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Sys Drive Failure - Recovering Backups RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a 120 day trial of WHS and (possibly fortunately in a perverse way) my system drive has failed.

    I pulled a spare drive from another machine and set about re-installing WHS, but have met with two frustrating facts:
    - my license key didn't work and ended up getting another 120 day trial to get a valid key to use
    - I only get the "new install" option, and not "re-install"

    This leads me to two questions, which will dictate whether purchasing WHS makes any sense at all...


    1.  If I keep WHS and purchase a full license, what hoops will I have to jump through to do a re-install in the event of another failure or I upgrade the sys drive?

    2.  In the event of a failure like this, how on earth do I recover the client backups stored in the WHS's backup database?


    I may be missing something (and I hope I am) but the whole WHS concept seems to hinge on a single point of failure: the system drive.  I'm fairly technical, but if my dad had this issue he would probably have formatted every drive in the box by now.  I am shocked by this, shocked and dismayed beyond words.  It feels like negligence and complete disregard to customer reality and need...

    Please tell me I'm completely wrong and there is a simple, obvious, reliable way forward from a system drive failure?



    Many thanks,
    Mat Bailie


    EDIT:

    It's worth mentioning that the system was set up with...
    - 250GB sys drive
    - 2x1TB data drives (Added afted WHS installation)

    There was approx 30% space remaining at the time of failure, so I'm niaively expectiting that nothing important was being kept on the data partition of the 250GB drive.

    All folders are set to be duplicated, but I'm informed that the backup database is not duplicated.  (Not by a reliable source though, which is why I'm here, looking for a pat on the head and reassurance)

    Thursday, April 9, 2009 9:49 PM

Answers

  • I have a 120 day trial of WHS and (possibly fortunately in a perverse way) my system drive has failed.

    I pulled a spare drive from another machine and set about re-installing WHS, but have met with two frustrating facts:
    - my license key didn't work and ended up getting another 120 day trial to get a valid key to use

    That's normal.  The eval key is for 1 time use only.

    - I only get the "new install" option, and not "re-install"

    Are you using SATA drives?  If so, you need to add the drivers for them (or set the BIOS to IDE/Legacy for the drives).

    This leads me to two questions, which will dictate whether purchasing WHS makes any sense at all...

    1.  If I keep WHS and purchase a full license, what hoops will I have to jump through to do a re-install in the event of another failure or I upgrade the sys drive?

    Exactly whatever you did this time (except with the licensed version, you have to call MS to get it activated a second time).  In addition, Server Reinstallation is required when moving from the eval to OEM.

    2.  In the event of a failure like this, how on earth do I recover the client backups stored in the WHS's backup database?

    If any portion of your backup database is stored on the drive that failed, you don't.  However, if you use the client backups as designed, it doesn't matter (just reinstall your server and start a new backup database by backing up your clients again).  (The backup database should not be used to archive images.  It's strictly for recovering your client to a "last known good state".)

    I may be missing something (and I hope I am) but the whole WHS concept seems to hinge on a single point of failure: the system drive.

    No.  If the system drive fails, you just replace it and run Server Reinstallation.

    I'm fairly technical, but if my dad had this issue he would probably have formatted every drive in the box by now.

    If your dad had this issue with a pre-built server (such as the HP MSS), he would just replace the drive, run a Server Recovery and move on.  This product is OEM only.  That means he should have a good working knowledge of computer hardware in the first place.  Since you are implying he doesn't, he should purchase a pre-built server instead.

    I am shocked by this, shocked and dismayed beyond words.  It feels like negligence and complete disregard to customer reality and need...

    Please tell me I'm completely wrong and there is a simple, obvious, reliable way forward from a system drive failure?

    Server Reinstallation is what you need to run.

    Many thanks,
    Mat Bailie


    EDIT:

    It's worth mentioning that the system was set up with...
    - 250GB sys drive
    - 2x1TB data drives (Added afted WHS installation)

    That could also be your problem (in addition to adding drivers to recognize your SATA drives).  If you don't have the drives plugged into the correct ports (specifically the primary drive must be plugged into port 0 on the mobo), you won't get Server Reinstallation as an option.

    There was approx 30% space remaining at the time of failure, so I'm niaively expectiting that nothing important was being kept on the data partition of the 250GB drive.

