NT system drive recovery scenarios incl. NTRecover

1997-12-26 10:36:21
Subject: NT system drive recovery scenarios incl. NTRecover
From: Daniel Thompson <thompsod AT USAA DOT COM>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 09:36:21 -0600

  I just completed testing different methods to recover the NT system drive
from ADSM backups.  Several folks on this forum had discussed different
methods on accomplishing this and I thought some of you might be interested
in my results.

The test machine I was working with had a pretty clean C: drive.  There was
approximately 120 meg. of data on this drive w/ 100+ being in the WINNT
directory or its subdirectories.  The machine was a COMPAQ Proliant using
Compaq's Smart hardware RAID controller.

I tested the following 3 scenarios:
1) Booting off the NTRecover client disk and using an adjacent server to
restore the C:\ drive over a null MODEM cable.
2) Booting off of diskettes and restore the NT system files to the C:\
drive that was formatted as FAT.  After booting off this C:\ drive, convert
the FAT drive to NTFS and then recover the restore all files on the drive
3) Install a temporary NT copy to a different logical drive than C: and
then start NT from this temporary copy using a boot diskette.
Recover/restore C: drive and then boot the machine from the C: drive.  This
is basically outlined in the Bare Metal Restore Redbook.

These are the results:

1) NTRecover.
I was able to restore the c: drive, but the time was extensive and there
were complications.  I needed to create a DOS bootable diskette to run the
NTRecovery client due to the Compaq Raid implementation.  I attempted to
create and format a NTFS partition from this diskette using Partition
Magic, but PM could not format a readable NTFS partition in this
configuration.  I had to create and format a FAT partition and then convert
the partition to NTFS from the NTRecover recovery server.

As Rodney has mentioned on this forum, NTRecover is currently constrained
by the max. throughput of the com ports.  At 115200 baud, 100 meg. would
take a minimum of 2 hrs.  With the overhead of NTRecover, ADSM etc. the
restore took more than 4 hrs.  I attempted to cut this down by restoring to
the recovery server and then using XCOPY, SCOPY or ROBOCOPY, but this did
not decrease the time by very much.  I have hopes that the network version
of NTRecover will be a future solution.

2) Booting off diskettes and restoring NT to a FAT partion.
I was able to recover the C: drive using this methodology, but it took 1 hr
10 minutes once I got the steps down and polished.  One concern on using
this method is the possible loss of NT file security on files.  If you
restore it on the FAT partition, convert the partition and then restore all
files again, you can still miss some that are in use when NT is running
from this drive.
In order to use this method, you need to know the IP address and default
gateway in order to enter them on the diskettes.
If you choose to use this option, you need to backup the root directory of
a NT system drive that is currently FAT.  There are some files on the FAT
partition that are not found on an NTFS partition.

3) Install a temporary copy of NT on another partition:
I was able to recovery the C: drive using this method, and it took 45
minutes once I got the steps down and polished.  The Bare Metal Restore
redbook covers this in detail.   We are going to use this method since it
does not have any security concerns and is the fastest of the current 3

I am going to write some detailed procedures for this method for our
documentation.  If anyone would like a copy of these procedures to compare
against your own, just e-mail me direct.

Daniel Thompson
Storage/Automation Management - USAA
thompsod AT usaa DOT com

ps.  Several folks sent me a request for the current OS/2 and NT
pre-recovery information batch files.  I will send them out soon.  I have a
couple of needed enhancements to add first.   dt
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