locked
All files are missing. All folders exist. Please assist. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have the latest power pack installed.

    Recently WHS started giving issues with one of my 4 disk drives.   It was indicative of a drive failing (a fairly new SATA 500gb).  I have duplication turned on so I figured I was ok, I still had my data as it was 'duplicated'... the drive finally showed up as 'missing'.  I removed the drive from the case and I am able to browse the data on it, it loads fine on my vista machine, my mac, etc.  So I can still get at my data on this drive.

    Oddly, this disk doesn't show any errors when I check it.

    I figured since I have duplication on, I should be able to 'remove' the 'missing' HD and add a new one.  (probably a mistake, but this is what I assumed, since it can't read it anyway).  So I did this.

    Now when I access the files and shared directories, I just have folders.  No data.

    screwy thing #2:  I have drives attached to the server that are not part of the storage pool (just accessible as shares).  Same thing, I can browse but there are no files - just the folders.

    I don't understand this.  Why would I lose everything?  Even the data on drives that are not part of WHS?  


    Sunday, September 21, 2008 12:33 AM

Answers

  • I've finally had the time to try to recover my files.  I am having a horrendous time determining what exists on each disk and what does not.  Read on:



    I think WHS is flawed in its storage pooling mechanism based on the results of my findings.  These are findings from a layman, and one who is quite chuffed about loss of data.

    Based upon the supposed 'duplication' scheme used by WHS, I would be led to believe that if you have multiple disks in your 'pool' that your files would be duplicated on each drive.

    Based upon what is on my disks, this is NOT the case.

    Files and folders are randomly distributed between disks.  Folders exist on both drives, but the files are not duplicated. 

    I believe this is a major flaw in the pooling/duplication.  If the files only exist on a single drive, they will not be recoverable in the event of a failure.



    I would ask the WHS team to please set up duplication with two drives and place multiple folders and file structures into the Shared Folders.  Then, remove the disks and validate that they are identical.  Based upon my results I believe that they will find that some files exist on one but not the other and only the folders are duplicated.

    This is my proposed answer to my issue:  The Duplication/Pooling scheme is flawed.
     
    • Marked as answer by jagwood Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:47 PM
    • Edited by jagwood Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:48 PM clarification
    Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:46 PM

All replies

  • jagwood said:

    I have the latest power pack installed.


    Recently WHS started giving issues with one of my 4 disk drives.   It was indicative of a drive failing (a fairly new SATA 500gb).  I have duplication turned on so I figured I was ok, I still had my data as it was 'duplicated'... the drive finally showed up as 'missing'.  I removed the drive from the case and I am able to browse the data on it, it loads fine on my vista machine, my mac, etc.  So I can still get at my data on this drive.

    Oddly, this disk doesn't show any errors when I check it.

    I figured since I have duplication on, I should be able to 'remove' the 'missing' HD and add a new one.  (probably a mistake, but this is what I assumed, since it can't read it anyway).  So I did this.

    Now when I access the files and shared directories, I just have folders.  No data.

    screwy thing #2:  I have drives attached to the server that are not part of the storage pool (just accessible as shares).  Same thing, I can browse but there are no files - just the folders.

    I don't understand this.  Why would I lose everything?  Even the data on drives that are not part of WHS?  




    Hi,

    Please file a bug for this.

    Currently file uploads are offline for
    Connect; however, you should still be able to register and file a bug. If you are not already a member, please register and join the program.

    Once you’ve done that, please use the toolkit to submit client and server CABs.  You’ll find information regarding how to do that here.

    The event logs in the CABs will allow us to review this issue. You should be able to submit CABs since those are handled via OCA/Watson and not Connect.

    Thank you


    Lara Jones [MSFT] Windows Home Server Team
    Sunday, September 21, 2008 4:56 AM
    Moderator
  • If you login directly to the server (or via remote desktop) try following:
    Enable Show hidden files in Folder options in Control Panel.
    Open Windows Explorer and navigate to c:\fs.
    Here you will find subfolders representing each of the disks.
    In each of these folders check the content of the folder DE\shares\sharename, if you can find your missed files here.

    Since you don't see files in other attached disks as well (which have nothing to do with the WHS features), can you attach one if the disks to another system to see, if the files are visible there?
    Are the files visible in a command prompt using the dir /a command to the folders in question?
    In this case some settings in Windows Explorer may be the cause, that he files are not visible.
    Eventually try to run chkdsk /f /r to each of the disks as well.

