How does a WHS user recover a folder deleted from a share on the server? RRS feed

  • Question

  • How does a WHS user recover a folder deleted from a share on the server?

    If it is true that the VSS is now disabled and clients can no longer user Previous Versions for shared folders then this needs to be widely advertised!

    I have just convinced a small low budget company to move all of their data onto a WHS box and share it centrally only to find that, not only is there no Previous Version option for them, that the simple backup/restore GUI for them lists all the PCs they moved the data off from but NOT the server they moved the data to!

    If there are issues with VSS and folder duplication, why not at least add the WHS box to the list of automated backups?

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:31 PM

All replies

  • Hi John,
    Volume Shadow Copies never have been officially supported in WHS. The may work, but the outcome is not that easy to handle and to predict due to the method, drive extender stores the data. The thread How to regain access to previous versions of files in WHS shares discusses possibilites more in depth.

    To get a non automated backup of shared folders to an external disk enabled in the console, you need to have Power Pack 1 installed and at least one external drive added as backup drive in the console. If you want it more automated, you could create some scripts and run them as scheduled tasks on the server, but this will store data less efficient on the backup disk or the disk may not even be big enough. (Swapping the backup drives regulary and store at least one of the backups offsite is mandatory as well.)
    Without external backups even a small business use cannot be recommended, since there are several potential dangers, which may bust the server (overvoltage, a coffee cup, fire, theft etc).

    Best greetings from Germany
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:43 PM
  • The answer is that there is no recovery mechanism for files/folders deleted from a Windows file share. This is a long-standing "feature" of Windows file sharing, unfortunately. Previous Versions functionality is useful when turned on, but it isn't always turned on, even in an enterprise environment.

    As for using Windows Home Server in a business environment, Microsoft is aware that it's popular in small/microbusinesses. However, it's not designed for that use; it's intended for use in a home environment. The best use for Windows Home Server in the small business is, IMO, the automated backup/bare metal restore (to same hardware). At a cost of ~60USD per seat, you can back up 10 critical Windows workstations.

    If you need to back up the shares, you can either do so manually, using the server share backup feature added in Power Pack 1, or you can "roll your own" solution using something such as robocopy. If you will check on Connect, you will find that there are probably already several suggestions concerning making it possible to automate the server share backup. If you feel strongly about this, you should probably vote for one or more of those suggestions.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:48 PM
  • Olaf

    If you look at the documentation
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/2/5/E2570482-464C-4C96-BB34-4F06204B0EF0/Windows Home Server Product Guide.docx

    page 7 shows a list of workstations AND the WHS box as being part of a scheduled/automated backup.
    On my installation only the PCs are listed not  the server.

    So the question remains, if an end user deletes a file from the server based share how can he restore that file?

    It surely cannot be the case that Microsoft are saying its better for users to leave their files stored locally on the PC as, not only will the have a Recycle Bin facility, but they will have a backup on the WHS as well.  Whereas if they delete from the server's share, they have no recycle bin and no means to restore either?

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:53 PM
  • Ken

    I have seen the postings for the unsupported work-arounds but I was hoping to avoid things getting messy.

    It seems ironic that I can give the users the simple "previous versions" interface to restore their files i.e. less admin hassle, if I upgrade them to a full-blown Server 2003 installation but this requires configuring AD, DNS, etc. i.e. more admin hassle.

    They (small business) love the simplicity of WHS, its just a shame the promise of "previous versions" hasn't transpired into reality.

    In my office I've configured the previous version client successfully with a large EMC NAS based cifs server and it is a joy to use - I can't remember the last time I had to revert to tape for a simple restore.

    Does anyone think MS will/can sort this?

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:29 PM
  • First, the Product Guide you linked says nothing about automating the server share backup tool, however it's also not explicit that this isn't an option. I'll forward this thread to Microsoft for review...

    As for where users should keep files, best practice varies based on a number of things. In the enterprise I would have users keep all files on a file server which is backed up nightly. In the home environment, nightly backups of the file server would quickly become unwieldy, and the personal discipline required will probably be lacking. :) So keeping files that are actively being worked on local is reasonable, then moving them to the server when they're basically static. That's what I do for my own personal microbusiness (photography).

    There's no requirement that you configure AD, DNS, etc. for Windows Server 2003. It can function perfectly well in a workgroup environment.

    Previous Versions functionality: It's not promised in the marketing literature, as far as I know. There are a number of reasons why this isn't working in Windows Home Server, having to do (I understand) with the architecture of Drive Extender and the way Previous Versions functionality works in Windows. I don't see Microsoft putting development resources into Windows Server 2003 to correct the issues on that side since Windows Server 2008 is already out. And without that there's no point in working on the Windows Home Server side. So I honestly can't say I see any hope of this being fixed in this version of the product.

    Regarding future versions: I don't have any hard data that I can share with you, I'm afraid. Microsoft realizes Windows Home Server is enjoying a level of popularity in the microbusiness market, so I would expect that internally there is discussion and possibly even product planning around this. What does that mean for the product, though? Logically, I would expect to see some sort of product differentiators applied for the microbusiness market, in other words a product that isn't "Windows Home Server", but that also isn't "Windows Small Business Server" (which is overkill for the home-based business). That's just speculation on my part, though.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:58 PM