    Considering you added the other drives after installation, I can pretty much guarantee there was data on the primary drive (unless you installed WHS and added those 2 drives immediately after installation and before you ever copied any data to your server).

    All folders are set to be duplicated, but I'm informed that the backup database is not duplicated.

    That's correct.  The "backup" of the client PC backup database is the client PCs themselves.  However, there is an add-in that will allow you to backup the backup database.

    (Not by a reliable source though, which is why I'm here, looking for a pat on the head and reassurance)


    Friday, April 10, 2009 1:37 AM
    Moderator
  • I've replied to many of your points below.  Where I'm obviously dis-satisfied, it's aimed at WHS and not you, I'm very appreciative of the time you took to reply :)

    The summary, however, is:
    - I have no SATA drivers to install, nor know how to do this before WHS asks for new/re-install
    - The BIOS has no Legacy mode that I can find
    - It's not possible to put the primary drive on Port 0 (which is PATA and not SATA)


    One longwinded and timeconsuming alternative I've heard is:
    - Detach the data drives
    - Attach the new Primary drive
    - Install WHS
    - Attach the data drives
    - Re-install WHS (with the existing install it is inplied that Re-install will now be an option)

    Does this appear to hold water?  (I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but I don't have that many hours to spare right now)

    Alternatively...
    - Detach the data drives
    - Attach the new Primary drive
    - Install WHS
    - Attach the data drives
    - Mount (and so format) one of the data drives
    - Copy all the files
    - Mount the 2nd data drive
    - Let WHS copy all the files back across


    My basic concern is this:
    - If I have to work around and/or trick WHS, is it the sensible choice?
    - Can I expect my dad to deal with this 'rigmarole'?

    Thus, I'm still hoping for someone to show me a "simple, obvious, reliable" way to reinstall WHS and not loose the files.  Preferably also not loosing the backups, but if I can't get "simple, obvious, reliable" and keep the files then Microsoft won't be seeing my cash for a WHS License...


    Thanks again for your help, I'm back in 4 days, have a good weekend y'all :)


    Cheers,
    Mat.


    I can't find such an option in the BIOS.  The best I get is the option (for each drive) to choose CHS/LBA/Large/Auto.

    Also, when I installed WHS I didn't install any SATA drivers.  If any such drivers were loaded, they were loaded by the WHS installation, from the WHS DVD.

    That's not possible.  There are no SATA drivers on the DVD (which means whatever mode your BIOS is on, it is apparently using IDE/Legacy for those drives).  However, you should check your mobo's instruction manual and/or call the manufacturer to find out which mode(s) present your SATA drives as PATA drives.

    (The network device Does require drivers, and there was no network activity during the install, so they must have come from the DVD if they were needed.)

    This is contrary to the advice WHS itself gave me.  It not only has the facility to maintain static images, but also recommended it.

    Where does it say "recommended to maintain static images"?

    This worries me:
    - Does WHS know what it is / is capable of / is designed for?

    Yes.  It is (and always has been) designed to return a failed client PC to working as it was just before a failure (meaning the last backup).  It never has been designed to roll your PC back to how it was 12-18 months ago.

    - Was WHS intended to keep such static images, but it failed to meet the mark?

    No.  The concept is simple: return a client PC to how it was just before it failed.  By definition, that eliminates the need of a backup from a long time ago.

    The reason it worries me is simple:  If the intended functionality is not clearly defined, how can it be shown to reliably meet that functionality?

    It is clearly defined:  use it to restore your PC to the last good backup.  If you've seen something different on the MS website, please point it out.

    Which is exactly my issue, isn't it?  At present, WHS won't let me .

    Yes, you are having issues.  However, it usually works.  I'll wait until you answer Ken's question regarding your hardware before making any guesses as to what the problem might be.

    It's worth mentioning that the system was set up with...
            - 250GB sys drive
            - 2x1TB data drives (Added afted WHS installation)

    Looking at the BIOS setup screen I have the following:
    - Port 0 : Master = DVD Drive
    - Port 1 : Master = 250 GB Drive
    - Port 2 : Master = 1TB Drive
    - Port 3 : Master = 1TB Drive

    Being that the HDD are SATA and the DVD is PATA, it seems that Port 0 can't have my system drive on it.

