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reinstalling whs... concerned about my data RRS feed

  • Question

  • i've read a few threads about the data being fine if you reinstall whs. the threads also state that you'll have to recreate the users. here's my question...

    if i have UserA on my whs install right now (the install that's going to get reinstalled on), then when i reinstall whs, i'll have to recreate UserA. will i still be able to get to the data that belonged to the ORIGINAL UserA, if UserA was the only user who had access to it? if not, then what exactly is meant when people say 'your data will be fine'?

    Sunday, October 9, 2011 6:00 AM

All replies

  • If you recreate a user after reinstalling, then that user will be reconnected with their "user" folder within the Users share on your server. Other permissions will have to be set up again.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, October 9, 2011 6:45 AM
    Moderator
  • does whs not use SIDs? when i had my whs server up, i could go into permissions and see SIDs. what you're saying sounds like either whs realigns a new UserA's SID with the original UserA's SID. is that correct? if not, how does it reconnect to the folder?

    don't get me wrong... what you're saying makes me feel a LOT better. my whs isn't booting, so i've got a video card on order, just in case it's something i can take care of in post... i'm dreading a reinstall because every time i've reinstalled a 'normal' OS (windows 98, xp, 7, etc), i've had to restore data from backups because the SIDs changed. what you're saying sounds like whs works around a new SID somehow... i'm curious to know what it does...

    also, what do you mean by other permissions? permissions for other users on their own folders?

    and that brings up another question... what about custom folders/shares? whs comes with the standars... music, videos, etc, but what if i have a folder called homeserver\Stuff. will that folder still be there after the reinstall, and if that folder had UserA as the only user with access to that folder, will the new UserA still be able to access it?
    • Edited by Lenny Garza Sunday, October 9, 2011 8:11 AM
    Sunday, October 9, 2011 7:53 AM
  • It reconnects the user's private folder by determining that the user name matches the folder name. As for folders other than users' private folders (including custom folders not part of a default installation), as I said, you will have to reassign permissions.

    Windows Home Server doesn't "work around" SIDs in the way you think. SIDs still exist, and the old SID for a user doesn't match the user's SID after recovery/recreating the user. It's just that Windows Home Server "owns" all files, and can assign/reassign permissions as it sees fit.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, October 9, 2011 9:00 PM
    Moderator
  •  awesome, thanks!

    last question... my whs server isn't booting. i've got a video card adapter on order. so right now, my two options are to wait on the video so i can see what it's doing or just go ahead and reinstall whs. if you were me, what would you do? or are there other options?

    i ask because i don't know if i've experienced corruption and it's affected the install or if it's doing some kind of checkdisk or what. i'm a little concerned about turning it on and waiting to see if it boots up fully. as it is, when i turn it on, i hear the drives spin up, but there are no failure indicating lights or anything... the only light that flashes is the network. the drive lights are off. i've left it for about an hour at most and it wouldn't respond to a ping, i couldn't rd into it, nothing.

    thoughts or advise?


    • Edited by Lenny Garza Sunday, October 9, 2011 10:16 PM
    Sunday, October 9, 2011 10:15 PM
  • Hi Lenny,

    if you are concerned about user data in the process of reinstallation, you have not backed up your data properly anyway.

    Integrated duplication on the server, if enabled only protects against a single disk fault, not against any other means of loosing or damaging data, be it an installation error, user failer (deleted or overwrote the wrong files), malware doing the same or catastophic incidents breaking the entire server (overvoltage, fire, water, theft ...)

    Best greetings
    Olaf

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 1:43 PM
    Moderator
  • i'm not so concerned with my backups at this point. i'm more concerned with trying to find ways to help me figure out what's going on with my whs. as far as my data, i've got different options ready to go, but first, i want to know what's going on. then i can decide on the best route to take, whether it's cloning my drives, taking ownership of the folders/files, rebuilding my whs, then pushing the data back on or rebuilding my whs around the existing data or restoring from my backups. speaking of backups, if i do have corrupted data, there's a good chance that my backups also have corrupted data because as i'm sure you're aware, backups don't necessarily protect against corrupted data unless you know WHEN the corruption occured, how pervasive it is (is the file inaccessible? has the data been scrambled? or worse, has the file been deleted? etc) and you've got a backup BEFORE the corruption occurred. regardless, my backups are a last resort... i don't want to risk making any unnecessary changes to them, so at this point they're hands off.

