If you’ve purchased and OEM Windows Home Server, you’re in luck there are two likely scenerios and both result in you keeping your data….  I greatly wish Daniel (my brother in law) had an OEM device… so much so that Daniel is getting one for the holidays :)

If you believe that your old hard disks are in good shape recovery is really simple – buy a new identical Home Server, put your old hard disks in the new server, and then reboot.  If all goes well you’ll be in business in just a few minutes.

Should the server not boot there is probably a problem on the primary C: volume.  Examples could include the OEM slightly changing the servers hardware from the time you purchased your old one, the old volume has had a software problem that has prevented booting, or perhaps you’ve installed 3’ed party software that has made the server unhappy.  In the case where simply replacing the hard disks doesn’t work you’re still okay, recovering from a major problem on an OEM device is simple – Home Server has a technology designed to image (refresh to factory conditions) the primary hard disk from the network.  The idea is simple – at time of manufacture the OEM takes a “sysprep”ed image of the C: volume.  This image contains a copy of Windows Home Server that has been put into a special mode,  the mode will “personalize” itself on first boot.  All tech jargon aside the idea is to tweak it’s settings to be customized for you while retaining the fingerprints of your OEM.

The procedure is simple

1.       Press a button on the front of the device

2.       Drop a DVD into your *client* computer

3.       Follow the OEM’s instructions

4.       Wait for the C: volume to be brought to its factory new state

Once reimaged your Home Server will ask for new passwords and will require you to recreate users – but it will preserve your backup database and all your files.

By far – this is the simplest route to recovering from a major failure (you dropped the server, installed some really broken software, or just forgot your administrator password)