Tryint to test BMR on a windows 2019 server

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Sorry, I can't seem to edit the title, and I didn't notice that "TRYING" was mispelled

I have an old Dell PE 2950.
I have a RAID 50 built with on a H700 with six 600GB drives.
The 2019 OS is installed on the RAID 50, on 1 partition.

I use the WBAdmin BMR to generate a full system backup to my internal MOBO SATA 4TB drive (Not part of the raid).

I am trying to launch a BMR recovery.
If I use the 2019 USB OS install disk, OR the USB recovery drive I made (with system settings) to boot the PC:

I click Troubleshoot>Advanced options>System Image Recovery>Windows server.

The recovery wizard does not see the SATA drive, and says "Windows cannot find a system image on this computer"

In command prompt (still booted to the USB disc, it sees all of my drives, including my Internal MOBO SATA 4TB BMR drive, and my RAID OS drive.

I am at a loss as to how to get the BRM recovery wizard to begin to rebuild my server OS drive???
Please forgive me if I missed any crucial info.
Thanks for all who help!
JW


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23 Replies

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adrian_ych
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You should have a bootable disc created using your BMR software which would contain some of the drivers etc.

Then are you sure server 2019 can run on PE2950 ?

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Lucid Flyer
Habanero
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Lucid Flyer

What are the available settings for the SATA controller in the BIOS? Did you try adjusting them?

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JohnWulf
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adrian_ych

I do not have such a disk. I will look to see if I can make one!!! Thanks for that insight.

Yes I have bee running server 2019 on the Dell PE 2950 for about 6 months now. Yes I had to frankenstein the machine some, but it is working except for one small problem with the RAID, which I am trying to repair, but I want to make sure I can do  disaster recovery before I attempt my repairs.

I will get back to you with my results!

Lucid Flyer

The available settings are (From Memory) ATA mode, and RAID mode, and the options to set the ports to auto or off. It is a single SATA drive, so it is set to Auto. And as I mentioned the command prompt in the same boot (OS install disc) sequence, DOES see the SATA BMR drive and files.

Thanks JW

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· · ·
Lucid Flyer
Habanero
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Lucid Flyer

You probably know that 2950 is not supported for Windows 2019.
Were you able to install Windows 2019 directly on it or was it an in-place upgrade from 2016 or an earlier version?
Is that a production environment that you trying to restore? Do you have the capacity to perform BMR on VM?

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JohnWulf
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Lucid Flyer

Yes I am aware that W2019 is not supported on PE2950.

Yes it is a production machine.

No I have limited experience with VM's and I don't really want to add that layer of complexity to my small mom and pop environment, with VERY limited needs.

Thanks JW

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adrian_ych
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The PE 2950 have a OS installation media kit which you would use to start up the server and then it will later ask you to insert the Windows Server media for you to install the OS.

If you are using BMR, the backup software would have something similar that you need to create with the BMR software on that server as well. In some cases, the BMR boot media can only work with that server only as it would contain the required drivers (in this case RAID adapter drivers) and also the UNC paths to the backup repositories.

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adrian_ych
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JohnWulf wrote:

I use the WBAdmin BMR to generate a full system backup to my internal MOBO SATA 4TB drive (Not part of the raid).

If by WBadmin....you mean Windows Server Backup or WSB....then good luck to you.....you might be the 5% that can get it to work ....especially on hardware that did not support the OS.

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JohnWulf
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adrian_ych

Yes I am using Windows server backup. Yes I am realizing that it is an adventure :-)

I just can't figure out how to get the windows recovery to see my BMR data.

When I boot to the windows recovery environment, the command prompt see my BMR data, but the recovery option does not...

The WBAdmin software sees it when full windows is booted, but I can't recover the RAID drive in my server that I am booting from...So that does not help me...

I think my solution will be to make my ESATA bootable with W10 or W2019, and then also make it the repository for my Windows backup BMR's. Then I can boot from my ESATA, and be able to recover my RAID OS drive...

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JohnWulf
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adrian_ych

Also the windows BMR does not give me an option to create a bootable media.

Thanks

JW

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adrian_ych
Mace
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JohnWulf wrote:

adrian_ych

Also the windows BMR does not give me an option to create a bootable media.

Thanks

JW

I always get shot down when I say WSB is not a proper backup software.....

All I can tell you is to reinstall the OS & applications, then use the backup data set to try to recover the data after Windows Server is up.

Please use a proper backup software like Veeam agent for Windows "free" to backup the server and also to create the Veeam "bootable" recovery media.

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· · ·
Lucid Flyer
Habanero
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Lucid Flyer

JohnWulf wrote:

Lucid Flyer

Yes I am aware that W2019 is not supported on PE2950.

Yes it is a production machine.

No I have limited experience with VM's and I don't really want to add that layer of complexity to my small mom and pop environment, with VERY limited needs.

Thanks JW

Are you able to install a basic Windows 2019 using the installation DISK on the server?
Did you try using the restore option of Windows Backup after installation is complete?

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adrian_ych
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Lucid Flyer wrote:

JohnWulf wrote:

Lucid Flyer

Yes I am aware that W2019 is not supported on PE2950.

Yes it is a production machine.

No I have limited experience with VM's and I don't really want to add that layer of complexity to my small mom and pop environment, with VERY limited needs.

Thanks JW

Are you able to install a basic Windows 2019 using the installation DISK on the server?
Did you try using the restore option of Windows Backup after installation is complete?

For Dell PE2950, OP will need the Dell OS install Media which will boot the server and then have a wizard/GUI to choose OS to install and also configure the HDD then it will ask for the OS media. 

Else booting from the OS media would need additional drivers to see the RAID adapter (or press F5 or F8 during OS install boot up), if not cannot see drives.

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Supaplex
Ghost Chili
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While Windows Server Backup is free and comes built into the OS, it is definitely not the best option for backup and restores, especially if you have to restore to different hardware. I would highly recommend you use free Veeam Agent https://www.veeam.com/windows-endpoint-server-backup-free.html for that purpose.

Storing backup inside the same physical machine does not make much sense and is against the 3-2-1 rule of backup https://www.vmwareblog.org/3-2-1-backup-rule-data-will-always-survive/. Consider replacing your 4TB drive with an external HDD or move the existing disk to the USB enclosure. Another copy to some different device or cloud is a valid option as well.

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Lucid Flyer
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Lucid Flyer

Supaplex wrote:

While Windows Server Backup is free and comes built into the OS, it is definitely not the best option for backup and restores, especially if you have to restore to different hardware. I would highly recommend you use free Veeam Agent https://www.veeam.com/windows-endpoint-server-backup-free.html for that purpose.

Storing backup inside the same physical machine does not make much sense and is against the 3-2-1 rule of backup https://www.vmwareblog.org/3-2-1-backup-rule-data-will-always-survive/. Consider replacing your 4TB drive with an external HDD or move the existing disk to the USB enclosure. Another copy to some different device or cloud is a valid option as well.

Any backup software uses the same VSS as Windows Backup, there is simply no other way around it, as much as I know. Under the hood, they all utilize the same calls, just different writers.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/storage/file-server/volume-shadow-copy-service
And I can attest to the fact that by performing a backup using Windows Backup you can restore to ANY system, as long as it runs the same OS.
This requires installation of the OS that matches the OS on the backup image and then performing restore using the Windows Backup.
The backup data can be loaded over the network, and once restore processes is competes, the system reboots and at the initial start of the OS, the system would start auto-installing various drivers for the detected, different hardware.

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Supaplex
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Lucid Flyer wrote:

And I can attest to the fact that by performing a backup using Windows Backup you can restore to ANY system, as long as it runs the same OS.

I had a different experience several times with Windows Backup where it just failed to restore, throwing some 0x[...] errors that I could barely google or find inside Microsoft's documentation. The level of frustration in those situations when business is down and you have to restore ASAP is pretty hard to describe. Luckily, Windows Server backups are stored within regular VHD containers, so getting the most critical data after rebuilding the server is usually not an issue. But I wouldn't call that a reliable option and try to avoid using it at all costs. And I have seen many people with similar experiences here at Spiceworks as well, so it's not something personal or specific either.

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Lucid Flyer
Habanero
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Lucid Flyer

It probably would be quite redundant to say this, but building DR processes is an equally, if not more critical step to selecting correct backup software and schedules.
In 95% of the cases when a claim is made to how awesome backup is implemented, to the question of if the restore and recovery were tested, a blank and empty look is observed. For some reason investing resources and time into building and testing proper restore and recovery processes are either forgotten or viewed as something obvious that somehow magically should work without an issue during restore. This is NEVER the case.


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JohnWulf
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Thanks to all who are contributing on this.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

This server is our one and only server for this mom and pop small shop.

This machine has not yet failed, but is throwing a consistent error on one drive bay on the raid array, and replacing the drive is not resolving the errors. This is why I am working on my OS and data restore from BMR, before the machine fails completely.

I do have another straight copy of my data on another ESATA drive, that runs daily, completely separate from my BMR backup.

I do not have a spare server, or a spare set of 6 drives to try and do a full OS and data recovery, but I do have 2 spare drives I could use for s OS recovery test.

I will try my option of making the ESAT bootable with a full 2019 OS install on it, and having the BMR's stored there.

While doing that I will look at Veem and see if that is a better solution going forward...

Thanks all for ALL of the wisdom and advice provided here!!!

JW

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JohnWulf
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12-2021 UPDATE

I am doing these steps to TEST my OS recovery prior to actually needing it. I have Successfully used Windows BMR to recover my Win 2019 Server OS onto another drive. Here are the steps I went through to recover my OS and get it booted and running on a physically different drive in the same physical server. My environment is the same as before, a Dell PE2950 with an H700 internal controller.

I have a bootable thumb drive with the Win Server 2019 Eval loaded on it. I have also created an ESATA bootable 2019 drive with a FULL OS install on it, that I use exclusively for recovering my OS. I also have a USB BMR data drive, where I store my BMR images.

HOW TO RECOVER BMR backup:

1                    OS RECOVERY:

a.      Power down the server, put a new OS drive into Bay 1. (I am  using a 480GB Kingston SSD drive)

                                                              i.      Remove any DATA drives from the server, so as not to accidentally overwrite them.

                                                            ii.      Power on the server and CTRL +R to get into the RAID card controller, and build and quick initialize the new OS drive.

b.      Take the OS Install thumb dive from the safe, and connect it to the server.

                                                              i.      Make sure nothing but the new OS boot drive, and the OS Install thumb drive are the only 2 drives connected to the server.

                                                            ii.       Boot to the OS install thumb drive Using the F11 menu. Choose the USB drive.

1.      Select Windows Server 2019 > Next> Install Now button.

2.      Choose the OS version> Accept the EULA> Next.

3.      Choose custom install windows advanced

a.      Choose the CORRECT Drive, should be only one visible, and it should be drive 0.

                                                                                                                                      i.       At this point I make a partition that is LESS than the whole drive, but just slightly larger than the partition that contains my current OS drive.This is so I have future room to expand the OS drive in case Windoz screws me and bloats up in my drive.

                        ii click next to let Windows install to it.

b.      Let windows completely install and reboot several times.

c.      Set the Administrator password, but I won't need it. The entire purpose of these steps is to prepare the NEW OS drive to be bootable and to accept my BMR recovery.

d.      Log into the OS, just power down the Server.

e.      Remove the thumb drive

                                                          iv.      Take the ESATA BMR Recovery drive and connect it to the server.

1.      Boot the server, and press F11 to get into the boot menu.

2.      Make sure to boot to the ESTA BMR bootable recovery drive.

3.      Login with U and P for this drive.

4.       Power on the USB BMR Recovery (Data) drive.

5.      Run the BMR application.

                                                            v.      Click “Local Backup” in the list on the left>  Click “Recover” in the list on the right>  Select “A backup stored on another location”>  select “Local drives”

                                                          vi.      In the “Backup location” select the drop down to highlight the UBS BMR drive> Click Next

                                                          vii.      Choose the Servers data to recover from the list. Typically, this will be my server name

1.      Select the Date to recover

2.      Select volumes> Put a checkmark next to the backup of the C OS drive, and assign it to the corresponding location of the new OS drive. I sized my new OS partition to be less than the whole drive, and just slightly larger than the size of the BMR backed up OS drive.

   a.  I don't do anything to recover my system state, or the system partition that is created by windows server 2019 BEFORE the large OS drive.

                b. If the software complains that destination volume is not large enough, use computer management to make it bigger.

