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How To: Reinstalling WHS with a DrivePool

edited April 2012 in DrivePool
(guide version 0.2 beta for drivepool build release)

This version of the Guide assumes that you keep the standard system (C:) and data (D:) partitions on the first disk, you have version (or thereabouts) of DrivePool, and your pool's safety is more important to you than speed. 

NOTE: if you are reinstalling WHS because your old system disk is no longer available, you can begin at step 4.

Step 1... If you still have content on C: or D: such as default WHS shares or other folders which you have not yet moved to the pool (or to some other storage device), consider doing so now.

Step 2... If D: is still in the pool, remove it from the pool via the DrivePool tab.

If you do not have enough space remaining in the pool to do this, you will have to choose between deleting data, moving data to an external non-pooled disk, or adding another disk to the pool (or whatever else gets the job done).

Step 3... Shutdown WHS.

Step 4... Have connected only the disk that you intend as the main WHS disk. Anything on this disk will be lost. Perform a clean install of WHS, then connect the rest of your disks. Using the Dashboard, add your intended users.

Step 5... Install DrivePool. Reboot. It should recreate your pool. Consider taking this opportunity to change the DrivePool drive letter to something like Z: or P: or whatever.

Windows has an annoying bug of sometimes bumping drive letters if you add a new drive later on, so pick one far away from your existing drive letters if you can. If you change it, reboot again. Note: changing it now is a lot easier than changing it later when you have shared folders in the pool!

Step 6... Your folders in the pool will not be shared, including any of your old default WHS shares that you kept in the pool. Use Explorer to rename the pool's ServerFolders directory (e.g. from P:\ServerFolders to P:\ServerFoldersOld). Don't rename the new one on D: drive!

Step 7... Now use the Dashboard's "Move a folder" task to move each of the new install's default WHS shares back to the pool, then set their Duplication levels as desired. Next, use Explorer to move the contents of the old folders into the new ones (e.g. P:\ServerFoldersOld\Documents\* to P:\ServerFolders\Documents\*), then delete the now-empty old folders.

Because we are using Explorer to access the pool drive directly this should be quick IF the duplication levels of the old and new folders match. If you don't use the default WHS shares or do not want them in the pool, skip this step. WARNING: Do NOT replace the new folders with the old ones, just move the CONTENTS. Personally, I don't keep the Client Computer Backups folder in the pool; YMMV.

Step 8... For your custom shares use "Add a folder" (NOT "Add a folder to the Pool") and "Browse" to each folder on the drivepool drive that you want to share again. Fill in the share name, next, set access rights, done. DrivePool should remember your duplication settings from the old pool; change these if you prefer something different.

Step 9... Set your share permissions for the default WHS shares, then force a consistency check (Pool tab). That should be it.


The quick and dirty "of course I know what I'm doing!" summary:

Install WHS on new disk.
Connect the rest of the disks.
Install DrivePool. Reboot.
Optional: change pool letter and reboot again.
Rename "pooldrive:\serverfolders" to "pooldrive:\serverfoldersold".
Move default WHS shares to the pooldrive.
Move contents of the pooldrive's serverfoldersold's subfolders into the pooldrive's serverfolders's subfolders.
Add the rest of your custom shared folders.


  • Hi Shane;

    I am not reinstalling WHS (I am starting to wonder if I should) but I do have a few questions for you regarding your "how to" above.

    Your first paragraph states: "This version of the Guide assumes that you keep the standard system (C:) and data (D:) partitions on the first disk...". This is how my WHS is set up, and I take it this is how WHS 2011 sets things up by default.

    When I built the server, I bought one new 1TB drive and added two additional 1TB drives from my dead WHS 1 box so my set-up looks like this:

    - 1TB drive is used for the OS on C (60GB) and Client Computer Backups on D (871.4GB).
    - The two 1TB drives from my old server are E (931.5GB) and G (931.5GB).
    - I moved E and G into my pool, which shows up as F (1863GB) nice to change that to Z.

