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Is it possible to retrieve data off a WHS drive from another OS? RRS feed

  • Question

  • My WHS installation is really giving me headaches, primarily with disks.  The point that I am at now is that I had to reinstall WHS, but I still have data on a second hard drive that I do not want to lose.  If I put this drive in another system (SATA drive under WinXP), should I be able to retrieve the data off of the drive? 

     

    The reason I ask this is because WHS "lost" my second and third drives, both fo which contained data.  They show in the drive manager as unattached, and the one drive shows as "missing" under the active drives, but I know that reattaching the missing drive will cause the drive to be formatted.

     

    Finally, is there a way to remove ownership rights to these files (i.e. the two old accounts under WHS had access to the files, but due to this latest issue that I'm running into I haven't been able to recreate the users)?

     

    Thanks for any help, I'm getting  a bit desperate here.

     

    Pete

    Tuesday, May 1, 2007 12:32 PM

Answers

  • Yes, you should be able to retrieve the files off the drive. WHS formats the drive using the NTFS file system, and doesn't actually do anything particularly special with the files themselves.

    You should be able to take ownership of the files on whatever drives you want, if that's required. See this Knowledgebase article for details.
    Tuesday, May 1, 2007 2:24 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Yes, you should be able to retrieve the files off the drive. WHS formats the drive using the NTFS file system, and doesn't actually do anything particularly special with the files themselves.

    You should be able to take ownership of the files on whatever drives you want, if that's required. See this Knowledgebase article for details.
    Tuesday, May 1, 2007 2:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Will the files retain their original filenames and be easily recognizible under a different OS?

    Thanks!
    Monday, June 11, 2007 8:19 PM
  • Yes it's a standard disk, with the same filenames.

     

    Gordon

    Monday, June 11, 2007 8:40 PM
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
    Yes, you should be able to retrieve the files off the drive. WHS formats the drive using the NTFS file system, and doesn't actually do anything particularly special with the files themselves.

    You should be able to take ownership of the files on whatever drives you want, if that's required. See this Knowledgebase article for details.


    This is true, but only for actual data files.  AFIK backups are not accessible outside of WHS.  And to add to the problem, if the WHS SYS disk goes down, its taking your backups with it since reinstalling the OS reformats the entire drive, not just the SYS partition.
    Saturday, June 16, 2007 6:58 PM
  •  pd48 wrote:
     Ken Warren wrote:
    Yes, you should be able to retrieve the files off the drive. WHS formats the drive using the NTFS file system, and doesn't actually do anything particularly special with the files themselves.

    You should be able to take ownership of the files on whatever drives you want, if that's required. See this Knowledgebase article for details.



    This is true, but only for actual data files.  AFIK backups are not accessible outside of WHS.  And to add to the problem, if the WHS SYS disk goes down, its taking your backups with it since reinstalling the OS reformats the entire drive, not just the SYS partition.

     

    Not true, if you reinstall the OS your backups are still there because they are not stored on the SYS drive, and when you reinstall it rebuilds the database and folder shares from information on the other drives.

    Saturday, June 16, 2007 8:55 PM
    Moderator
  • You are correct, I spoke too soon on that one based on previous beta testing.

    I just did a reinstall test using RC1 and all my backups and shares were left completely in place and untouched.  I still believe the backup files themselves are proprietary and are not accessible outside of WHS the way the data files are.
    Saturday, June 16, 2007 9:58 PM
  • I'm also having a problem retrieving data from WHS drives. When I connect the drives to my Vista PC, the folders are there, but they have strange characters in front of the folder names and there aren't any files showing, but the properties show "20GB available out of a 120GB drive", etc... I tried reinstalling WHS, but the data drives all show up in the "missing" category but are all also duplicated in the storage pool. No data is shown for these drives, which scares me! This is the first real problem I've had with WHS since I installed it on a Dell PowerEdge 400SC with 1.8TB of disk last November.

     

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008 1:51 PM
  • Art Zasadny,

     

    Your files are under the directory \DE\shares.

    The other directories you see on the drive are WHS "system" folders and/or leftovers that can be ignored.

     

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008 6:51 PM
    Moderator
  •  Theo van Elsberg wrote:

    Art Zasadny,

     

    Your files are under the directory \DE\shares.

    The other directories you see on the drive are WHS "system" folders and/or leftovers that can be ignored.

     

     

    Theo,

     

       Thanks, but I've looked at 4 of the hard drives on my Vista PC (via USB to IDE adapter) and I can't find any files at all. The Vista OS shows the hard drives contain data, but the files simply aren't there. I'll try again tonight. I have 8 hard drives to check... I'm afrais that my data is lost because when I replaced the system drive and tried the "reinstall" option, everything seemed to work until the end where the shares appeared with no files in them. This is not good at all as I had 800GB of photos, videos, music and documents... I'm also replacing the stock 250 watt power supply on my Dell PowerEdge 400SC with a PC Power and Cooling 450 watt power supply.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008 2:49 PM
  • Art,

    If you have 8 hard drives, it's possible you haven't got to them yet! WHS doesn't spread the files across all available disks as it tries to keep files together.

