locked
WHS Removed drive, duplication = enabled... big trouble now RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello everyone,

    about a half year ago (before pp1) I purchased a Windows Home Server.

    Before the transfer of all my files I immediately enabled folder duplication (for all folders).

    Recently an external usb drive was beginning to fail on me so yesterday I decided to remove it following the procedure in the console.

    All was fine according to the dialog's so I shutted down the server. This morning, I'm booting the server and it looks like I'm in trouble.

    The server boots but then fails to show the ctrl-alt-del screen. Instead i'm presented with the 'Applying computer settings' screen for several hours now.
    It looks like one of the drives is interrogated for the data that it holds.
    I'm not able to gain access to my shares with explorer...
    The windows Home Server Console says that SERVER is not on the network so I cannot access it!

    I have about 1 TB of movies and music saved on that thing and about 500GB of important documents.

    Please advise!

    Thank you!
    Saturday, January 10, 2009 11:46 AM

Answers

  • Hello,

    a few days have passed and I found the culprit.

    It turns out I was having two failing USB drives.

    This creates a rather strange behavior (at least to me as it is the first time I'm experiencing hard drive failure). 

    - Sometimes, at boot, you are presented with the applying computer settings window and it seems the computer freezes.
    -- You are not presented with a login dialog. 
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, operation resumes. 


    - The server's performance drops signifficantly.
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, performance is restored to normal. (computer suddunly 'wakes up' and resumes all activity)


    - The Home Server Console at times becomes inaccessible
    -- You get an error that the HomeServerConsoleTab.Sharing.dll is being blocked
    -- You get an error that the HomeServerConsoleTab.Storage.dll is being blocked
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, the console opens.


    - You cannot perform a RDP session
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, operation is resumed.

    At first I was really frustrated with MS since I basically bought this product as a peace of mind solution but WHS works as designed...
    If some of you from MS are reading this, PLEASE can we have the ability to make DEMIGRATOR.EXE take copies of our files spread over more than two disks? I'm sure alot of people would find the feature usefull...

    One drive failure = No problem
    Two drive failures at the same time = Loss of Data... 

    Greetings,

    Tom
    • Marked as answer by tdmt Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:53 PM
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:53 PM

All replies

  • Hello,
    several hours sound to much. Did you attempt another reboot?
    Is that server an OEM model (HP, Fujitsu) or a normal computer with Windows Home Server installed (since you see the applying computer settings)?
    Is the external drive still attached? If yes, detach it, if no, attach ist.

    You can also try to start the machine one time in safe mode (press F8 in an early stage of start process) to see, if it comes up in that mode.
    Take a look into the event viewer then, which errors or warnings are recorded during the time of the failed boot process.
    Your data should be safe, as long as there is no broken disk.
    If you cannot get the server to boot, you can try to boot from the WHS DVD and attempt a server reinstall. This is a special installation mode, which only wipes out the OS and leaves the data inctact. Do not select New install, since that will also wipe the data.

    The other option to get access to the data is to detach the disks, attach them to a client PC and take a look in the hidden folder DE. In the subfolder shares you should find a part or all of your shared folders and files or their duplicates.
    These you could copy to another location (external drive, client disk) or a fresh installed WHS with all updates applied via network.
    Be aware, that data could also be stored on the D: drive of the WHS in the DE folder, so before detaching the data disks and performing a new install to the system disk you should look into that drive in each case.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Saturday, January 10, 2009 8:08 PM
    • Marked as answer by tdmt Sunday, January 11, 2009 9:25 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by tdmt Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:09 PM
    Saturday, January 10, 2009 1:04 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello,

    several hours sound to much. Did you attempt another reboot?
    > I was 'afraid' to reboot because I thought I would corrupt my data (hard disk drive lit...)
    > I did it anyway about an hour ago an this is the result: I'm still presented with the 'Applying computer settings' screen. 
    > The same disk is interrogated for data.

    > But, I'm able to access my shares! (Big relief) and the Console Icon is green so this means my data is ok right?

    Is that server an OEM model (HP, Fujitsu) or a normal computer with Windows Home Server installed (since you see the applying computer settings)?

    > It's a normal computer (I attached a screen, keyboard and mouse to see what was going on).

    You can also try to start the machine one time in safe mode (press F8 in an early stage of start process) to see, if it comes up in that mode.
    Take a look into the event viewer then, which errors or warnings are recorded during the time of the failed boot process.
    Your data should be safe, as long as there is no broken disk.

