Lost all data during drive replacement RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I purchased the Media Smart Server about 4 months ago with two 500GB internal drives. Shortly after setting up the user accounts and shares I added a third 500GB internal. Performance was smooth for several months with nightly backups and several duplicated shares. 

    I began receiving warnings that backups were not occurring. On the drive management tab my third drive was labeled "Unhealthy". When I tried to repair it the repair wizard would run for about 30 minutes and fail with an "Unexpected" error of some sort. I purchased a replacement. Meanwhile, since all of my data was duplicated my shares continued to work - backups were the only problem. 

    When my replacement drive came in, I tried to remove the "unhealthy" drive using the wizard on the console. After churning to determine if I had enough space (I did), I clicked "Finish" to complete the removal and immediately got an "Unexpected" error.  

    I shut down the server and removed the drive manually. Powered back up and as expected the console complained about the missing drive. I followed the prompts to manually remove and it was gone. Unfortunately now my *second* drive (factory drive) was labeled "unhealthy". I RDP'd into the server to look at the event log. I found it completely full of errors: 

    Client Backup server failed at d:\qhsv1_rtm_qfe\qhs\src\backup\util\diskfile.cpp(145)

    Unexpected error 0x6 from CreateFile on D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}\Commit.dat: The handle is invalid.

    Persistent Drive Letter Service failed: Starting service: No attempts to start the service have been made since the last boot. 

    I decided to call HP technical support. Ultimately the fellow from HP tech support felt that it would be best for me to put my original drive 3 back into the server and try everything all over again. Obviously my drive 3 was seen as not added so that didn't lead anywhere. He recommended that I do a server reset, reiterating that no data would be lost. He was wrong. All of my data was lost. The shares remained - proof that I did not "accidentally" do a factory reset - but every single folder is completely empty. 

    I'm now gathering up the hardware and software I will need to (hopefully) pull the data off the drives. Once I have my data back I'll be returning the server. The most unsettling fact is that I still don't know what started this whole mess. I don't know if I actually had a drive failure or an operating system crash or data corruption.

    Monday, June 30, 2008 12:40 PM

All replies

  • I am going through a similar situation.  I can not get into the management panel to remove the faulty drive.  And it looks like all of the data I have on the drive will be lost.  Pictures from the last 12 years, all music in my collections, and files I was storing.  Thankfully I have most of the pictures on a DVD.  Unfortunately all of my photos of Rome and other areas visited in Germany will be lost!  Microsoft really screwed up on this one. 


    Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:13 PM
  • Emergency method to recover files, if the server is inaccessible:

    • Either boot from a Vista DVD and use the command prompt (with an USB drive which can take the data attached, best copy via robocopy) or remove the harddisks one by one from this machine and connect it to another PC (you may want to use an USB to IDE/SATA connector for simplification).
    • On each disk navigate to the folder DE/shares (maybe it is hidden, so you have to enable Show hidden files in the Explorer options).
    • You should find your data here (dependend from folder duplication on or not the files may be on one disk and/or another) and can copy it to another disk (external drive, local PC). Vista is the better OS for doing this, since this tends often to be able to correct (with chkdsk /f /r) and read data from damaged file systems, if older OS simply fail.
    • If the disks are totally damaged (do not spin up, clack, clack etc) you may be out of luck (sometimes putting them in refrigerator for a while made it possible, to copy at least some data from it)

    If the folders are empty (no duplicated content or files deleted from them), you can try an undelete tool from a third party software maker.

    Especially if the folders are empty, but still existing, a malicious or unknowing user cannot be excluded from the reasons, why the stuff is gone.

    In this case, given the server is still up, try following:

    • Right click on the share (from your client desktop or the Shared folders shortcut on the server) you are missing the files and click Properties.
    • Click on the Previous Versions tab.
    • Check, if there exists a snapshot still containing your lost files.
    • Copy them back or better, to another location.

    Best greetings from Germany


    Monday, August 18, 2008 9:10 AM
  •  colecrew wrote:
    Microsoft really screwed up on this one. 

    Not really. You should know, that a single instance of file storage is a single point of failure. If you don't have folder duplication on for this stuff, it's even a single disk, which can cause the headache. So at least the data must be on another machine as well, or as backup on external media.

    Not only software reasons, but a thunderstorm, a failing disk or a stolen computer could lead to the same result.

    So you can't blame Microsoft, at least not alone ...

    About your fotos - if you did not overwrite your cameras memory cards with other pictures, you may still have chances to recover the last set from them.

    Best greetings from Germany


    Monday, August 18, 2008 9:28 AM
  • Yes, I did find all of my data in those hidden folders. I had to buy another HD to hold the lost data while rebuilding the server.


    I've learned my lesson and changed the way I use the WHS. Rather than duplicating shares on the server to hold my irreplaceable data, I recommend putting a large HD in one of your PC's with that data, and simply use the WHS for backups. If and when WHS eventually crashes, you can just rebuild it from scratch and resume your backups. I only use the shares for convenient access to non critical data.


    Live and learn!

    Monday, August 18, 2008 6:58 PM
  • Threads like this always scare me.  I guess the only really secure way to save data is to have backups "offsite", as in "not on the server".  The only thing you gain with folder duplication is speed, in my opinion.  If something is truly valuable, one should back it up to tape, DVD, and/or an external drive that is not usually powered up nor connected to the server.  So WHS hums along with folder duplication enabled.  If you lose one drive, you shut down and replace the drive.  If you still can't get your data back, you reconnect the external backup solution and restore your files from there.  The only question to answer is, how often to you run an external backup on your server?


    The annoying thing for me is that I have a lot of DV tapes of home video.  They take up a lot of space (about 45GB or so per tape).  I have learned that the best solution for archiving DV is to simply keep the tapes and don't overwrite them.  They are relatively cheap and if you keep them in a cool, dry place you should be good for quite a while.


    All that being said, two thumbs up to Olaf for the nifty hidden folder trick.  I'll definitely bookmark this thread for that information!  Thanks!




    Monday, August 18, 2008 9:52 PM
  • As far as offsite storage goes, Live Mesh (currently in beta) is a wonderful technology apart from the 5GB limit. It integrates nicely into windows explorer, and manages synchronization automatically. Hopefully it won't be long before we're offered much higher capacity, even if for a nominal fee. I currently use it for some of my work files. I know that no matter what happens to my computers at the house - those files are bullet proof. I only wish I had the same peace of mind regarding my family photos, videos, etc.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:35 AM