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Disaster Recovery and Preparation

from Chapter 14, Microsoft Windows 2000 Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek.

Backups are only one part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. You also need to have Emergency Repair disks and Boot disks on hand to ensure that you can recover systems in a wide variety of situations. You may also need to install the Recovery Console.

When you set out to recover a system, you should follow these steps:

  1. Try to start the system in Safe Mode, as described in the section of this chapter entitled "Starting a System in Safe Mode."

  2. Try to recover the system using the Emergency Repair disk (if available). See the section of this chapter entitled "Using the Emergency Repair Disk to Recover a System."

  3. Try to recover the system using the Recovery Console. See the section of this chapter entitled "Working with the Recovery Console."

  4. Restore the system from backup. Be sure to restore the system state data as well as any essential files.

Creating an Emergency Repair Disk

The Emergency Repair disk can often help you recover a system that won't boot. This disk stores the essential system files, partition boot sector, and startup environment for a particular system. You should create a repair disk for each computer on the network, starting with Windows 2000 servers. Normally, you'll want to update this disk when you install service packs, manipulate the boot drive, or modify the startup environment.

Tip When you completed the installation of the operating system, basic recovery information was saved in the %SystemRoot%\Repair folder on the system partition. The Repair folder contains a copy of the local Security Account Manager (SAM) data and other essential system files. It doesn't contain a backup of the Windows registry. You should create a registry backup when you create the Emergency Repair disk.

You can create an Emergency Repair disk by completing the following steps:

  1. Start Backup. In the Welcome tab, click Emergency Repair Disk.

  2. When prompted as shown in Figure 14-9, insert a blank 3.5-inch, 1.44-MB disk into the floppy drive.

    Figure 14-9: Insert a blank disk at prompt. You can also back up the registry.

    Figure 14-9: Insert a blank disk at prompt. You can also back up the registry.
  3. If you want to back up the registry as well, select Also Backup The Registry To The Repair Directory. A backup of the Windows registry will then be made in the %SystemRoot%\Repair folder. If you need to restore the registry, you must use the Recovery Console.

  4. Click OK. When prompted, remove the disk and label it as an emergency repair disk for the system.

Creating Setup Boot Disks

You should create boot disks for each version of Windows 2000 running on the network. For example, if you're running Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server, you should create boot disks for both of these versions. You use the boot disks to start a system that won't boot so that you can use the Emergency Repair disk or the Recovery Console to fix the system.

Note: If all of your computers can boot from CD-ROM, you don't need the setup boot disks. Just insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM when starting the system.

To create boot disks, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Windows 2000 CD into the CD-ROM drive.

  2. Click the Start menu, and then click Run.

  3. In the Run dialog box, type h:\bootdisk\makeboot a: where h is the CD-ROM drive letter and a is the floppy drive letter. Click OK.

  4. You'll need four blank disks. When prompted, insert a blank 3.5-inch, 1.44-MB disk. Then press any key.

  5. When prompted, remove the disk and label it as 1 of 4. Repeat this procedure for the remaining disks.

Starting a System in Safe Mode

If a system won't boot normally, you can use Safe Mode to recover or troubleshoot system problems. In Safe Mode, Windows 2000 loads only basic files, services, and drivers. The drivers loaded include the mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, and base video. No networking services or drivers are started—unless you choose the Safe Mode With Networking option. Because Safe Mode loads a limited set of configuration information, it can help you troubleshoot problems. In most cases, you'll want to use Safe Mode before trying to use the Emergency Repair disk or the Recovery Console.

You start a system in Safe Mode by completing the following steps:

  1. Start (or restart) the problem system.

  2. During startup you should see a prompt labeled Please Select The Operating System To Start. Press F8.

  3. Use the arrow keys to select the Safe Mode you want to use, and then press Enter. The Safe Mode option you use depends on the type of problem you're experiencing. The key options you may see are

    • Safe Mode Loads only basic files, services, and drivers during the initialization sequence. The drivers loaded include the mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, and base video. No networking services or drivers are started.

