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Software Mirror - Secondary Plex won't boot

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  • Software Mirror - Secondary Plex won't boot

    Well, I was going to post a question about an hour ago but then the solution to the problem came to me so I'll post it here and hopefully it will help the next person out.

    We have an old Dell Poweredge 350 server that we turned into our second DC. When we did this we bought two 80GB IDE drives and used 2003's built in software mirroring capability.

    We need to put bigger drives in the system but we don't want to rebuild the server. Our solution was to pull one of the 80GB out of the mirror and install a 500GB drive in it's place. Then recreate the mirror using a portiong of the 500GB drive. After that step we would remove the last 80GB drive and put the second 500GB drive in and once again recreate the mirror across the two 500GB drives.

    Because of this I took the opprotunity to test out recovering from a drive failure in a software mirror situation. Here's our results.

    Booting off of Primary drive. The originaly drive we installed the OS on before setting up the mirrored set. We did this with the Secondary Plex drive disconnected.

    -We got to the boot menu which was good enough for us.

    Booting off the Secondary Plex with Primary drive disconnected.

    -System would not boot. Got to the point where the boot menu should be displayed with no boot menu. Only a blinking cursor.

    After spending some time on Google I did not find a solid answer to this problem. And I'm still not sure why it would not boot off the Secondary Plex.

    We "fixed" the problem by booting off of a boot floppy. Copied the NTLDR, NTdetect, and boot.ini files directly off the server and not the install disc. One of those simple solutions that left me banging my head against the wall asking, "why didn't I think of this an hour ago?"

    I was able to boot up to the Secondary Plex (80GB) with one of the new 500GB drives in the system. I then removed the old mirrored set which Windows saw as failed. Then I turned the 500GB drive into a Dynamic Disk and recreated the mirrored set between the 80 an 500.

    Anyway, I hope someone finds this useful.
    CCA: XenApp 5.0

  • #2
    Re: Software Mirror - Secondary Plex won't boot

    Thanks so much! I actually have seen this solution before, but I was using a server without a floppy drive (who needs those anymore...right?). Well apparently I did! I went and found one and installed it on the server. I copied the files listed above to the floppy and booted from it. Then I was allowed to choose the windows server boot option. (Try them both...the secondary plex didn't work...but the main windows server 2003 option did). Then I couldn't figure out how to get it so I could boot to the drive without the need of the floppy!

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Boot to your Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 disk and select Repair by using Recovery Console option.
    2. When the recovery console loads: type "fixmbr" without the quotes. This will repair your Master Boot Record and make it so you no longer need to boot from the floppy. (Warning...this can mess up your partitions in some cases so make sure you have all critical data backed up...but it worked ok for me)

    I was also able to remove the broken mirror disk after booting from the correct drive and resetup the mirror. I hate windows software mirrors...but at least I know how to use them now! No idea how to do it without a floppy. I looked for hours and then just went and got one.

    Good luck!