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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, Re-instal windows server? in Technical; Hi. I have had a head/It coordinator in one of my schools (I'm a roving techie) suddenly ask me to ...
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    MrsGrinch's Avatar
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    Re-instal windows server?

    Hi. I have had a head/It coordinator in one of my schools (I'm a roving techie) suddenly ask me to "wipe and re-install windows on the server - when you have time". My slot is two hours at this school.

    I haven't yet had a chance to ask him why he thinks this is a good idea. I think this server was originally an Ergo one but somebody managed to club it back into being a vanilla 2003. I suspect it needs a clean and a defrag.

    Can somebody help me explain why this is bad idea, if it's even possible? The last time I re-installed windows out from under a system was on an ancient
    windows95 clunker where it didn't matter if it failed. As far as I know - windows is an all-or-nothing proposition. You get knocked back to the stone age if you re-install.

    Cheers.

    Michele

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    If it's the sole server then wiping it is a pretty bad idea unless you want to rejoin all of the machines on the network back to it again!

    I'd check what exactly their problem is and work from there; it may just need a clean up as you say, or it may genuinely need to be reinstalled which will give you a lot of grief.

    If there's more than 1 server (or you can shove one in even temporarily to "keep" the domain alive and hold the FSMO roles) it's as big a deal but to do in 2 hours? An impossibility!

    Investigate and suggest options for them would be my first port of call.

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    MrsGrinch's Avatar
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    Re-instal windows server?

    Hi. Thanks for such a quick answer. It's the sole server, surrounded by a bunch of badly behaved classroom pcs, decrepit printers and old laptops.

    I've just had another techie suggest that you can delete the primary partition and re-install back into the same space, but you have to re-do the network client connections. I would assume you then have to redo all the service packs.

    He also said you don't call it "re-installing windows" - it then becomes "re-building a server."


    Michele

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    Sounds to me like they need to revisit the hours they offer you if they want the work covered. 2 hours a week is hardly sufficient time to start anything let alone a task like this. I think a lot of smaller schools are now finding that if they have attempted to keep up with technology then their systems have expanded well beyond what the occasional IT savy teachers can fit in time wise and they now really need to be looking at employing in house on a decent contract?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch View Post
    Hi. Thanks for such a quick answer. It's the sole server, surrounded by a bunch of badly behaved classroom pcs, decrepit printers and old laptops.

    I've just had another techie suggest that you can delete the primary partition and re-install back into the same space, but you have to re-do the network client connections. I would assume you then have to redo all the service packs.

    He also said you don't call it "re-installing windows" - it then becomes "re-building a server."


    Michele
    You can call it throwing a spoon at a fork but the reality is that you're re-installing windows or as it's a sole server, rebuilding a domain; creating anarchy, killing kittens etc. It's all the same.

    There's no point in deleting the primary partition if you're going to reinstall windows in the exact same place so I'm not sure why they suggested that.

    Personally; as speckytecky said they either need to re-evaluate your hours, or at least provide you with some information upon why they believe this course of action is the best. - If the classroom PCs are misbehaving and the server is beyond repair then yes, you may wish to consider completely starting again but you won't get that done in 2 hours!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch View Post
    I've just had another techie suggest that you can delete the primary partition and re-install back into the same space, but you have to re-do the network client connections. I would assume you then have to redo all the service packs.

    He also said you don't call it "re-installing windows" - it then becomes "re-building a server."
    He's an idiot. If you delete the primary partition, you're still deleting and re-installing Windows from scratch. In fact, during a re-install Windows Setup effectively does this anyway.

    If you re-install, you will then be re-installing the entire of your network. You're effectively starting the whole thing again, not something I would do even in the summer holidays (well, not without good reason). All your users, all their files, all your computer accounts - the whole lot.

    Sounds like the co-ordinator who asked you to do this imagines that a server is just like a workstation only bigger.

  7. Thanks to powdarrmonkey from:

    kmount (4th January 2009)

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    I tried to be diplomatic; a thanks to you for saying it as it was =)

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    Re-install windows server?

    Thanks, guys. All your answers support what I THOUGHT was true, but I was caught slightly off-guard by how casual the request was. (I do get a bit flinty-eyed whenever psuedo-techies start chanting "we do this all the time".) And did I say two hours a week? This school is two hours a month. It's the 330 kid school that has extravagantly shelled out for two hours a week.

    I think in my twenties I would have gone in with all guns blazing and said, "Of course, sir, whatever you want , sir." Now I'm 48. After an initial confidence wobble ("Should I not know how to do this? What if I'm incompetent?") I start becoming my mother. That is, I starting wanting to say, "Who gave you that lamebrain idea and besides, you can't pay me enough anyway."

    Cheers.

    Michele

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    Hi

    I think your best course of action would be to get your IT coordinator to clarify why he/she thinks reinstalling the server needs to be done.

