Have you ever done something on your server that you immediately regretted? Something simple like bouncing the server during the middle of the day because you forgot about the users connected to it? Well, that’s nothing compared to what I went through.
I recently wrote about a nonprofit that I assisted to implement a data protection solution. Given the nonprofit’s infrastructure, which included multiple virtual machines on Hyper-V as well as Active Directory and SharePoint, I wanted to go with SC DPM (System Center Data Protection Manager). Unfortunately, the host server wasn't set up properly, and I had the pleasure of spending a long time reconfiguring the host and child virtual machines, after which I installed SC DPM, which took all day to complete. I encountered one error after another, each of which revolved primarily around a SQL installation that didn't go very well. Once I worked through these snafus, SC DPM installed and configured itself.
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Confession: I don't have a lot of experience with SC DPM. As luck would have it, just by clicking around, I quickly fell into peril. I set up a custom protection group, chose my data drive and my external USB backup drive, and started playing with the software. Big mistake -- without realizing how powerful DPM can be, I removed the protection group and literally watched as both my data drive and external drive vanished. Looking under Disk Management in the Computer Management portion of the console, both drives showed up as unallocated. No volumes, no partitions, nothing. No data. No backup. I was ready to cry.
Microsoft Support: A first time for everything
I took the server home to rebuild it. I was convinced the data was irrecoverable but tried Test Disk, a free disk recovery tool. Test Disk found the data on my external drive, so at least I could recover from a two-week-old backup. The tool couldn't do anything for me on the server's data drive. I decided to do something I had never done before: contact Microsoft.