                                                        viii.      Confirm the recovery and let it copy the data.

                                                            ix.      Close the BMR program and power down the server.

                                                            x.      Remove the USB BMR data drive, and the ESATA BMR Bootable drives from the server (or power them off).

                                                            xi.      Boot into the new OS drive and login.

                                                          xii.      Go to Computer Management, and reduce the size of the C Srvr 2019 OS drive to 307250 (300GB).

                                                        xiii.      Then make a partition using all of the leftover space, no drive letter, but format it, and call it FUTURE OS space.


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Supaplex
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JohnWulf wrote:

12-2021 UPDATE

Am I the only one who thinks that the process of installing an entire OS before even starting to recover the actual data is just ridiculous?

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JohnWulf
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Supaplex

Nope, your not, but S2019 was a relatively easy install, AND it provides me an immediate alternative to get my server booted back up during a disaster, so not a bad thing at all in my book.

But you are right, this has become a very long process just to prove I can recover my data, but I could not find any other way to make the windows BMR process work, and I also tried looking at products like Veeam, Comodo, and others, but NONE of them worked for me. Either they did not do what I wanted done, they did not make sense, or they simply didn't function.

Take Veeam, I go to their website, I click download free trial, I sign up, and it takes me to a page where the ONLY option is to "TRY" their paid version. I could not find a free download version to save my life, and I legitimately tried. I also needed to learn a whole new language with Veeam, like understanding what a workload was, etc... I am sure once you know it, as you do, it is easy and intuitive, but for an outsider, it was WAY more than I wanted to get into just to backup one small mom and pop server.

I found a way to make what I could already do, or easily learn a few missing pieces, to make it work. Granted it was a lot of time spent on trial and error, but it works for me, and I didn't have to pay a dime!

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Supaplex
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JohnWulf wrote:

Take Veeam, I go to their website, I click download free trial, I sign up, and it takes me to a page where the ONLY option is to "TRY" their paid version. I could not find a free download version to save my life, and I legitimately tried.

Probably you have selected the wrong page/product since the free ones clearly state "Download Now / Get Free Version" https://www.veeam.com/windows-endpoint-server-backup-free.html.

I found a way to make what I could already do, or easily learn a few missing pieces, to make it work. Granted it was a lot of time spent on trial and error, but it works for me, and I didn't have to pay a dime!

Glad to hear you have your problem sorted. Just make sure you can restore your data to different hardware or virtual machine in case your existing server dies.

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JohnWulf
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Supaplex

Yah Veeam may say its free, but they work overtime to get you to pay.

The DL link on the page that you referenced, takes you to a sign up form. I sign up, then they email me a link to confirm, I confirm, then there is a link to a free download page: https://www.veeam.com/downloads.html?ad=top-sub-menu

That page is the download page, and if I scroll down, EVERY LINK to download says free trial, including the link for Veeam backup and replication.... (see picture)

There was a second email that had some verbiage in it about free license for the community edition, and a download link for that, but then I had to DL and ISO version. I don't have a drive in my server, or the software to burn ISO to disk. I am sure I could have figured out how to make the ISO into a bootable thumb drive, but at that point I was fed up with all the BS they put me through. They were successful: they made the free software so hard to find and so unavailable to ME, that I gave up.

Capture_6.JPG Capture_6.JPG (62.4 KB)
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Supaplex
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JohnWulf wrote:

That page is the download page, and if I scroll down, EVERY LINK to download says free trial, including the link for Veeam backup and replication.... (see picture)

It would help if you switched to the [Free/Community] tab first at the top of the download page. It contains all the free products with the invitation to download them.

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