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Drive Letter Disappearing RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am using WHS as a file server and an e-mail exchange (using Turnpike) plus a couple of other server side applications. It came installed on a Tranquil PC which I bought for the low power usage.

    Not wanting to use the console I re-installed WHS but somehow missed the bit where you tell it what you want to do with the disk.
    So, I have disk 0 with a 20GB partition and a 445GB partition, C: and D: respectively.

    I am using a second hard drive with identical partitions (named E: and F:) and MirrorFolder to RAID 1 to these drives. So that is C: mirrored to E: and D: mirrored to F:.

    Everything is working OK, nothing untoward showing up in event viewer but E: keeps disappearing from view in explorer. When I look in disk management the partition is there and I can assign E back to it. Files are mirrored to the partition whether the drive has an assigned letter or not.

    Has anyone any idea as to why the assigned letter gets unassigned on that partition only?

    One thing that is different, is that in the instructions for MirrorFolder, that partition should be made active. Would this be the cause?
    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 1:34 PM

Answers

  • Hi,
    that usage of Windows Home Server, including using RAID or manually assigning drive letters, is not supported.
    Also using drive letters for a mirrored drive is not a good idea, since normal mirroring does an invisible copy (mirror) of the original disk without any need to access it from the mirrored system.
    The split up of the primary disk to 20 GB system partition and the remaining space for data is default and you have no influence to that behaviour during the normal installation process of Windows Home Server.
    Best greetings from Germany and a happy new year 2009
    Olaf
    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:38 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,
    that usage of Windows Home Server, including using RAID or manually assigning drive letters, is not supported.
    Also using drive letters for a mirrored drive is not a good idea, since normal mirroring does an invisible copy (mirror) of the original disk without any need to access it from the mirrored system.
    The split up of the primary disk to 20 GB system partition and the remaining space for data is default and you have no influence to that behaviour during the normal installation process of Windows Home Server.
    Best greetings from Germany and a happy new year 2009
    Olaf
    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:38 PM
    Moderator
  • Greetings to you too Olaf, hope it isn't too cold where you are.

    I know I could probably have used XP for what I want, but the PC came with WHS so I am making as good as use as I can.
    With the software RAID I am using, drive letters have to be present in order to instruct it where to copy to. It is a real time RAID 1 and if I wanted to boot from the current disk 1 then it would as if it were disk 0. I have only made D: available to the network so no files will be written to the wrong place.

    I am just perplexed as to why E: sometimes gets unassigned and not F: also.

    Happy New Year.

    Gary.
    Thursday, January 1, 2009 10:38 AM
  • Hi Gary,
    also writing to drive D: directly or via network is not supported.
    Windows Home Server is designed to manage all disks on it's own.
    If you need your data mirrored, this is, what Folder Duplication is for. Disk Mirroring only protects agains one specific scenario, a broken disk, which does not happen that often. In such situations the supported way to recover is a server reinstall.
    Mirroring the disks will not bring you anything good, since the hardware ids of the disks in the storage pool are maintained by WHS. So a mirrored drive has not the same hardware ID and you cannot continue to work without any flaws usually.
    You should read following documents:

    Technical Brief for Drive Extender
    Why RAID is not a consumer technology

    to understand better, how Windows Home Server works and why it is designed, as it is.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Thursday, January 1, 2009 11:20 AM
    Moderator
  • Not supported as in "not possible to do it" or not supported "we recommend you don't"?

    I have WHS set up as described, writing to D: via network and software mirroring for backup. I have an email program running in the background for network access and will be putting an accounting package on there soon.
    Thursday, January 1, 2009 5:21 PM
  •  
    Sustech said:

    Not supported as in "not possible to do it" or not supported "we recommend you don't"?


    it is considered to be dangerous for the data on storage (backups, shared folders), which is controlled by WHS.
    So while it is technically possible (and is not as risky any more since Power Pack 1 than before), the standard sharing mechanics of the underlying Server 2003 OS are not aware of the special needs, which are brought by the Windows Home Server components, and Windows Home Server components may fail the hard way, since they are not aware about "abused" storage. Also Windows Home Server updates do not check for any "customizations" in that area and may fail if the assumed configuration is not longer true.
    A lot may also depend if you write directly into folders, which are part of the storage pool, which may mess up tombstones and real data.

    Recommended (and also unsupported) practice is it to add an additional disk to the server and use this outside of the storage pool.
    Best greetiings from Germany
    Olaf
    Thursday, January 1, 2009 7:12 PM
    Moderator