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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:39 pm 
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How to Safely Align a Misaligned Partition on an Advanced Format (4K Sector) Data Disk in WHS v1

Update - 2/10/2011
If you are adding a brand new disk to your WHS that you know to be an AFD, I have an alternate procedure posted below as a reply to this note (or you can click here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10097&p=79525#p79525).

The alternate procedure does not require you to purchase the Paragon Alignment Tool and is a much, much faster process.

The alternate procedure can be performed on disks that have been in the server for awhile, but they're much more likely to contain a lot of data and, depending on how large they are, the backup and restore steps can take a significant amount of time. It's up to you how you want to proceed. I just wanted to let you know there's a faster way to do the alignment, and you don't have to shell out 30 bucks!

This DOES NOT APPLY to WHS 2011! WHS 2011 properly recognizes AFDs.

Disclaimer
These instructions are not for the faint of heart. The steps listed here involve modifying the partitions on your WHS disks and making changes to the Registry. Great care must be taken at all points in the instructions. If you are not careful, you could wipe out a disk with live data or render your entire WHS inoperative. These instructions are provided “as is” without any warranty.

Prerequisite
Read and understand ymboc’s post “How to successfully clone and upgrade a WHS system drive.” viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6826 Read it. Understand it. It is the guidepost upon which these instructions are based.

If you have a Western Digital disk and you installed the special offset jumper before installing the disk in your server, STOP. No further action is required.

Background
This article is written for folks who have installed an Advanced Format disk (AFD) in their WHS box, whether they’ve done so knowingly or unwittingly. Even if the AFD came pre-partitioned from the factory, the WHS disk import process repartitions the disk. The partition offset used is the legacy 63 sector offset, so your AFD is guaranteed to have a misaligned partition.

I won’t go into the details of why misaligned partitions are bad. Microsoft has said you shouldn’t use AFDs in a WHS (v1), and plenty of other posts on this site, and elsewhere, have talked this issue to death. This article will help you determine if you have any AFDs in your WHS, particularly if you aren’t sure. In my case, I bought an external 2TB Seagate drive that had no indications of being an AFD, neither on the packaging nor on Seagate’s website.

This process should work equally well for SATA/eSATA, USB and FireWire attached disks. Also note that you can theoretically run the partition alignment tool directly on the WHS, but these instructions have you run the process elsewhere.

Tools Needed
  1. Computer running Windows 7 or Windows Vista (SP-1 or later).
  2. HD Sentinel Pro (http://www.hdsentinel.com) – you do not need to register it unless you want to continue using it more than 30 days.
  3. Paragon Software’s Paragon Alignment Tool DEMO (http://www.paragon-software.com/technol ... alignment/)
    1. If it is determined you have AFDs in need of alignment, you can purchase the full version of the software for $29.95 USD.
  4. External drive case if the AFD in question is not an external disk already in a case. The drive case can be eSATA (fastest), USB or FireWire.
  5. Make sure you have read the aforementioned article by ymboc in the Prerequisite section above.

