locked
Drive Extender has a problem (spin-off from "file conflict" in hardware forum) RRS feed

  • Question

  • OK, I did a bunch of stuff yesterday, and have some facts. 

    The "symptoms" on my issue can be found in the original thread: http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whshardware/thread/d591fd0e-13b3-41c1-a735-975b71ab9024

    Long-story short, my WHS started throwing "file conflict" errors last Thursday.  Having read the FAQs, and in the belief that it was related to a hardware error, I posted in that thread.  (ObNote, the error text I posted is *not* among the cases in the "file conflict" FAQ, so that FAQ has not proven to be particularly insightful, but thanks to all for the pointers :-0).  The net outcome of that discussion was the guidance that it was probably a hardware problem, I've probably lost data due to hardware/IO issues.  I spent much of the weekend attempting to "remove a drive" through the console, without success - probably due to those same theoretical "IO errors".

    I was (perhaps understandably) not happy with the thought that I have lost everything on my WHS, and so I have done a number of things since that posting in an attempt to triage the problem.  In specific, last night I:

    -- RDP'd to the server, and ran the full set of CHKDSK scans recommended in the other thread.  None of my disks threw any errors.  None.  (I captured the outputs if anyone is interested).

    -- I then ran a "DIR /S" on the DE folder, to capture a definitive set of the files that my WHS "thinks" is present.

    -- I then terminated that session and, just to make sure it was not affected by those exercises, rebooted my WHS.  It *immediately* started throwing "file conflict" errors (and, it always throws those errors on exactly the same files).

    -- I ran through my "typical" set of experiments.  For example, I went to my Music folder, picked the first song in the list, tried to copy it (through the "shared folder" construct) to the desktop of my networked client.  It thrashed for 35-40 seconds then failed, telling me that the source file could not be read.  (this has been the emerging symptom and, as mentioned in the other thread, *EVERY* file on my WHS now demonstrates that behavior - which implies that *EVERY* file on my server is in some way "hosed", and that only the "tombstones" remain).

    I then shut down my WHS, pulled a drive out of it, docked it into an external SATA-USB dock, and spun it up.  It quite happily showed me that file, allowed me to copy it, and it played in Media Player without any issues whatsoever.

    Repeated that same sequence with a random sampling of other files (INCLUDING) the exact files throwing "file conflict" alerts.  In EVERY case, the file could *not* be read through the WHS construct (whether thru 'shared folders' or through a mapped network drive), and in EVERY case the file itself was perfectly intact and viable on the drive itself, despite showing unrecoverable errors ("cannot read source file") thru the WHS construct.

    SO...  I post all that for three reasons:

    #1) I am moving this discussion to the software thread because it is very apparent to me that it is NOT a hardware problem.  I believe I can prove that (and, in fact, have pulled *all* my files off the drives, and have verified that they are intact and viable.  There is NO IO-related or hardware-related data-loss.  There are NO drive errors.  There are no orphaned tombstones.  NONE.)  I would *strongly* recommend, if for no other reason that this is a public-facing forum, that responders stop blaming it on hardware when, in fact, it appears to be a problem with WHS (or, perhaps, more specifically, DE).

    #2) My *ask* is, if anyone can provide constructive guidance which will help me resolve this problem (so that I can again access my files through WHS and, in doing so, perhaps rebuild my confidence in the WHS system along the way), I would welcome that guidance.  After all, a significant part of the value-prop of WHS itself is that you can lose a drive without losing any data.  In this case, it has lost [its ability to serve] data, without losing a drive.  That seems like a problem which should get the full attention of the WHS team.  Please note that a pointer to a FAQ does not represent guidance at this point - I can prove that my case is NOT covered by the "file conflicts" FAQ and, can equally prove it is not a hardware issue.  We need to focus on DE, in my opinion.

    And, #3) an offer.  If anyone from the WHS team would like to work through this on my physical machine, please let me know.  I am in the GAL (building 44), and would be more than happy to put the server on your desk and let you play with it.  At this moment, it is a really expensive "boat anchor" for me until/unless this gets resolved and my confidence gets restored.