    What is now causing me pain is that on my first HDD (C and D) I am getting a "Low free space error" (0 of 871GB free) on the D partion. If I look at the contents of that drive, it has the following folders:

    - Client Computer Backups (870GB)
    - Music.DELETE.{B7C2DA53-03D4-4010-8F04-8E038D91B8B3} (286MB)
    - Pictures.DELETE.{97C77F1F-441E-4C46-8DA3-C5B09D7201D7} (0 bytes)
    - Recorded TV.DELETE.{9D6ADCC6-01AD-4DC9-B780-080046F27855} (0 bytes)
    - Videos.DELETE.{76BC2451-741A-45F1-8FD2-30D93F354200} (0 bytes)

    From things that I have read here in the forums, it may not be the best idea to move the Client Computer Backups folder into the Pool. What I have moved into the Pool are the Documents (duplicated), Music (not duplicated), Pictures (duplicated), Recorded TV (not duplicated) and Videos (not duplicated) folders. D has not been moved to the Pool, yet it has music on it in the "Music.DELETE" folder, which makes no sense to me. The Music folder is Pooled, but D is not and I have not physically pointed any music to D that I can recall so I am at a loss to explain why music is present.

    It was a long way to get here, but the main question I have for you is; what the heck do I do to free up room on D? From what I can tell, backups are no longer taking place and for me, that is the main reason for using WHS. Media streaming et al is pure gravy beyond backing up 5 home computers.

    A neighbour can take my C/D drive to his work where they have a cloning station. I was thinking about copying everything from the D drive to a large external drive and then having my neighbout clone C onto a smaller drive (I am under the impression that 160GB is the magic number for WHS should I need to reinstall the OS). I could install the new, smaller C drive and then break the partition / format the orginal drive, reinstall it and copy back the Client Computer Backups. However, when I stop to think about that plan, what would this get me? It may buy me a little time, but certainly if I can fill 870GB with Client Computer Backups, I am sure that I will be pushing the full 1TB in short order. Maybe throwing in a 2TB and keeping it out of th Pool is the way to go?

    The more I think about what to do, the more questions I seem to think of...any thoughts on a resolution that you or the other members might have would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks and best regards,

  • Resident Guru
    Hi Scott,

    * If you go the cloning route, keep the original disk handy until WHS successfully reboots in its new two-disk configuration - I don't see why it shouldn't, but just in case....

    * While many (including me) prefer not to have the Client Computer Backups in the pool, you don't have to keep it on D: - you could instead move the folder to its own 2TB disk (if you wanted to do that) that isn't part of the pool.

    * The Music.DELETE folder is odd, yes; are the files inside it also in your actual Music folder in the pool?

    * On the Dashboard, go to "Computers and Backup", and choose "Additional client computer backup tasks" - under "Settings" you can reduce the number of daily/weekly/monthly backups to free up a bit more space - your mileage will however vary, and WHS only seems to run its backup compaction routine when it wants to, not when we want it to? Under "Tools" instead of "Settings" you can attempt to Repair the backup database if it seems to have stopped working.

    * In "Computers and Backup" you can also visit "View the computer properties" for each client computer, under "Backup" you can then select each backup for that computer and via "View details..." you can tell it to delete that backup when WHS runs its Cleanup routine (whenever that is).

    * You can also reduce the size of new backups by making sure the client computers aren't storing files that could be just as easily kept in the pool, or by "Customize Backup for the computer".
  • Hi Shane;

    Thanks VERY much for the information, it is greatly appreciated!

    As per your instructions, I have gone through the backups via the "View the computer properties" for each of my client computers and marked a number of backups for each for deletion upon the next running of the cleanup task. Note that the MS WHS 2011 article here ( provides instructions on running the cleanup task outside of the scheduled event. I will be running it shortly and hope that it will free up some space on my D: drive.

    I have also gone through the "Additional client computer backup tasks" and adjusted the settings so that only 3 daily, 3 weekly and 3 monthly backups are retained. I have also selected an early backup for each PC and set them as "Keep this backup". Sadly, I lost all of my "fresh" Windows install backups when my WHS 1 gave up the ghost...I wish I had been able to save them.

    I suspect that this may have been due to having no space whatsoever available on my D: drive (where the Client Computer Backups are stored), but the "Windows Server Client Computer Backup Service" was no longer running on my server. It is set to Automatic, but I have had to restart it manually two times this evening while marking backups for deletion. My hope is that once I run the cleanup task and gain some free space on the drive, that service will begin to work properly...time will tell.

    I went back and looked at the Music.DELETE folder and can confirm that the files inside that folder are also present in the actual Music folder in the Pool. So I am guessing that there should be no repercussions if I were to delete the contents of that folder. Do you know the purpose of these "DELETE" folders?

    - Music.DELETE.{B7C2DA53-03D4-4010-8F04-8E038D91B8B3} (286MB)
    - Pictures.DELETE.{97C77F1F-441E-4C46-8DA3-C5B09D7201D7} (0 bytes)
    - Recorded TV.DELETE.{9D6ADCC6-01AD-4DC9-B780-080046F27855} (0 bytes)
    - Videos.DELETE.{76BC2451-741A-45F1-8FD2-30D93F354200} (0 bytes)

    Can they be deleted or do they serve some purpose that is not readily clear?