Part I - Identifying Potential AFDs
  1. Log into your WHS via Remote Desktop, or if you have a console connection available, via your server’s console.
  2. Download and install HD Sentinel Pro, version 3.50 or later, from http://www.hdsentinel.com. You will probably get warnings that content from the site is blocked. You can either add this site to the trusted sites, or disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration. If you have HD Sentinel installed, make sure it is, at a minimum, version 3.40 or later. Versions earlier than 3.40 will not identify AFDs.
  3. Launch HD Sentinel Pro.
  4. Select the first disk in the list of disks, and then click the Information tab.
  5. You’ll see a field named Bytes Per Sector in the list of information fields. This field will show either “512” or “4096 [Advanced Format].” The below image shows a detected AFD at disk 6.
    Attachment:
    File comment: HD Sentinel Report
    HDSentinel - AFD Disk 6.JPG
    HDSentinel - AFD Disk 6.JPG [ 170.94 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  6. For each AFD that you find, write down the following information. This is critical to your success, and helps ensure you don’t select the wrong disk! I’m using my disk as example data here.
    1. Disk Number: 6
    2. Disk Model: ST2000DL001-9VT156
    3. NTFS Mount Point: C:\fs\1JR
  7. If you don’t have any AFDs, good for you! You can stop here, and no further action is required.
  8. Open a command prompt window.
  9. Run wmic (this launches a WMI command line interface). If you’ve never run this before, you’ll see a message stating that WMIC is being installed. This should only take a few seconds.
  10. Run the command volume get DeviceID, Capacity, Caption
    Code:
    wmic:root\cli>Volume get DeviceID, Capacity, Caption
    Capacity       Caption     DeviceID
    21476171776    C:\         \\?\Volume{7656a73b-9e50-11de-846f-806e6f6e6963}\
    978717839360   D:\         \\?\Volume{55024369-f20a-11de-84f2-00262d006d9b}\
    1000194015232  C:\fs\1IE\  \\?\Volume{5502436d-f20a-11de-84f2-00262d006d9b}\
    1000194015232  C:\fs\1J9\  \\?\Volume{b235d763-0257-11df-a313-00262d006d9b}\
    1000194015232  C:\fs\1J5\  \\?\Volume{ab83338b-f6ef-11de-a5d2-00262d006d9b}\
    320062062592   C:\fs\1JT\  \\?\Volume{cea3a52a-1482-11e0-92e9-00262d006d9b}\
    400077586432   C:\fs\1JE\  \\?\Volume{d0d5577c-0c8d-11df-88c7-00262d006d9b}\
    2000388354048  C:\fs\1JR\  \\?\Volume{1f2bf6ab-298c-11e0-aebf-00262d006d9b}\
    1000194015232  C:\fs\1JN\  \\?\Volume{8ba23a56-b0be-11df-84da-00262d006d9b}\
  11. Run the command partition get Name, StartingOffset, Size
    Code:
    wmic:root\cli>partition get Name, StartingOffset, Size
    Name                   Size           StartingOffset
    Disk #3, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
    Disk #0, Partition #0  21476173824    32256
    Disk #0, Partition #1  978717841920   21476206080
    Disk #2, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
    Disk #1, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
    Disk #6, Partition #0  2000388338122  32256
    Disk #4, Partition #0  320062063104   32256
    Disk #5, Partition #0  400077586944   32256
    Disk #7, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
  12. These two commands provide crucial data that corresponds back to the data you collected in HD Sentinel. Write these values down, screen cap them, print them, etc. You will need these values so don’t lose them! These values are especially important when re-importing your disk after the partition is realigned!

Part II - Identifying the Misaligned Partitions
  1. Download and install the Paragon Alignment Tool (PAT) Demo on your WHS.
  2. Run the PAT Demo and allow it to enumerate all of your drives.
  3. The PAT Demo will likely yield a result that looks like this, with every partition colored yellow, which indicates a misalignment condition.
    Attachment:
    File comment: Paragon Alignment Tool analysis
    ParagonAlignmentTool_EX490.JPG
    ParagonAlignmentTool_EX490.JPG [ 77.8 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  4. BEFORE YOU PANIC, you can safely ignore the yellow for all non-AFDs! On non-AFDs, all partitions will begin at a valid sector boundary, because they’re 512 byte sectors. The only ones you need to be concerned about are the AFDs.
    1. I don’t have any AFD Western Digital drives, so I don’t know how the tool will report AFD Western Digital drives. If you installed the jumper before installing the drive in your server and the partition is still yellow, ignore the result. Do not attempt to align the partition!
  5. If the partition is colored green on an AFD, no action is required for it.
  6. Make a note of which AFDs, identified in the previous section, are showing as being misaligned.
  7. Close the PAT Demo tool.

KEEP IT SIMPLE! If you have multiple disks requiring alignment, process them one at a time. That means detach, align, reattach and import. Make sure all is well, then proceed with the next one. If you try to align multiples at once, you’re going to get confused and probably lose data.

