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Home server software quality RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Dear community,

    I have now been a Home server user for about 8 months and it's been a constant battle with corrupted files, reinstalls and wait for supposed fixes with the Powerpack, which was the exact opposit to why I decided to use Home server in my home environment. To prove to myself that my issues are not hardware related I have now changed all my hardware with the exception of the CPU Fan copied back my data and this time it lasted 8 days before the the file corruption, blue screens, lost backup database started and my home server is again dying a slow death (yes I do feel bitter..).

    A search on the Internet reveals that this does not appear to be uncommon and a number of people have reported similar issues which always seem to be knocked back with the excuse that it must be hardware related and the advice to log a bug report. Considering that this is meant to be a consumer product, i would have expected this product to have gone through rigorous testing and basics like not corrupting files should simply not happen with a product like this.

    I am an IT professional with 10 years + of experience with windows servers and always been loyal to Microsoft and promoted their software, however I can not honestly recommend to anyone to use this product in its current state. I am sad to say that have now decided to call it a day with Home server and must consider another solution as I simply have not got the time to deal with this anymore or put my data at risk.
     
    I would be happy to hear any comments to either confirm my experiences or if i'm completely wrong with my views on this product.

    Regards

    Niclas Lindblom
    Monday, December 15, 2008 9:53 PM

All replies

  • Truth be told, I have yet to have any 'real' issues with my own homebrew system (which is a repurposed IBM eServer x200.  So, it's not 'new' by any stretch of the imagination; however, it does have Server 2003 drivers for everything.)

    Got hardware specs?
    Is / was PP1 installed on your server (the new one, or the old?)  PP1 did fix the data corruption bug, as well as several other smaller issues.
    How 'stock' is your WHS install (additional software, add-ons, tweaks?)

    -Chris
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Monday, December 15, 2008 10:13 PM
  •  Pretty much standard components

    Gigabyte motherboard with AMD Athlon X2 CPU, 2x 1 GB RAM, 4x 1TB drives. Folder duplication switched on on all folders, which currently contains about a 1 TB of data. Had issues before PP1 and had to do a couple of reinstalls due the server blue screening and getting file corruption errors in event log, initially suspected memory which was the first thing I replaced. I actually think it got worse since PP1, have rebuilt a couple of times since PP1 and it appears that the problems starts to occur after a couple of days to get worse and worse. As I mentioned, I have now replaced all components by using a brand new motherboard and some parts and rotated drives from another machine (including PSU) and his time it took 8 days before the first NTFS errors started to occur in the log and blue screens regulary occuring. The next thing that happens is always that the backup database is lost when WHS needs to repair it.

    I am personally convinced that this is related to the folder duplication feature somehow corupting the files, but obvioulsy cant prove this. I am actually considering (against all recommendation) to configure hardware mirroring of the drives and not use the duplication feature but havent made up my mind to what the path of least resistence currently is. 

    Thanks for your comment

    Niclas
    Monday, December 15, 2008 10:27 PM
  • NicAnon said:

     I have now changed all my hardware with the exception of the CPU Fan



    Well, there ya go. It's the old "the fan ate my data" problem! :-)

    Monday, December 15, 2008 11:11 PM
  • Some Gigabyte boards did not like 1 TB drives - but this usually did show up in degrading the size to something in the 32 MB range.
    Anyway - the Bios is the latest available for this board?
    The power supply is strong enough (even if changed, the swapping alone means nothing without details)?
    I had only one time my WHS totally crashing, this was around migration from a prerelease of Power Pack 1 to the final PP1, as drive D: got somewhat unreadable.
    Other than that no stability issues (although all my WHS systems, self built and purchased) always have been Intel based).
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, December 15, 2008 11:26 PM
    Moderator
  • I'd be curious about what kind of files are getting corrupted and whether the share where the corruption occurs is duplicated? Some files, like Outlook PST files, should never be used from network shares.


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:04 AM
  • Niclas, "Gigabyte motherboard" is kinda vague.  Got a model#?  ;)

    I'm wondering, too, if installing the AMD dual-core driver & optimizer (which are for Server 2003, as well as XP) would help with your data-corruption issues (assuming that you aren't trying to use certain files that should -never- be used on network shares (e.g. Outpook .pst.)
    Remember:  the data corruption/folder duplication bug was fixed - fully - in PP1.

    And, seconded what Olaf and S_M_E said.

    -Chris
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:24 AM
  • Also worth mentioning, since the OP mentioned NTFS errors, is using updated 2003 storage drivers (if they're not already) and not overclocking (if you are) which can cause "weirdness" too...


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 1:20 AM
  • NicAnon said:

    Dear community,

    I have now been a Home server user for about 8 months and it's been a constant battle with corrupted files, reinstalls and wait for supposed fixes with the Powerpack, which was the exact opposit to why I decided to use Home server in my home environment. To prove to myself that my issues are not hardware related I have now changed all my hardware with the exception of the CPU Fan copied back my data and this time it lasted 8 days before the the file corruption, blue screens, lost backup database started and my home server is again dying a slow death (yes I do feel bitter..).

