened!)

If I can't restore the installation with the drive's contents, what files in the Windows directory are specific to the various networking services? What files hold all the DHCP information, domain information, etc.? Ideally I could use those files as reference when setting up the new installation.

In summary:

1) Windows Server 2003 boot hard drive failed. Hard drive can be browsed from another computer and most files seem intact. Can I restore my installation in any way (I have the 2003 CD of course) using only the content's of the failed hard drive. Note: some files could be corrupted.

2) If the above is impossible, where can I find configuration files for DHCP/etc. networking services, so I could use them as reference to setup up the new installation?

Thank you for your time and if you can help!

Greg Donovan


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#1
July 5, 2011 at 12:33:14
Is this the only drive in the system?
Are they any tested as good backups?
Was this running Active Directory?

If you have a good backup you install 2003 on a new drive and then do a restore that includes system state.

Otherwise get the company to hire a qualified tech to do this work. No experience will equal disaster if you try doing this yourself.

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#2
July 5, 2011 at 13:35:40
Is this the only drive in the system?

No, there was one other drive of equal size (300GB) that was the network share with company data on it. That drive's integrity was not affected and works fine. Only the boot drive failed.

Are they any tested as good backups?

I have a few spare 300GB hard drives on me that have passed chkdsk and can be used for a new installation of Windows 2003, if that's what you mean by backups. I don't have any actual backups of the Windows 2003 boot drive installation that failed, but I have good replacement hard drives that can be formatted and installed anew.

Was this running Active Directory

Yes.

If you have a good backup you install 2003 on a new drive and then do a restore that includes system state.

I am in the process of installing Windows 2003 on a good hard drive, but how do I restore with said system state? All I have is the failed drive with the 2003 installation on it, but as mentioned in the first post I can browse the drive and view the contents, such as the Windows folder.


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#3
July 5, 2011 at 15:51:58
No backups
OK
Company lost Active Directory. This means the network, and I mean everything, has to be built from scratch.

you have to install 2003 server
you have to install AD and DNS correctly
you have to setup dhcp
you have to have all wkstations join a workgroup and join the domain again
and this is the simple list.

I suggest again instead of trying to pull a rabbit out of your hat bring in an expert.

company gambled and lost. Time for them to pick up the pieces. It would be great for you since you can watch and learn as everything gets setup again.

Make sure you get backups as in backup to tape or other media that you can restore from

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#4
July 5, 2011 at 16:05:37
Figured as much, but thanks for the advice.

I still have one question unanswered though:

Are there physical files in the Windows folder that give details about the failed 2003 server configuration? DHCP, Active Directory, etc.? For example, in Linux everything is mostly file based, so DHCP is dhcp.conf, DNS is named.conf, Samba is smb.conf, etc.

Since I can still browse the bad drive, if I could find reference files it would greatly help me recover the installation.


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#5
July 5, 2011 at 17:30:46
dhcp is easy to setup again. no sense in mixing old files with the new ones. It is the least of issues. this should give you what you need to know.

http://www.petri.co.il/dhcp-server-...

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