WHS v1 lost data w/4x2TB drives RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello-  I have the fun task of trying to save my boss's WHS v1 server he runs @ home.  I put together the hardware and set it up for him at Christmas time 2010.  He has a TON of movies on it with MyMovies and a large collection of family pics and work related files - QuickBooks - etc.


    He does NOT have a backup of anything - he always promised he would hook up an external WD USB drive.  IT didn't happen.


    Scenario leading up to problems:

    He was running MCEBuddy - to remove commercials and shrink down recorded TV and was having problems with the software.  He decided to remove it and apparently during the uninstall process - it somehow "looked" like it was deleting everything from the D: partition.  He tried to stop it and kill the process as it looked strange to be removing so many files and directories.


    What he's left with now is close to 8TB of free space!  The folders are all gone - everything is missing off of the DE spanned disks.  He bought a copy of WinDelete to try to recover things.  He can see tons and tons of files with WinDelete - and recovering them seems to work to an external USB drive....but later the jpg family photos or the Quickbooks file is corrupt.  Everything that gets restored from the drive storage is corrupted.  WinDelete can see everything and they show file size and type - but nothing can actually be opened later with a different PC.


    I'm looking for suggestions for a service or utility that will work better than WinDelete.  I don't think it was necessarily a fault of Drive Extender or anything else - other than a faulty uninstall.  At least that's all the info I have as to what caused the problem.


    Can a data recovery service help here?  I know it's not RAID and that M$ has now ditched DE with WHS 2011....but this is what I have to work with.  I've recommended not sending the box into a recovery service unless they can specifically state they have experience with WHS v1 (ie Drive Extender).


    Any recommendations of services in the US and/or recovery utilities that will understand how to deal with DE would be greatly appreciated.  Anyone with a similar story that has had success - I'd love to hear from you!


    Many thanks!


    Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:56 PM

All replies

  • Note: for future reference, installing software directly on your server (other than Windows Home Server add-ins) is unsupported and not recommended, for pretty much exactly the reason your boss has experienced.

    For the data that's been recovered so far, try taking ownership of the files after they've been recovered to the USB drive. (This assumes the USB drive is showing an appropriate amount of space consumed).

    If you decide to send the disks out for recovery, expect to pay a significant amount of money, probably into the thousands of dollars. (And understand that there's no guarantee they can recover everything.) Also, the more you mess around with the drives prior to sending them out, the more likely some data will be irrecoverable, so if this is a possible course of action, you should not continue to attempt data recovery on your own. 

    And finally, good backups are essential for data integrity; the only thing DE protects users from is the failure of a single drive. 

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 7:37 PM
  • All good points.  He had installed WinUnDelete on the C: drive prior to bringing me the server.  To my knowledge - nothing has been written to the D: where all of the shares live.

    I worked with UnDelete and a 500GB USB disk plugged in for better part of a day and then it's sat powered off since then.  I haven't wanted to keep it running and have the disk balancer or whatever it's called get in the way and start overwriting the deleted files.

    I've tried just about everything I can think of with the "restored" files - but can't get them to open in their respective programs.

    I guess what I am really hoping for is someone with a better tool than WinUnDelete or with some more hands on experience in restoring deleted files specifically with how WHS v1 stores them on the drives.  Fingers crossed - may be there is a cool hidden startup command for WinUnDelete that would save the day!  Now back to reality - probably not.

    I haven't found a restoration company yet that talks about their experience with WHS Drive Extender.  Some of the companies say that they work with all types of RAID and said that they were sure that MS was using RAID in the background.  I finally told them we weren't interested as they just wanted the drives pulled from the server and shipped out to them.

    We are probably after 100-200GB of actual data and will skip the multiple TB's of video and BD's that he's ripped.  His worst case scenario right now is to just get his work files and family photos back.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:49 PM
  • The way to recover data from the drives in the server is to remove the drives from the server and connect them to another computer. Then attempt to recover anything you can find on each drive in <drive>:\DE\Shares\etc. Data will likely be spread out across multiple drives, so you will need to try all the drives.

    Again, there are no guarantees.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 11:59 PM
  • How does that work when not all of the drives are present?  Aren't some directories and even files spread across all of the disks due to what Drive Extender does?  Or if I run WinUnDelete from another machine - will it be able to see what was "supposed" to be there?  Curious.  I figured I'd have to leave the drives all cabled up in the original Antec case and not dare move them at all.
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:35 PM
  • Drive Extender works at the level of individual files. If duplication was turned on for everything, there will be two copies of all files, on two physical disks. If it wasn't, files in shares without duplication will only be on a single disk. So you can work with one disk at a time.

    If there were more than two disks, files will probably be distributed across all disks, but still following the same concepts.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 4:43 PM