    If all of your hard drives are SATA, it shouldn't matter (as long as your drives are in IDE/Legacy mode).  Look at the writing on the board next to each SATA port.  Each port should have a port number (i.e. SATA 0, SATA 1, etc).  Make sure the primary drive is plugged into the SATA port that says SATA 0 (or something similar).

    No files were copied or backups done until after the two 1TB drives were added.  They were only added after the install to ensure that the 250GB drive was used as the system drive.  This was done to ensure that (or in the hope that) all the files and backups would be kept and duplicated on the two 1TB drives.  (With the expectation that before they become full I would buy an additional drive, hopefully 2TB being available by then.)

    That being so, is my assumption correct that no files or backups would have been on the DATA partition of the System drive?

    As long as you ran all MS updates before adding any files to the server, no files would have been on the primary drive (but that doesn't matter since you had Folder Duplication enabled on all shares anyway).  I doubt any of the backup database would have been there either.

    Or are there no guarantees?  Or is it more likely the DATA partition of the 250GB drive was used anyway?

    See above.

    Assuming that I can get WHS re-installed without wiping the files stored on the WHS machine, this seems the only way to meet my backup needs.  I'll have to investigate exactly what it requires me (or my dad) to do, but it's a shame that WHS is capable of protecting files from a single drive failure, but not the backups.  From a functional description this seems (to me) to be an oversight, it is simply intutitive that both would be protected in the same way...

    Basically, WHS is designed to have 2 copies of everything in your LAN.  You already have a second copy of everything in your backup database: your client PCs themselves.  (Not to mention the load your server would have to handle if it duplicated the backup database internally.)

    Either that, or the product should state that's how it behaves and not sing it's own praises about maintaining static images.

    It does clearly say what it's designed to do: restore your client PC to how it was before a failure.  From that, you assumed it keeps backups of the backup database (which it doesn't say anywhere).  Your PC fails, you restore last night's backup.  (And, as I said, if you want to backup your backup database, there is an add-in for that.  Personally, I couldn't care a less about anything other than last night's backup.  If I need to restore due to a failure, I'm going to restore it to how it was last night, not how it was 6 months ago.)

    This is very important to me, claiming that it can manage static backups, then loosing them in a single drive failure is (in my opinion) grossly insufficient.  Based on WHS's own claims this was a primary purpose of the machine, a purpose it has seemingly failed to meet:
    - Don't set such expectations
    - Or makes ure you do it right

    I work for an IT consultancy and if I had set such expectations and failed ot meet them, I'd expect the client to send solicitors around...

    It's not like one can "just get a refund and wlak away" when it fails to meet it's own description.  What is lost in this scenario is (seemingly) irrecoverable when protection and recovery is Exactly what the product puports to be for.  I can't over state how unhappy I am at Microsoft at present.


    Then you should submit your product suggestion on Connect (because nowhere does it say it does what you expect it to do).
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 4:49 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I have a 120 day trial of WHS and (possibly fortunately in a perverse way) my system drive has failed.

    I pulled a spare drive from another machine and set about re-installing WHS, but have met with two frustrating facts:
    - my license key didn't work and ended up getting another 120 day trial to get a valid key to use

    That's normal.  The eval key is for 1 time use only.

    - I only get the "new install" option, and not "re-install"

    Are you using SATA drives?  If so, you need to add the drivers for them (or set the BIOS to IDE/Legacy for the drives).

    This leads me to two questions, which will dictate whether purchasing WHS makes any sense at all...

    1.  If I keep WHS and purchase a full license, what hoops will I have to jump through to do a re-install in the event of another failure or I upgrade the sys drive?

    Exactly whatever you did this time (except with the licensed version, you have to call MS to get it activated a second time).  In addition, Server Reinstallation is required when moving from the eval to OEM.

    2.  In the event of a failure like this, how on earth do I recover the client backups stored in the WHS's backup database?

    If any portion of your backup database is stored on the drive that failed, you don't.  However, if you use the client backups as designed, it doesn't matter (just reinstall your server and start a new backup database by backing up your clients again).  (The backup database should not be used to archive images.  It's strictly for recovering your client to a "last known good state".)

    I may be missing something (and I hope I am) but the whole WHS concept seems to hinge on a single point of failure: the system drive.

