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SBS 2011 BMR onto similar hardware results in Drive letters assigned incorrectly RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a Dell T610 server with a Raid1 and raid5 drives and it has a system reserved area as well all backed up using the windows server backup (BMR backup) to external USB. I want to test for hardware failure disaster recovery so I have a second Dell T610 server with very similar hardware setup to test the recovery.  I connected my backup media (USB drive) and booted from the SBS 2011 DVD, selecting the "repair" option. A couple prompts later I selected my backup image (the drives  to restore information text displaying F: and C:) that was located by the process proceeded to restore. Upon completion and reboot I can see that the data is on the new system's drives via the command prompt. However in the end the drive letters are incorrect as follows and I do not have a bootable successful recovery:

    Original system "system reserved" is now assigned as drive C:\

    Original system drive F: (data drive) is now assigned as drive letter D:\

    Original system drive C:\ (OS) is now assigned as drive letter E:\

    I have tried (after reboot) to run x:\sources\recovery\StartRep.exe but it indicated that there was nothing to fix.

    I ran these commands that were suggested in another forum and rebooted which took me to a screen giving choice to do a 1)Normal boot or 2) launch system repair (I am paraphrasing). I chose system repair which ran for a while and then presented me again with the "System Recovery Options screen". Here were the commands I had run:

    "Run the following three commands to correct the settings, and then restart the computer:
    bcdedit /set {default} device partition=c:
    bcdedit /set {default} osdevice partition=c:
    bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device partition=c:"

    These commands seemed to have no effect as the drives were the same as before upon reboot.

    I could use guidance understanding when and how in the process to correct the drive letters.  Every new attempt at recovery takes several hours since the backup I am recovering contains the Data drive as well as the OS drive so all ideas are sincerely appreciated.

    Sidenote: We have another server (SBS2008) which I have successfully recovered more than once onto different hardware but is has only one drive. So that apparently had given me a false sense of security.  Thanks again for your help and guidance.    

    -Patrick


    Patrick H


    • Edited by ITPatrick Wednesday, May 1, 2019 3:39 PM clarifying results of steps taken
    Wednesday, May 1, 2019 3:22 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    I want to confirm with you if you had followed the steps mentioned in “Bare Metal Restore” to back up and restore system:
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askcore/2011/05/12/bare-metal-restore/

    >However in the end the drive letters are incorrect as follows and I do not have a bootable successful recovery
    As far as I know, such problem may be happen if partitions are not restored to the exact same sectors as original configuration. As drive letters are kept in the registry, and are written according to the disk signature and the partition offset. 

    In general, we can try to manually re-assign driver letters to correct it. As you had mentioned, there is also bootable problem about the recovered system, please confirm that if “Use Bootrec.exe in the Windows RE to troubleshoot startup issues” is helpful:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/927392/use-bootrec-exe-in-the-windows-re-to-troubleshoot-startup-issues

    Besides, if possible, I would recommend you to back up the system again and try to re-store with BMR to confirm that if same problem happens again. 

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by ITPatrick Monday, May 20, 2019 3:22 PM
    Thursday, May 2, 2019 7:32 AM
    Moderator
  • I found my answer finally from a PowerBiz Solutions article on the internet. The problem was described as being caused by having installed the NTBackup Restore Utility for Windows 7 and leaving it installed after migrating a Server from SBS2003 to SBS2011 as I had done.  It further explains that any future backups including BMR will not include contents of a specific folder c:\Windows\Registration if this condition exists.  The solution was simply to copy these files from the working server over onto a USB and then copying them into the same directory on the "recovered" test server.  I did this and rebooted and the System came up fine, recovered to similar hardware on a different machine.  I believe the only thing I have to do now is remove the utility from the production server so the backups will be complete going forward. Until then I will keep the USB with those files on hand.Hopefully others in the same situation can benefit from this information I was so fortunate to run across.

    On a side note. I think my initial concern about drive letters being randomly labelled in recovery mode was perhaps not an issue as I thought. I believe this was a temporary drive assignment for the recovery environment because when not in recovery mode the drives are are assigned correctly.

    -Patrick


    Patrick H


    • Marked as answer by ITPatrick Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11 PM
    • Edited by ITPatrick Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:17 PM
    Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I want to confirm with you if you had followed the steps mentioned in “Bare Metal Restore” to back up and restore system:
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askcore/2011/05/12/bare-metal-restore/

    >However in the end the drive letters are incorrect as follows and I do not have a bootable successful recovery
    As far as I know, such problem may be happen if partitions are not restored to the exact same sectors as original configuration. As drive letters are kept in the registry, and are written according to the disk signature and the partition offset. 

    In general, we can try to manually re-assign driver letters to correct it. As you had mentioned, there is also bootable problem about the recovered system, please confirm that if “Use Bootrec.exe in the Windows RE to troubleshoot startup issues” is helpful:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/927392/use-bootrec-exe-in-the-windows-re-to-troubleshoot-startup-issues

    Besides, if possible, I would recommend you to back up the system again and try to re-store with BMR to confirm that if same problem happens again. 

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by ITPatrick Monday, May 20, 2019 3:22 PM
    Thursday, May 2, 2019 7:32 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello Eve Wang, Thank you for taking the time to respond to my issue. I sincerely appreciate it.  I did read the "BMR" link that you provided. (Edit/Update: Yes, these are the steps I followed) I believe and hope that will work if I am restoring to the original hardware, but I wish to restore to a different hardware (different yet very similar model) which is probably the crux of my problem. The article you did provide was helpful in that it reminded me to uncheck the "restart after backup completes" so that the next time I do the test restore I can attempt some modifications before reboot.

    I also read the bootrec.exe article you provided and used Bootrec.exe /ScanOs, but it found no suitable candidates containing OS.

    Another forum I found  had mentioned using Diskpart after recovery, but before rebooting to modify drive letters. So, thanks again for the BMR link as it reminded me to uncheck that "reboot after restore" Advanced option. When I used diskpart after reboot (which only lets me get into the repair environment) the changes wouldn't "save" so to speak. 



    Patrick H


    • Edited by ITPatrick Thursday, May 2, 2019 8:15 PM forgot to answer question asked
    Thursday, May 2, 2019 5:51 PM
  • Hi,

    Article “How to restore a Windows installation or move it to different hardware” has mentioned the pre-requirements about restore system to another hardware, just for your reference – section “Note The following requirements must be met to move Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 to a different computer”:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-sg/help/249694/how-to-restore-a-windows-installation-or-move-it-to-different-hardware#method5

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Friday, May 3, 2019 2:04 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    How things are going there on this issue?

    Please let me know if you would like further assistance.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang  

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Monday, May 6, 2019 12:52 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Still not successful. After reading the latest link that you provided I realized I had not loaded the raid PERC controller drivers in previous attempts, so when booting from the SBS 2011 DVD into the recovery console I loaded the drivers this time and then selected the backup image as before, select no reboot after restore (from advanced) and let it proceed. After completion i went to the command prompt and things looked promising in that at least the system reserved was not assigned a drive letter this time and so i proceeded to mark that one as active and reassigned the other drive letters to match my original servers drive letter scheme and rebooted after removing the SBS DVD.  The machine booted, but only would boot into the recovery environment, and the drives were no longer in the configuration I intended.  I've attached screen shots that I hope can be helpful. Maybe someone can spot and obvious error in my process.  This is my first attempt at this kind of restore (using 2 drives, and with RAIDs) so there may be something obvious to the experienced.  One note in regards to the RAID. Before beginning this whole process I had booted the machine into the RAID configuration area and created 2 virtual disks (RAID1  and RAID5) to match the original server configuration. 

    Post recovery, Pre-rebooting. My drives of interest are the one labelled "A" which is my OS and the one labelled "AMLDATA" which is my data disk, and the system reserved:

    Below shows having reassigned drive letters to match original server before rebooting:

    Having removed the SBS 2011 DVD and rebooting the server for the first time after recovery and only having one choice that works which is to go into repair mode:

    In repair mode, run diskpart which shows drive letters no longer as set.

    I will go back and reread the latest link provided by you. Thanks again for your time.


    Patrick H

    Monday, May 6, 2019 4:00 PM
  • Hi,

    Before doing backup on original system, if possible, please patch system fully with Windows Update and hotfix, and using “sfc /scannow” to check system health. Then, make a backup and try to restore to check the result.

    Besides, in order to find more detail information about the failure system restore, log file collection is necessary. However, your system is un-bootable now. I would recommend you to contact Microsoft Customer Support and Services where more in-depth investigation can be done so that you would get a more satisfying explanation and solution to this issue. 

    Global Customer Service phone numbers:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13948/global-customer-service-phone-numbers

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Tuesday, May 7, 2019 7:45 AM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for the contact information. I am still hammering away at it a little more. In order to make sure faulty hardware was not an issue I did a test install of a new SBS 2011 OS install to the machine, backed it up with Windows Server Backup utility and then re-initialized my RAID and recovered the server. It worked flawlessly.  So, my issue is apparently related to restoring the backup from a different server. 

    Is there perhaps a different way to plan for this kind of disaster, when your main server fails mechanically and you must bring on a replacement server?  I'd really hope that the BMR could work, but if BMR won't do the trick are there other approved methods? Thank you forum!

    Sincerely,

    Patrick


    Patrick H

    Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:55 PM
  • Using a new backup to restore to disparate hardware gave better results. I am left with a different problem which I will research and start a new thread if I cannot solve (can't access screen on restored server...I have black screen and mouse). But I can add a computer to the restored domain and log in and from the client side it appears functional. So, limited success. Thank you for you idea of using a new backup.

    Patrick H

    Monday, May 20, 2019 3:27 PM
  • I found my answer finally from a PowerBiz Solutions article on the internet. The problem was described as being caused by having installed the NTBackup Restore Utility for Windows 7 and leaving it installed after migrating a Server from SBS2003 to SBS2011 as I had done.  It further explains that any future backups including BMR will not include contents of a specific folder c:\Windows\Registration if this condition exists.  The solution was simply to copy these files from the working server over onto a USB and then copying them into the same directory on the "recovered" test server.  I did this and rebooted and the System came up fine, recovered to similar hardware on a different machine.  I believe the only thing I have to do now is remove the utility from the production server so the backups will be complete going forward. Until then I will keep the USB with those files on hand.Hopefully others in the same situation can benefit from this information I was so fortunate to run across.

    On a side note. I think my initial concern about drive letters being randomly labelled in recovery mode was perhaps not an issue as I thought. I believe this was a temporary drive assignment for the recovery environment because when not in recovery mode the drives are are assigned correctly.

    -Patrick


    Patrick H


    • Marked as answer by ITPatrick Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11 PM
    • Edited by ITPatrick Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:17 PM
    Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11 PM
  • Hi,

    Thank you for taking the time to share details. Your share might be helpful for other people who has similar problem. 
     
    If there is anything else we can do for you, please feel free to let us know.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Monday, June 3, 2019 2:49 AM
    Moderator