    When you RDP into WHS, use Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\fs\(x), where (x) can be a random number. This random number equates to a hard drive, so with 8 drives, you will have a list of them under C:\fs. You can find the fileson each drive there.

    It's also possible that in Vista, you need to enable 'View Hidden Files', to do so,

    1.  Go to Start

    2. Click Control Panel
    3. Click Folder Options
    4. Click the View tab
    5. Click Show hidden files and folders
    6. If you want to see system files as well, unclick Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
    7. Click OK

     

     

    Colin

    Thursday, May 1, 2008 5:00 PM
  • Thanks for the advice guys! I'm stuck because each hard drive that is attached to the Promise Ultra133 TX2 card shows up as "missing" and also shows up as "healthy". The Promise Ultra100 TX2 card that I was using suffered a hardware failure (broken pin) so I replaced it with the spare Ultra133 TX2, using the same drivers. Seems like WHS doesn't like to see the drives on a different controller card, so I'm bidding on another Ultra100 TX2 on eBay right now. I can't copy the data off the drives as I get all kinds of errors and the file copy process stops after a few files. This is really ugly!

    Monday, May 5, 2008 8:38 PM
  • Art, to recover your files quickly, take the drives out of your server one at a time and connect them to another computer, then just copy everything out of <driveletter>:\DE\Shares\etc.You'll find lots of duplicates if you had share duplication turned on for any shares, but they should be identical. (If timestamps differ, keep the newer.) Then just install from scratch using the new controller and copy your data back to the server. It'll take a while but it should definitely work.

    If you're saying that your drives are throwing errors if they're not connected to their original controller, then you've got bigger problems than a failed controller. You weren't running RAID, were you? If not, the drives are just individual NTFS-formatted drives and should be readable in any computer that can understand NTFS (inlcuding most Linux computers).
    Monday, May 5, 2008 8:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

       Thanks for the info, i really do appreciate your help! I'll have to do as you say and put each of my 9 hard drives in my primary PC and try to retrieve all of the data under \DE\Shares. I am not running any RAID at all, just IDE drives connected to the Dell PowerEdge 400SC motherboard and the Promise Ultra133TX2 PCI card and 2 external USB hard drives. Apparently, moving from the Promise Ultra100TX2 to the Promise Ultra133TX2 confused WHS. I'll tey to get all of my data onto another hard drive, then install WHS "from scratch" with the disks I'm planning on keeping in the server. I had "data duplication" enabled for all data on the server. Thanks again!

     

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008 3:26 PM
  • I have to warn you that there's no easy way to determine which files are on which drives; you'll probably wind up working your way through every one of your secondary drives.

    Just to put my mind at ease, the errors you're experiencing as a result of switching from one controller to another are not hardware errors, are they?
    Tuesday, May 6, 2008 5:19 PM
    Moderator
  • Looks really bad for me. I've tried to recover data from all 9 hard drives from my WHS system and nothing can be retrieved. I've tried the native Windows access via Vista and the drives show folders, but no files. Some drives show that the drive is full of data (drive properties), but I can't see any folders at all. I've trien Spinrite 6.0, but it can't access the hard drives in question, only the drives with no data on them. I've got 800GB of music, software, photos and video that I cannot retrieve and I'm almost out of ideas...

     

    Monday, May 12, 2008 2:49 PM
  • Art, on the secondary drives in your storage pool, files should be in a (hidden) folder: <driveletter>:\DE\Shares\etc. You will have to turn on viewing of hidden folders and files in order to be able to see this folder.
    Monday, May 12, 2008 3:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

       Thanks! I'll try that tonight!!

     

    Monday, May 12, 2008 6:45 PM
  • Bad news keeps coming... I can see the folders and files now, but when I try to access them to copy off the drive, I get all kinds of error messages (file handler exception, data corruption, etc...). I believe this may be the "WHS data corruption" issue. Any ideas what I can do to retrieve any data from these drives?

     

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 1:40 PM
  • Well, some progress has been made. I bought a new Hitachi 1TB SATA hard drive and put it in my Dell Inspiron 530 as my "data" drive and connected each hard drive from my server to the desktop and enabled viewing of system/hidden files and I was able to retrieve my digital photos, videos and some documents so far. I still have 4 hard drives to go through (out of 9 drives total) and I'm hoping to find my MP3's soon. After I get all of my data on the 1TB drive, I'll copy the data back to the appropriate folders on the server and keep duplication turned on. Unfortunately, after this episode, I'll never really trust the WHS again...

     

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008 1:59 PM