    Look at other ways to improve the IT provision - You mentioned a clean and defrag (Consider an ASR backup, as well as ensuring your normal backups are OK first). This could help with server performance, but do the workstations need attention? E.g. when were they last re-imaged. This could be done in stages, I.E. a room, or a few at a time, without bringing the rest of the network down.

    If you do find that you need to re-install the whole server, do it in stages, one per visit. E.g.:

    Stage 1: Acquire a second box, install server, install all updates.
    Stage 2: DCPromo the second box, and seize the FSMO roles. Install DNS as part of this process, and allow the records to replicate. Also, check AD replication is working.
    Stage 3: Does the original server provide any other services to the network, such as DHCP? If so, then this role needs uninstalling, and installing on the second server.
    Stage 4: Backup any home areas, shared drives etc on the original server. Check, Check and then Check again. Once their gone, their gone, pretty much. For files that are going to be in use between visits, get them restored to elsewhere, and re-point where necessary.
    Stage 5: Use DCPromo on the original server to demote it. Then set Server reinstalling and doing updates, service packs etc.
    Stage 6: Use DCPromo on the original, freshly reinstalled box, to make it a Domain Controller again.

    This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a possible starting point? and an indication of the work you have ahead of you. Remember to allow for problems along the way, and factor this in. Also, plan each step, and detail the actions that you will need to go through. You could use this as a basis for negotiating additional hours if thats what you feel you need. Get all drivers, service packs etc ready before you start.

    Last of all, best of luck with it all. This is no small task, and one I'd only feel comfortable doing with plenty of time, planning and research.

    Maria

  11. Thanks to MPorter from:

    MrsGrinch (4th January 2009)

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    Re-installing windows server

    Maria - how nice to see another lady techie! That list of steps alone will be enough to silence him. I've heard from my boss in the meantime. He said that the school willl have to book two people for a full day if they want the server re-built. This is a common problem - people who can cope with the pc at hom e think that a school network is just more of the same. The schools I have at least are the ones who realise they need some help. On the local grapevine I hear about schools where the head is going it alone, only for the next successor to be left with a train wreck. I heard from one refugee teacher about a school where they just locked the door on the IT suite because the last computer finally died.

    Michele
    Did I tell you the one about the teacher whose whiteboard sound hadn't worked for two years because the audio cable was in the wrong jack......

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    I think the easiest way to resolve this is going to be as follows:

    1. Shutdown the server.
    2. Tour school to check that everyone is ok
    3. I then predict you'll discover that everyone can't do a damned thing and you'll be wandering back to the server to restart it again.

    From there on in you then slap the IT co-ord silly and point out that this sort of thing usually takes a week or more to get tweaked and peaked just so'.

    edit: Whoops... forgot step 3a.
    Point out the problems caused by server being offline to ICT coordinator before restarting. THEN slap them silly
    Last edited by contink; 4th January 2009 at 03:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MPorter View Post
    Hi

    Stage 1: Acquire a second box, install server, install all updates.
    Stage 2: DCPromo the second box, and seize the FSMO roles. Install DNS as part of this process, and allow the records to replicate. Also, check AD replication is working. Etc

    Maria
    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    I think the easiest way to resolve this is going to be as follows:

    1. Shutdown the server.
    2. Tour school to check that everyone is ok
    3. I then predict you'll discover that everyone can't do a damned thing and you'll be wandering back to the server to restart it again.

    From there on in you then slap the IT co-ord silly and point out that this sort of thing usually takes a week or more to get tweaked and peaked just so'.
    I like continks way better

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    Re-install windows server?

    This is the coordinator who wanted me to "kick off all the smartboard software on all the teachers laptops to download the full gallery".
    Over wireless.
    Mid morning.

    Do you think he'd see the problem?

    Michele

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    I think in my twenties I would have gone in with all guns blazing and said, "Of course, sir, whatever you want , sir." Now I'm 48. After an initial confidence wobble ("Should I not know how to do this? What if I'm incompetent?") I start becoming my mother. That is, I starting wanting to say, "Who gave you that lamebrain idea and besides, you can't pay me enough anyway."
    I'm exactly the same - my head commented the other week that I don't make any decisions until I've thought about it for at least a week, priced all options, looked at what other people do, checked edugeek (of course) and worked out all alternatives! It wasn't a criticism, I hope I also know my limitations and wouldn't even comtemplate wiping a server to reinstall without having some sort of help I could call upon and at least three clear days to do it in.
    I think as the others have said I would explain the intricacies of a server to the head and just do a 'clear up' and tidy up, update etc. Then suggest some investment is made in ICT for a new server, but as they only have 2 hours a month ICT support ICT is obviously not a priority What exactly do you get done in 2 hours a month?

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    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...

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