    • Safe Mode With Command Prompt Loads basic files, services, and drivers, and then starts a command prompt instead of the Windows 2000 graphical interface. No networking services or drivers are started.

    • Safe Mode With Networking Loads basic files, services, and drivers, as well as services and drivers needed to start networking.

    • Enable Boot Logging Allows you to create a record of all startup events in a boot log.

    • Enable VGA Mode Allows you to start the system in Video Graphics Adapter (VGA) mode, which is useful if the system display is set to a mode that can't be used with the current monitor.

    • Last Known Good Configuration Starts the computer in Safe Mode using registry information that Windows 2000 saved at the last shutdown.

    • Directory Services Recovery Mode Starts the system in Safe Mode and allows you to restore the directory service. Option available on Windows 2000 domain controllers.

    • Debugging Mode Starts the system in debugging mode, which is only useful for troubleshooting operating system bugs.

  4. If a problem doesn't reappear when you start in Safe Mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers as possible causes. If a newly added device or updated driver is causing problems, you can use Safe Mode to remove the device or reverse the update.

Using the Emergency Repair Disk to Recover a System

When you can't start or recover a system in Safe Mode, your next step is to try to recover the system using the Emergency Repair disk. This disk comes in handy in two situations. If the boot sector or essential system files are damaged, you may be able to use the repair disk to recover the system. If the startup environment is causing problems on a dual or multi-boot system, you may be able to recover the system as well. You can't recover a damaged registry, however. To do that, you must use the Recovery Console.

You can repair a system using the Emergency Repair disk by completing the following steps:

  1. Insert the Windows 2000 CD or the first setup boot disk into the appropriate drive, and then restart the computer. When booting from a floppy disk, you'll need to remove and insert disks when prompted.

  2. When the Setup program begins, follow the prompts, and then choose the Repair Or Recover option by pressing R.

  3. If you haven't already done so, insert the Windows 2000 CD in the appropriate drive when prompted.

  4. Choose emergency repair by pressing R, and then do one of the following:

    • Press M For Manual Repair Select this option to choose whether you want to repair system files, the partition boot sector, or the startup environment. Only advanced users or administrators should use this option.

    • Press F For Fast Repair Select this option to have Windows 2000 attempt to repair problems related to system files, the partition boot sector, and the startup environment.

  5. Insert the Emergency Repair disk when prompted. Damaged or missing files are replaced with files from the Windows 2000 CD or from the %SystemRoot%\ Repair folder on the system partition. These replacement files will not reflect any configuration changes made after setup, and you may need to reinstall service packs and other updates.

  6. If the repair is successful, the system is restarted and should boot normally. If you still have problems, you may need to use the Recovery Console.

Working with the Recovery Console

The Recovery Console is one of your last lines of defense in recovering a system. The Recovery Console operates much like the command prompt and is ideally suited to resolving problems with files, drivers, and services. Using the Recovery Console, you can fix the boot sector and master boot record; enable and disable device drivers and services; change the attributes of files on FAT (file allocation table), FAT32, and NTFS volumes; read and write files on FAT, FAT32, and NTFS volumes; copy files from floppy or CD to hard disk drives; and run check disk and format drives.

The sections that follow discuss techniques you can use to work with the Recovery Console. As you'll learn, you can start the Recovery Console from the setup boot disks or you can install the Recovery Console as a startup option.

Installing the Recovery Console as a Startup Option

On a system with frequent or recurring problems, you may want to install the Recovery Console as a startup option. In this way, you don't have to go through the setup boot disks to access the Recovery Console. You can only use this option if the system is running. If you can't start the system, see the section of this chapter entitled "Starting the Recovery Console."

You install the Recovery Console as a startup option by completing the following steps:

  1. Insert the Windows 2000 CD into the CD-ROM drive.

  2. Click the Start menu, and then click Run. This displays the Run dialog box.

  3. Type h:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons in the Open field, where h is the CD-ROM drive letter.

  4. Click OK, and then when prompted, click Yes. The Recovery Console is then installed as a startup option.

Note: Normally, only administrators can install and run the Recovery Console. If you want normal users to be able to run the Recovery Console, you must enable the Auto Admin Logon policy for the local computer policy (Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Local Policies/Security Options/Auto Admin Logon).