    If the files here are really gone also, there are additional possibilities, like your system got hacked and the files deleted by the hacker, infected by some malware (or maybe "cleaned out" by your virus scanner) or you have a malicious user in your own home.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    • Proposed as answer by Lara JonesModerator Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7:48 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by jagwood Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:36 PM
    Sunday, September 21, 2008 8:25 AM
    Moderator
  • The  files do not exist on the WHS drive(s) at all when I browse with your methods.  They do exist on the 'removed drive' - which I want to emphasize was rejected by WHS as damaged and then not found.  However, disk check on another PC finds it to be just fine and readable.

    Would the missing files be part of failed duplication?  I am not sure how this works.  If I have multiple drives and one fails, shouldn't I be able to click remove (and get the prompt that files will be deleted (I have no choice in the matter), and remove it?  Is this perhaps why the folders show but no files, they were on the removed drive?

    Also good to note is that the shared drive is also 100% readable and intact outside of WHS.  All files exist.  If I plug it back into WHS as a share, only folders are available.  Completely bizarre since this is Server 2003 based, which is solid as a rock.

    Because of this, I have lost all confidence in WHS as a backup solution.  It seemed stable over the last 4-6 months, but I fear that the service pack has introduced new bugs. 



    Finally: I have not been hacked, I do not have any viruses, and I do not have malicious users in my own home.  My wife is not malicious and doesn't have access.
    • Edited by jagwood Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:53 PM
    Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:48 PM
  • Hello,
    it seems, that Folder duplication may have issues in cases, in which one of the disks has only flaws (damaged sectors, ntfs corruption issues after a crash) and does not instantly fail.
    I could imagine, that in such a situation it tries to duplicate the "changed" files over the intact duplicate and so instead of keeping a working copy demolishes them. (Only speculation, and I may be wrong here.)
    But this is the problem for all such mechanics - if a file or folder has been changed, how can a duplication mechanic decide, that the change was unintended and caused by a software failure or an hardware issue, which keeps the disk still readable, but does not deliver the proper data?

    This is one of the points, why an regular external backup is still necessary also with WHS and you cannot exclusively rely on the box.
    WHS also could fail due to various other reasons, like over voltage, a fire in your home, a blowing up power supply, being stolen ... So while WHS is a great resolution as backup system for a household, which had not such thing before very often, you still have to take care for incidents making the WHS unaccessible.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, September 26, 2008 9:29 AM
    Moderator
  • I also lost duplicated data when a hard drive went bad/missing.  I submitted a bug on connect and the team released a fix for it that came out this week.  I am very iffy about duplication but trust microsoft and I hope it's working as intended now.  Although if I lose duplicated data because of a bad drive again, WHS will be a simple backup machine from now on.  This has been rock solid for me from the very beginning.
    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Friday, September 26, 2008 10:01 AM
  • "WHS is for mom, dad, granny, " ... etc.etc.  ( said by MS if I recall correctly )


    Olaf, I have always appreciated your efforts and your expertise on WHS but I think there are no excuses on a problems that cry out for the scandal.

    It is not justifiable in any way that for a disc error you could lose copies of all files on another disc !
    ( especially given that the accused disc is correctly running and readable if attached on another pc)

    I could understand ... a disc error ... may be a cluster error ... you could loose one file .. two .. a whole folder but THE WHOLE STORAGE POOL ?!??

    And above all, there is no justification for an error on disc belonging to the pool that cause losing of data on a non-pool disc.

    ( from first msg :

    screwy thing #2:  I have drives attached to the server that are not part of the storage pool (just accessible as shares).  Same thing, I can browse but there are no files - just the folders.

    )

    Start thinking DE must have a good look from scratch... or, at least, rephrase ""WHS is for mom, dad, granny ...  secure storage ... plug in and forget about it " ... etc.etc.  in "WHS is a server for IT specialists that care about it every day" like my job in our It dept.


    I'm really hoping in a Lara's answer saying it was a complete and evident hardware or controller fault that cause all this mess.
    That is not a DE fault (again!)


    (sorry for my english)


    I really love the WHS concept but I'm very scared by DE !
    Friday, September 26, 2008 10:34 AM
  • Make sure to file a bug with connect.  The WHS team definately looks at this and responds.  
    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Friday, September 26, 2008 11:29 AM
  • I downloaded the toolkit, followed the instructions, but it gives a 'failed to send to watson' error and does not produce a CAB number.  
    Friday, September 26, 2008 3:29 PM
  • jagwood said:

    I downloaded the toolkit, followed the instructions, but it gives a 'failed to send to watson' error and does not produce a CAB number.  



