Weird Windows 2000 Server problem

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Roymus

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We're a small company running Windows 2000 Small Business Server (SBS) and MS Exchange on a Compaq 350 server with two 72GB drives (one is a mirror, no RAID). We've had a recurring problem with the server hanging on startup. What it will do is display the Windows 2000 startup screen. The progress bar will get exactly 3/4 of the way through (what I call the "line of death"), and will stop. It looks like it's still loading as the "progress shading" at the very bottom is still changing, but nothing is happening. Repeated reboots after about 10 minutes don't help. The only fix is to shut down and pop the mirror drive out of the bay, then restart...the server will then start. This has happened several times already. We replaced the mirror drive after the first time, and everything seemed ok for awhile, but then it happened again. Popping out the mirror drive once again fixed the problem. The mirror drive is 100% healthy according the the disk management screen. Has anybody ever heard of anything like this? Is my server just a POS? Any ideas at all would be appreciated...thanks!
 
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If it boots without the mirror drive, it sounds like it's having problems initializing the drive. Have you used the drive manufacturers utilities to check the drive? Sounds like your either having a faulty disk controller, or your having data corruption errors on the mirror drive.
 
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I would break the mirror and try each drive by itself...change the SCSI ID. To see if it is corrupt. If you find one or the other to be faulty re-fdisk it and create the mirror of the known good drive. It really sounds like the mirror is bad. Are both drives of the exact same size? Check the models for any difference in capacity. You might also want to check them out with some non destructive disk diags. BTW...do a backup or make a ghost image of your dives before doing any of this.
 

Roymus

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Dec 4, 2003
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Let me add an additional question: Is there any way, using a diagnostic utility or software tool, to see what's happening to the server during the bootup process? For example, on a Windows 9x workstation you can simply press ESC to dismiss the Windows logo screen and see what's going on "behind the scenes". I'm looking for something similar for Windows Server. I've tried replacing drives, etc., and this problem keeps occurring, at the EXACT SAME POINT in the bootup process. I feel certain that if I could just identify what point that is...whether it's a bad driver or service or whatever...I could identifiy the problem's root cause and then get the appropriate help from Compaq to solve. I would rather do this than start replacing individual components, as this may never reveal what the problem was in the first place. There must be some way to see what's going on behind the curtain...thanks!

Roy
 
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If it is on a RAID controller I would also suspect the drivers. If the OS isn't using the correct drivers and the array isn't set up correctly you can get data corruption since this is a software RAID setup. See what happens running them un-mirrored during a reboot process. You are referring to seeing the ROM bootup process. Load the machine up in safe mode once and you will be able to see all of the drivers loading during startup and you can use that as a diagnostic tool. Do your error logs point to anything as far as services?
 

Roymus

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Dec 4, 2003
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Thanks for the tip on safe mode, I'll look into that. Sorry about the cross post on the other forum...I was desperate.

Roy
 
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