Part III - Detaching the AFDs from Your WHS
It is possible to detach the disk without shutting down the server, if the disk in question is attached via USB or FireWire. If you go this route, you need to stop the Virtual Disk Service (which stops a bunch of others), and you may later get prompts about Data Execution Prevention and the VDS service was terminated as a result. That said, for best results, shut down your WHS completely!

Do NOT run the full PAT tool on the WHS box. It is possible to do so, but the results are unpredictable. You should run this tool on a separate computer, preferably one running Windows Vista SP-1 or later.
  1. Ask people in your household to disconnect from any WHS shared folders, and make sure you’re not streaming any media to receivers. They will be interrupted when you shut down the server.
  2. Also verify that no backups are currently running, and that the weekly database maintenance (i.e. cleanup) is not running. If any of these are running, you can cancel them, but it is recommended that you wait for them to complete.
  3. Make sure you’ve printed or written down the information collected from WMIC.
  4. Shut down your WHS box.
  5. Remove the disk from the server that need to be aligned. If necessary, install the disk in an external eSATA, USB or FireWire drive case.

Part IV - Align the Partition
  1. Purchase the Paragon Alignment Tool and install the full version on the computer that will be running the alignment. At your option, use an alignment tool of your choice. These steps were written using PAT but an alternate tool may be used.
  2. Connect the WHS disk to the computer upon which the alignment will be run. You may be prompted to run CHKDSK to scan for problems. Do NOT run this.
  3. For maximum safety and recoverability, make a backup of all files on your disk. Note for a very large disk with lots of data, this may not be practical.
  4. If possible, ensure the computer running PAT and the disk being aligned are plugged into a UPS. If there is a power blip or outage, the process may continue. Note that PAT is designed to allow for an unexpected interruption, and it will recover and resume where it left off.
  5. Launch the Paragon Alignment Tool and allow it to enumerate your drives.
  6. PAT may detect more than one misaligned partition. However, we’re only interested in aligning the WHS disk. Uncheck all others, and make sure only the WHS disk is selected.
  7. Click the Align button. The alignment process will begin immediately, with no further confirmation or intervention.
  8. On my Seagate FreeAgent Desk 2 TB drive connected via USB 2.0, which was approximately 50% full, this process took 21 hours to complete. Do not rely on PAT’s estimated time remaining. It’s far from reliable. It updates every 15 minutes or so, and will continue counting upward. When you see it counting downward, you’re more than halfway home. For me, the progress bar shot to about 50% right out of the gate, and then crept the remaining 50%.
    1. If the disk is connected via eSATA or USB 3.0, it’ll probably run a lot faster.
  9. At the very end of the process, Windows will try to remount the partition, and you’ll see Windows Explorer ask you what you want to do (i.e. view files). This may cause PAT to say an error occurred. Just click Ignore All, and the process will complete just fine.
  10. You can re-run PAT and it’ll show the partition to be aligned.
  11. If you want, you can run CHKDSK (without the /F option) in read-only mode to see if there are any problems. I didn’t have any.

