Shuffling Data Between Server Drives

Shuffling data round server drives is one of those tasks that really scares the hell out of me. The thought of trashing gigs and gigs of incredibly important information does not sit well with me. The guide below will hopefully help you to not fall for some of the pitfalls I have succumb to in my experience.

Sure there are always backups but none the less all system administrators know that once you have to go back to a backup of your system drive you are looking at 1-2 days till you are fully up and running again.

No doubt all the MSCE's out there are flaming me about ASR as they read this, but the fact of the matter is ASR sucks, it has let me down way more than it has helped me. A good Ghost image of the whole drive is what is necessary to totally ensure you are not going to miss anything in your backup.

Preparation :

  1. Check, re-check and re-re-check that you have a full backup of the data you are about to move.
  2. Print out disk management (in MMC) screen to ensure mount points / drive lettering etc. can be remembered.
  3. Quota lists should be exported from the old drive and imported onto the new one. You do this by right clicking on the drive and going to properties. Then go to the quota tab and into the quota entries list. Then File-> export. On the new drive repeat the process except File->import.

The Partitions :

Up to 4 primary partitions allowed on one drive. After this use an extended partition with logical DOS drives in it. Primary partitions are the only ones that Windows can boot off. you don't necessarily have to create a Primary partition. Your drive will work fine with no Primary partitions, long as it's not the only hard drive in your system. You need only one Primary partition per system. All other drives can be comprised entirely of Logical DOS drives in Extended partitions. With that said, each hard drive normally has one Primary partition.

Windows assigns drive letters like so:
1st -> Primary partition of Primary-master
Next -> Primary partition of Primary-slave
Next -> Primary partition of Secondary-master
Next -> Primary partition of Secondary-slave
Next -> Primary partition on SCSI ID 0
Next -> Primary partition on SCSI ID 1 (and so on, until all Primary partitions for all SCSI IDs are assigned)
Next -> All Logical DOS drives of partitions on Primary-master
Next -> All Logical DOS drives of partitions on Primary-slave
Next -> All Logical DOS drives of partitions on Secondary-master
Next -> All Logical DOS drives of partitions on Secondary-slave
Next -> All Logical DOS drives of partitions on SCSI ID 0
Next -> All Logical DOS drives of partitions on SCSI ID 1 (and so on, until all drive letters are assigned to all Logical DOS drives on all SCSI IDs).

If you install your OS to a SCSI drive, before installing any IDE drives, and make it your *active* partition, the primary partition on your SCSI drive becomes your C: drive. If you later add an IDE drive, your SCSI drive will remain your C_drive, even tho you have a primary partition on your primary-master drive. I have never done this, but this is what I've been told.

Set up all your partitions on the destination drive before continuing. There is nothing worse than forgetting to create a partition and having to start all over again.

The Copying :

Use robocopy.exe (or similar) to copy data because it remembers all file info including permissions etc. You can download robocopy from here.

Syntax : Robocopy.exe /E /S /NP /copyall /R:2 /W:1 source_drive destination_drive.

I also recommend using a log file (with the /log:) switch so that you can review any errors that may have occured during the copy.

Verifying the operation :

I normally verify the operation by going to the root of both the source and destination drive, selecting all and right click -> properties. From here you will notice the number of files and folders. From here I compare the number of files/folders on each drive and if they are equal in number I am happy.