A service tech was on-site Friday, and among other things, installed a second RAID array (RAID 1) for user data in this Windows 2003 server. It boots from a RAID 5 array. This server is the only server on this network, and it's also the primary domain controller.

When he brought the server back up after installing hardware, it reported one drive on the RAID 5 array as failed. We talked about it, and decided the safest thing to do was to take a disk image to a USB hard drive, then to open her up to see whether a connection had simply been missed, or whether the drive had indeed failed.

I installed a trial version of Acronis True Image. I took a sector-by-sector backup of the RAID 5 array, and that finished with one or two errors. Since I had space on the USB drive, I also took a file-level backup of the RAID 5 data, also with Acronis True Image.

Since I also needed a regular backup, I started a full backup at midnight last night using NTBackup, writing to a NAS device. (The tape drive is a long story, and not relevant at the moment.) This backup should have taken at least 8 hours.

When I checked it this morning, I saw only a gray screen. It has a responsive mouse cursor on it, but nothing else. The server isn't hung; I can see the drives from other computers on the network, I can create and delete files, I can run server-based accounting software from the RAID 5 array and access the databases that are on the RAID 5 array. NTBackup finished in about 3 hours with 33 GB written to NAS--that's almost certainly a failed backup.

I can't shutdown blind from the console, because I have no idea now what's on the screen. I tried to shutdown from another computer using psexec and also using Powershell. Both those tries failed with security errors. (I don't think you can shutdown a domain controller that way, but I'm not sure.)

I do not want to just hit the power switch on a running server that reports a failed drive. But is that the only alternative I have left?

Finally had to quiet the server and kill the power. That brought everything back to the state it was in before the gray screen. The system log shows that an automatic Windows update restarted the server; that update also killed the NTBackup.

2 Answers 2


From the command line, run: runas /user:domain\administrator cmd

This will launch a command prompt as the domain administrator. From there, you can run: shutdown /r /m \\DomainCntrollerName

  • Using runas /user:Administrator@DomainName cmd returned 1311: There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:27
  • Are you running it from a domain-joined computer that has DNS correctly configured? If yes, is the DC that's locked up the only one for your domain?
    – MDMarra
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:52
  • Actually, that workstation is not joined to the domain. Let me try it from a different computer. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 15:50
  • You won't be able to issue remote commands to a domain-joined computer from a non-domain-joined one. You'll get access denied, since you can't authenticate correctly.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 16:01
  • I was able to issue remote commands from cmd on a domain-joined computer without errors. But the server didn't shut down, and later I found that it recorded all those attempts as security warnings in the event logs. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 22:58

IIRC, Windows Server supports two simultaneous connections via RDP. Can you use an RDP client to log onto the server remotely? You will get a different session than the one that is currently on the physical console. If you can connect and log into the server with an adminstrative account, you should be able to reboot it using the remote connection so you don't have to fiddle with the physical console.

  • I don't think I can use an RDP client, but I'll try it when I get to work in the morning. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 1:47
  • Terminal services aren't enabled on that server. (I didn't think they were.) Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:47

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