    Bruce
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 7:16 PM

Answers

  • Can you please submit a bug on Connect? Include logs from your server, collected using the error reporting tools in the Windows Home Server toolkit.

    Also, you should realize that there is more than one component involved in the storage subsystem. It's possible that there is nothing wrong with any of your drives, as you say (seems likely based on what you report), but if there's an intermittent issue with your HBA, or cabling or power supply issues, you may still see any of a number of drive issues reported.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 8:13 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Can you please submit a bug on Connect? Include logs from your server, collected using the error reporting tools in the Windows Home Server toolkit.

    Also, you should realize that there is more than one component involved in the storage subsystem. It's possible that there is nothing wrong with any of your drives, as you say (seems likely based on what you report), but if there's an intermittent issue with your HBA, or cabling or power supply issues, you may still see any of a number of drive issues reported.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 8:13 PM
    Moderator

  • Ken - I'm left puzzled by your comments re "intermittent" hardware failures being the source of Bruce's issues -  with respect a problem that is "intermittent" is significantly different to a "repeatable" problem which is what Bruce seems to describe in his post. His WHS is consistently reporting the same errors with files each time its turned on. He states that really clearly. Can you provide more detail on how an HBA failure would do that if it was having intermittent issues for example ?

    However I'm more concerned where I would be if I followed the advice  - what you are effectively telling me is that I need to consider replacing my entire WHS machine (I'm not aware of being able to buy replacement parts - or that I can go to HP for a warranty repair without hard facts) - is that really the case ?  can you please clarify? 

    I recently posted with a similar issue where I have lost visibility of my drives in my WHS after a power spike (they are now only showing as non storage drives) yet I can still see the shares and my files but with file conflicts. File conflicts that when I remove the data from the WHS - do not exist at the file level (they open (images), they run (music) etc )

    BTW are you or anyone else in the forum aware why drive caching (on the dirves) cannot be turned off (even tho you can try to switch it off) ?

    Concerned
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 8:51 PM
  • Tubster,

    I can only judge based on the information you give us in this post (so i could very well be wrong): I would not at all be surprised if the recent power spike has somehowe damaged your system (eighter hardware or software)?
     
    Apart from this, and considering your problems and asuming it not hardware related, I personally think the best options you now have to restore your server probably are:

    1. Submit a problem report to MS Connect as Ken suggested. Maybe this can shed some light on what is causing the problems...
    2. Do a new server installation and reload all your data to the server. (And if eighther you feel lucky or if MS at point 1 concludes it is ok, you can also try a server re-installation first)

    Theo.


    No home server like Home Server
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 10:19 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Theo - practical advice sir and already underway - although given the log contents I've already reviewed its going to be a wash. Having backed my data off its been interesting to see what stopping and re starting some of the disk management services has as an effect on the disk management reporting and related change to the stability of my "file conflicted shares".  You wouldnt expect them to change state so easily........   still cant get the drives back tho - So rebuild fun for me

    However I'm still interested in understanding Kens advice that he supplied to Bruce in this post - I don't profess to have the depth of knowledge many folks on these forums have re WHS so I'm really trying to understand what approach will work for me if ultimately I have a hardware failure like he is explaining.....  or can someone else explain why so many disk type hardware failure issues seem to be present in these servers - although I dont get any reports of hardware failure issue from WHS itself ?
    Bruce's problem details seem very well considered and outlined ....
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 11:02 PM
  • Bruce,

    Like Ken stated the Drives are only one component of the disk subsystem.  

    Does the System Event log on the WHS box show any Errors for Disk or NTFS?    Event id 9, 11 or 15 point to Hardware issues 100%

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/154690

    If your system Event log is free from any Hardware related Errors than I would agree you have some sort of software issue.   

    This could be a completely hosed WHS install that needs to be rebuilt.   Sometimes OS installs go south with no real good explanation.    

    The most important thing is you are able to access your data.   

    I had file conflicts when using the Pre Power Pack 1 build of WHS and it turned out to be an issue with the Drive Array I had my hard drives in, not WHS.   

    Good Luck!

    Flad.
    Friday, April 3, 2009 3:55 PM