    No.  If the system drive fails, you just replace it and run Server Reinstallation.

    I'm fairly technical, but if my dad had this issue he would probably have formatted every drive in the box by now.

    If your dad had this issue with a pre-built server (such as the HP MSS), he would just replace the drive, run a Server Recovery and move on.  This product is OEM only.  That means he should have a good working knowledge of computer hardware in the first place.  Since you are implying he doesn't, he should purchase a pre-built server instead.

    I am shocked by this, shocked and dismayed beyond words.  It feels like negligence and complete disregard to customer reality and need...

    Please tell me I'm completely wrong and there is a simple, obvious, reliable way forward from a system drive failure?

    Server Reinstallation is what you need to run.

    Many thanks,
    Mat Bailie


    EDIT:

    It's worth mentioning that the system was set up with...
    - 250GB sys drive
    - 2x1TB data drives (Added afted WHS installation)

    That could also be your problem (in addition to adding drivers to recognize your SATA drives).  If you don't have the drives plugged into the correct ports (specifically the primary drive must be plugged into port 0 on the mobo), you won't get Server Reinstallation as an option.

    There was approx 30% space remaining at the time of failure, so I'm niaively expectiting that nothing important was being kept on the data partition of the 250GB drive.

    Considering you added the other drives after installation, I can pretty much guarantee there was data on the primary drive (unless you installed WHS and added those 2 drives immediately after installation and before you ever copied any data to your server).

    All folders are set to be duplicated, but I'm informed that the backup database is not duplicated.

    That's correct.  The "backup" of the client PC backup database is the client PCs themselves.  However, there is an add-in that will allow you to backup the backup database.

    (Not by a reliable source though, which is why I'm here, looking for a pat on the head and reassurance)


    Friday, April 10, 2009 1:37 AM
    Moderator
  • I've replied to many of your points below.  Where I'm obviously dis-satisfied, it's aimed at WHS and not you, I'm very appreciative of the time you took to reply :)

    The summary, however, is:
    - I have no SATA drivers to install, nor know how to do this before WHS asks for new/re-install
    - The BIOS has no Legacy mode that I can find
    - It's not possible to put the primary drive on Port 0 (which is PATA and not SATA)


    One longwinded and timeconsuming alternative I've heard is:
    - Detach the data drives
    - Attach the new Primary drive
    - Install WHS
    - Attach the data drives
    - Re-install WHS (with the existing install it is inplied that Re-install will now be an option)

    Does this appear to hold water?  (I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but I don't have that many hours to spare right now)

    Alternatively...
    - Detach the data drives
    - Attach the new Primary drive
    - Install WHS
    - Attach the data drives
    - Mount (and so format) one of the data drives
    - Copy all the files
    - Mount the 2nd data drive
    - Let WHS copy all the files back across


    My basic concern is this:
    - If I have to work around and/or trick WHS, is it the sensible choice?
    - Can I expect my dad to deal with this 'rigmarole'?

    Thus, I'm still hoping for someone to show me a "simple, obvious, reliable" way to reinstall WHS and not loose the files.  Preferably also not loosing the backups, but if I can't get "simple, obvious, reliable" and keep the files then Microsoft won't be seeing my cash for a WHS License...


    Thanks again for your help, I'm back in 4 days, have a good weekend y'all :)


    Cheers,
    Mat.




    Are you using SATA drives?  If so, you need to add the drivers for them (or set the BIOS to IDE/Legacy for the drives).
    I can't find such an option in the BIOS.  The best I get is the option (for each drive) to choose CHS/LBA/Large/Auto.

    Also, when I installed WHS I didn't install any SATA drivers.  If any such drivers were loaded, they were loaded by the WHS installation, from the WHS DVD.  (The network device Does require drivers, and there was no network activity during the install, so they must have come from the DVD if they were needed.)




            2.  In the event of a failure like this, how on earth do I recover the client backups stored in the WHS's backup database?

    If any portion of your backup database is stored on the drive that failed, you don't.  However, if you use the client backups as designed, it doesn't matter (just reinstall your server and start a new backup database by backing up your clients again).  (The backup database should not be used to archive images.  It's strictly for recovering your client to a "last known good state".)
    This is contrary to the advice WHS itself gave me.  It not only has the facility to maintain static images, but also recommended it.  This worries me:
    - Does WHS know what it is / is capable of / is designed for?
    - Was WHS intended to keep such static images, but it failed to meet the mark?

