Can I really rely on WHS for backups? RRS feed

  • Question

  • When I first heard about WHS development, I was excited to be able to have such a product in my home to not only share files and media across my home network but to also take away the headaches of backing up my family's computers.  I was part of the beta team and then purchased the gold product early on.  I built a server from an old, yet adequate system and added two 500GB drives.

    From the beginning, nightly backups seemed to fail as much or more than they succeeded.  Unfortunately, the error messages were inadequate to help me determine the problems.  Next attempt to backup the same machine sometimes worked which really confused me.  This Forum sometime helped but never got me to the point where the process was reliable.  So I started to lose interest and eventually shut down the server.

    When I started reading about PowerPack 1, I started getting excited again in that many of the problems that I was experiencing seemed to be addressed in the PowerPack.  Now that PowerPack 1 has been released, I took my server and another machine, took the best parts of each, and built a new system.  I installed the WHS software, applied updates and PowerPack 1, and got it up and running.

    Yesterday, I setup my first client and applied the updates for WHS Connector.  Last night, the first backup failed.  After digging down, the best I could find in an error message is "The Backup Server failed".  You can imagine how frustrated I am and, with that generic message, I have no idea how to debug the problem.

    Can this environment really be made to be a reliable backup for my family?  Can anyone shed some light on how I proceed to determine the problem with backups?  I would appreciate any suggestions or feedback.


    Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:07 PM

All replies

  • I too have continuing unexplainable problems with WHS backups, and I have a plain vanilla HP EX470 with 4 clients on a gigabit wired network. Until Microsoft makes the backups more reliable & trustworthy, I additionally use Norton Ghost to back up each client daily to a USB drive.
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:31 PM
  • I have an occasional backup failure as well.   My system for data storage and protection makes that not a big deal.

    All of the "My Documents" folders on each computer are pointed to a share on WHS.   The beauty of that is that if a computer blows up and I need to do a reinstall, I don't have to worry about the data.   Ideally, no user data is stored on any computer but the server.

    Additionally, I use Idrive (www.idrive.com) to automatically backup the data on WHS to their location.   For $5/month you get 150GB of space.
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:56 PM
  • Regarding your issue, can you try a manual backup of that client PC? Right click the WHS icon in the system tray and select Backup Now... Give the backup a meaningful name and see if it will complete.

    I will say that I have found backups to be extremely reliable. I have an environment similar to Bobsie's: HP MediaSmart Server, several client PCs running a mix of XP Professional, XP MCE, and Vista, and gigabit Ethernet. I may have a backup fail if the client PC or the server reboots during the backup (Windows Updates cause that, for example) or if there's a power failure, but otherwise I don't have a problem. to me, that argues against Windows Home Server being the source of his problems, but I don't know what the real cause might be.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:19 PM