Starting the Recovery Console

If a computer won't start and you haven't installed the Recovery Console as a startup option, you can start the computer and the Recovery Console by completing the following steps:

  1. Insert the Windows 2000 CD or the first setup boot disk into the appropriate drive, and then restart the computer. When booting from a floppy disk, you'll need to remove and insert disks when prompted.

  2. When the Setup program begins, follow the prompts, and then choose the Repair Or Recover option by pressing R.

  3. If you haven't already done so, insert the Windows 2000 CD into the appropriate drive when prompted.

  4. Choose Recovery Console by pressing C. When prompted, type the local administrator password.

  5. When the system starts, you'll see a command prompt into which you can type Recovery Console commands. Exit the console and restart the computer by typing exit.

Recovery Console Commands

The Recovery Console is run in a special command prompt. At this command prompt, you can use any of the commands summarized in Table 14-5.

Table 14-5 Recovery Console Commands

Command

Description

ATTRIB

Changes the attributes of a file or directory.

BATCH

Executes a series of commands set in a text file.

CD

Changes the current directory.

CHKDSK

Runs the Chkdsk utility to check the integrity of a disk.

CLS

Clears the screen.

COPY

Copies a single file to another location.

DEL

Deletes one or more files.

DIR

Displays a directory listing.

DISABLE

Disables a system service or a device driver.

DISKPART

Manages partitions on hard disk drives.

ENABLE

Starts or enables a system service or a device driver.

EXIT

Exits the Recovery Console and restarts your computer.

EXPAND

Expands a compressed file.

FIXBOOT

Writes a new partition boot sector.

FIXMBR

Repairs the master boot record.

FORMAT

Formats a disk.

HELP

Displays a list of Recovery Console commands.

LISTSVC

Lists the services and drivers available on the computer.

LOGON

Logs on to a Windows 2000 installation.

MAP

Displays drive letter mappings.

MD

Creates a directory.

MORE

Displays a text file one page at a time.

REN

Renames a single file.

RD

Removes a directory.

SET

Displays and sets environment variables.

SYSTEMROOT

Changes to the systemroot directory.

TYPE

Displays a text file.

Deleting the Recovery Console

If you installed Recovery Console as a startup option and no longer want this option to be available, you can delete the Recovery Console. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start Windows Explorer, and then select the hard disk drive on which you installed the Recovery Console. This is normally the boot drive.

  2. From the Tools menu, select Folder Options.

  3. In the View tab, select Show Hidden Files And Folders, and then clear the Hide Protected Operating System Files check box. Click OK.

  4. The right pane should show the root directory for the boot drive. Delete the Cmdcons folder and the Cmldr file.

  5. Right-click the Boot.ini file, and then click Properties.

  6. In the Properties dialog box, clear the Read-Only check box. Then click OK.

  7. Open Boot.ini in Notepad. Then remove the startup entry for the Recovery Console. The entry looks like this:

    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Recovery Console" /cmdcons
    
  8. Save the Boot.ini file, and then change its property settings back to read-only.

Once deleted, the Recovery Console is no longer listed as a startup option. You can reinstall the console if you need to at a later date or run the console as described in the "Starting the Recovery Console" section of this chapter.

Managing Media Pools

Collections of tapes are organized into media pools. The tasks you use to work with media pools are explained in the following sections.

Understanding Media Pools

You manage media pools through the Removable Storage node in Computer Management. With Removable Storage all media belongs to a pool of a specific media type. The concept of a media pool is very dynamic. Libraries can have multiple media pools, and some media pools can span multiple libraries.

You can also use media pools to establish a hierarchy in which top-level media pools contain lower-level media pools and these media pools in turn contain collections of tapes or discs.

Removable Storage categorizes media pools into types. The different types of media pools are

  • Unrecognized Media pools containing media that Removable Storage doesn't recognize, as well as new media that hasn't been written to yet. To make Unrecognized media available for use, move the media to the Free media pool. If you eject the media before doing this, the media are automatically deleted from the Removable Storage database and no longer tracked.