    am i being overly paranoid? yes. but i don't want to go into this battle unarmed.

    if you've got any advice to offer, i'm listening...

    thanks,
    lenny


    • Edited by Lenny Garza Tuesday, October 11, 2011 3:57 PM
    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 2:44 PM
  • an update for anyone who's interested:

    i went and got 4 2tb seagate drives to replace the 4 1tb drives that are in the whs right now - i figured since i'm rebuilding, i might as well upgrade my storage too. i also bought norton ghost but ended up not needing it because the seagate drives came with discwizard, and it allows cloning of drives. i took out the 4th (top) drive from my whs and mounted it into a second computer, along with one of the replacement drives and used discwizard to create a clone of the whs drive onto the new 2tb drive - since i was using a brand new/unformatted drive, i felt comfortable that i couldn't accidentally choose the new drive as the destination and the whs drive as the source. once the clone was done (it took about 6 hours), i shut down the system, removed the whs drive, booted the system back up and assigned a drive letter to the new drive. once that was done, i was able to open the drive in windows explorer and unhide the DE folder. i was then able to take ownership of the folder and could suddenly see (and access) my files and folders. the DE folder looked like it had the entire shared folder structure intact, but there were folders that were empty. i'm guessing the files are distributed across the other discs... those are being cloned as i type.

    i've only done the one disc (of three), but i'm fairly comfortable at this point that my data is fine. and after doing a little more troubleshooting, i think i've found the reason why my whs won't boot... i routinely create user folders for clients, then put photos in each folder that my clients can access and download. the problem is that when i created the share, i wasn't able to access it without logging out and then back in. so instead, i remoted into the whs' desktop, opened windows explorer, then copied the files from the d: drive on the whs to the appropriate folder in the same d: drive. i believe, based on what i've seen, that this is what caused the problem. i'm not talking about corrupt files; i've kind of corrupted something in the OS itself. i'm thinking that because whs doesn't use a true raid system, it tracks files through pointers or references, and these references are updated when the files are accessed through the share UNC (for example: myhomserver\users\UserA as opposed to d:\users\UserA). by not going through the share when i did my copies, whs wasn't able to maintain the references, and it finally got so bad that it couldn't cope any longer.

    i'm not 100% sure about this though because although i did see a few references in the documentation to it last night, after i found the issue, the references are buried pretty good... i'd think that if this kind of copying caused corruption this bad, it'd be a little more prominent.

    so i guess my lesson is: take the extra time to log out and log back in so i can copy files through the shares... use the remote desktop only as a last resort.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 12:29 PM
  • The simple answer is this: use of the server desktop is unsupported. No matter why you use it, no matter how good the reason, it's still unsupported. Even when you're told by tech support to log in to the server desktop it's still technically unsupported. :) There are tools available on the desktop that can hose your server in a heartbeat, and even without those tools there are things a user can do from the desktop that will cause issues.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 1:12 PM
    Moderator
  • i wasn't aware of that either. i wonder how many other little gotchas exist that aren't documented very well...?
    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 1:54 PM
  • i wasn't aware of that either. i wonder how many other little gotchas exist that aren't documented very well...?

    That's really the only "gotcha" as far as i'm concerned. And to be honest, while it's a big one if you install Windows home Server yourself it seems pretty obvious. If you bought an OEM server, you would have nothing from the manufacturer that would tell you to use remote desktop for anything. Help doesn't mention the desktop for the most part, and if it does it's only going to be used for resolving an issue that can't be fixed any other way. That seems like kind of a big hint to me. :)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 3:12 PM
    Moderator
  • i've only done the one disc (of three), but i'm fairly comfortable at this point that my data is fine. and after doing a little more troubleshooting, i think i've found the reason why my whs won't boot... i routinely create user folders for clients, then put photos in each folder that my clients can access and download. the problem is that when i created the share, i wasn't able to access it without logging out and then back in. so instead, i remoted into the whs' desktop, opened windows explorer, then copied the files from the d: drive on the whs to the appropriate folder in the same d: drive. i believe, based on what i've seen, that this is what caused the problem. i'm not talking about corrupt files; i've kind of corrupted something in the OS itself. i'm thinking that because whs doesn't use a true raid system, it tracks files through pointers or references, and these references are updated when the files are accessed through the share UNC (for example: myhomserver\users\UserA as opposed to d:\users\UserA). by not going through the share when i did my copies, whs wasn't able to maintain the references, and it finally got so bad that it couldn't cope any longer.

    i'm not 100% sure about this though because although i did see a few references in the documentation to it last night, after i found the issue, the references are buried pretty good... i'd think that if this kind of copying caused corruption this bad, it'd be a little more prominent.

    so i guess my lesson is: take the extra time to log out and log back in so i can copy files through the shares... use the remote desktop only as a last resort.

