History Post Series – SBS DR Process & Resizing With IT

The Historical Post Series are writings I produced in my former blog on Live Spaces and due their value are being reposted here.  Hope you enjoy these.

To Resize an SBS 2003 System Partition
…Without Having to Flatten & Rebuild It

originally posted February 2006

In June of 2005 I embraced this scenario, an SBS system drive, C: , was out of room and I needed to resize it if only I could take free space from the adjacent partition.

I fully researched this situation to find out what others surely had done when faced with this same obstacle.  What I learned was that no one had any documented way of doing this, but only friendly advice such as “How about you use Partition Magic?”.  Below I record what I learned and how I did what I eventually chose to complete the task.

In the end I successfully implemented a resizing strategy process, and have come to the following two conclusions:

1) If you insist on using the software solution to resize your partitions on your server the only product that states it supports Windows 2003 (**editor note:  at the time of this writing – more now see link below) is by Paragon; it is called Partition Manager.  Partition Magic is a desktop product and its big brother Server Magic is out of step with Windows 2003, in fact it is no longer sold.  You can look at Paragon’s FAQ for a nice “competitive upgrade” discount if you own a product like Partition Magic.  If you use this solution, then the resulting drive conditions will not be supported by Microsoft as this is not a supported solution. 

The software side of this equation here:  https://duitwithsbs.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/historical-post-series-software-for-partition-resizing-on-sbs-2003/

2) If you want a Microsoft supported solution you can implement what I did, a planned disaster recovery (DR).  After all, can you afford to risk having the software puke and turn the server into a mess that Microsoft won’t help you dig yourself out of?  The Microsoft documented procedure for a DR is designed to replace a broken hard drive.  The replacement HD might be of a different size and so the procedure takes this into account.  As it works on new drives, your unbroken current drive will do just fine also.  The very most important fundamental consideration for this to work is that the size of the data on the data partition must be smaller than the new size of the now smaller data partition.  This last statement assumes that you only have a C: (system) and D: (data) partition in which to make C: bigger D: must give up some real estate. If you have other data partitions the same principal applies. The system partition gets larger so it isn’t affected in this context.

A very concise summary of the process is:

· make confirmed valid backups (notice the plural “s”)

· print out the SBS DR instructions from the Help, the Online Help, KB’s, the Microsoft Getting Started OS book that comes with boxed media, …etc (the important thing is that you gather your documentation beforehand and READ it and feel comfortable you grasp every aspect – if you are like me you’ll need a little help the first time reading it).  Since these resources were written at different times you’ll have to sort through the steps and figure out what it the most current solution and the one you obviously will want to use.  I ended up having to reference more than one.

· remove all HD partitioning (virtual disaster)

· begin DR – Insert Disk 1 of the SBS media set and install the base Windows 2003 Server OS creating the system partition (! using the exact same drive partition naming you had before) only at the size you wish (20GB recommended in the post SP-1 world)

· when the SBS install window pops up close it and break the process at this point – you have the base install of Server 2003 poised there

· through the Windows 2003 Server UI go to Disk Management and create your remaining partitioned space (! using the exact same naming and letter you had before)

· now follow along with the DR instructions (the ones you printed out from the SBS help beforehand) and remember to install Windows 2003 SP1 if it was on the server previously when you made the backups you will be restoring (read the instructions on this topic).  The issue of SP1 offers some variations.  You can either load Windows Server 2003 RTM and then run the SP1 separately or you can take a shortcut and combine the steps by using slipstreamed Win2k3 SP1 media.  Of course if your media for the original installation is SP1 than that doesn’t apply to you (only to the older pre-SP1 Win2k3 media)

· you blast back your SBS backup thru NTBACKUP (following the documentation steps) and voilà it’s all sorted and functioning and still supported by MS.  Your AD is intact and healthy, your Exchange Store is all set and still a single instance, your users’ redirected documents and shared files and folders all work, and your SharePoint sites are up and ready to go as they were before.  The remote RWW & VPN folks can connect in and get to work.  You have lots of free space for the current patching needs and plenty more for a future SP, patch …etc.

Yeah!!  Congratulations

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