    Please try to submit a CAB again, if you are still getting the error, let me know.

    Thank you
    Lara Jones [MSFT] Windows Home Server Team
    Friday, September 26, 2008 3:54 PM
    Moderator
  • jagwood said:

    Because of this, I have lost all confidence in WHS as a backup solution.  It seemed stable over the last 4-6 months, but I fear that the service pack has introduced new bugs. 


    Possibly you are one of the (extremely rare) victims of a bug that was discovered and fixed very recently: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950193

    However  the observation that you are also experiencing problems in shares outside the drive pool could als point to some other error or mishap. I must admit though that I really can not think of any error other then human or malware inflicted that would cause the type of problems you are observing. All data are gone from all disks, however your system disk is untouched! If this were limited to storage pool I would tend to agree this could be WHS (DE) related error.

    Having said that If you are still missing / can not access any file you really need I would strongly advise you to power down your homeserver immediately, remove all disks and ask a professional data recovery company to diagnose the disks.

    If you keep using the disks the chances of recovering files rapidly decreases.

    If you don't really need the data and would like to recover as much as possible yourself you could try the following:

    1. On a client browse to one of your shared folders, or a folder within the shared folder when available
    2. Right click the folder, properties, previous versions tab.
    3. If you see any previous versions listed try and open (do not use the restore button)
    4. If you can open a previous version from a shared folder safe the contents to another location (copy)

    If this works at all it will probably be limited to folders present on disks that are part of the WHS storage pool. If it works for a single file or folder , or if you even see previous version but get errors trying to recover them please let me know. I will then work with you to try and recover the files.
     
    Please note, also chances of recovering files with this method decrease rapidly if you wait too long.
    • Proposed as answer by Lara JonesModerator Friday, September 26, 2008 7:21 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by jagwood Friday, September 26, 2008 7:31 PM
    Friday, September 26, 2008 7:14 PM
    Moderator
  • I don't think anyone has read completely through what i have written, I could be wrong.

    The data is intact on all disks that have been removed from WHS.  The disks are readable and do not have errors.  The one removed from the storage pool has all the files on it and everything is fine other than it won't work in WHS.  The share drive works fine and all files are available - as long as its not shared from WHS.

    I'll still try to upload the cab/error.  It'll be this weekend.


    Friday, September 26, 2008 8:00 PM
  • jagwood said:

    I don't think anyone has read completely through what i have written, I could be wrong.

    The data is intact on all disks that have been removed from WHS.  The disks are readable and do not have errors.  The one removed from the storage pool has all the files on it and everything is fine other than it won't work in WHS.  The share drive works fine and all files are available - as long as its not shared from WHS.

    I'll still try to upload the cab/error.  It'll be this weekend.




    Hi Jagwood, sorry for misunderstanding you. 

    I have read completely through what you've written and tried to understand what's actually going on. I think part of the confusion is that most of us are not native english speakers and therefore it's very difficult to understand what's happening. Actually I still have a problem trying to make sense out of this one. To move forward and to make sure I understand things correctly:

    1. For each of the secondary WHS disks if you take it out of your WHS and mount it in another system you find a hidden folder named "DE" in the root of the disk which contains your data. Right?
      1. You can acually access and open the files in the subfolders such as .\DE\shares\software Right?
    2. For the primary (system) disk if you take it out of your WHS and mount it in another system you find a hidden folder named "DE" in the root of the DATA partition. Right?
      1. You find real data (files that you can actually open) in the subfolders of the hidden DE partition. Right?
      2. If yes please copy these to a safe place.
    3. For each of the disks that were NOT part of the WHS pool you can still see and open files on these disks when you mount the disks in another system. Right?
    4. If you are sure all of your data is still in the DE folders on the secondary WHS disks you should be able to recover using the following procedure:
      1. Even though this procedure should preserve your data please safeguard any data you really can't afford to loose
      2. Mount all disks that were part of the drive pool in your WHS, including the primary drive.
      3. Make sure the system drive is still the primary drive.
      4. Do NOT attach any drive that wasn't in the drive pool!
      5. WHS install disk in server DVD drive, boot from DVD, choose server reinstall
        1. If server reinstall is not available STOP here!
      6. Please note that this may take a long time to finish, WHS has to rebuild all tombstones.
      7. After install has finished configure the box again (add users, add clients, install add-ins and so on.