    > I'm going to see how it goes from here. I'm not very fond of a reinstallation of my root drive since I have no backup means for my data on the WHS attached drives. (Too many close encounters with Murphy's law :-))

    > Thanks again for your help and suggestions.

    Tom
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 9:25 AM
  • Hi Tom,
    > I was 'afraid' to reboot because I thought I would corrupt my data (hard disk drive lit...)
    > I did it anyway about an hour ago an this is the result: I'm still presented with the 'Applying computer settings' screen. 
    > The same disk is interrogated for data.

    ... still nothing, which is normal. Did you install any 3rd party software on the server? This could also drivers and tools like for an UPS device. Also drivers for NVidia graphic card etc count.

    > But, I'm able to access my shares! (Big relief) and the Console Icon is green so this means my data is ok right?
    Seems so. But sometimes the console is behind the reality, if it comes to diagnose harddisk problems.
    Can you get access using the Remote Desktop client (which should be possible, if you can access the console) with account Administrator and the console password? In this case check the Event log of the server for errors and warnings during the startup process.
    Click also Start/Run and type msconfig.
    On the Services tab click Hide All Microsoft Services. Now no further services should be shown. If there are still services listed, which?
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 11:38 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi there,

    well it seems my problems are getting worse.

    This is the situation as it is now:

    1) I'm able to access the HS using the physical keyboard and mouse but not the Windows Home Server Console Application.
    When I look at the event log it looks I'm in serious trouble.

    - The backup service fails to start. Does this mean all my client computers (2) that are under automatic backup control are in danger too?

    - The migrator service fails to start. I guess this is the heart of Drive Extender having a cardiac arrest...

    - The automatic update service / Windows Search service / Distributed Link Tracking Client fail to start. That's bad i guess...

    - An error was detected on Device\Harddisk 3 during a paging operation
    - An error was detected on Device\Harddisk 5 during a paging operation
    - The system failed to flush data to the transaction log. Corruption may occur.

    -> Does this mean my data is getting corrupted as we speak? Because if this is the case I need to shut it down immediatly!!!


    2) I'm not able to perform a remote desktop connection. This is just showing me a blank screen.

    3) I'm not able to perform a login with the Windows Home Server Console application on my Windows XP laptop.

    But when I try to log in using the Console application on my Windows XP laptop (it takes a very long time) and later on it's showing me two error messages:

    I get an error that the HomeServerConsoleTab.Sharing.dll is being blocked

    I get an error that the HomeServerConsoleTab.Storage.dll is being blocked

    I can then click Yes to resume without these dll's but then I'm presented with a somewhat crippled console missing the tab Sharing and Storage. 

    I don't understand how it could have come to this... Luckily i'm (for the moment) able to access my shared folders.

    What do you think my options are here? 
    Is there something that I can do to check the integrity of my data currently saved on the disks?

    Thank's for the help.

    Tom
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:36 PM
  • Hi Tom,
    The backup service fails to start. Does this mean all my client computers (2) that are under automatic backup control are in danger too?

    In this context it means, they are not longer backed up and restoring a computer from a backup may fail.

    An error was detected on Device\Harddisk 3 during a paging operation

    Was this in context with the forced reboot? If not, you have a problem with your hardware. The direct cause could be widespread - disk failure (even if I don't think that two drives fail at the same time), faulty cabling, a failing disk controller (how old is the mainboard, eventually you face blowing up capacitors?), buggy or not Server 2003 compatible storage drivers, faulty memory, a too weak power supply.
    Are all disks internal or are some still attached via USB? In this case also the USB enclosure can play a role, some people had this unpleasant experience. Which is the version number of your WHS (under Settings/Ressources in the console)? If this was not up to date, the removal of the disk may not have been completed successfully.

    Does this mean my data is getting corrupted as we speak? Because if this is the case I need to shut it down immediatly!!!

    If the messages did not happen in context with the reboot data corruption cannot be excluded - services, which fail to start, would show, that either the backup database or the system software is damaged already.

    I'm not able to perform a login with the Windows Home Server Console application on my Windows XP laptop.

    If Remote Desktop fails, the console will also fail, since it is based on Remote Desktop.
    The problems with the console reflect the problems with the storage devices.

    What do you think my options are here? 
    Is there something that I can do to check the integrity of my data currently saved on the disks?

