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OKay so I have a slight problem that might either be apocalyptic or benign, but I don't know which.

Context, updated:

The server is in a small unventilated unlocked room that is about two feet wide by two feet deep by 8 feet tall. It's quite hot in there, but I don't think that's technically the problem.

The server is Windows Server 2003 based, and is used to run every single thing in this company. This is a setup I inherited of, and I'd very much like them to drop Exchange, as we happen to be seven employees. Being in the big corporation that it is in now, the server is crammed with heavy useless software and runs pretty much every ressource hog imaginable. And have had previous unclean shutdowns due to heat.

Anyway, this morning I got the dreaded 0x00000077 error, along with 0x0000000E parameters for param 1 and 2, 0x00 for param 3, and another something on param 4.

Research:

Google told me it could be a bad, bad thing, like the hard drive soon will DIE!!! O_O (Kernel_Stack_Inpage_Error)

Questions:

Is this going to haunt my nights or can I fix it? If yes, how?

Is this urgent enough for me to tell my boss to buy whatever I need to ensure the system is backed up efficiently ASAP?

Is the Hard Drive going to die soon, and if so, will I have to cope with it like the death of my beloved cat?

Updated question:

Would it be possible that it is caused by write errors on the disk? This assumption being generated by the fact that I happen to have a single file that seems to hang when I read, which then in turn fires an IO error.

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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm going to make an assumption and guess that you're running Windows Server 2003. I'll appropriately retag your question as such.

Since you are unsure of what the cause of the error is, that's what we need to find out. This is my suggestion: Run chkdisk on the drive, and run memtest86+ if possible (as in, you have a few hours you can schedule for downtime)

When you say this is the corporate server, what exactly does it run? It is just a file server, or does it also host Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, DFS, anything like that? Are there any other applications that are absolutely reliant on this server? If so, you might want to consider a few things. First is getting that server out of where it is, and putting it somewhere that is 1.) climate controlled (aka in a room with a dedicated air conditioner), and 2.) secure from other employees. This will prevent a few things. First, it will make sure that no one that is unauthorized to touch it can do so. Second, it will greatly increase the life of the hardware by ensuring that it stays at appropriate temperatures. Remember, computers make heat, and that heat needs to go somewhere. If it's in a closet, that is going to get very very warm in there, and warm temperatures for computers are a Bad Thing. If you want an idea of how bad it is to have a server in rooms without air conditioning, read this article, and weep.

Also, I'm going to agree with KWPINC. Not having a backup is asking for something bad to happen. Tell your boss you need backup. If he says it's not necessary, compare the cost of a backup service (whether it is done in-house and carried offsite, or done by a managed service) to the approximate $2000 minimum for DriveSavers crack open one of your drives, and not even be able to guarantee that everything will come back.

Also, if you could, can you give us a description of the hardware your "corporate server" is running? Software would be nice as well.

Ok, based on what you've told me, I'm going to make some suggestions.

First: Get RAID in there ASAP. At least RAID 1 so if a disk fails (which seems likely given your current setup) you aren't up shit's creek. And believe me, if your disk fails, and you don't have a backup, you ARE going to be up shit's creek. Many Dell systems support RAID (I have two machines in my office that have it, a Precision 380 and an Optiplex 755), so other than being cheap as hell, there's no real excuse for not doing so.

Second: Work on getting a PowerEdge or comparable server in the building, and getting things migrated over to that. You do this one of two ways. First thing you could do is just image the old server to the new one, but this is unlikely to work because of drivers and such. The proper way to bring it up would be (and this is very much so simplified) to buy the new server, join it to the domain, set it up as a BDC, mirror the file-shares over, eventually set deny permissions on the old server for file shares, then promote the new server to PDC. I'm not sure about IIS or Exchange as I don't deal with them as much as I would like to.