Part V - Reattach and Import
  1. Reinstall the disk back into your WHS, or if an external drive, reconnect it to the USB or FireWire cable where it resided previously. Ensure your drive is powered on.
  2. Power on your WHS.
  3. Your WHS is going to show Critical status, announce that the backup service isn’t running, that you have file conflicts, etc. If you have Alex’s Remote Notification add-in installed, expect to get a bunch of email.
  4. The first thing you need to do is remove the drive letter that Windows has given to your freshly aligned disk. As far as Windows is concerned, you’ve installed a new disk, and it has a different device ID than before. Your disk will no longer be assigned to the mount point it was assigned to previously.
    1. In my case, the disk was assigned drive letter E:.
  5. Launch Computer Management. Click the Start button, then right-click My Computer and select Manage.
  6. In Computer Management, expand Storage and select Disk Management.
  7. You should have one or more partitions showing in Disk Management, all named DATA. Your aligned disk, however, will have a drive letter associated with it. We don’t want this.
  8. Right-click the DATA partition with the drive letter (do not select drive D!) and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  9. Remove the drive letter associated with this partition.
    Attachment:
    File comment: Removing the unwanted drive letter
    RemoveLetter.JPG
    RemoveLetter.JPG [ 28.08 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  10. Your old NTFS mount point (i.e. C:\fs\1JR) may still exist, but as far as Windows is concerned, it’s not an “empty” NTFS folder and thus you cannot simply mount the partition to it. It won’t work in Disk Management, and it won’t work in DiskPart either.
  11. Open a command prompt window and run wmic again (you ran this previously).
  12. Run these two commands again, and you’ll get output like you see below.
    1. volume get DeviceID, Capacity, Caption
      Code:
      wmic:root\cli>Volume get DeviceID, Capacity, Caption
      Capacity       Caption                                            DeviceID
      21476171776    C:\                                                \\?\Volume{7656a73b-9e50-11de-846f-806e6f6e6963}\
      978717839360   D:\                                                \\?\Volume{55024369-f20a-11de-84f2-00262d006d9b}\
      1000194015232  C:\fs\1IE\                                         \\?\Volume{5502436d-f20a-11de-84f2-00262d006d9b}\
      1000194015232  C:\fs\1J9\                                         \\?\Volume{b235d763-0257-11df-a313-00262d006d9b}\
      1000194015232  C:\fs\1J5\                                         \\?\Volume{ab83338b-f6ef-11de-a5d2-00262d006d9b}\
      320062062592   C:\fs\1JT\                                         \\?\Volume{cea3a52a-1482-11e0-92e9-00262d006d9b}\
      400077586432   C:\fs\1JE\                                         \\?\Volume{d0d5577c-0c8d-11df-88c7-00262d006d9b}\
      2000388354048  \\?\Volume{799e2e3f-2b0d-11e0-97d9-806e6f6e6963}\  \\?\Volume{799e2e3f-2b0d-11e0-97d9-806e6f6e6963}\
      1000194015232  C:\fs\1JN\                                         \\?\Volume{8ba23a56-b0be-11df-84da-00262d006d9b}\
    2. partition get Name, StartingOffset, Size
      Code:
      wmic:root\cli>partition get Name, StartingOffset, Size
      Name                   Size           StartingOffset
      Disk #3, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
      Disk #0, Partition #0  21476173824    32256
      Disk #0, Partition #1  978717841920   21476206080
      Disk #2, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
      Disk #1, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
      Disk #6, Partition #0  2000388358144  2097152
      Disk #4, Partition #0  320062063104   32256
      Disk #5, Partition #0  400077586944   32256
      Disk #7, Partition #0  1000194015744  32256
  13. Notice in the first set of results, the DeviceID is repeated in the Caption field on your newly aligned disk! This is because the volume is not mounted at its old mount point. Also notice in the second set of results your partition’s offset is different, and the size may be a little different than what it was previously.
  14. Recall ymboc’s article I asked you to read? Here are some important steps, taken right from his article. Follow them carefully—they are critical to your success here! Specifically, you will be focused on Part 3, updating the WHS Registry. Obviously you’re not importing the C and D volumes, but his steps are nonetheless valid. I’ll summarize here what you need to do.
  15. Launch Registry Editor (regedt32).
  16. Expand the key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\Storage Manager\Volumes.
  17. Under Volumes, you’ll see a bunch of keys that have GUIDs as their names. Click on each one of these until you find the one that for the value named MountPoint, the Data shows the NTFS mount point you’re looking to restore (i.e. C:\fs\1JR).
    Attachment:
    File comment: Mount point
    MountPoint.JPG
    MountPoint.JPG [ 169.94 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  18. Expand the GUID that corresponds to the mount point you want to restore. You’ll see another key with a GUID for its name, and one named Attributes. Click on the GUID.
  19. Now you should see two values, both of type REG_SZ (string). One is named (Default) and the other has a number for its Name and another number for its Data. The Name is the sector offset where the partition begins, and the Data is the size of the partition. Most likely the Name is 32256.
  20. Go back to the partition output you just generated from WMIC and find your newly offset partition. It should be the same physical disk number (i.e. #6) as it was before you removed it from the server. Notice the offset is no longer 32256, but rather something larger. In my case it was 2097152, which is an offset of 512 x 4096 byte sectors, or 2MB. This is a correctly aligned partition.
  21. Right-click the Name (i.e. 32256) and select Rename. Rename it to the new offset (i.e. 2097152).
  22. Double-click on your renamed value and update the size (most likely the partition size is slightly different than what it was previously). In my case the new size is 2000388358144. Click OK to save the value.
    Attachment:
    File comment: Updating the offset and volume size
    UpdatedOffsetSize.JPG
    UpdatedOffsetSize.JPG [ 60.69 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  23. Return to your command prompt window, and copy the GUID data of your volume to the clipboard. Capture only the text starting at the left curly brace and ending at the right curly brace.
  24. Back in Registry Editor, return to the Volumes\GUID subkey of your disk.
  25. Verify that you selected the correct one by double-checking the MountPoint value—it should be the mount point you’re looking to restore (i.e. C:\fs\1JR).
  26. Double-click on the value named SystemName. You need to edit this value because this is the OLD GUID value for your disk. In the string editor dialogue, select the GUID starting with the left curly brace and ending with the right curly brace, and press Ctrl-V. This should replace the old GUID with the new one captured from the command prompt window. Click OK to save.
    Attachment:
    File comment: Updated mount point
    MountPointUpdated.JPG
    MountPointUpdated.JPG [ 81.87 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  27. Now select the Volumes\GUID\Attributes subkey. You should see a value named DevicePath that also contains the old GUID. Double-click DevicePath and replace the old GUID with the new one just like you did in the preceding step.
    The old...
    Attachment:
    File comment: Mount point attributes
    MountPointAttributes.JPG
    MountPointAttributes.JPG [ 154.06 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]

