PDC crash – no backup

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    Good morning everyone.
    I’ve got a server for repair. It is in a very bad condition – there are several problems which need to be resolved, there are hardware and software issues.

    First, let me describe the situation. The server is primary and the only domain controller in the customer’s company.
    It’s name is SRV1 and it hosts the following roles:

    1. Domain controller
    2. SQL Server
    3. App server
    4. File server

    Here are the server characteristics:
    Intel Xeon 3220
    Intel SH3210SHLC motherboard
    4 GB of RAM
    3 x 500 GB Seagate HDD, configured in RAID-5 array.

    Now, let’s start with the problems… (Initial problem, the reason why the server ended up at my place was that it won’t boot the OS, Windows Server 2008 ).

    1. The first one is that server won’t power on regularly. The only way to power on the server is by removing power cord and BIOS battery, waiting for a few minutes, and then putting back the battery – at the moment the power cord is plugged in, the server starts to work without pressing the Power On button.

    2. The second problem follows the first. The BIOS configuration is reset after every Power On procedure and I need to manually set the integrated SATA controller to Intel Matrix RAID mode.

    3. When I get to the POST, RAID BIOS says that the drive one in the array is failed. I replaced the disk with the new one (brand new, unformatted disk) and choosed the option to recover the volume. After that I’ve got the message that the drive recovery will be finished once the windows boots and everything seems fine.

    4. After exiting the RAID BIOS configuration, the Windows Server 2008 boot sequence starts, but shortly after that I get the BSOD. I tried Safe mode, Last known good configuration, Safe mode with command prompt – nothing helped.

    What are my options and next steps here?

    I have a plan for today, but I am not sure if it will work, so I’m posting it here:
    I have a spare server (Intel SR2500 with two processors and 8 GB of RAM), it supports RAID. It has two 160 GB disk. I will install Windows Server 2008 on that server. After that I plan to move all three disks from the failed server, to the new one and try to import the RAID set.

    Is that even possible? If it is, I would try to recover the RAID array. If I manage to recover the RAID array, what are the next options for me? Can I then put the RAID set in the old server in order to boot it and transfer the Active Directory FSMO roles to the new server? Of course, this action assumes that Windows Server 2008 boots up regularly, which is something I don’t believe very much.

    If the server doesn’t boot, but I manage to recover the RAID set, is it possible to recover the Active Directory domain using the AD database that is located on the RAID array?

    And the last question, what to do in case that I fail to recover the RAID array on the new server? What are my options then? Is there a possibility to recover the data using the remaining two disks in the array? As far as I understand the whole RAID-5 concept, if one drive fails, the data remains safe on the remaining disks.

    I apologize for the size of the post and large number of questions. I just wanted to explain the whole situation. I would appreciate any help from the forum members.

    Thank you in advance.


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