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Right. Forgot the basic. By "corporate", I mean "universal". It's running ADS, Exchange, every little thing that is needed for each and every individual, hosts software, and our "corporate" intranet, and pretty much everything. All at once. Mainly using Windows basic server tools. For hardware, it's a dual core setup, with enough ram to be crammed with an unholy load of useless crap. I actually incarnate singlehandedly the whole IT department. Including "homebrewed softwares". –  MrZombie Aug 3 '09 at 19:19
    
Is this enterprise grade hardware, or are you running this on a workstation machine? Do you have RAID? –  phuzion Aug 3 '09 at 23:37
    
No, and no. Most probably the second most powerful machine on the network, from my point of view, next to the boss' one. –  MrZombie Aug 4 '09 at 11:36
    
This updated version sounds to me as a good answer. This is how I should deal with the problem, and as such, I mark it a good answer. It isn't good for me, though, in the sense that this setup includes a good forkage of money, and my boss can't even afford to pay attention, let alone overtime. –  MrZombie Aug 14 '09 at 12:54
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I think the better question is. LET'S PRETEND the hard drive is going to die.

Do you have a backup?

If the answer is "No" then you should be scrambling to make a backup regardless.


As for your other questions... you didn't say enough about your error to really narrow it down but please take a look at this link:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315266


UPDATE:

Noticed that you updated your question with some more information.

Hard drives are SO CHEAP right now that I would STRONGLY recommend buying one and backing up your system. The backup that the boss has probably isn't as current as you'd like.

I can't say for sure if your hard drive is dying or not. Normally I'd recommend you give something like SpinRite (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) a try but that's about the cost of a new hard drive and it sounds to me like money is a big issue with you (or your boss)? That being said... your best CHEAP solution would be to buy another hard drive and then use some free cloning software to clone the drive.

Once you clone the drive, boot up off the CLONE and keep your original as the backup.

See if the problems persist or end from there.

If we're wrong and the HDD is NOT the problem then at least you still have a current backup so you really haven't lost anything other than a little bit of time.

You shouldn't have to "weep" to your boss/employer. If he/she can't see the value in backing the data up then at least do your best to WARN THEM of the potential consequences.

After that its their decision (and not your fault) if something goes wrong.

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The answer to Do I Have A Backup is "No, the boss has, and is not willing to provide me with efficient tools to make a backup unless I'm weeping, holding the hard drive's hand while it draws its last breaths." –  MrZombie Aug 3 '09 at 18:05
    
Did I mention I was supposed to be the network admin? –  MrZombie Aug 3 '09 at 18:05
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Hard drives are extremely cheep. At the very least, get an external drive and back that sucker up using open source tools if you need to. And remind your boss that recovery from a failed drive will be hundreds of times more costly without a backup. –  Chris Nava Aug 3 '09 at 18:25
    
Windows backup can perform the backups you require. –  Jim B Aug 3 '09 at 20:33
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You might have a driver error, a heat error or a failed component (motherboard, power supply, memory, hard drive). It's impossible to tell from the information we see here.

You really ought to bring in some outside help. It may be necessary for this problem and will be necessary to properly backup your data. Once you get through this problem, an IT consultant will likely be able to improve what you're doing in half a day. You boss really needs to compare this to the cost of losing all the company's data.

Also, once this problem is fixed, take that machine out of the closet and stick it under someone's desk. Sure, that's a bad idea from a security perspective, but a good idea from a "stuff not overheating and breaking" perspective.

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Most probably. For some reason it seems to happen when and only when I perform certain actions on the server. IE backing up some big files. –  MrZombie Aug 3 '09 at 18:23
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Looks like lots of advice so far an few answers so:

Is this going to haunt my nights or can I fix it? If yes, how?

No this will be an albatross around your neck for the simple reason that you have no backups. Even if you didn't have the error you should have an email (printed out) on hand for when it does die and something vital is lost. Then you can point to it and say "see- I asked for backups and was told we couldn't afford them/ don't need them"

Is this urgent enough for me to tell my boss to buy whatever I need to ensure the system is backed up efficiently ASAP?

If the $100 or so for a 1TB HD in order to do backups in case of a failure wasn't important before I'd venture a guess to say it won;t be important now. I'd ask but I wouldn't hold out much hope from your description

Is the Hard Drive going to die soon, and if so, will I have to cope with it like the death of my beloved cat?

Everything dies eventually. this is a likely indicator but it's impossible to tell from your description whether its the hard drive, the controller or something else.

Would it be possible that it is caused by write errors on the disk?

Maybe, but it's possible its a read error- and inpage error means that it couldn't read back a page from the disk, It's probably unlikely that it wrote the page out badly but read it ok.

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