    The reason it worries me is simple:  If the intended functionality is not clearly defined, how can it be shown to reliably meet that functionality?



            I may be missing something (and I hope I am) but the whole WHS concept seems to hinge on a single point of failure: the system drive.

    No.  If the system drive fails, you just replace it and run Server Reinstallation.
    Which is exactly my issue, isn't it?  At present, WHS won't let me .



            It's worth mentioning that the system was set up with...
            - 250GB sys drive
            - 2x1TB data drives (Added afted WHS installation)

    That could also be your problem (in addition to adding drivers to recognize your SATA drives).  If you don't have the drives plugged into the correct ports (specifically the primary drive must be plugged into port 0 on the mobo), you won't get Server Reinstallation as an option.

    Looking at the BIOS setup screen I have the following:
    - Port 0 : Master = DVD Drive
    - Port 1 : Master = 250 GB Drive
    - Port 2 : Master = 1TB Drive
    - Port 3 : Master = 1TB Drive

    Being that the HDD are SATA and the DVD is PATA, it seems that Port 0 can't have my system drive on it.




    Considering you added the other drives after installation, I can pretty much guarantee there was data on the primary drive (unless you installed WHS and added those 2 drives immediately after installation and before you ever copied any data to your server).
    No files were copied or backups done until after the two 1TB drives were added.  They were only added after the install to ensure that the 250GB drive was used as the system drive.  This was done to ensure that (or in the hope that) all the files and backups would be kept and duplicated on the two 1TB drives.  (With the expectation that before they become full I would buy an additional drive, hopefully 2TB being available by then.)

    That being so, is my assumption correct that no files or backups would have been on the DATA partition of the System drive?  Or are there no guarantees?  Or is it more likely the DATA partition of the 250GB drive was used anyway?




    That's correct.  The "backup" of the client PC backup database is the client PCs themselves.  However, there is an add-in that will allow you to backup the backup database.

    Assuming that I can get WHS re-installed without wiping the files stored on the WHS machine, this seems the only way to meet my backup needs.  I'll have to investigate exactly what it requires me (or my dad) to do, but it's a shame that WHS is capable of protecting files from a single drive failure, but not the backups.  From a functional description this seems (to me) to be an oversight, it is simply intutitive that both would be protected in the same way...

    Either that, or the product should state that's how it behaves and not sing it's own praises about maintaining static images.  This is very important to me, claiming that it can manage static backups, then loosing them in a single drive failure is (in my opinion) grossly insufficient.  Based on WHS's own claims this was a primary purpose of the machine, a purpose it has seemingly failed to meet:
    - Don't set such expectations
    - Or makes ure you do it right

    I work for an IT consultancy and if I had set such expectations and failed ot meet them, I'd expect the client to send solicitors around...

    It's not like one can "just get a refund and wlak away" when it fails to meet it's own description.  What is lost in this scenario is (seemingly) irrecoverable when protection and recovery is Exactly what the product puports to be for.  I can't over state how unhappy I am at Microsoft at present.



    Friday, April 10, 2009 11:06 AM
  • I pulled a spare drive from another machine and set about re-installing WHS, but have met with two frustrating facts:
    - my license key didn't work and ended up getting another 120 day trial to get a valid key to use
    - I only get the "new install" option, and not "re-install"
    You don't say, so I'll ask: how large is the "spare drive"? And can you please tell us a bit more, in general, about your server?

    In the case of a system drive replacement (usually due to failure) the server reinstallation option is normally presented if all the server storage drives are present on the hardware detection screen, and the new system drive is suitable for use as such. If you attempt to use a drive which is too small, you may not be given the option for reinstallation, and if the new system drive is not presented to setup as a bootable device, you could also have problems.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, April 10, 2009 11:55 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ken,

    Thanks for your reply.

    The spare drive is also 250GB, infact it's the the same make and model.

