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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, Re-instal windows server? in Technical; Remove eight sheets of paper so tightly compacted into the fuser of an okidata printer that I had to do ...
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    MrsGrinch's Avatar
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    Re-installl windows server?

    Remove eight sheets of paper so tightly compacted into the fuser of an
    okidata printer that I had to do the last four with tweezers.

    That, and the magenta and black catridges were in the wrong slots. They hadn't minded the modern art all that much until they tried to print union jacks.

    Michele

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    MrsGrinch's Avatar
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    Smile re-install windows server?

    Quote Originally Posted by BaccyNet View Post
    This ICT Co-ordinator didnt happen to say they 'know someone who does this all the time and could get them to do it'? I get this all the time. Even had a member of staff bring in this person to show me they could do something. They werent in the building very long once they spoke to me though!

    Of course he could just take the server to pcworld...
    Been there. Had that. Wound up screaming in the art supplies cupboard.
    I heard about a techie who once did really take a server home over the weekend!

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    I heard about a techie who once did really take a server home over the weekend!
    I've done it ... takes a seriously bad series of events to cause that though =)

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    Sadly I've also done it although it was a redundant server that had just been replaced I took it home with the backup to practice restoring it

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch View Post
    "wipe and re-install windows on the server - when you have time". My slot is two hours at this school.
    Okay, two hours is pushing it a bit, but you could take a backup image of the server's harddrive (this assumes you have a suitably sized storage area spare somewhere, of course), wipe said server, install a virtual machine system of some kind, then set up a VM to restore the original server disk image to. You can then set a second VM up (you'll need a second Windows Server license, of course, and possibly need to buy new CALs) to install a fresh domain controller to and transfer functionality over to bit by bit. You could probably upgrade the disk and RAM of the server before installing the VM system while you're at it. I'm planning to do this with our SIMS server tomorrow, but I've got all day and I've had a spot of practice on another couple of machines recently.

    --
    David Hicks

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    MrsGrinch (5th January 2009)

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    Re-install windows server?

    Hi David. I need to lie down with some paracetemol after even reading that. I have no experience building servers, or using virtual machines, unfortunately. There is an awful lot of redundant kit (including servers) lying around schools - I may see if I can mooch some of it to practice on!

    Did you learn by going on training, or just diving in?

    Michele

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch View Post
    Hi David. I need to lie down with some paracetemol after even reading that. I have no experience building servers, or using virtual machines, unfortunately. There is an awful lot of redundant kit (including servers) lying around schools - I may see if I can mooch some of it to practice on!
    The reason its referred to as building a server rather than just reinstalling Windows is because building a server also includes setting up all of the network configuration as well. If you have exact documentation of the original setup of the network, then it might be possible to get Windows reinstalled in two hours. Next month you could go back in and use their careful documentation to reconfigure the server in the two hours then. Following that you could probably do a quick run-around and rejoin the workstations to the network the month after.

    That's assuming they've got a very simple network setup with maybe thirty workstations. And that they don't have individual user accounts for users which you'd have to recreate. Plus of course you'd have to reinstall any server-based software.

    These things aren't actually that hard to do if you've had a little practice, which you can get by throwing yourself in at the deep end (pick up a low-end budget server, you can get them for around 100, and a trial version of Windows Server) and playing around a while. Use Google and some books and you can pick up the basics in a few days if you're going flat out, a few weeks if you put in an hour here and there.

    Did you learn by going on training, or just diving in?
    By spending far too many of my formative years working on computers, diving in and playing with them, and a fair bit of training mixed in. Not necessarily in that order or priority.

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    MrsGrinch (5th January 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch View Post
    I have no experience building servers, or using virtual machines, unfortunately. There is an awful lot of redundant kit (including servers) lying around schools - I may see if I can mooch some of it to practice on!
    Sounds perfect. Only problem with older kit is that newer processors now have hardware support for virtulisation, allowing you to pretty much plug-and-play with virtual machines. With older processors you might have to make sure your VM's operating system knows it's running as a VM, which can be tricky with Windows.

    Did you learn by going on training, or just diving in?
    I just got on and figured it out. Personally, I went for Linux-based virtualisation, as it's free - I have a bunch of machines all running CentOS and Xen. Lots of people on this forum seem to like VMWare. VMWare, and probably a bunch of other virtulisation vendors, will be at BETT, if that's any help.