    And the updated...
    Attachment:
    File comment: Mount point attributes updated
    MountPointAttributesUpdated.JPG
    MountPointAttributesUpdated.JPG [ 75.41 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  28. Now select the Registry Key HKLM\SYSTEM\MountedDevices.
  29. Here you will see a bunch of REG_BINARY values, many of which are named in the format \?\Volume{some_guid_here}. In particular, there are two in which you are interested:
    1. The old GUID from when you ran WMIC commands before removing the disk from WHS.
    2. The new GUID from when you ran WMIC commands after putting your disk back in WHS.
  30. Double-click on the OLD GUID to bring up its data.
  31. Highlight and copy all of the data there to the clipboard. Click Cancel to close the open dialogue.
  32. Double-click on the NEW GUID to bring up its data.
  33. Highlight all of the data and press Ctrl-V. This will replace the data with that copied from the old GUID.
  34. Click OK to save the changes.
    Attachment:
    File comment: List of mounted devices
    MountedDevices.JPG
    MountedDevices.JPG [ 223.58 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  35. Close Registry Editor and reboot your WHS.
  36. If all goes well, your disk will be accepted and your server will no longer be Critical.

Part VI – If Things Don’t Go as Planned
Unfortunately, things did not work out for me. Instead of mounting the volume at C:\fs\1JR, Windows deleted the old mount point entirely! And, to add insult to injury, it changed the DeviceID GUID of my volume again!

Fortunately, there is a way to get around this, but more steps are involved.

  1. Launch Disk Manager.
  2. Right-click on the partition you’ve been working with and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Select “Mount in the following empty NTFS folder.”
  5. Click Browse…
  6. Create a new folder under C:\fs with the same name as your old mount point. In my case, since the old mount point was C:\fs\1JR, I created a folder named 1JR under C:\fs.
    Attachment:
    File comment: Mount path
    MountPath.JPG
    MountPath.JPG [ 32.1 KiB | Viewed 19209 times ]
  7. Click OK to select the folder, verify that’s the path showing in the Add Drive Letter or Path dialogue and then click OK. Your path should now appear in the Change Drive Letter and Paths for DATA dialogue. Click OK to commit the change.
  8. Open a command prompt window and run wmic again.
  9. Run the command volume get DeviceID, Capacity, Caption.
  10. Find your volume based on the Caption field (i.e. C:\fs\1JR) and then copy the corresponding GUID from the DeviceID column, starting at the left curly brace to the right curly brace.
  11. Open Registry Editor and expand HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\Storage Manager\Volumes.
  12. Click on the GUID of your volume you worked with in the previous section.
  13. Update the GUID in the SystemName value.
  14. Select the Attributes subkey.
  15. Update the GUID in the DevicePath value.
  16. Launch the Services control panel, and restart the Windows Home Server Storage Manager service, which will restart all of the WHS services.
  17. Your newly aligned disk should now import correctly, and the Critical status will go away.
  18. Reboot your WHS box.

