Category Archives: Windows

Automated System Recovery (ASR) on Dell Poweredge 1600SC with SEAGATE DAT72 tape drive

Last week I managed successfully recover Windows 2003 Server from ASR prepared 3.5″ floppy disk and DAT72 tape.

The problem was that ASR precedure loads Windows default 4mm drivers for the tape drive and standard Windows drivers for SCSI adapter somehow did not work in conjunction with tape drive drivers from Dell.

I was getting the same error message over and over again to load a particular media (tape).

I also was not able to load tape driver pressing F6 procedure since Windows installation process was looking for txtsetup.oem file which did not exist in Dell driver package.

I might create a txtsetup.oem file if I knew how.

I don’t think that this problem exists on Dell servers only.

Dell technical support could not recommend me anything but eventually, googling out the Internet and checking notes from Quantum, Seagate and other DAT72 tape drives manufacturers I managed to figure out a procedure which gave me 100% positive results to make Automated System Recovery possible.

What do you need for success:

1. Windows 2003 server installation (reinstallation) CD

2. An original ASR 3.5″ floppy and a respective ASR backup tape.

3. A copmuter with a 3.5″ floppy drive and Internet access.

4. A couple of empty formatted 3.5″ floppy disks.

The Procedure:

1. Download the latest recommended drivers for your tape drive and SCSI controller the tape drive is connected from a manufacturer web site. I presume that Windows installation can recognise your hard disk controller as in my case. Otherwise, you wold need to download a driver for that controller as well.

In my case I’ve got drivers for PowerVault 100T DAT72 tape drive, LSI Logic Ultra 320 SCSI Adapter Non-RAID from the following page http://support.euro.dell.com/support/downloads/index.aspx?c=ie&l=en&s=gen

2. Extract SCSI adapter (LSI Logic) drivers to an empty 3.5″ disk and mark it “LSI Logic” or whatever you want to distinguosh it from all other disks.

3. Create a directory ‘SCSI’ on your computer and copy all files from just created “LSI Logic” disk to this directory. We will need them later.

4. Make a copy of you original ASR 3.5″ disk using any disk cloning program. I use built in Windows program by right-click on 3 1/2 Floppy (A:) and select ‘Copy Disk…’ from the menu.

5. Create a directory ‘DAT72’ on your computer and extract your DAT72 drivers to it.

6. Copy driver.inf, driver.sys and driver.cab to a root directory on your cloned 3.5″ disk. In my case the files were pvdatw2k.inf, pvdatw2k.cab and pvdatw2k.sys.
Note: Some drivers are shipped with several versions of .sys filed for different architectures. Make sure you chose the right one for you.

7. Add the following lines asr.sif file on the cloned 3.5″ disk after [DISKS.GPT] seection:

[INSTALLFILES]
1=1,””,”%FLOPPY%”,”pvdatw2k.sys”,”%TEMP%\pvdatw2k.sys”,”Dell”,0x00000026
2=1,””,”%FLOPPY%”,”pvdatw2k.inf”,”%TEMP%\pvdatw2k.inf”,”Dell”,0x00000026
3=1,””,”%FLOPPY%”,”pvdatw2k.cat”,”%TEMP%\pvdatw2k.cat”,”Dell”,0x00000026

Note: Replace ‘pvdatw2k’ with your driver file names.

8. Create a file winn.sif in a root directory on the cloned 3.5″ disk with the following lines:

[Data]
AutoPartition = 1
MsDosInitiated = 0
UnattendedInstall = Yes

[Unattended]
OemPreinstall = YES
OemFilesPath = a:\
OemPnPDriversPath = TEMP

9. Create a directory $OEM$\TEXTMODE on the cloned 3.5″ disk and put everything from ‘SCSI’ directory created at stage 3 to this new directory.

Note: Frankly speaking you need only *.inf, *.sys and *.cab files but I put everything to be safe.

10. Label the cloned 3.5″ disk as “ASR modified” and everything is ready to start Automated System Recovery on the server now.

Note: After this moment we do not use original ASR disk and keep it just in case we would need to make another copy of it.

11. Turn on the server and enter BIOS configuration to make sure the system will boot from a CD-ROM.

Note: For some reason ASR would not recognise tape for me if ASR disk is not in the drive when the server starts boot from the CD. Don’t ask why, I don’t know. Just would not work for me.

12. Put ASR modified disk and Windows installation CD into respective drives and boot the server brom the CD.

13. At the very beginning of Windows installation proccess press F6 when asked if you need to load additional disk drivers.

14. Then press F2 when asked to initialise Automated System Recovery.

15. Follow the instructions and put corresponnding disks when asked for a SCSI driver disk or ASR (modified) disk.

16. After system reboot do not press any key to boot from CD, let the process run.

17. You may be asked for a tape driver file at c:\temp\i386 or whatever. In that case just point to a needed file on the ASK modified disk or c:\temp directory.

18. Hopefully, It will work for you as it worked for me and you will be able to recover your system.

Note: Windows ASR tape contains only a system drive, usually C:. You would need additional backup tapes to restore your other drives.