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JToering
2 Iron

How is the Recovery partition made?

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I How is the Recovery partition made? 

I have a 3rd party backup solution.  I replaced a disk controller.  I restored all of the partitions.  I tested running the Diagnostics, and it booted fine.  When I The diagnostics worked fine, it boot fine, and all data was available.  Then I tried Recovery and got a BSOD.  I'm wondering now if I need to run the Dell Systems Build and Update Utility Disk to build a new Recovery area, and then when it asks where the backup is, reboot, go into the 3rd Party restore for the C: and D:.  I notice the LifeCycle controller can do a lot of things.  Does the Recovery partition ever get updated?  Do I need to make a new one when I change controllers?

Thanks!

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RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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Dell installs and configures WinRE on the local hard drive of every server that is purchased with a factory-installed Windows Server 2008 operating system. The Dell recovery partition is customized WinPE to act as the Windows Recovery WIM. The main customization is to include the winpeshl.ini in the WIM for the system to launch the WinRE shell during the startup. To inject any additional hardware drivers, Dell uses two tools also found in the Windows AIK:

  1. Imagex – for mounting the winpe.wim so that it can be modified
  2. Peimg – for adding the drivers to the image.

 

The unfortunate side of this, is that the outside of the factory, this installation file is not available. I don't have access to it and it is not for download anywhere. This means partition will not be created during installation and to get the custom WinRE partition back you would need to build it.

 

Here is some more information on the WinRE environment that may help you.

http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/os-applications/w/wiki/2513.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=9085

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/winre/archive/2007/01/12/how-to-install-winre-on-the-hard-disk.aspx

Daniel Covey
Dell EMC| Enterprise Support Services
Get support on Twitter:@DellCaresPRO
Download our QRL app:iOS, Android, Windows
Dell Networking Resources

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RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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Hello jtoering

The recovery partition is not from us(Dell). The recovery partition is part of Windows. When you install Windows it is created automatically. It is the Windows Recovery Environment.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825173.aspx

When you press F8 during boot and choose the option to Repair you are entering the WinRE that is installed on that partition. WinRE is an independent operating system on it's own partition that is used to access and attempt to repair/recover from operating system issues.

Then I tried Recovery and got a BSOD.

Are you saying that you tried to enter WinRE and it blue screened or did you try to do some type of recovery with your backup program?

Thanks

Daniel Mysinger
Dell EMC, Enterprise Engineer

Get support on Twitter @DellCaresPRO

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JToering
2 Iron

RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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>Are you saying that you tried to enter WinRE and it blue screened or did you try to do some type of recovery with your backup program?<

I did the <F8> to access it after I restored it, and got the BSOD. (For some reason I didn't get an E-Mail that you responded)

The Microsoft backup environment is lacking when it comes to maintaining accessible history.  Third parties fill that need.  They ALL say they can do do hardware-independent, bare-metal restore.  What I've learned is that there are many instances where they cannot do a restore period, let alone a hardware-independent or bare-metal restore.  Example:  Dell's default controllers for many models is the S series.  I bought one for a customer before I realized what they were slipping into the PERC line.  Other vendors have done the same thing with their servers.  The only backup that can restore an S series is a Microsoft backup.  You can't even do it with WinPE.  After running into that, I'm replacing an S series with an H700.

What I'm attempting to do is determine if third parties can do hardware-independent, bare-metal restores even with the H700, and adjust my procedures accordingly.  If they cannot produce a real recovery partition, then the answer is no.  You must first do at least a partial install n install of Windows.  The question is, how does one do that?  I don't have to do it often at customer sites, but as I recall with the last one, I started with the Dell disk, and it led me through to a point where it asked for the location of the backup.  Then I pointed to it, and it took it from there.  My thought was, perhaps at that point I could reboot, and go into the 3rd part recovery environment and restore the system and data, IF the Recovery partition has already been created at that point.  Perhaps you could tell me that?

The next question would be, does the Recovery partition ever get updated after that?  Dell's Life Cycle Controller updates drivers and firmware.  How does that work with the Recovery partition?

Thanks TONS for your help!

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RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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With bare metal restores the image you are restoring needs to generally be restore like hardware to like hardware. In this instance you are trying to restore an image that was made with one controller, to a system with a different controller. The OS is probably running into a driver issue an blue screening. If you use F8 again, you can select an option to disable automatic restart on system failure. This will allow you to see the blue screen error code, which will let us know more details.

 

When it comes down to the independent hardware restore, you will still be limited some by the native drivers, or drivers on the OS image. Server 2008 and server 2012 have many native drivers built into the OS and will have more success when being restored to different hardware. A Server 2003 restore which does not have the same driver support will run into issues when imaged to unlike hardware.

