Hardware Independent Restore (HIR) and RAID on Dell T110 server

I have had more than my share of "nightmare" restores, but normally I can eventually get it working. Today I have one that refuses to work.

Hardware: Dell T110 server, 2 x 250GB hard drives, 1 x 300GB hard drive, 4GB memory, PERC S100 Imbedded RAID controller,
OS: Windows 2003 Server (this was the OS on the ShadowProtect backed up server)

Step 1 - Configure RAID using BIOS configuration as follows:

2 x 250GB hard drives mirrored (RAID1), and 1 x 300GB as non-RAID in BIOS. During booting BIOS reports the drives as being configured properly.

Step 2 - Try StorageCraft Recovery Environment (SRE) 2008R2 (recommended). Upon boot no hard drive volumes are visible under "Disk Map" tab. Used "Load Driver" function to load the downloaded PERC S100 Embedded RAID driver for 2008R2 (from Dell's website). SRE reports the "Driver Loaded", but after loading and refreshing volumes NO HARD DRIVE VOLUMES ARE VISIBLE under "Disk Map" tab. No amount of retrying results in any drive volumes being visible to restore to.

Step 3 - Try SRE 2003 (legacy) option. Upon boot pressed F6 to load RAID drivers from floppy. Loaded PERC S100 Embedded RAID driver for 2003 Server from floppy drive. SRE tries to boot and then BLUE SCREENS with:

STOP: 0x0000007B (0xF78A2A98, 0xC0000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

At this point NO COMBINATION ALLOWS HIR RESTORE to RAID on this machine.

Note: I have quadruple checked to make certain I'm running the proper RAID drivers under both scenarios.

BTW - Killing the RAID array and doing HIR restore to non-RAID (SATA configured) hard drives works.

Call me frustrated with HIR,

Larry Bates
vitalEsafe, Inc.
StorageCraft MSP

in·de·pend·ent [in-di-pen-duhnt] - not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.



Re: Hardware Independent Restore (HIR) and RAID on Dell T110 ser

Whenever you use a software-based RAID ('fake' RAID) like this and find the drives are not visible, or, you get the STOP: 0x0000007B error ocurs, it is nearly always driver related. I know you "quadruple checked" you had the correct driver, but this problem has come up before.

Have a search for this forum and others for PERC S100 and you'll see. Dell, HP and IBM have all provided download links for the wrong drive (e.g. 64-bit, rather than 32-bit). Other times the user is trying to load the same 64-bit driver they used in the Windows installation. You can only use the 32-bit version of the driver in the WIndows PE used in the ShadowProtect RE. In some very rare cases the driver *.ini is not written correctly for use within a boot CD Windows PE. Sony, amongst others, have made this mistake.

What makes this worse is that the Windows PnP manager is designed to fail 'silently'. In other words, you can try to load almost any driver within the Windows PE and it won't flag a problem. You can try this yourself by booting up the ShadowProtect RE (2008R2) and using the Windows drvload.exe directly from the command line. You can probably mangle the driver *.inf file enough and get some kind of problem, but for the most part, you won't see anything. Most people then assume (incorrectly) that no response means the driver has loaded.

If you have any problem like this it is often a good idea to open up the driver *.inf file and see what it is going to try to load. The file just contains the initialization data and configuration data loaded into the registry. In some cases it will be fairly obvious if the driver will load, in other cases it will be less obvious. If in doubt find an older version of the driver and upgrade the driver within Windows post-restore. That can help eliminate any chance that the latest driver package from Dell/HP/IBM is faulty.

In some case, where performing a HIR on a Windows Server 2003 install, you'll have more luck running HIR from the ShadowProtect 2003 environment.

Here's a link for the Windows 2008 32-bit driver I believe worked for others: