Server crash, huge issues

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geddiesburg

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Apr 27, 2010
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Hey all,

I just started working at a new company over the last few months and taking care of everything has essentially fallen into my lap. This includes server issues and networking. The problem is everything has been done on the cheap and it's biting us in the bum now.

We are running a dell server running server 2003. It is basically a file server that we all are connected to through AD. It's not set up well at all, but it was functional. Last week it crashed a few times. On Thursday it crashed... we fired it back up and the drive with all of our files on them was unformatted. The owner kept telling me the drive was mirrored - but there were only two drives in the system - I kept saying that isn't possible. That is until I looked closer. The server had two 320gb drives mirrored. One partition was corrupt in the crash and was mirrored to the other drive.

The rub - I went to recover the drive - both are full of zeros... which isn't corruption right? It means it's been overwritten. No one has touched the system from within the office, so how can this happen? I would assume overwriting an entire drive takes time - this was a matter of maybe five minutes from the server crashing until I booted it back up. Is there any other way for this to happen? No one physically touched the computer. We all are logged into it, but just connect to the network drives that were set up. Is it possible that someone got into the network via wireless connection or internet? Is there any other option aside from someone physically clearing the drive and overwriting with zeros?

Apologies for the novel guys... one more question though

The owner wants to send the drives for data recovery - but when I disconnect the server from the network all of the users lose internet. It only comes back when internet is reconnected to the server. I don't know what information you need to diagnose this because I don't understand why it's happening. I've plugged one of the computers into the back of the router (instead of the switch) and still no internet until the server is reintroduced into the equation. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. The stress level here is fairly high. Thanks everyone
 
Joined
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I went to recover the drive - both are full of zeros... which isn't corruption right? It means it's been overwritten. No one has touched the system from within the office, so how can this happen?
It could be partition damage, You will need good recovery software to get your Data back, here is one of the best there is.
http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm

Is there any other option aside from someone physically clearing the drive and overwriting with zeros?
Not in 5 minutes.



Raid 1 is not a good backup strategy, I would run a single drive and use Acronis on a backup schedule to external usb drives. Use 2 or 3 usb drives, rotate them out, someone in the office should take the latest backup home with them every night. You can configure Acronis to do several incremental backups during the day. When disaster strikes the Acronis image can be restored to the hard drive in less than an hour.

http://www.acronis.com/backup-recovery/server-windows/


To get you back and running, I would install a new drive in the Server and reinstall the OS.

.

.
 

geddiesburg

Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
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Hey man, I can and will certainly do that. My fear with starting fresh is the entire network looses internet connectivity once the server is removed. I have no idea how everything is set up, some cluster company came in and did everything half heartedly. I am quickly reminded of a bird's nest when I look at the wiring and setup. Each computer is set up differently on the server.

Anyway, how do I keep the internet from dropping when the server is disconnected? It's connected into a switch along with all of the computers on the network which is fed by a d-link router and cable modem. Thanks a ton in advance
 
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Anyway, how do I keep the internet from dropping when the server is disconnected?
Hard to answer that, we would need to know how the network was configured, is it a Domain controller Server?

When you connected that PC to the router, did you reboot it and see if it connects to the internet then?
 

geddiesburg

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Apr 27, 2010
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7
Hey man,

Yes, turns out it's a domain controller server. That's a little out of my realm, I've never worked with one. Anyway, is there an easy way to get the internet going on each machine? I'm guessing I have to go into each and remove the domain connection then reboot and things should be good to go?

Thanks for all the help!
 
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I'm guessing that the old machine was either a DNS Server, DHCP Server, or both.

Do you get an ip on the clients if the server is offline? Can you navigate to a page by ip?
 

geddiesburg

Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
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7
It's all fairly old equipment, which is just fantastic! haha

No there is no ip given and can't navigate by ip
 
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Yes, on each machine you need to take it out of the domain and put it in a workgroup.

.
 

geddiesburg

Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
7
Ok so suggestion time (sorry to keep being handicapped on this)

What is going to be the best way to set this back up once I do a fresh install? The owner wants the OS and accounting software to be installed on one drive... on separate partitions. Then the second drive as file storage which backs up to external storage. He wants us to connect to the storage drive and have personal storage folders that only the individual workstation can get on. I'm thinking having it set up as a domain controller isn't a good idea because taking it offline takes all of our computers offline. Any suggestions? Since this isn't exactly something I do every day... or every other day for that matter - could you point me in a direction of a general guide on how to set it up? Thanks a ton guys again for everything.
 

geddiesburg

Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
7
Hey guys, I'm still unable to get the network working without the server. I have taken them out of the domain and added them to a workgroup, no dice. Any suggestions? Seems that not matter what I do the workstations want to connect to the domain. ipconfig while the server is plugged in with the workstation connecting to the workgroup - it's still pulling everything from the server. Once the server is removed I can't renew - I just get zeros.
 
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Oct 13, 2007
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probably Avisitor was right. Your server was a DHCP and DNS server. without these two the clients are not able to get correct ip addressess. You will have to setup a DHCP server, maybe you can configure this on the internet router. Futhermore the clients will need a default gateway and DNS servers to be able to resolve internet names/addresses to their corresponding public ip adresses.

If you can't setup a DHCP server of any kind, you will need to give the clients a static ip address, and fill in the internal ip adres of the router as default gateway. Use the external DNS servers of the routers as DNS servers for the client. It is not really a best practise this way, but it should work. (if you do it right :))
 
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Generally, in a small business type setup, I like to keep the router as the DHCP server just because it's less likely to go down. I usually also keep the ISP's DNS servers/OpenDNS as the backup DNS so that the network keeps working if the DC goes down.
 
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