     

    Friday, September 26, 2008 11:17 PM
    Moderator
  • 1.  Yes and 1.1 Yes
    2.1 Yes
    3. Yes 

    4. I'm not about to re-install the server again.  I've already made more backups of my machines, I think my next step is to just copy the files from the 'removed' supposedly bad drive that actually works and doesn't have errors and put the files onto the home server where they belong.


    I tried uploading the report, still the same 'Failed to send Watson report'. 
    Monday, September 29, 2008 5:22 PM
  • jagwood said:

    1.  Yes and 1.1 Yes
    2.1 Yes
    3. Yes 

    4. I'm not about to re-install the server again.  I've already made more backups of my machines, I think my next step is to just copy the files from the 'removed' supposedly bad drive that actually works and doesn't have errors and put the files onto the home server where they belong.


    I tried uploading the report, still the same 'Failed to send Watson report'. 

    There's a fair chance that copying the files back to their original locations will also do the trick.  It's also possible you will end up with the same or other problems. Please let us know how things are working out. I advised you to reinstall since I´m afraid there may be something wrong with your current install. Server reinstall normally fixes most of the often hard to diagnose problems.

    Concerning the error report, are you running the error reporting tool from the Windows Home Server toolkit from the WHS console, Settings Menu? If not, please try. In case you missed this point, to install the toolkit on your WHS:

    1. On a client where you installed the windows homeserver toolkit open a command prompt.
    2. cd to C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\Toolkit
    3. At the command prompt type Connectortroubleshooter -a and hit Enter
    4. This will open the Connector Troubleshooter.
    5. From the menu bar at the top choose Server, then Publish Server Add-In, enter password, OK
    6. Open WHS console, Settings Menu, Add-ins, Available Add-ins, Install Toolkit


    Monday, September 29, 2008 6:44 PM
    Moderator
  • I've finally had the time to try to recover my files.  I am having a horrendous time determining what exists on each disk and what does not.  Read on:



    I think WHS is flawed in its storage pooling mechanism based on the results of my findings.  These are findings from a layman, and one who is quite chuffed about loss of data.

    Based upon the supposed 'duplication' scheme used by WHS, I would be led to believe that if you have multiple disks in your 'pool' that your files would be duplicated on each drive.

    Based upon what is on my disks, this is NOT the case.

    Files and folders are randomly distributed between disks.  Folders exist on both drives, but the files are not duplicated. 

    I believe this is a major flaw in the pooling/duplication.  If the files only exist on a single drive, they will not be recoverable in the event of a failure.



    I would ask the WHS team to please set up duplication with two drives and place multiple folders and file structures into the Shared Folders.  Then, remove the disks and validate that they are identical.  Based upon my results I believe that they will find that some files exist on one but not the other and only the folders are duplicated.

    This is my proposed answer to my issue:  The Duplication/Pooling scheme is flawed.
     
    • Marked as answer by jagwood Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:47 PM
    • Edited by jagwood Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:48 PM clarification
    Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:46 PM
  • Hello again,
    sometimes the thinks do not work as they should and it is easy to blame somebody. But where in the chain was the reason? Was it really a WHS component? Was it a bad driver or broken hardware? Was it a crash or some other software?

    At least your result was, that you could recover the lost files with help of the informations, you got in the thread. It was time consuming (what hurts), but still possible for you. And you have learned something, I am sure ;-)

    What you also should have learned, is that a Windows Home Server alone is no data insurance - especially not for data exclusively stored on shared folders.
    Folder duplication is nice - even if it would function without any flaw there can bad things happen:
    You or somebody else or some malware could overwrite the contents of files with wrong stuff - how should WHS determine, that the overwritten more current version is not, what you wanted?
    Overvoltage blows up your PCs and the WHS and renders all disks unreadable without professional data recovery support.
    Or a fire, water damage or whatever for bad things can happen.
    Or your PCs and server are stolen.

    How would you overcome such situations?
    This example shows well, that you still need to maintain external copies of your important files. If they are critical, even an offsite location for storing one or more copies may make sense.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Thursday, October 9, 2008 4:13 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for the reply.

    Yes, I agree that very important files should be stored with redundancy and even with an offsite backup strategy.

    My issue is that I feel that after this episode, WHS doesn't quite provide a baseline backup solution.  Yes, it was fine for most of a year, but once a drive had issues (and I must remind you, only WHS has issues with the drive), the data was in a bad state even though 'duplication' was enabled.  This suggests to me a basic flaw in the pooling mechanism.  I may be wrong, but my results show that a drive failure with WHS equals loss of data and the redundancy scheme does not work.
    Thursday, October 9, 2008 4:33 PM