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Is it time to eliminate my WHS? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • During the next several days, I think it's time for me to make a decision of whether to keep WHS running and go through the pain and money of moving to new equipment, or simply investing in NAS and transferring WHS files over to it. What's prompting my decision is the fact that recently, restores of two separate computers have not worked as they should have. The first instance was for my son's laptop. I gave him a bigger hard drive, and tried to use the WHS restore CD to clone his old hard drive to the new one. For a whole day, I worked on this restore, and kept receiving the extremely helpful error 'unknown network error'. I finally gave up and ran the OEM Win7 restore CD, then opened and copied the files from the latest WHS backup. This actually worked, so I didn't sweat the several hours of effort I put into it. More recently, I had a catastrophic hard drive failure on another important computer. I attempted to restore the latest backup, but once again encountered the extremely helpful, 'unknown network error'. Because it was so important, I spent three weeks (not non-stop) trying to figure out the error. Finally, I did figure out the error. I had to run backup repair on the server, after unsuccessfuly running 'chkdsk' from command prompt on the server. Finally, I lost some backups for the computers other than the one I needed to restore. Once again, I decided not to take a chance and I just restored the media files to a completely new OS image. 

    These setbacks have prompted me to want to take immediate action to move these files from the WHS to another drive. My WHS was created not long after the system builder's software was released. It has an MSI motherboard with Sempron 2300 processor and 1GB of RAM. For storage, there is a 160GB and 320GB internal IDE drive, plus a 1TB external Seagate. Four computers are currently on the network, other than the server.

    I'm considering moving to one of the many 2TB NAS hard drives that are currently on the market. For backup, I'm considering either using the software included with the drives, or using Acronis True Image. I realize the grass always seems greener on the other side. However, I'm eventually going to have to upgrade this server to a more modern motherboard with SATA hard drives if I decide to stay with WHS. This will be a more costly and time-consuming solution. Plus, a 'server' uses more electricity than an NAS hard drive. Since we currently have 5 computers in the house (including WHS), we could stand to eliminate one of the electricity users. 

    I welcome any insight you care to add.
     
    Thursday, May 5, 2011 5:43 PM

All replies

  • Iwent through a similar thought process and built a new machine to test out the various incarnations of Vail/WHS2011 (I have not used the RTM yet but the RC). My impressions, notwithstanding your views of the loss of DE and the poorly implemented server backup system, are:

    • The whole system is much more responsive (albeit on much newer hardware) and I achieve consistent high data read/write rates.
    • Backing up my multitude of PCs in the house takes no effort compared to using W7 Backup & Restore or any other method.
    • Restoring a PC from WHS2011 RC via my network is only marginally slower than using  Backup & Restore (B&R) on a local drive.
    • I have had no failures restoring 4 or 5 PCs from 2011RC when changing the primary HDD from mechanical to SSDs
    • A restore to a SSD from WHS2011 produces aligned partitions (important for SSDs) from a non-aligned original wheras B&R does not.

    So, all in all I am very happy with the ease of use and I will be continuing down this path. I remember WHS1 restores were a nightmare which I don't want to repeat particularly in this 64-bit age.

    Hope that helps in some way

    Phil

    Thursday, May 5, 2011 6:27 PM
  • How about using a separate backup software package (Ghost, Acronis, Macrium Reflect, DriveImageXML, etc..) every few months, and backup that image to the server? This gives a base OS image, and then use the server backup for more frequent backups of work and media? That is what I plan on doing. Also, you can download a free version of Acronis to use with any Seagate or WD hard drive - it has worked well for me.
    Saturday, May 7, 2011 3:46 AM
  • Well all, I have decided to go the NAS route with a WD MyBook Live 2TB. Don't get me wrong, WHS has been great! The backups have saved my arse a few times. The web interface has been great, too. If I had the money, I'd rather buy one of the pre-built Home Servers from HP or Acer. The main reasons I am migrating to network storage are cost and time. This NAS will take some time to get used to, but in the long run I believe I can establish the same functionality. For example, it has taken me quite a bit of time to tweak this Mionet that WD uses for web functionality, not to mention their own software. It just isn't easy and intuitive like WHS. I already do miss that. The main thing I won't miss about WHS is the 'hit or miss' of the backups. Not to mention the fact that I haven't found an easy way to sync the libraries on my computer(s) with the media directories on WHS. After about 4 years of using WHS, my music directory has become an absolute MESS!

    It will probably be a while before I completely shut off the WHS. I just want to be sure this drive doesn't fail. I've heard of too many drives that fail mere days after they're plugged in. Of course, WHS would have that problem too. 

    Saturday, May 7, 2011 7:17 AM
  • It will probably be a while before I completely shut off the WHS. I just want to be sure this drive doesn't fail. I've heard of too many drives that fail mere days after they're plugged in. Of course, WHS would have that problem too. 

    Except with WHS2011 you would have a server backup.
    Monday, May 9, 2011 12:47 PM