WMIC output should look like this once everything is imported and configured correctly:
Code:

wmic:root\cli>Volume get DeviceID, Capacity, Caption
Capacity       Caption     DeviceID
21476171776    C:\         \\?\Volume{7656a73b-9e50-11de-846f-806e6f6e6963}\
978717839360   D:\         \\?\Volume{55024369-f20a-11de-84f2-00262d006d9b}\
1000194015232  C:\fs\1IE\  \\?\Volume{5502436d-f20a-11de-84f2-00262d006d9b}\
1000194015232  C:\fs\1J9\  \\?\Volume{b235d763-0257-11df-a313-00262d006d9b}\
1000194015232  C:\fs\1J5\  \\?\Volume{ab83338b-f6ef-11de-a5d2-00262d006d9b}\
320062062592   C:\fs\1JT\  \\?\Volume{cea3a52a-1482-11e0-92e9-00262d006d9b}\
400077586432   C:\fs\1JE\  \\?\Volume{d0d5577c-0c8d-11df-88c7-00262d006d9b}\
2000388354048  C:\fs\1JR\  \\?\Volume{799e2e3f-2b0d-11e0-97d9-806e6f6e6963}\
1000194015232  C:\fs\1JN\  \\?\Volume{8ba23a56-b0be-11df-84da-00262d006d9b}\


I hope this helps partition alignment activities for anyone wishing to align partitions on their AFDs.

Danke,
Matt

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Owner, Dojo North Software, LLC

HP EX490, 4GB, E5300, 15TB - Server 2012 - Sharing and Streaming
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Last edited by msawyer91 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:51 pm 
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Nice tutorial! This looks like the registry tweaking procedure I saw and mentioned in my Advanced Format Drive How-To article back in December. This is ideal and perhaps the only option for storage pool assigned AFDs that don't have the easy alignment option (aka the jumper) that the WD drives provide. I contemplated it for my EARS units, but in the end chickened out of trying because the jumper solution was available and ultra simple. You are spot on about it not being for the faint of heart and my recommendation is to make sure you have a full back-up of the drive contents somewhere off the server before you embark. Seriously folks, if you screw this up you could easily lose data on the drive and/or be looking a factory reset. Read these instructions carefully and as msawyer91 says, go SLOW! It is probably best suited for empty drives where potential data loss is not a concern, but even then a mistake could still get you into the factory reset business.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:41 am 
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Alternate Accelerated Alignment Procedure for 4K AFDs
The steps below follow much of the original procedure above, but these steps can be safely followed for a NEWLY ADDED AFD that doesn't have any data added to it. You can perform these steps on a disk that's been in the pool for awhile, but it'll likely have a lot more data on it and it'll probably take a lot longer to back up.

On AFDs that are newly added to the Server, this process can be completed end-to-end in as little as 30 minutes. Disks that have been in the Server for awhile and have a lot of data on them will obviously take longer.

This DOES NOT APPLY to WHS 2011! WHS 2011 properly recognizes AFDs.

KEEP IT SIMPLE! If you have multiple disks requiring alignment, process them one at a time. That means detach, align, reattach and import. Make sure all is well, then proceed with the next one. If you try to align multiples at once, you’re going to get confused and probably lose data.

These steps do not require the Paragon Alignment Tool, so you'll save yourself $30 USD.

