Month: March 2011

Fixed – “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect" when you add a hard drive to Windows 2008 R2 backup

Apparently, according to Microsoft KB Article 2009365 this issue occurs when a previously hard drive (or the only previously defined) hard drive has been removed from the server and a new drive is being attached. This is typically the case when setting up a new server and preconfiguring the backups to go to the second identical usb drive. Most people are just going to unplug the drive leaving the old power supply and usb cable attached to the server and power and plug in the new drive and then attempt to add it to the backup schedule. At this point the backup program will give the error “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect” as the old drive is no longer attached. Microsoft have a couple of solutions, including adding the first drive back to the server, or removing the first drive. Neither of which are very helpful if you are just swapping the external drive itself. The final solution is to add the drives from an elevated command line using the following.

  1. Run the following command from an elevated command prompt to determine the Disk Identifier of the new disk:
    wbadmin get disks
  2. Based on the output, locate the disk that will be added to the scheduled backup. Make a note of the Disk Identifier. The output will resemble the following:
    Disk name: xxxxxxxxxxx
    Disk number: x
    Disk identifier: {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}
    Total space: xxx.xx GB
    Used space : xxx.xx GB
  3. Run the following command to add the new disk to the Scheduled backup. Use the Disk Identifier from the previous step as the "AddTarget" parameter.
    WBADMIN ENABLE BACKUP -addtarget:{xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}
  4. When you receive the following prompt, type Y for Yes.

"Do you want to enable scheduled backups with the above settings?"

5. You may be prompted to format the drive if it was previously used in another server or for another purpose.

The screenshot below shows the addition of a USB drive to my virtualised SBS server.


SBS server migration has to be run within 21 days from the day you initially run the wizard

I always knew you had 21 days to finish a migration for an SBS installation, but I always thought the countdown was triggered when you ran dcpromo on the second server, breaking the original license agreement by having two SBS servers on the network that both want to have all the roles. (On a side note it is interesting that Microsoft provide a tool to get around Windows licensing but if you attempt to run other third party applications to do the same thing it gets flagged as a virus or you fall foul of Windows Genuine Advantage)…

Apparently, running the initial SBS pre migration assistant starts the 21 day timer even if you don’t continue with the rest of the installation. Attempting to install SBS after 21 days will provide an error message stating “Source Server does not meet minimum requirements for migration” as per the screenshot below.


If this screen appears, pressing Shift F10 will open a command prompt, at which point the sbssetup log file can be read with

notepad "C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server\Logs\SBSSetup.log"

Towards the end of the log file will be the reason the migration stopped. In this case it was to do with the HKLM\ Software\ Microsoft\ SmallBusinessServer\ Migration\ MigrationReady containing an old date and LastCheckTime (value of 1) being set to a long time ago.

I’m not sure whether hacking these values out would allow you to continue on with the install but I’m going to rerun the migration wizard again. Unfortunately this requires another (pointless) reboot of the source server – something I am trying to avoid when setting this up in a parallel installation.

Fixed – Windows 2008 Server continually boots into safe mode.

We had a weird issue this morning after applying windows updates to a server and found that the server had rebooted into safe mode. We tried various methods of forcing the server back to normal mode through the F8 prompt, even attempting a Windows Repair from cd but nothing seemed to work.
In the end we ran “bcdedit /deletevalue safeboot” from the command prompt, rebooted the server and it came back up in normal mode. There was a long, very dramatic pause, whilst the server reverted changes to the windows updates but we were eventually able to log back into the server. We then took a snapshot and installed the windows updates 50% at a time – and of course, this time every patch installed successfully.
I suspected that the server was reading the bcd and booting into safe mode, but I’d have thought that pressing F8 and selecting normal mode would have overwritten this selection – obviously I was wrong.
I really long for the good old boot.ini days.
The Technet article “Restart the domain controller in Directory Services Restore Mode Remotely” gave us the bcdedit commands to run. It was amazing how many google hits there are for failing to restart a server in safe mode (oops – here’s another one), but not many on how to stop a Windows 2008 Server from starting in safe mode.