External backup drive recommendation? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Can anyone recommend an external drive that actually works out of the box w WHS 2011? I just tried to install a brand-new WD 3 TB USB 3.0 My Book Essential drive, and WHS simply did not see it. I tried going into Disk Management, running WD install software, everything else I could think of, to no avail. Unless I'm missing something (?), it seems that it's just not compatible. Please, any recommendations? Thanks!
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 5:54 AM

All replies

  • How have you created the partition on your external drive? As it's over 2TB, you need a GPT (GUID) partition although WHS will only see 2TB at a time. There is no fundamental reason why you should not use that drive with WHS 2011. Are you sure that the drive is working (on another OS)?


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 6:09 PM
  • Thanks, Phil. No, I haven't tried it on another computer (OS). I'll do that next. I just thought that if I attached it to the WHS machine, it would at least generate one of those little taskbar notifications saying that new hardware has been detected. That didn't happen. We'll see if it happens on a Win 7 machine.
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 8:10 PM
  • Indeed - that's why I think you need to check whether the drive is working.


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 8:27 PM
  • Right. It does turn on (LED lights, fan runs), but of course, that could be all that works. Will test tonight.
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 8:57 PM
  • Okay, I plugged it into a Win 7 computer and it was recognized instantly. And it's already formatted (there are some standard WD files on it), but perhaps not the way it needs to be for WHS? How do I go about formatting it so as to have WHS recognize it? How do I create the GPT (GUID) partition you refer to? Thanks!
    Wednesday, December 14, 2011 5:26 AM
  • I think, from what I remember from when I did this back in the days of the Vail beta, that you have to use the Disk Management utility in the Server Manager to delete the partition(s) on the USB drive. Then WHS 2011 will recognise it as a disk that can be added as a backup drive...
    Wednesday, December 14, 2011 6:12 AM
  • Thanks Geoff. I plugged it in again, and this time the server recognized it, so it apperas that all is well in that department. (Still trying to get client backups to complete, see separate thread:  http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whs2011/thread/7b93da20-f800-4d43-9322-8e0b053f3ded :-))

    Thanks again!



    Wednesday, December 14, 2011 6:28 AM
  • Phil, I got the server to recognize the drive, but it won't back up successfully. How do I set up the GPT (GUID) partition you suggest? Thanks!
    Thursday, December 15, 2011 2:42 AM
  • If you have a Partition on the drive that's all that's needed. What are the symptoms of "it won't back up successfully"?


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Friday, December 16, 2011 3:03 PM
  • When I kick off a backup, the Dashboard status for the server displays "Preparing for backup," but then within a minute it changes to "Unsuccessful." When I then view the server properties, click the Backup tab, select the failed backup and click View Details, the message reads "The volume shadow copy operation failed with error 0x80042306. View the event log for more information."

    I thought I created a 2 TB partition on the backup drive, although the capacity for that drive on the Hard Drives tab is still reading 2794.3 GB. I'll have to go back into Disk Management to make sure the 2 TB partition really exists. Thanks.

    Saturday, December 17, 2011 1:31 AM
  • If the drive is reporting 4k sectors to Windows (i.e. is an advanced format drive, which it almost certainly is given the size), you will not be able to use it as a backup drive. This is a known issue with the underlying technology and advanced format disks that report themselves as having 4k sectors.

    It may be possible to update the drive's firmware so that it will emulate a 512 byte sector size drive; you would have to check with the drive's manufacturer to find out if, and how, you might be able to do that. Other than that, find a drive that either isn't an advanced format drive, or that emulates 512 byte sectors.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, December 17, 2011 2:12 AM
  • That's certainly the case (4k sectors). I tried formatting it with 512-byte sectors, but it didn't seem to work.

    Do you know of a particular drive that is not an advanced format drive? When they advertise drives, I don't think they do it by byte size...

    Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:53 AM
  • You can check manufacturer's web sites; some manufacturers make that information available. It's unlikely that you will find a drive larger than 2 TB that isn't reporting 4k sectors to the OS, though.

    Microsoft's official support position can be found here.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, December 17, 2011 1:31 PM
  • Thanks, Ken. I was finally able to format the drive, by using the WD formatting software, so that WHS will accept it as a backup drive. I finally have a successful server backup.

    However, it won't back up my client computer backups, because they're on a spanned drive that's >2TB, apparently by design.

    And I'm still getting bogus "status = critical" messages saying that Windows Firewall isn't running on the server, although, actually, it is!

    All things considered, I have to say that WHS 2011 is somewhat less than fully baked.



    Monday, December 19, 2011 5:33 AM