Prerequisites
  • Make sure you read and have a good understanding of the above "original" procedure.
  • Have a location on the WHS to back up the AFD's contents.
  • If the AFD in question is a Western Digital AFD, and you put the offset jumper on before adding the disk to the pool, STOP. No further action is required.
  • Where necessary, these instructions will tell you when to follow steps from the original article. They will specify exactly which parts and the numbered steps.

Tools Needed
  1. Computer running Windows 7 or Windows Vista (SP-1 or later).
  2. HD Sentinel Pro (http://www.hdsentinel.com) – you do not need to register it unless you want to continue using it more than 30 days.
  3. Paragon Software’s Paragon Alignment Tool DEMO -- this is free. Do not buy the full version.

Part I - Preliminary Steps
If you are installing one or more AFDs into your home server at this time, install ONE, add it to the pool and then follow the steps below. To reduce the likelihood of confusion and data loss, if you are adding multiple AFDs, these instructions have you work with one drive through completion. Then repeat for each additional disk. If you try to process them all at once, you're much more likely to get confused and will probably lose data.

Follow the instructions in the original article above in Parts I and II. This enables you to identify any AFDs installed in your Server, and which of those are misaligned. Remember that the PAT Demo tool will tell you even legacy (512 byte sector) disks are misaligned. You can safely ignore this. You're only concerned about misaligned AFDs.

Part II - Back Up Data and Detach the AFD from WHS
Ask folks using the server to stop what they're doing and that you're going to be taking the server offline.

  1. Stop the Windows Home Server Storage Manager service (which stops a bunch of others), and then set the service to Disabled (it'll try to restart itself after a few minutes). This drops user connections and also allows you to perform file operations.
  2. Earlier you noted the NTFS mount point (i.e. C:\fs\1JR) of the AFD you want to align.
  3. In Windows Explorer, make sure you have the folder options set to SHOW hidden folders and files and SHOW protected operating system files. This is essential in making sure you don't miss any files in your backups!
  4. Navigate to the NTFS mount point of your AFD. In there you'll likely notice two folders (one named DE and another named System Volume Information.) You should also notice a file named QSM_VolumeID. If your Explorer options are not set correctly you will not see these.
  5. Select the DE folder and QSM_VolumeID file. Do not select System Volume Information. If any other files or folders are present, select them, but do not select System Volume Information.
  6. Press Ctrl-C to copy these items to the clipboard.
  7. If you just added the AFD, it probably has little or no actual data. You can just create a temporary folder on the Desktop and then Ctrl-V (paste) the copied items into it. If the disk has been in the server for awhile, you might need to attach an external hard drive, create a temporary folder on it and then paste the contents into that folder.
  8. If the disk in question is USB or FireWire, you can perform a "Safely Remove Hardware" and stop the USB/FireWire disk in question. For all others, power down the server. If it makes you feel better, you can power down the WHS for USB/FireWire disks too, although keeping it running is a little bit faster.
  9. Remove the disk from the server, and if the disk was an internal one, you'll need to install it in an enclosure.

Part III - Repartition the Disk
  1. Connect the disk to a computer running Windows Vista (SP-1 or later), Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008/2008 R2.
  2. Launch the Disk Management MMC snap-in.
  3. Find your newly attached disk--it'll be pretty obvious with its partition named DATA.
  4. DELETE the DATA partition. You'll get a warning that you'll lose data by doing this. Double-check to make sure you backed up the contents!
  5. Right-click on the now Unallocated disk and select New Simple Volume. This will create a new partition.
  6. Go through the wizard to create the volume. Do not assign a drive letter, and do NOT format the volume. Windows Vista and later uses a slightly newer version of NTFS and this could cause problems in WHS so we're just partitioning at this point, not formatting.
  7. You now have a RAW partition.
  8. Safely remove the disk from the computer and return to your WHS.
  9. Reconnect or reinstall the disk in your WHS. If you powered off the Server, power it on at this time.

