I love the Internet and I love Google

First let me clarify. I own a technology company that provides IT support services to a lot of small and medium sized businesses. As you well know, supporting anything that has to do with computers is a huge undertaking and what you need to know to make it through one day is completely different than what you needed to know the day before.

Several months back, we took on the support of a decent-sized company. Their data center was, shall we say, a mess. Well, I looked at their existing servers and decided that we could re-use two of them. They were built from Intel parts, with a 2U rack mount case, 4 active removable drive bays and an Intel S5000VSA motherboard. This motherboard supports RAID but the existing RAID drives were degraded (NICE!!!)

We finally got the opportunity to pull one of the servers out for refurbishment. I brought it back to the shop and ran Sysinternal's DISK2VHD on the server. Next, I removed the old drives, well... removed the old drive and set it aside as a fall-back (we wanted to save the old Exchange server in case someone found they were missing data three months from now.) I installed four new 1TB drives in the four carriers and booted up the server. The BIOS did not offer me any option to go into the RAID controller. Odd. Went into the BIOS and found out that the RAID controller was OFF! The previous tech had used Windows Server 2003 software RAID and had set the drives as dynamic. I enabled the onboard RAID controller and rebooted. Now I had the RAID controller option.

(Full disclosure: I should have realized that it was a software RAID, because viewing drives in Windows' Drive Management plugin, a real RAID drive would have been presented as a single drive, not two drives in a degraded state. My bad. )

So, now I am attempting to set these four drives up in a RAID5 configuration, but the RAID5 option was greyed out leaving only RAID 0, 1 or 10. WTF? I hit Google and found that Intel decided to make an extra 80-something dollars by requiring a little
AXXRAKSW5 plug to be inserted on the motherboard to allow RAID 5. Priceless...

I capitulate and set the server up in a RAID 10. Two TB of storage should be enough for a while, right? I prepare the RAID VD and then I successfully installed Server 2008R2 and applied all patches. Everything looks good. I installed 16GB RAM and the server seems quite fast with its RAID 10 drives and dual quad core processors.

I added the Hyper-V role to the server and commenced to creating the first VM on the host. I decided to copy the 96Gb VHD that was created using DISK2VHD. I ran through the Create New VM wizard, pointed to the VHD, clicked Finish and BAM! Up on the screen pops an error: 'A virtual disk support provider for the specified file was not found.' (7864368). (Virtual machine ID E6579719-992D-43AB-80F7-79D8290987683). Nice... now what? A support provider? What is this? Welfare? Someone not making child support payments???

I hit Google again. I was referred to a KB article
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2013544. This KB applies to having a tape drive installed and some other issues. The original server had Backup Exec running, so what the heck? I made the registry change and rebooted. No joy. Same thing.

Fine. I had had issues with DISK2VHD images in the past. Must be something horked with the VHD. Let's create my data server VM which is needed as part of the process. I fire up the Create New VM wizard, get all the way through to identifying a new VHD and BAM!!! There it is again. That support provider thing. I try several other tricks, but no luck. Cannot get past that error.

This time I decide to check the event logs. I find Events 14140, 12140, and 12620 every time I attempt to attach a VHD to a VM. I Googled these three numbers. Now I start seeing references to RAID controllers and specifically Intel S5000 series motherboards. Hmmmmm. I finally landed on
a thread on Microsoft's Technet. In it is this:

The solution with some fiddling is as follows
regedit
navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E97D-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\Properties

export it

Rightclick Properties, permissions, click through to
change permissions you cannot see, click advanced, owner tab and take ownership,
ok back to properties, and then click to add a permission, and all will come
back.


Ok Click out and back to properties,
export it again to
another file
in that folder find "Security"

Delete the value

reboot server, re-attach any disks, and hey presto it works.


So, I try it. I open REGEDIT, find the value and cannot export the registry file. Nope... it doesn't exist. That's right. Doesn't exist. Fine. I will take ownership. Seems Administrator is already owner, but it won't let me take it anyway. Well, let me just try to delete the Security value. Nope. Can't see it. It isn't there. Hmmmmm. Catch 22?

Well, let me make a Recovery Point in case I screw everything up. Guess what? In its basic form, Windows Server 2008R2 doesn't have the option! Sweet...

No guts, no glory, so I try to start regedit as an administrator (which I already am.) I am sure there are other ways, but I ended up opening a command window as administrator (thanks UAC!) typed regedit and hit enter. I found the Value, took ownership (yes it let me do it this time), deleted the Security key and rebooted.

Mirabile dictu. I was able to attach my VHDs to my VMs. I was able to boot the 2003 server image from DISK2VHD and successfully add the Integration Services. I was also able to install my data server successfully.

Is there any way that I would have been able to figure this out on my own? Who would I have asked? Would I have had to pay $295 for an incident with Microsoft to get to an answer? How long would it have taken? Microsoft techies are GREAT and it is the best $295 you could ever spend for tech support, but you have to be able to stay on the phone with them for HOURS until they come to a conclusion. Was this problem Intel's fault? (it also affected non-Intel RAID controllers.) Should Intel at least be responsible for letting us know of an issue between a currently supported motherboard and the latest and greatest Microsoft server operating system?

Bottom line: there is TOO much to know to do my job properly without the support of the Internet technical community. I absolutely LOVE the way that technical people in the IT industry share and share and share. Searching and researching on the Internet is the only way that I can do my job properly. Seriously.

If only every other industry were this open (car manufacturers, are you listening???), the world would be a much better place and so much less time would be squandered.

Comments

Anonymous said…
You may not have been able to find the solution on your own, but i wouldn't have found the solution without your post, so big thanks!!
Jon
Leicester
Anonymous said…
OMG this issue has been vexing me forever on my home system. I have so much stuff running on my media server I was loath to reinstall just to try it but this was the fix for me too. Thank you for this blog post!

Popular posts from this blog

Replacing the headlamp in your 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

How To Change a Commercial Door Lock in 9 Easy Steps

It Is A Time For...