    One advantage of using the open-source version of Xen is that you can use it along with stuff like DRBD mirrored volumes to provide failover support, so if one machine conks out another simply carries right on. It might be worth trying to set up a couple of old machines as virtual machine servers, see if you can find an extra network card to stick in each one and get them to mirror data between them.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Re-install windows server?

    Documentation? You mean, like, stuff written down? Books? Notes? I've never seen any of any kind in a primary school, especially concerning networks. I often have schools ask me install to software they already have, or I end up giving the IT coordinator a session called "Meet your equipment." One school recently had their wireless network re-done. My handover consisted of a pile of empty boxes and a post-it note.

    This is my biggest worry about re-doing anything. I don't know if I can get them back to where they are because I don't know where that is!

    Michele

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    Since its their one and only server your best bet is probably to refuse to do anything major to it. Some basic defragging and clearing out some of the junk it is doubtless filled with would probably be a good start.

    Either way though they need to tell you exactly what they think 'reinstalling Windows' will fix.

    As to documentation I'd honestly have been more surprised if they'd had any. You could always use your two hours to take notes on how their network's set up, a quick network map and basic outline of the AD structure would make it much easier when you or someone else comes in to actually rebuild the whole thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    The reason its referred to as building a server rather than just reinstalling Windows is because building a server also includes setting up all of the network configuration as well. If you have exact documentation of the original setup of the network, then it might be possible to get Windows reinstalled in two hours. Next month you could go back in and use their careful documentation to reconfigure the server in the two hours then. Following that you could probably do a quick run-around and rejoin the workstations to the network the month after.
    That leaves all their kit out of action for the best part of three months, not an acceptable solution IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey View Post
    That leaves all their kit out of action for the best part of three months, not an acceptable solution IMHO.
    Nor in my opinion. I wasn't recommending it as a serious solution, more as a note that while it is possible and not necessarily difficult, there's no way it could be done in the time available. Certainly not without details of the current setup, backups in place, and preferably a second server to keep everything up and running while its being done.

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    You have a different option open to you, if you truly HAD to re-build the server.
    Using NTBackup, make a backup of the server's System State, which on a DC includes Active Directory.
    Following this, re-install Windows Server to the same location (I seriously would caution against formatting the partition!) but don't give it the same name, nor should you make ANY changes to it!
    After the installation completes in as unmodified manner asd you can get away with, run NTBackup again and restore the System State to original location. At the end of this process the server will want to reboot and once it had done so, you'll have AD back again.

    Having said all that, I would strongly advise you against a server rebuild of any kind, regardless of the time you may have to do it in.

    There aren't normally that many things going wrong on a DC and short of AD being completely wonky you're probably better off simply redoing all your GPO's and revisting all your scripts.
    This you can do at your leisure by setting up new OU's in AD to do your testing in. Once you're happy that everything's fine, start building a new workstaion image, re-image the lot and then move them to the new OU after they've joined the domain.

    I would suggest using a few tools, starting with SYDI, which can be had for free from here: Network Documentation Made Easy with SYDI
    That would be the beginnings of your documentation, and SYDI will actually even document file shares - essential info should you actually be forced to do a bare metal rebuild.

    Best of luck!

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    Being serious, I have to say that building a new server - even if using old kit - and setting that up as the main server while you re-build the old one sounds the best way forward. You could even leave the 'new build from old kit' machine in place afterwards as a second DC to share a bit of the load. If it's an 'old kit' build, just leave it as a DC and don't give it anything else to do, except maybe to hold copies of any data held on the main server, perhaps from an overnight backup. You can always throw loads of discs at these servers, and they're cheap enough nowadays.
    The whole lot could perhaps be done in a couple of hours by a Server specialist, but I'd want at least a day for each of the basic builds, then another two or three days to make sure everything was working OK. If you're not confident with servers, then I would think a couple of weeks...
    As an afterthought, perhaps the idea of rebuilding to a partition is to preserve any files/folders on the other partition(s). If there is data there, this would be a prudent course to take, after taking a full backup, of course!

    7&Y

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    Adding on to what 7&Y said, you should ALWAYS try to have two DC's, for redundancy purposes. Microsoft suggests to also have two DNS and DHCP servers, and they suggest the 2nd DHCP server to have capacity to dish out 20% of IP's on your network.

    I normally go a touch further than this and ensure I have 100% redundancy between DHCP servers, as in each DHCP server has sufficient addresses to dish one out to all devices on the network.

    Regardless which of the methods above you decide to persue, do yourself a favour and backup the system state from your current DC before doing anything.

    Good luck!

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