Hard Drive Failure: Full HTPC Recovery with just one Re-boot - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 

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Old 2012-02-19, 11:21 AM   #1
OTAJuncqui
 
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Default Hard Drive Failure: Full HTPC Recovery with just one Re-boot

Last Sunday I awoke to my BIOS being displayed on my TV asking if I would accept the changes. I realized that my OS drive was missing and had failed. It was a fine Samsung 300GB that had spent the first 4.5 years of 6 in a networked office environment and had served me well (R.I.P.). That left me with NO TV! So 2-3 hours later I had rebuilt the system and things got back to normal but then I realized, "What if this had happened during prime time?".
Long story short(er) I now have a dual boot system with two identical OSes and Apps on separate physical drives. I use NextPVR, so to keep the "ReserveOS"'s EPG and recording info current I run a scheduled batch hourly that copies and replaces the two files NPVR needs to stay up to date (config.xml and npvr.db3).
Some would want to accomplish this using RAID1 or other software but I'm not very familiar with mirroring and believe that it would involve alot of un-necessary disk writing compared to two puny files every hour.
The "ReserveOS" lies in wait unused appart from MS updates.
So, if the 5 year old 80GB Maxtor drive that is my "WorkingOS" fails I'm one re-boot away from where I was before it did.
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Old 2012-02-19, 03:04 PM   #2
Wayne
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Great idea - what OS are you using? When you are doing that reboot do you have to do anything different like change the active boot drive or run the "repair OS" DVD in Win7 or Vista?
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Old 2012-02-19, 03:22 PM   #3
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W7 and using EasyBCD to edit boot menu to rename OS and set default.

Actually I just realized that if the "WorkingOS" C: drive fails I'll have to open disk management and change drive paths for my E: (media and live buffer folders) drive to D:
Because there will be one less drive in the system knocking everything back one letter.
So reboot plus an operation.
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Old 2012-02-19, 05:42 PM   #4
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Interesting idea, especially given the cost of hard drives at the size you'd want for a boot drive is pretty minimal.

Thanks for sharing!

-Pete
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Old 2012-02-20, 10:53 PM   #5
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Cool. Now are you backing up your RecordedTv too ? I don't... All food for thought !
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Old 2012-02-21, 08:11 AM   #6
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Nah, I store recorded TV on another drive but don't back it up. I've set NPVR to record seasons and keep only a maximum two recordings of most shows. The OS drives have only OS and installed apps on them.
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Old 2012-02-21, 01:57 PM   #7
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Are you sure the drive letters matter? If you use UNC paths for your media shares (ie //servername/media/videos/) then the drive letter is likely irrelevant. And in my experience using UNC paths makes more sense as it also allows you to more easily swap out drives by just chaning the share name if you want to replace a drive. It also allows you to distribute processes across PCs easily if you want to do stuff like comskipping or reencoding by using the same code on all PCs.

My media server is running SageTV - about a year ago I changed the system drive to a 60GB SSD and I have been very happy with it as the performance seems a fair bit snappier. Using your backup method one could continue to use a mechanical drive as a backup for an SSD as most of us who have HTPCs probably have lots of sub 500GB drives lying around unused.

This might be getting a little OT, but why does Windows still even have drive letters?
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Old 2012-02-21, 02:03 PM   #8
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Wayne, interesting. Do you use UNC paths for media within the same PC, like to link to your RecordedTV folder ? Is this SageTV on Windows ?
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Old 2012-02-21, 02:05 PM   #9
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You're right I'm not sure about the drive paths, just making an assumption.
more OT:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic...esearchers_say
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Old 2012-02-21, 02:29 PM   #10
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Yes my RecordedTV path is \\sageserver\media2\TV - this is in a local hard drive on my server which is running SageTV v7 for Windows (Win7 Pro 32 bit).

My videos folder is \\sageserver\media\videos and it is also a local drive. This drive was getting full so about a year ago I bought a new larger HD and installed it into my system. I copied everything from my existing videos drive onto this drive, removed the share from my old videos drive and shared the "new" videos drive with the same name as the old share and everything worked properly. This also seemlessly allows all of the PCs on my LAN to continue to access the shared drive but it wasn't really needed for Sage since I only access Sage via the dedicated extenders and they access media through the Sage server.

Within Sage there are certain things that seem to work better with UNC mapping - I can't remember exactly what it was but stuff like using comskip generated EDL files seemed to be happier with UNC mapping.
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Old 2012-02-21, 05:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Within Sage there are certain things that seem to work better with UNC mapping - I can't remember exactly what it was but stuff like using comskip generated EDL files seemed to be happier with UNC mapping.
The thing that works better is if you also have a Sage Client accessing the same content, it's much easier to configure if the same path works for both the "server" and "client" PCs.

If you have just the "server" machine running SageTV, using UNC paths doesn't really make a difference.
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Old 2012-02-23, 10:25 AM   #12
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A great idea! I have been running a similar setup except I have one os built with xp mce 2005 and the other with win7 to see how the two systems perform relative to eachother in terms of useability and stability... Unfortunately I just discovered I likely have an issue with my MB so both OS's are pooched.
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