    I will also look at reducing the size of the backups by offloading all pictures, music and videos from the client computers to the server. I was leery of doing so until I had a better feel for, and some confidence in DrivePool. So far, DrivePool has been stellar so I think it is time to get this task done.

    If the cleanup task frees up enough room on the D: drive, I may hold off on the cloning route / purchasing a 2TB drive for the Client Computer Backups for the short term. With the money put out thus far on the server, hard drives, new router and other items, I am finding it difficult to make a strong enough business case with my wife. ;)

    I will post back in the next day or so once things have run their course just close the loop. Fingers crossed!

    Again, thank you very much for your guidance!

    Thanks and best regards,

  • Resident Guru
    Hi Scott, thanks for the technet link! I've asked Alex about the DELETE folders.
  • Covecube
    The *.DELETE.* folders are not from DrivePool. They are created by WHS when you move / delete a folder that's in use.

    DrivePool used to create them in M3, I think... This was basically emulating what WHS already did. DrivePool M4 and later does not create these.
  • Covecube

    You may get "Access denied" erros trying to access / delete them. This has nothing to do with NTFS security or DrivePool. It is a peculiar behavior of NTFS itself.

    You can actually mark a file or folder for deletion, even if it's in use. If something does this, any further access to that file / folder will issue an "access denied" error.

    The solution is force the original program (or programs) to close the file so that it could be removed. This is often impossible because some Windows component may have it open. So a reboot is often the only thing that helps.
  • edited May 2012 Member

    Hi Alex;

    Thanks very much for the clarification! I was successful in my attempt to remove the "DELETE" folders from the server D: drive after a system reboot.

    I have also removed a bunch of the older backups of each of the computers on my network to free up space, but it simply isn't enough. Looks like I have some clean-up tasks ahead of me in order to identify pictures, videos and music files on all of my client computers and get them moved over to the server.

    That should help free up some additional room. Still, the more I think about it, the more I think I will just go ahead and spend the cash on a new 2TB HDD, drop it in the server and move the Client Computer Backup folder to it (and keep it out of the Pool). That will give me a fair amount of breathing room for backups, however it will also leave me with an unused partition (D:) on my main drive that is 800+ GB in size. I think it is the lesser of two evils. :)

    Once again, I extend my thanks to you and Shane. The support and advice on this furum is nothing short of amazing!

    Best regards,

  • Resident Guru
    You could add D to the pool now - if you're using duplication for everything in the pool, you don't have to worry about losing pooled files even if you have to reformat WHS. :)
  • Hi Shane,

    Just want to be clear with the statement above.

    C: (System for WHS)
    D: (Remaining Partition from the 1TB)
    E: (HDD 2TB)
    F: (HDD 2TB)

    So if Drive D, E & F in the POOL and I need to reinstall WHS again, that drive D is "Safe" and won't be reformat and my Pool would stay secure?

    I've reinstalled WHS like 5x now, just found out the sata controller might be bad. Just replace with new motherboard and just reinstalled yesterday. 
    Anyway, I never include the D in the pool because I was skeptic it will get reformat while reinstalling.

    Thanks for your post
  • edited May 2012 Resident Guru
    Hi casiupao. 

    Short answer: ONLY if you have duplication enabled for EVERYTHING in your pool drive. And even then, afterwards DrivePool will need to re-duplicate anything that was on D: at the time, because when you reinstall WHS it will format the system drive - including D: if it is on that drive.

    Long answer: When you use the WHS 2011 install DVD, you are presented with two options.

    (1) a new install which erases the system hard drive - not just C: but also everything else on the drive, including D: if it is on that drive. I recommend disconnecting your other drives because WHS doesn't always pick the right drive to format.

    (2) a restore from a WHS 2011 system backup, which states "Everything on the computer will be replaced with the information in the system image". So as my guide says, disconnect any drive you want to keep intact.

    Perhaps if you exclude D: from the backup when you originally set it up it might survive, but I've not played with that to be able to tell you. Feel free to volunteer. :)

    This is also why "Step 2" in my guide begins, "If D: is still in the pool, remove it from the pool via the DrivePool tab." That way DrivePool can migrate your pooled files safely out of D: to the other drives in the pool (and those drives will, if you follow the guide, not be connected when you reinstall WHS).

    I hope that helps.
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