Part IV - Format and Restore
  1. If you just powered on the WHS, remote desktop back into it. If you left it on, you should still have the open remote desktop session.
  2. Open the C:\fs folder in Windows Explorer and delete the mount point folder. You're going to need to recreate it (you'll do this shortly).
  3. Launch Computer Management and open Disk Management.
  4. You should see your RAW disk showing up. Right-click on the RAW disk and format it. Make sure NTFS is selected as the file system. When asked for a volume label, it must be set to DATA (in all caps). Do not set a drive letter or NTFS mount point at this time. Just format it (a quick format is much faster). Your disk should now show up as an NTFS volume named DATA, with no drive letter.
  5. Part VI, Steps 1-7 in my original article explain how to add your NTFS mount point back. Add your mount point back at this time.
  6. Close Disk Management.
  7. Open the temporary folder you created to back up the disk's contents before you repartitioned it. This should either be on your desktop or an external hard drive. Copy all of the contents of this temporary folder into the NTFS mount point (i.e. C:\fs\1JR) you just created. This restores your data back to the disk.

Part V - Completion
  1. Return to the original article, and go to Part V, Step 11.
  2. Follow the instructions in the original article in Part V, Steps 11-27. Some exceptions you will encounter in steps 11-27 are listed here:
    1. Step 13 - The DeviceID will not be repeated in the Caption field. The correct NTFS mount point will appear.
    2. Step 20 - Windows Vista, 7, 2008 and 2008 R2 use a 1MB offset, so this value will probably be 1048576. The PAT tool uses 2097152.
    3. Step 27 - If the DevicePath value does not exist, you will need to create it. Create a new String (REG_SZ) value, named DevicePath. The data value that needs to go into this field is the exact same as the contents of the SystemName value in step 26. So if you needed to create the DevicePath, you can copy the contents of SystemName into this field. If you compare the screen captures in the original article and your Registry entries look similar, you should be in good shape.
  3. Close Registry Editor.
  4. Launch the Services control panel.
  5. Change the startup type of the Windows Home Server Storage Manager service to Automatic and then start the service.
  6. Start the other WHS Services like WHS Drive Letter, WHS Computer Backup, WHS Archiver, etc.
  7. Launch the WHS Console via the shortcut on the remote desktop.
  8. After a minute or two, if everything was done correctly, your server status should change to Healthy (unless you had other problems beforehand that made it Warning or Critical).
  9. Reboot your WHS box. When it comes back up, log into the WHS Console via the connector (not remote desktop) and check your server health. If you're getting a bunch of errors about the backup service not running, a disk is missing, file conflicts, etc. then you need to double-check your Registry entries and that you set up the mount point correctly. You should not see any errors of this type here unless you did something wrong.

That's it. Hopefully you'll find this accelerated process better than the original one, especially if you're just adding disks. This is far faster than running the alignment tool.

_________________
Matt Sawyer
Owner, Dojo North Software, LLC

HP EX490, 4GB, E5300, 15TB - Server 2012 - Sharing and Streaming
HP EX487, 4GB, E5300, 13TB - Server 2012 Essentials - Backups


Last edited by msawyer91 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jam3ohio, paavor, yakuza
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:24 am 
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I read on here or somewhere else that some of the older Western Digital hard drivers (2TB) have a jumper that can be set. Can someone please post info about this as well.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:20 am 
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See here: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/12 ... me-server/

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:48 pm 
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This worked GREAT!

What ISN'T great is the drive I setup like this has now failed and isn't showing up anymore - how can I recover the contents?

If I plug it into another PC it doesn't show up on the desktop or in Disk Management. I can't see it in the WHS console either.

Please HELP!!!!!!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:22 am 
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That has nothing to do with this article, see the other topics in the Troubleshooting forum, do a search, and post a new topic of your own if you have further questions.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Hello...I have certainly appreciated this site over the past 2 or 3 years that I have owned my mediasmart (EX 490). I am in the process of adding a Seagate 2 TB drive for storage, and have been using the above process. However, the sector offset for my drive after it is back in the server is 1050624...not on a 4096 sector break...Could this possibly be ok? I am using Windows 7 for deleting the partition on the WHS drive.

Thanks for any (and all previous) help!


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