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How to Reinstall WHS System Drive when you have Data Pool Drives on SATA PCI Controller Card


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(Key Words: Windows Home Server, reinstall, restore, rebuild, rebuilt, system drive, C drive, SATA, controller, PCI, expansion, card, tombstone, hangs, fails, failure, stops, crash, reboot, re-boot, system partition, install)


The Problem:

You cannot reinstall/restore* WHS the after a system system C drive failure if one or more of your pooled data drives is connected to a PCI SATA Controller Card.

• Reinstall/Restore is not offered as an option or

• Reinstall/Restore does not complete it stops in the middle or

• The data tombstones are not rebuilt – your files are not resored


* Mine doesn’t offer “Reinstall” but instead offers “Restore”


The Issue:

The WHS Reinstall/Restore Process needs access to all (100%) of your non-system drives – your data pool drives. The PCI SATA Controller Card has “third party” drivers that need to be installed. The WHS installation, reinstallation, restore process is actually three sequential processes:

1. GUI (Graphical User Interface) WinPE stage (Windows Preinstallation Environment) that checks all your hardware

2. text based blue screen Windows Server installation stage

3. GUI Home Server setup stage


The Solution:

The Reinstall/Restore need the drives install twice; once in stage 1 and again in stage 2.

1. You need to install your PCI SATA Controller Card Drives at the Load Additional Drives screen of the 1st stage Windows Home Sever Setup



See also: http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/other20090531112802.png


2. You need to load the drivers again during the text based server installation process stage

a. You need to press F6 near the beginning of the text base server installation screen that says “Windows Setup” (blue background screen)



See also:


The Background:

I looked and looked – multiple searches over three days and never found a post on any forum that addresses this issue. Finally I found two separate posts by Ken Warren on social.microsoft.com that each contained half the solution. Thank you, oh knowledgeable Ken. However, in the process, I also found a whole group of forum posts where people had given up and resorted to a complete new install of WHS and therefore lost all their stored data.


So I am posting the solution on multiple forums with the hope of saving others days of frustration or resigned submission to losing all your stored data.

(This is one of those forums that I saw people resigned and giving up)

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If there are postings in our forums that you have found that would benefit from this solution, it would be nice to have a link added to those threads that point here.


edit - I see in 1 thread that you already linked it to your solution. Thanks for the help.

Edited by cskenney
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  • 1 month later...

I actually tried this today. I got all the way to the part where is asked me to put in a floppy disc. DOH! I forgot that WHS is server 2003 and that drivers can only be loaded from a floppy drive. And of course, I don't have one on my WHS.


I didn't want to figure out how to slipstream the drivers onto the WHS disc, so I went ahead with a clean install. Now I have 13 data pool drives to copy over. Yes, I'll be busy for the next few days.

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Is there a way to add the additional drives to the WHS install disc, so that other media is not required for these two driver steps? My theory would be to take my current install of WHS, extract the drivers being used, merge the drivers with the WHS install disc to create a new WHS Install disc with the drivers for my system already on the disc.


It seems like this would save some time.

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