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SBS 2003 Rebuild / Restore Question

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  • SBS 2003 Rebuild / Restore Question

    Here is the history of this problem: -

    We have taken on supporting a client with a Dell PowerEdge 2900 server running Windows SBS Server 2003 SP2.


    When performing a technical audit we were informed that the server has been rebooting at random times throughout the day and night for quite some time (5 months). I said that I would have a look to ascertain why this was occurring but there appears to be no trace.

    There are no dump files being created even though the system is set to create them. The system is set to not automatically reboot on system failure but no BSOD is appearing. There are no error messages in the Windows event logs either other than ďThe previous shutdown was unexpected ďonce the server has restarted and ďThe reason specified by the user for the last shutdown was...Ē

    I figured that this may well be a hardware issue so contacted Dell support and we have done the following: -


    1. Update all firmware and drivers
    2. Replace Motherboard
    3. Replace CPU
    4. Run DSET utility (No Errors)
    5. Check Dell System Administrator (No Errors) Ė Only log showing all previous server restarts as (Unexpected Shutdown)


    Dell have said they will not replace any further hardware until we perform a system (OS) rebuild as there is nothing indicating a hardware fault.

    This leads me to the second part of my problem.

    We are now planning to rebuild or restore the server. The client has a successful Full Daily Backup to tape using Back Exec 11d. I have restored servers is the past (although mostly Server 2003 Std with Stand-alone Exchange 2003 etc) so I am more the confident doing the restore, but am a little confused with the following: -

    Most articles suggest re-installing Server 2003 (CD 1of SBS install), then restoring the system state and data from backup.

    All company data is on a separate partition and I have already split the Exchange logs and databases onto separate partitions too.

    My question with this is, if the problem that we are experiencing is caused by corrupt files on the system partition, or a registry corruption won't restoring the file data on C: and system state from backup just replace the newly installed files with the possibly corrupt files or registry from the backup.
    I would prefer to restore the system state to preserve domain settings and not have to re-join 20 workstations to the domain. (Only 20 I here some of you say....But still!).

    What I am wondering is, is it possible to do the following: -

    1. Reinstall OS from CD1
    2. Restore System State from Backup (Essentially now a standalone DC with up-to-date AD)
    3. Re-run SBS Setup to install Exchange, IIS and everything else
    4. Restore Exchange using Recovery Storage Group or because DN is the same a direct restore over new Exchange DB.


    Obviously my reservation is, wonít there already be Exchange data in the restored AD and would this cause a problem.


    I would be grateful if anyone could offer some advise, as I have said I know I can restore the whole server pretty painlessly, but my reservation with this is ending up will a server that is still restarting and wondering if I have only restored my problem!


    Many thanks
    Geoff Carr
    MCSE, CCNA

  • #2
    Re: SBS 2003 Rebuild / Restore Question

    I would go the route of a Swing Migration a la www.sbsmigration.com. Preserves the AD and user profiles, but gets you an otherwise clean install.
    TIA

    Steven Teiger [SBS-MVP(2003-2009)]
    http://www.wintra.co.il/
    sigpic
    Iím honoured to have been selected for the SMB 150 list for 2013. This is the third time in succession (no logo available for 2011) that I have been honoured with this award.

    We donít stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: SBS 2003 Rebuild / Restore Question

      Hi teiger,

      Thanks for the reply!

      In the end I did a new install with the same settings and then rejoined all workstation to the new domain.
      Due to the small amount of mail, 2GB, I just used exmerge to export it and then import it back in.
      Left the data partition (seperate virtual disk / RAID-5) intact so just needed to reset permissions etc.

      Another person in a different forum also suggested the Swing Migration method, I have read about this before but never tried it.
      I have just looked at it again and it looks really benefical keeping AD / SIDs intact!
      Will definately give this a go next time I need to do a migration / rebuild.

      As for the server, it appears to have not rebooted again so I am hoping that this has resolved the issue!

      Thanks again

      Geoff

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: SBS 2003 Rebuild / Restore Question

        Thanks for posting back with the update.
        As a general point, I try to avoid exmerge - especially now as it no longer likes mailbxes over 2GB! Other points: destroys Single Instance Storage; Removes permissions; can't handle Public Folders; can't handle all languages easily (Hebrew for example), destroys custom views and forms....
        TIA

        Steven Teiger [SBS-MVP(2003-2009)]
        http://www.wintra.co.il/
        sigpic
        Iím honoured to have been selected for the SMB 150 list for 2013. This is the third time in succession (no logo available for 2011) that I have been honoured with this award.

        We donít stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

        Comment

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