    Quick (although possibly somewhat irrelevant) history:

    - My main desktop did have 2 x 250GB drives
    - One became the SYS drive of the WHS system
    - Most files on the Desktop migrated to the WHS mitgating the lost capacity

    - The WHS SYS drive failed
    - I aquired an 80GB free 2nd hand drive
    - I rebuilt the desktop with the 80GB drive

    - I put the 250GB drive in the WHS, still with XP on it, no "re-install" option
    - I re-formatted the 250GB drive and re-tried, still no "re-install" option
    - I removed all partitions from the drive, still no "re-install" option
    - I doubted the drive, but succesfully put XP on it, so it appears fine


    So, three facts about the "new" 250GB drive:
    - Has worked fine for about 18 months
    - Has had XP successfully re-installed on it
    - Is recognised in the hardware detection on the WHS machine



    In terms of the server use.  It's full of photos, ripped DVDs and mp3's.  (Using the XBox is just about okay for playing the DVDs, but I'm still looking for a tidy way to server up the mp3s without needing a monitor or TV.  Is there such a thing as a Hifi that is network capable thatcan browse huge mp3 libraries, I havn't checked yet...)

    It also has backups of any home development I'm doing, be it VBA, SQL, C#, whatever.  For the majority of the time it's not in use and (possibly ill-advisedly) is kept off.  (Over night, when everyone is at work, etc)  It's on for about 8-12 hours a day on average.


    Backups include 1 XPPro DeskTop, 1 VistaHomePremium Laptop and 1 XPHome 'Netbook'.  As most files are centralised the backups are quite small, especially the differential backups.
    Friday, April 10, 2009 2:34 PM
  • I've replied to many of your points below.  Where I'm obviously dis-satisfied, it's aimed at WHS and not you, I'm very appreciative of the time you took to reply :)

    The summary, however, is:
    - I have no SATA drivers to install, nor know how to do this before WHS asks for new/re-install
    - The BIOS has no Legacy mode that I can find
    - It's not possible to put the primary drive on Port 0 (which is PATA and not SATA)


    One longwinded and timeconsuming alternative I've heard is:
    - Detach the data drives
    - Attach the new Primary drive
    - Install WHS
    - Attach the data drives
    - Re-install WHS (with the existing install it is inplied that Re-install will now be an option)

    Does this appear to hold water?  (I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but I don't have that many hours to spare right now)

    Alternatively...
    - Detach the data drives
    - Attach the new Primary drive
    - Install WHS
    - Attach the data drives
    - Mount (and so format) one of the data drives
    - Copy all the files
    - Mount the 2nd data drive
    - Let WHS copy all the files back across


    My basic concern is this:
    - If I have to work around and/or trick WHS, is it the sensible choice?
    - Can I expect my dad to deal with this 'rigmarole'?

    Thus, I'm still hoping for someone to show me a "simple, obvious, reliable" way to reinstall WHS and not loose the files.  Preferably also not loosing the backups, but if I can't get "simple, obvious, reliable" and keep the files then Microsoft won't be seeing my cash for a WHS License...


    Thanks again for your help, I'm back in 4 days, have a good weekend y'all :)


    Cheers,
    Mat.


    I can't find such an option in the BIOS.  The best I get is the option (for each drive) to choose CHS/LBA/Large/Auto.

    Also, when I installed WHS I didn't install any SATA drivers.  If any such drivers were loaded, they were loaded by the WHS installation, from the WHS DVD.

    That's not possible.  There are no SATA drivers on the DVD (which means whatever mode your BIOS is on, it is apparently using IDE/Legacy for those drives).  However, you should check your mobo's instruction manual and/or call the manufacturer to find out which mode(s) present your SATA drives as PATA drives.

    (The network device Does require drivers, and there was no network activity during the install, so they must have come from the DVD if they were needed.)

    This is contrary to the advice WHS itself gave me.  It not only has the facility to maintain static images, but also recommended it.

    Where does it say "recommended to maintain static images"?

    This worries me:
    - Does WHS know what it is / is capable of / is designed for?

    Yes.  It is (and always has been) designed to return a failed client PC to working as it was just before a failure (meaning the last backup).  It never has been designed to roll your PC back to how it was 12-18 months ago.

    - Was WHS intended to keep such static images, but it failed to meet the mark?

    No.  The concept is simple: return a client PC to how it was just before it failed.  By definition, that eliminates the need of a backup from a long time ago.

    The reason it worries me is simple:  If the intended functionality is not clearly defined, how can it be shown to reliably meet that functionality?