    Copying files to d:\shares may indeed cause folder replication to fail and fill up the D: drive instead of using the other disks as well for splitting the storage capacities.

    The FAQ How to recover data after server failure explains where to find the files on the disks, as long as they have been distributed properly.

    If your original problem comes from a full D: drive on the server, removing the manually copied files could be enough (and later copy them back via UNC path).

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 11:46 AM
    Moderator
  • thanks for the info. based on what i've seen in my situation, i'm scrapping my current whs install and will upgrade/rebuild it, AFTER i've got all my data. so i've got a few questions based on the content though...

    since i am using duplication:
    1. is it safe to assume that files could be located on more than one disk?
    2. if so, will all copies be the same?

    so for example, if i had 4 disks, i'm assuming my structure would look like:
    disk0\data\de\users\UserA\FileA
    disk1\data\de\users\UserA\
    disk2\data\de\users\UserA\FileA
    disk3\data\de\users\UserA

    the document said to copy these folders to a new folder, so i'm planning on copying to a local drive on my computer. my question is this... when i copy the users folder from disk0 it'll copy FileA, and when i get to disk2, it'll tell me that FileA exists and prompt me to replace it. i'm assuming i should replace it, but would you recommend otherwise?

    also, can i do a new install remotely on a brand new drive? in other words, i'm taking the 1tb system drive out of the system and will be replacing it with a clean, brand new, unpartitioned 2tb drive... can i do a new install on this drive remotely (because the whs box has no video card)? do i need to partition the drive first?

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:56 PM
  • thanks for the info. based on what i've seen in my situation, i'm scrapping my current whs install and will upgrade/rebuild it, AFTER i've got all my data. so i've got a few questions based on the content though...

    since i am using duplication:
    1. is it safe to assume that files could be located on more than one disk?
    2. if so, will all copies be the same?

    1. If you were using duplication, files will be on more than one disk, not "could be".
    2. If you were having no problems with your server, in particular with DE, then files should be identical on both disks.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:10 PM
    Moderator
  • i guess what i'm getting at with the duplication is will the ENTIRE file be duplicated? or to put it another way, i've heard some people say that a portion of the file could be on one disk with the other portion on another disk. i don't think that's what's happening with whs...

    still wondering about the remote install on a clean disk too...

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:34 PM
  • If the server has no video card, then is it an OEM unit? HP or other? Generally an OEM server comes with a server recovery disk or other recovery mechanism. The use of this will be explained in the documentation you also received with the server.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:47 PM
    Moderator
  • it's an acer h340 and it does have the disc to do a recovery. but it doesn't say whether or not it requires the original system drive that came with it to do a new install.
    Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:57 PM
  • With a recovery disk, you have two options: server recovery and factory reset. they mean just about what you'd think: server recovery will refresh the OS on the system disk or let you recover a server after the system disk has failed, whereas factory reset will reset your server to it's state as shipped.

    The option you will want if you're replacing the system disk is the server recovery option. There's a FAQ (in the FAQ section, who'd have thought?! :) ) that will explain what data is at risk when you're replacing a failed disk. As far as your server is concerned, whatever reason you have for replacing the system disk, the disk itself may as well have failed, so the information in that FAQ is pertinent.

    To proceed, you should back up the data from all your disks (<drive>:\DE\Shares\etc.) just in case, then use the server recovery option. How to do this will be in your documentation, but it will be something like this: you boot your server in a special mode, then boot some computer on your network with the recovery disk. The setup wizard leads you through the rest.

    Note that when you're replacing a system disk, recovery will have to rebuild the tombstones in D:\Shares\etc., and this can take an extremely long time (days, in some cases).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 13, 2011 5:32 PM
    Moderator