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WHS will not backup RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am having great difficulties in understanding my backup problems with WHS.

    I have been a user of WHS for 2 years. I built a dedicated WHS computer that has performed very reliably. However I became accutely aware of the amount of power that the server used, especially with 4 500GB drives. A friend recommended that I build a new WHS using an old laptop, as these consume considerably less power. I used a Compaq Evo N800v with an inbuilt 90 GB 2 1/2 inch hard drive. Realizing that this would be totally inadequate to replace my previous 2 TB of backup drives, I added an external USB 3 1/2 inch drive of 1.5 TB. I very easily attached this to the inbuilt storage in WHS and had it operational as integrated storage. However even after about 30 attempts, I was unable to even back up once! I remember that nearly all failures were "The backup server failed"

    For reasons that I cannot now remember, I used the 1.5TB SATA drive in a new drive interface...ie a PCMCIA card that plugged into my laptop. Again it was very easy to attach the new storage to the WHS and have it operational. However, once again, it was impossible to backup any of my 3 other computers.

    I was very excited to see the impending release of WHS Power Pack 3. After waiting for several days, it was finally available on Connect. After downloading and installing this, I was hoping for backup success. Alas, it made no difference. In total desperation, I did a totally new installation of WHS, including the progressive updates to Power Pack 3. Again no ability to backup. The backups would always start, but fail at around 12%. I should also mention that during the whole time with backup problems, other applications that I use on WHS worked perfectly.

    In the WHS, View backups screen, the reason given was "The backup server failed."

    On the client computers the message received was "The backup failed because the communication was temporarily lost with your Windows Home Server. Retrying the backup may resolve this problem"

    Not now knowing what to do, I accidentally fell onto an idea of trying another storage device instead of the 1.5 TB drive. (I should mention that I had formatted the 1.5TB drive many times) My friend who suggested using the laptop had just bought a 320GB Imation portable hard drive with USB interface. He loaned this to me, and VOILA, WHS again backs up properly.

    I am writing this inthe hope that someone can help me understand why the PCMCIA card with SATA drive would not work with backups, whilst the smaller Imation drive works perfectly.

    I am also left with the problem of knowing what to do to get the 1.5 TB of backup that I need. Clearly the 320GB USB drive is far too small!

    Please can anyone help to solve my dilemma.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 1:25 PM

Answers

  • Instead of using a laptop you could also use intel Atom or VIA C7 based board. Combined with a decent (efficient and not too large) powersupply and WD Greenpoint disk you can build a very energy efficient system.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:06 PM
    Moderator
  • I would go back to a desktop server, instead of the laptop. Laptops aren't designed to run server operating systems (Windows Server 2003 isn't supported on laptop hardware, for example), and using a laptop that way may stress it rather severely. In adiditon, the highly integrated nature of laptops means that you are much more likely to find issues such as you're having with the PC Card SATA adapter.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:10 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I'd check to see if there is a power saving mode for the PCMCIA interface card and if there is, try turning it off.

    Will the backup work normally if you try it manually?? Personally, I wouldn't use a laptop for WHS, but that's my opinion.

    Cruise
    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 2:39 PM
  • Instead of using a laptop you could also use intel Atom or VIA C7 based board. Combined with a decent (efficient and not too large) powersupply and WD Greenpoint disk you can build a very energy efficient system.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:06 PM
    Moderator
  • I would go back to a desktop server, instead of the laptop. Laptops aren't designed to run server operating systems (Windows Server 2003 isn't supported on laptop hardware, for example), and using a laptop that way may stress it rather severely. In adiditon, the highly integrated nature of laptops means that you are much more likely to find issues such as you're having with the PC Card SATA adapter.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:10 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks guys for the helpful replies!

    Cruiseman. The backups do not work manually or automatically. I like your idea of checking the PCMCIA power saving. I will do that tonight!

    brubber. I will look into the low power board possibilities. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Ken and all.  I had hoped that the laptop could do the job. I respect your advice that it is not built for that purpose!  As my laptop is approaching end of life, I am not that concerned if it is severely stressed. Of course I am aware that an unreliable server is not desirable for backups. However I still keep a second backup on my original desktop server, but this only runs about once a week at present. The benefit of the laptop is that I have it, and it performs it's other functions that I need, very well. eg media centre repository, weather station web server etc. I have invested a significant amount of time into using the laptop so that I could have 24/7 with low power. Hence I would like to find out why the strange backup problem occurs. At least I do now have a fully working WHS, doing backups correctly, albeit with a limited 320GB hard drive. I am reluctant to revert to my original desktop machine due to its excessive power consumption. As a last straw, I may have to consider using a low power board replacement in the future.

    Many thanks for all your help.
    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 10:04 PM
  • Bolty2:

    I can appreciate your desire to have a low-power server, so keep trying. I have a small form-factor Shuttle box with a Pentium Mobile-based motherboard that consumes under 40 W. It has been running 24/7 as my home server for the past 4 years now, running Linux. I just converted it to a WHS box and so far it is doing very well. Don't tell the Linux fanboys but Server 2003 runs faster on it than Linux ever did, and it does Windows networking so much better than Samba. The server has a 7200 rpm 2.5" notebook 80 GB primary HDD and a 1 TB 3.5" HDD as a storage volume. The disks spin down to save power (actually, the main disk never does since there is always some disk access before the timeout). So I can understand why you would want to build a home server based on a laptop. Saving energy is a worthy goal.
    Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:09 AM
  • For low power look at Intel Atom, or at some of the Via ITX and smaller boards.

    Probably the storage issue is related somehow to the PC Card bus, the SATA PC Card, and drivers for both. As for solving it? Depending on what's going on, it might not be possible with the hardware you have now.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, July 23, 2009 3:38 PM
    Moderator
  • I have decided to buy an Intel Atom board and build a replacement low power WHS instead of using my older laptop. This will have advantages that I do not obtain with my laptop. One of these is that the Atom has a Gigabit network on board. I had tried using a Gigabit USB add-on for my laptop, but (as per the above) it did not work very well! I hopefully will then be able to use the WHS much better as a media server with Windows 7 Media Center which I use on 2 of my clients.

    Does anyone have any specific recommendations as to the suitability of an Intel D945GSEJT for this purpose? Is it powerful enough to operate as a low power WHS transferring substantial MCE recorded TV files etc

    Many thanks to all who have helped me come to this decision.
    Sunday, July 26, 2009 10:00 PM
  • File transfers use very little CPU.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, July 27, 2009 3:19 AM
    Moderator
  • Patiently awaiting supply of my new D945GSEJT mobo.
    Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:45 PM