Replacing the hard drive in a server



To establish a standard method for upgrading the disk in a NetWare NDS file server. This is not a disaster recovery procedure but a way of performing a controlled hardware upgrade. These instructions assume the use of SCSI drives, but are equally applicable to EIDE drives. They also assume that the server contains volumes SYS and VOL1. Adjust accordingly for your environment. Note that this procedure was originally written for NetWare 4.x. If you are running it on a NetWare 5.x or 6.x server, where the procedure refers to INSTALL.NLM or DSMAINT.NLM, you use NWCONFIG.NLM instead.


  1. A new hard drive which has been prepared ahead of time with a DOS partition (use Novell's suggested size for the DOS partition). If you want to be able to take a server dump, the DOS partition needs at least as much free space as the amount of memory on the server. It is easiest to prepare the disk ahead of time in another machine, as the DOS partition can then be marked as active. If it is prepared as the secondary disk when it is the server with the existing primary disk, the DOS partition cannot be marked as active until the existing primary disk has been removed.
  2. A SCSI ribbon cable with sufficient connectors for the new hard drive and the existing SCSI devices in the server. The existing cable in the server may already have sufficient connectors. If the drive has a different width connector (eg you are replacing a narrow drive with a wide drive) you will also need a narrow-to-wide SCSI converter.
  3. A bootable DOS floppy disk containing the FDISK, FORMAT, XCOPY, and EDIT utilities.
  4. A NetWare license disk to reinstall the server license.


You will need a 32-bit Windows workstation with the Novell client and with the TRUSTNDS and NWCOPY utilities installed.

  1. Take a full backup of the server.
  2. At the workstation, map a drive to the server, make that the current drive, and run TRUSTNDS /R /A. This will create the file TRUSTEES.BAT in the root of SYS containing all the trustee assignments and IRMs for all volumes. This step is not strictly necessary, as NWCopy can copy the trustee rights for you. I use this just to audit the existing trustee rights.
  3. Edit AUTOEXEC.NCF and comment out all non-essential software (eg. Arcserve, Inoculan, Managewise, etc).
  4. Down and power off the server. Add the new disk to the SCSI chain, jumpered to an appropriate id which does not conflict with any of the existing SCSI devices.
  5. Boot the server to DOS only (with DOS 6.22 or Novell DOS 7, you can do this by booting off the hard disk and holding down the shift key when the "starting DOS" message appears), and use XCOPY /S to copy the NWSERVER directory from the existing disk's DOS partition to the new disk’s DOS partition.
  6. Load NetWare by running SERVER.EXE from the NWSERVER directory on the new DOS partition (make sure you use the NWSERVER directory from the new disk and not the old disk, in order to verify that you can load NetWare from the new DOS partition). Once you have logged your workstation in, disable login and use Monitor to remove any other licensed connections to the server (including printers).
  7. LOAD INSTALL and select "Disk options" and "Modify disk partitions and Hot Fix" to create a NetWare partition on the new disk, allocating all the free disk space.
  8. Exit to the main INSTALL menu, and select "Volume options". Press Insert, and create a volume called NEWSYS on the new disk at the size that you want. Create another volume called NEWVOL1 in the remaining free space. ESC to save your changes and mount all volumes. If either of the existing volumes on the server (SYS or VOL1) have long name space support loaded, then add the same name space support to the corresponding new volume with the console command: ADD NAME SPACE LONG TO VOLUME <volname>
  9. At the workstation, use NWCopy to copy all directories except DELETED.SAV and CDROM$$.ROM from SYS to NEWSYS and from VOL1 to NEWVOL1. Make sure that under the Attributes tab in the NWCopy options, you check all options. Also copy TRUSTEES.BAT from the root of SYS to NEWSYS.
  10. At the console, LOAD DSMAINT and select the option "Prepare NDS for hardware upgrade". Once this has completed, go to the workstation and copy the BACKUP.DS (BACKUP.NDS for NetWare 5.x/6.x) file from SYS:SYSTEM to NEWSYS:SYSTEM.
  11. At the console, make sure that INSTALL is still loaded, and then dismount all volumes. Use the Volume options in INSTALL to rename:
    VOL1 to OLDVOL1
    NEWVOL1 to VOL1
  12. Selectively mount the SYS and VOL1 which are on the new disk. Do not mount OLDSYS or OLDVOL1.
  13. LOAD DSMAINT and select the option "Restore NDS following hardware upgrade". When this has completed, check the system console to ensure that the NDS database has opened.
  14. Use the "License options" menu in INSTALL to install the server license. When you copy SYS to NEWSYS, the server license does not get copied and needs to be re-installed.
  15. Edit AUTOEXEC.NCF and uncomment the software you commented out in step 3. At this stage, you can either reboot the server to activate the software or load it manually at the server console.
  16. Down and power off the server. Remove the old disk, and jumper the new disk to the same SCSI id (normally id 0).
  17. Reboot the server.
  18. Login and use NWAdmin to remove the NEWSYS and NEWVOL1 objects from NDS.


  1. Once you have verified correct operation of the new disk, you should delete and purge the BACKUP.DS file from SYS:SYSTEM. This is because it contains a complete copy of NDS on that server, including the hashed user passwords, and an attacker who managed to get hold of a copy of this file could use it to launch a password attack.
  2. For a similar reason, once you are satisfied that all files were transferred to the new server, that it is running properly, and that you have a backup of it, you should erase the old disk to remove all data from it.

Copyright © Nick Payne 1999