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Backups do not occur RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have been running my WHS for about a month now and most days the backups run properly, but some days they just do not run.  There are no errors or messages.  The backup window passes and nothing happens.

    I have 2 clients and this has occurred on both of them, but not necessarily on the same day.  Most days both get backed up, sometimes just one, sometimes the other and sometimes neither.

    Does WHS care if the client machine is in use? I have set the backup window to be from 7-10PM, when I know all the clients and the WHS will be on.  The clients are generally in use during this time.  If I am working on the client when the backup occurs, I see the balloon message that tells me a backup is about to start.  The nights when the backups don't happen, I see no messages.

    One client is XP one is Vista.  I have never received any errors or messages about any of the backups when they don't get backed up.  Starting the backup manually works properly and completes without incident.  When a backup is missed it usually occurs the next day or the day after.  It hasn't missed one for more than 2 days in a row.

    Does anyone have any insight into this problem or how I might further troubleshoot it and fix it?  FWIW, I'm running the backups while all the machine are on so that I don't have to leave the WHS on overnight.  I'm using the LightsOut plugin to put it to sleep overnight and during the day when no one is home.

    Thanks.
    Peter
    Friday, September 11, 2009 2:21 AM

All replies

  • The client will not be backed up if the system is shut down at the time it's set to backup.

    Backups should also run if the client is sleeping or hibernating during the backup window at least if you have set "Wake this Computer for Backup" from the WHS tray icon on the client.

    If only a single backup is missed you will not get a notification. You will get yellow tray icon if backup is missed for more then 5 days on a row, red tray icon when backup is missed for more then 15 days on a row.

    • Edited by brubberModerator Friday, September 11, 2009 7:17 AM correct backup notification rules
    Friday, September 11, 2009 7:07 AM
    Moderator
  • The client will not be backed up if the system is shut down at the time it's set to backup.

    Backups should also run if the client is sleeping or hibernating during the backup window at least if you have set "Wake this Computer for Backup" from the WHS tray icon on the client.


    The clients are not shut down during the backup window.  They are turned on and in use.

    That was part of my question, does WHS prefer to backup the clients when they aren't in use and the fact that they are in use prevent WHS from initiating a backup?
    Friday, September 11, 2009 12:02 PM
  • The clients are not shut down during the backup window.  They are turned on and in use.


    OK, clear. In your original post you said "The clients are generally in use during this time". This made me think they wouldn't necessarily be running all the time during the backup window

    That was part of my question, does WHS prefer to backup the clients when they aren't in use and the fact that they are in use prevent WHS from initiating a backup?
    It shouldn't make a difference if the client is in use or not. The backup time for the next day is determined at the end of the backup. If the client is running at that pre-determined time the next day, the backup will start at that time. If the client is started after the pre-determined backup time, but still within the backup window the backup will start (almost) immediately after startup of the client.
    Friday, September 11, 2009 12:35 PM
    Moderator
  • If the client is running at that pre-determined time the next day, the backup will start at that time. If the client is started after the pre-determined backup time, but still within the backup window the backup will start (almost) immediately after startup of the client.

    That is not the behavior I see when the problem occurs.  The backup window is from 7-10 PM.  The clients are usually hibernating at 7 PM, but sometimes are turned on.
    Sometimes I check the client at 8 PM and it has already woken up and run a backup.  Sometimes it is still hibernating, I wake it up and it runs the backup later during the backup window.

    Sometimes I wake it up, use the machine, and at 10 PM the backup window ends, and no backup occurs or even tries to start.

    The backups generally take about 20 min for one client and 45 min for the other, so a 3 hour window should be enough to backup both clients.
    Friday, September 11, 2009 1:23 PM
  • It happened again last night.  The client was hibernating at 7 PM.  I came home late and didn't use the client at all last night, yet a backup never occurred.  The WHS did not wake up the client and there were no errors or messages about the missed backup at all.
    Saturday, September 12, 2009 2:06 PM
  • This is a problem on the particular client that is not backing up successfully. Windows Home Server keeps, on the server, information about the backup window itself. The client queries this information during each backup and chooses a random time during the backup window to wake the next time the backup period comes around. The actual waking is done via a hardware timer on the client, and requires proper hardware and OS support to succeed. All modern computers have this support, in theory, but in practice there are many things (none of which are within the control of Windows Home Server) which can interfere with this process, e.g. other software which uses hardware timers, a poorly coded BIOS which interferes, etc.

    In addition, network issues can interfere. If a client wakes, but takes a very long time to connect to the server, that client may fail to back up because it effectively "times out" waiting for it's network connection. You will most often see this on a client with a wireless connection to your home network, but any client can experience this, even with a wired connection.

    As for not reporting an error, as far as the server is concerned, the client never woke up to back up, and that's not an error, unless it continues for a full week.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, September 12, 2009 2:31 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken - Thanks for the information.  Looking into this more I think the problem is really with the LightsOut add-in. 

    I have the add-in configured to turn WHS on from 7 AM to 10:30 AM when I am home in the morning and from 6 PM to 11 PM at night.  The backup window is from 7 PM to 10 PM.  The client I have the most problems with is the one I use in the morning and sometimes have on later than 10:30 AM.  When I look at the graph LightsOut produces for when machines are on and off, it shows that client being on all day, even though I actually hibernate it around 11 AM. 

    Since the WHS hibernates before the client does it has no way of knowing that the client is hibernating. When the server wakes up at 6 PM it assumes the client is still on.  If the preselected backup time happens to be between 7 PM and the time I manually wake up the client at night (usually around 8 PM), WHS tries to start the backup, but doesn't try to wake up the client since it assumes it is still on.  Of course the client is hibernating, so the backup doesn't occur.  That would explain why sometimes it works fine.  Those would be the times when the preselected backup time happens to be after I manually wake the client.

    The other client is typically powered off in the mornings, but is almost always powered on before 7 PM, and I have far fewer problems with missed backups for that client.
    On the weekends when WHS is on all day and knows when the clients are awake and asleep, the problem doesn't occur.

    I'm going to try pushing the morning hibernation time back so that WHS hibernates after all the clients have hibernated and see if that helps.
    Sounds like it might be a bug in the add-in.  It should probably send a WOL packet to each client before it tries to back it up regardless of what state it thinks the client is in.
    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 1:03 PM
  • Please re-read what I wrote. Windows Home Server doesn't wake the client from the server. The client wakes itself using a hardware timer. If your client is failing to wake, it's very unlikely that Windows Home Server is really involved in the issue. It's merely the mechanism by which you have learned about it.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Is there a way for me to see what time the client backup is scheduled for that day?
    If the client is responsible for waking itself up at the predetermined time I would assume that information needs to be stored on the client somewhere.
    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 5:45 PM
  • Windows Home Server doesn't wake the client from the server. The client wakes itself using a hardware timer. If your client is failing to wake, it's very unlikely that Windows Home Server is really involved in the issue. It's merely the mechanism by which you have learned about it.
    This morning I changed the LightsOut add-in to put the WHS to sleep AFTER the client was hibernating and tonight the client woke up on its own, ran a backup and went back to sleep (just as you would expect).  It has never done that before.  The only thing that was different today was changing the WHS to sleep after the client was asleep instead of before.

    I have to say it really seems like the WHS is somehow involved in initiating the backup and its confusion about the sleep/wake state of the client was causing problems.
    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 1:12 AM