Fixing the Black Screen of Death (KSOD) on SBS 2011
This weekend, an IT reseller contacted me with a problem they had. After the RAID controlled failed on a SBS2011 Standard, they receovered the server from the SBS Backup using the Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) process. After the server was restored, they booted the system and encountered the Black Screen of Death (KSOD). This is a condition where the system boots up and nothing comes up on the screen except a black screen with a mouse pointer. Nothing else can be done to the server, and no amount of waiting will get this server to carry forward in the boot process.
It turns out that there is a known condition that causes this severe problem. In the migration process from SBS2003, the reseller installed the NTBackup Restore Utility for WIndows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 utility. This utility allows a user to read and restore a backup set created by the NTBACKUP utility in Windows Server 2003 on a 2008 R2 server. The problem occurs when the user does not uninstall this utility after they have finished restoring the backups. In this condition, all server 2008 R2 backups (yes, including those done in SBS 2011, or any backup that uses the WBEM engine) will be corrupt, and will cause this condition when performing a BMR restore.
The reason for this is that a specific folder is ommitted from the backups – c:\Windows\Registration – if this condition exists.
This condition is now noted in Update Rollup 3 for SBS 2011 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2012/06/13/update-rollup-3-for-wssg-bpa-is-now-available-via-microsoft-updates-along-with-its-installation-tool.aspx
The simple fix for this is as follows:
- Copy the contents of C:\Windows\Registration from a working SBS2011 server
- Boot into the Windows Repair/Recovery mode using SBS2011 Disc 1
- Open up a command prompt and browse to C:\Windows\Registration
- Copy the files (from a USB drive or something) over to the server
The server should now boot up.