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I have a Windows Server 2012 Essentials installation that has RAID attached storage for all of its shared storage. I'd like to wipe the current install and replace it with Server Essentials 2012 R2.

After I do that, I'd like to reattach the RAID and have all the shared folders/files intact. Can I do that? How? I can NOT afford to loose any files on the raid. I also have no way to back it up (unfortunately) because of its size.

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As an aside, standard practise dictates that you should back up, because RAID is not a backup--should your RAID controller fail, you're SOL. I'm not sure what you mean by because of its size: if you buy enough media you can split a backup of any size across it. –  Kev Oct 2 '13 at 17:29
    
16TB of data. I do not have a reasonable backup solution for that much data, but I am open to suggestions. Money, of course, being the issue. –  Francis Oct 3 '13 at 16:11
    
We often use some type of white box chassis w/ a RAID card and sufficient # of drives for storage and a 3rd party backup app. Backup design depends on recovery time, data growth, offsite/DR needs, etc. If the organization's leadership is aware that all of the data could be gone overnight they usually find a way to fund something. The alternative to not backing up is that the entire organization is at risk. –  Ed Fries Oct 3 '13 at 20:04

1 Answer 1

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  1. Make an image based backup of C & D volumes
  2. Make a 2nd backup to different media.
  3. Don't touch the D: volume/partition/LUN.
  4. Boot from new OS DVD, install OS to C, format C or delete, recreate & format C partition.
    4a. Did I mention don't touch the D: volume/partition/LUN....
  5. All NTFS permissions will be need to be redone since the GUID's will not match the new AD domain.
  6. All Shares and share permissions will need to be recreated.
  7. Think through how the restore process will be done if for instance the wrong volume, partition or LUN is deleted and everything is lost.
  8. If the OS install fails midway then time constraints may require a restore of C back to original OS and trying another day. Another reason an image backup of both volumes is needed.
  9. The statements "there is no backup" and "can't afford to lose any files" are in conflict, pick one and understand the consequences. This is a high risk operation, things can go wrong, data can be lost.
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