I recently tried to install Desktop Experience on SBS 2008 to enable some of the advanced features of WSS 3.0 such as exploring content with Windows Explorer, saving directly to document libraries from Microsof Office, and browsing the site directories. I made the mistake of applying this feature addition while other server upgrades were going on, namely an upgrade to the latest BIOS. This was a mistake- make sure you enable this feature and reboot when nothing else is pending on the server, such as a reboot from other upgrades. 

Desktop Experience Feature

Desktop Experience Feature


Anyhow, after the reboot the server was trashed. Couldnt get into Windows, no safe mode- nothing. So I had to perform a full server restore. Being as I have had to restore the server twice with major failures requiring a format, I was hesitant to do this. The good news is that it all went seamlessly.

Since the server was going to be offline, and it was during a work day- my office needed internet connection. I did this easily by logging into the router and enabling DHCP with the default settings. Now- time to fix this box.

I rebooted the server with the Windows SBS2008 CD in the CD rom Drive. I then entered the BIOS by pressing F2, and changed some of the boot options, which had been reset to default. I chose to try to boot CD-Rom first, then the RAID HDD, then Network Boot. I disabled USB boot, because the HP Proliant servers have issued with having backup devices attached while booting. I did make sure USB support was enabled though.

After I re-booted again and hit a key to boot from the CD, I entered into Windows Restore. I selected Comple PC Restore. At this point I have none of my devices attached, not even the network. My RAID uses Embedded G5 RAID Controller software, which did not exist. So I plugged in my USB drive with the drivers on it, and clicked load drivers. I then selected my RAID driver, and then selected the now showing Windoes Server 2008 installation.

It did a quick search coming back that there were no backup devices attached- good. You don’t want them attached untill this point. I plugged in my 1Tb external HDD and hit retry a couple of times. A dialog box then appears allowing you to select a backup. I left this alone, as the most recent one was the one I was seeking. Note: Windows Time is not loaded at this time, so the time stamp on the backup will be offset by your timezone. I hit next.

Now it asks you what sort of restore you wish. I was nervous about the Format and Reinstall from backup options, so I went with restore these drives instead. I clicked advanced options and made sure I was restoring the system partition C:, as well as D:, which contains my Exchange and Sharepoint Databases. I left out A:, an alternate backup device. I then clicked restore, and let her run. One hour and forty-one minutes later I had a rebooting server. The first thing I did w3as go in and disable Windows Update temporarily untill I made sure everything was stable. I plugged in the network cable, and changed DHCP off of the router back to the server, and gave it a few minutes to sync up.I then ran some file level backups- since the server was restored, several workstations saved important files onto the server, such as medical billing claims and accounting Quickbooks backups. After these were restored, I ran SBS2008 BPA and Exchange2007 BPA to check for errors. I also had to rerun the Fix my Internet Wizard and also reconfigured my external domain name.

I used this site to double check against during my backup, they do a good job of explaining it.