  • Free Media pools containing media that aren't currently in use and don't contain useful data. These media are available for use by applications.

  • Import Media pools containing media that Removable Storage recognizes but that haven't been used before in a particular Removable Storage system. For example, if you're transferring media from one office to another, the media may be listed as Import. To reuse the media at the new location, move the media to Free media or Application media pools.

  • Application Media pools containing media that are allocated to and controlled by an application, such as Windows 2000 Backup. Members of the Administrators and the Backup Operators groups can control Application media pools as well. You can configure Application media pools to automatically draw media from Free media pools, as necessary. Once they're allocated, you can't move Application media between media pools.

Free, Unrecognized, and Import media pools are referred to as system media pools. Unlike Application media pools that you can delete, you can't delete system media pools.

Preparing Media for Use in the Free Media Pool

If media have information that you don't need anymore, you can initialize the media and prepare them for use in the Free media pool. When you do this, you destroy the information on the media and move the media to the Free media pool.

To prepare media for the Free media pool, follow these steps:

  1. In Computer Management, access Removable Storage, and then double-click Physical Locations.

  2. Expand the library and the library's Media folder by double-clicking them.

  3. Right-click the media you want to prepare, and then click Prepare.

  4. Confirm the action by clicking Yes.

Moving Media to a Different Media Pool

You can move media to a different media pool to make it available for use or to allocate it to an application. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. In Computer Management, access Removable Storage, and then double-click Physical Locations.

  2. Expand the library and the library's Media folder by double-clicking them.

  3. In the Details pane, drag the media you want to move to the applicable media pool in the console tree.

Caution: Moving media to the Free media pool destroys the data on the media. Additionally, you can't move read-only media to the Free media pool.

Creating Application Media Pools

The only type of media pool you can create is an Application media pool. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In Removable Storage, right-click Media Pools, and then click Create Media Pool. Or right-click an existing Application media pool and then click Create Media Pool.

  2. In the Create New Media Pool Properties dialog box, type a name and description of the media pool.

  3. If the media pool will contain other media pools, select Contains Other Media Pools. Otherwise, click Contains Media Of Type, and select an appropriate media type from the list.

  4. Complete the process by clicking OK. As necessary, allocate media and configure security. These procedures are described in the "Setting Allocation and Deallocation Policies" and "Setting Access Permissions for Removable Storage" sections of this chapter.

Changing the Media Type in a Media Pool

Each media pool can only contain one type of media. The media type is normally assigned when you create the media pool, but you can change the media type, provided no media is currently assigned to the media pool.

To change the media type, follow these steps:

  1. In Removable Storage, double-click Media Pools.

  2. Right-click the media pool you want to work with, and then select Properties.

  3. In the General tab, select Contains Media Of Type, and then select an appropriate media type from the list. Click OK.

Setting Allocation and Deallocation Policies

You can configure Application media pools to automatically allocate and deallocate Free media. By enabling this process, you ensure that when an application needs media, the application can obtain it. Then, when the media is no longer needed, it can be returned to the Free media pool.

You configure allocation and deallocation of media by completing the following steps:

  1. In Removable Storage, double-click Media Pools.

  2. Right-click the media pool you want to work with, and then select Properties. This media pool must contain media of a specific type and can't be a container for other media pools.

  3. In the General tab, use the following check boxes under Allocation/Deallocation Policy to control media allocation:

    • Draw Media From Free Media Pool Select this option to automatically draw unused media from a Free media pool when needed.

    • Return Media To Free Media Pool Select this option to automatically return media to a Free media pool when no longer needed.

    • Limit Reallocations Select this option if you want to limit the number of times that tapes or discs can be reused. Then use the Reallocations field to set a specific limit.

  4. Click OK.

Deleting Application Media Pools

In Removable Storage, you delete Application media pools by right-clicking them and selecting Delete. Do this only if you no longer need the media pool.

Note: You shouldn't delete Application media pools created by Windows 2000, such as Backup and Remote Storage. These are used by the operating system.

from Microsoft Windows 2000 Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek. Copyright © 1999 Microsoft Corporation.

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