 

What OS are you using and what backup/restore software are you using?

Daniel Covey
Dell EMC| Enterprise Support Services
Get support on Twitter:@DellCaresPRO
Download our QRL app:iOS, Android, Windows
Dell Networking Resources

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JToering
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RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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>What OS are you using and what backup/restore software are you using?<

SBS 2008
ShadowProtect SMB

Other:
I agree 2008 tries to load the right drivers, and in fact it did, and made registry changes in a DOS box as well, and everything worked fine, but apparently it doesn't go that way in Recovery.

Thanks!

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RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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I did some searching on the ShadowProtect website and found a user that has a very similar situation. they detail how they resolved this by installing drivers for the different hardware.

http://www.storagecraft.com/support/forum/7b-stop-error-even-after-hir-sees-raid-driver-exact-match

I also found this guide which indicates that with RAID controllers you will need to have the correct RAID controller driver loaded.

http://www.storagecraft.com/support/sites/support.storagecraft.com/files/00000184_how_to_perform_a_h...

I think once you have the driver loaded it should help.

Let us know if this works

Daniel Covey
Dell EMC| Enterprise Support Services
Get support on Twitter:@DellCaresPRO
Download our QRL app:iOS, Android, Windows
Dell Networking Resources

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JToering
2 Iron

RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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I read that, and have been down that road.  Nothing there addresses drivers for the Recovery partition drivers.  The docs talk about the "new" Vista Recovery environment, and older XP recovery environment, which are no more.  Their recovery environments these days are Windows 8 32 bit PE, and Cross Platform.  I've worked with both.  Generally, cross-platform works better.  The PE environment in theory lets you side load drivers.  IME, the ONLY drivers that side load are ones on their CD.  I've never once gotten a Dell driver to load.  In theory, it will take is for 32 Windows 7/2008 R2, or 32 bit Windows 8/Server 2012 drivers, and not Vista/2008.

As far as getting the driver into the OS, that wasn't an issue.  I installed the H700 a week before the restore, so Windows already had the drivers.  That didn't even require an HIR.  Everything went fine except the Recovery partition.  However, if the system had required and HIR, I don't know how that would have gone.  You need to get a special Auth key every time you do an HIR, and it's only good for 24 hours.  I don't know if it actually can roll in the correct drivers, but I'm guessing for the H700 it could.  They absolutely cannot restore the Dell's default S series controllers, no matter which environment you use.  ShadowProtect tech support spent days trying.  The H700 works with either environment.

Back to the main question.  When does the Recovery environment get made?  During the Dell disk recovery, that sets up to use the Windows Server Backup restore, it leads you through everything, and then asks you to point to the backup.  I'm wondering if it has been made yet.  If the Recovery partition has been made, I could reboot and restore the rest with ShadowProtect.  If no one knows the answer to that, I'll experiment with it this weekend.  It will cost me ~7 hours to find out that way, but sometimes that's what it takes.

Thanks!

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RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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Dell installs and configures WinRE on the local hard drive of every server that is purchased with a factory-installed Windows Server 2008 operating system. The Dell recovery partition is customized WinPE to act as the Windows Recovery WIM. The main customization is to include the winpeshl.ini in the WIM for the system to launch the WinRE shell during the startup. To inject any additional hardware drivers, Dell uses two tools also found in the Windows AIK:

  1. Imagex – for mounting the winpe.wim so that it can be modified
  2. Peimg – for adding the drivers to the image.

 

The unfortunate side of this, is that the outside of the factory, this installation file is not available. I don't have access to it and it is not for download anywhere. This means partition will not be created during installation and to get the custom WinRE partition back you would need to build it.

 

Here is some more information on the WinRE environment that may help you.

http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/os-applications/w/wiki/2513.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=9085

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/winre/archive/2007/01/12/how-to-install-winre-on-the-hard-disk.aspx

Daniel Covey
Dell EMC| Enterprise Support Services
Get support on Twitter:@DellCaresPRO
Download our QRL app:iOS, Android, Windows
Dell Networking Resources

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JToering
2 Iron

RE: How is the Recovery partition made?

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That is not only enlightening, but also useful.  I have other customers with T310s with the same OS that have the H700 controller.  I thought I had two, but I only have one server at a customer that we bought with an S300 before we realized what Dell slipped into the PERC line.  I'm replacing the S300 with an H700 this weekend.  So from what you've written, about the only thing I would need to do is restore the Recovery partition from one of the H700 servers, and I would be good to go.

Thanks!