    It is clearly defined:  use it to restore your PC to the last good backup.  If you've seen something different on the MS website, please point it out.

    Which is exactly my issue, isn't it?  At present, WHS won't let me .

    Yes, you are having issues.  However, it usually works.  I'll wait until you answer Ken's question regarding your hardware before making any guesses as to what the problem might be.

    It's worth mentioning that the system was set up with...
            - 250GB sys drive
            - 2x1TB data drives (Added afted WHS installation)

    Looking at the BIOS setup screen I have the following:
    - Port 0 : Master = DVD Drive
    - Port 1 : Master = 250 GB Drive
    - Port 2 : Master = 1TB Drive
    - Port 3 : Master = 1TB Drive

    Being that the HDD are SATA and the DVD is PATA, it seems that Port 0 can't have my system drive on it.

    If all of your hard drives are SATA, it shouldn't matter (as long as your drives are in IDE/Legacy mode).  Look at the writing on the board next to each SATA port.  Each port should have a port number (i.e. SATA 0, SATA 1, etc).  Make sure the primary drive is plugged into the SATA port that says SATA 0 (or something similar).

    No files were copied or backups done until after the two 1TB drives were added.  They were only added after the install to ensure that the 250GB drive was used as the system drive.  This was done to ensure that (or in the hope that) all the files and backups would be kept and duplicated on the two 1TB drives.  (With the expectation that before they become full I would buy an additional drive, hopefully 2TB being available by then.)

    That being so, is my assumption correct that no files or backups would have been on the DATA partition of the System drive?

    As long as you ran all MS updates before adding any files to the server, no files would have been on the primary drive (but that doesn't matter since you had Folder Duplication enabled on all shares anyway).  I doubt any of the backup database would have been there either.

    Or are there no guarantees?  Or is it more likely the DATA partition of the 250GB drive was used anyway?

    See above.

    Assuming that I can get WHS re-installed without wiping the files stored on the WHS machine, this seems the only way to meet my backup needs.  I'll have to investigate exactly what it requires me (or my dad) to do, but it's a shame that WHS is capable of protecting files from a single drive failure, but not the backups.  From a functional description this seems (to me) to be an oversight, it is simply intutitive that both would be protected in the same way...

    Basically, WHS is designed to have 2 copies of everything in your LAN.  You already have a second copy of everything in your backup database: your client PCs themselves.  (Not to mention the load your server would have to handle if it duplicated the backup database internally.)

    Either that, or the product should state that's how it behaves and not sing it's own praises about maintaining static images.

    It does clearly say what it's designed to do: restore your client PC to how it was before a failure.  From that, you assumed it keeps backups of the backup database (which it doesn't say anywhere).  Your PC fails, you restore last night's backup.  (And, as I said, if you want to backup your backup database, there is an add-in for that.  Personally, I couldn't care a less about anything other than last night's backup.  If I need to restore due to a failure, I'm going to restore it to how it was last night, not how it was 6 months ago.)

    This is very important to me, claiming that it can manage static backups, then loosing them in a single drive failure is (in my opinion) grossly insufficient.  Based on WHS's own claims this was a primary purpose of the machine, a purpose it has seemingly failed to meet:
    - Don't set such expectations
    - Or makes ure you do it right

    I work for an IT consultancy and if I had set such expectations and failed ot meet them, I'd expect the client to send solicitors around...

    It's not like one can "just get a refund and wlak away" when it fails to meet it's own description.  What is lost in this scenario is (seemingly) irrecoverable when protection and recovery is Exactly what the product puports to be for.  I can't over state how unhappy I am at Microsoft at present.


    Then you should submit your product suggestion on Connect (because nowhere does it say it does what you expect it to do).
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 4:49 AM
    Moderator
  • Today I tried to reinstall WHS on a brand new 250GB system drive, a replacement following the original's failure.

    I managed to get and choose the re-install option.

    The installation wiped both the data drives.  IT TOOK MY F-ING WEDDING PHOTOS WITH IT!

    I'd had a long day and made the niaive mistake of not taking some kind of backup.  Why should I?  Every respected person here says it'll be safe.

    My wife is going to have my balls, but there is no way on earth MS is ever getting a penny from me ever again!



    Stay away from this product if you value your content!
    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 11:44 PM