    Usually I would recommend a server reinstall or running chkdsk on each server disk.
    But if the controller, the driver, the memory or other hardware components are corrupt, each write attempt on a disk (including chkdsk) may destroy data.

    Seeing the data in the shares means not that much, unless you can open them in the application they are belonging too. Otherwise it could be the tombstones, which redirect the action to the real storage on the server.
    The real data (and duplicates) can be found on the DATA volumes in the hidden folder DE\shares, in case you need to reinstall the server after figuring out the cause, you can find the data here, if you attach the disks to another PC. Client backups you have to consider as lost.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 4:03 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Olaf,

    thanks for your help!

    I did some searching on my own and already performed a chkdsk c:\fs\x /r /f where x is each drive letter found in c:\fs.
    Right now a chkdsk c: ran successfully not showing errors.

    This is strange... As I said, I could not TS into my HS (getting a blank screen) so I went to the physical console and started the chkdsk command. 
    This dismounts the volumes. Later, I tried again and now I am able to start a remote desktop session into my HS!
    It seems that I cannot use RDP and Windows Home Server console when external disks are connected.
     

    So after reading your post carefully, I think the problem will be hardware related.

    This is my setup:

    Internal:
    1 x 120gb with OS
    1x 20gb (not in pool)

    External
    6 USB drives gathered over the years ranging from 160GB to 500GB each.

    The drive that I initially removed was the 500GB disk.

    Since I'm suddenly getting messages of several other drives (3) being unhealthy and (2) drives reported as missing. 
    (All af them external) my best guess is that the USB host controller on the motherboard is fried...

    Is it possible that the entire USB system is erroneous (since my remaining 5 external drive are all compromised)? but my usb mice and keyboard still seem to work fine?

    Off the record, for me this does not really explain why the backup service fails to start as the system disk seems healthy... ?!

    Replying to your questions:

    - An error was detected on Device\Harddisk 3 during a paging operation
    - Was this in context with the forced reboot? 
    No, it was not.

    - Which is the version number of your WHS (under Settings/Ressources in the console)? If this was not up to date, the removal of the disk may not have been completed successfully.
    I will let you know when I get the chance.

    - But if the controller, the driver, the memory or other hardware components are corrupt, each write attempt on a disk (including chkdsk) may destroy data.
    The mobo is relatively old, perhaps 5 years or so... I don't know, it's an ABIT IS7-E.
    I guess it's time now to shut down the HS and wait for my next paycheck...


    If it's failing hardware, it should explain why I'm getting the messages regarding the HomeServerConsoleTab.Storage | Sharing .dll


    Anyway, thank you again for all your help, it is greatly appreciated!

    Tom

    • Marked as answer by tdmt Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:53 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by tdmt Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:53 PM
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 4:39 PM
  • Hi Tom,
    as mentioned before, other users had also unpleasant experiences with USB drives in the storage pool, so that we as best practice recommend only to use internal disks (or if this is not possible, disks attached via E-SATA.

    Off the record, for me this does not really explain why the backup service fails to start as the system disk seems healthy... ?!

    Well, it does - the backup service is tied to a database containing all client backups, which may be distributed on disks on the storage pool. If this database is corrupt or missing, the backup service fails.
    Best greeetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 5:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello,

    a few days have passed and I found the culprit.

    It turns out I was having two failing USB drives.

    This creates a rather strange behavior (at least to me as it is the first time I'm experiencing hard drive failure). 

    - Sometimes, at boot, you are presented with the applying computer settings window and it seems the computer freezes.
    -- You are not presented with a login dialog. 
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, operation resumes. 


    - The server's performance drops signifficantly.
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, performance is restored to normal. (computer suddunly 'wakes up' and resumes all activity)


    - The Home Server Console at times becomes inaccessible
    -- You get an error that the HomeServerConsoleTab.Sharing.dll is being blocked
    -- You get an error that the HomeServerConsoleTab.Storage.dll is being blocked
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, the console opens.


    - You cannot perform a RDP session
    -- When the erroneous drive is removed, operation is resumed.

    At first I was really frustrated with MS since I basically bought this product as a peace of mind solution but WHS works as designed...
    If some of you from MS are reading this, PLEASE can we have the ability to make DEMIGRATOR.EXE take copies of our files spread over more than two disks? I'm sure alot of people would find the feature usefull...

    One drive failure = No problem
    Two drive failures at the same time = Loss of Data... 

    Greetings,

    Tom
    • Marked as answer by tdmt Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:53 PM
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:53 PM