    A search on the Internet reveals that this does not appear to be uncommon and a number of people have reported similar issues which always seem to be knocked back with the excuse that it must be hardware related and the advice to log a bug report. Considering that this is meant to be a consumer product, i would have expected this product to have gone through rigorous testing and basics like not corrupting files should simply not happen with a product like this.

    I am an IT professional with 10 years + of experience with windows servers and always been loyal to Microsoft and promoted their software, however I can not honestly recommend to anyone to use this product in its current state. I am sad to say that have now decided to call it a day with Home server and must consider another solution as I simply have not got the time to deal with this anymore or put my data at risk.
     
    I would be happy to hear any comments to either confirm my experiences or if i'm completely wrong with my views on this product.

    Regards

    Niclas Lindblom


    Well I at least can say that I have managed to get away with all of MY data un-corrupt (except for some PC backup files that got corrupt and made me do a COMPLETE reinstall wiping all data off my drives) , but other than that I must say that you have stated my thoughts on this piece of software or OS or whatever you want to call it exactly. It is supposed to a consumer based product that anyone can use, but i would not even recommend this to my fellow IT co-workers, much less someone with any less technological knowledge. It has been a constant struggle to get this to work the way it is supposed to. I am curious, do people with the pre-built HP MediaSmart servers have the same problems as us home-built WHS users? Because If i had as many problems with a 500 dollar system i bought as I am with my left-over PC one, that bad boy would be back in the hands of HP in a heartbeat.

    I just want to be able to install this and it work because that is what Microsoft advertises when you purchase it. I guess thats asking too much though.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 6:41 AM
  • s.morrow said:

    I just want to be able to install this and it work because that is what Microsoft advertises when you purchase it. I guess thats asking too much though.


    Other than my customizations, that's pretty much how my WHS server has been. It just works. YMMV...

    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 7:34 AM
  • S_M_E said:

    s.morrow said:

    I just want to be able to install this and it work because that is what Microsoft advertises when you purchase it. I guess thats asking too much though.


    Other than my customizations, that's pretty much how my WHS server has been. It just works. YMMV...



    Microsoft does not advertise to "install" Windows Home Server (at least not in the context of installing it on own hardware). Advertised is to purchase preconfigured hardware from OEMs/qualified system builders.
    If you buy the software and set up your own system, you are this system builder and in charge for finding the components, which are working in harmony together in that OS environment. Windows Server 2003 on a consumer hardware platwform may work, but must not under all circumstances.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:47 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf Engelke said:

    If you buy the software and set up your own system, you are this system builder and in charge for finding the components, which are working in harmony together in that OS environment. Windows Server 2003 on a consumer hardware platwform may work, but must not under all circumstances.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf


    Lucky for me, with my chosen hardware and configuration, my WHS works great. :D


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:41 AM
  • Well Im glad to hear that others are having success with their servers. So in everyones opinion, would it be worth my money to spend $400 bucks on an HP pre-configured server as opposed to my custom built, very loud, and very large desktop sized server? Because with my experience thus far, my first thought would be big resounding NO. But if others are not having any trouble with their pre-built systems i might consider looking into it.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 2:13 PM
  • In my opinion, most people (even most technology enthusiasts) would be better off with an OEM solution rather than a home-built WHS. The OEM solutions are (in theory, at least, and as far as I can tell in practice as well) very carefully designed to work well with Windows Home Server. Components are tested extensively for compatibility with the core OS. This is usually not the case with a consumer product. Drivers for Windows Server 2003 may be missing or not well tested, firmware may be tweaked for performance rather than stability, etc.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:27 PM
    Moderator
  • The only real thing to complain with the prebuild OEM solutions is in my eyes the very basic default memory configuration of 512 MB.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:01 PM
    Moderator
  • s.morrow said:

    Well Im glad to hear that others are having success with their servers. So in everyones opinion, would it be worth my money to spend $400 bucks on an HP pre-configured server as opposed to my custom built, very loud, and very large desktop sized server? Because with my experience thus far, my first thought would be big resounding NO. But if others are not having any trouble with their pre-built systems i might consider looking into it.



    I would endorse & recommend a system like the HPEX470, as long as you perform the well-documented (somewhere here) procedure to bump the RAM up to 2GB.
    However, be prepared for unconventional "features" and behaviors that fly in the face of everything you've learned in the IT world. There are bugs that likely will never be fixed and there are behaviors that have you wondering what in the world Microsoft was thinking of.
    With that footnote, I must say that I love my EX470. Highlights for me are the ability to access my home PCs from anywhere I'm traveling, the photos & music sharing, the ability to map a drive to the server from anywhere in the world & sync my data/photos/music files (this requires an add-in), the backup/restore functionality (although I still use Norton Ghost as well), the folder duplication and the ability to back the server up to a removable drive which you can store offsite.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:23 PM
  • Bobsie said:
    However, be prepared for unconventional "features" and behaviors that fly in the face of everything you've learned in the IT world. There are bugs that likely will never be fixed and there are behaviors that have you wondering what in the world Microsoft was thinking of. 

    Windows Home Server is not designed to meet the needs of an IT pro, per se. It's designed to meet the needs of a family with no technically proficient members, so it does many things that an IT pro will find strange and disturbing, in comparison with the technologies he works with regularly. This is by design, and should not be expected to change. If a feature requires many controls (buttons, sliders, lists to pick from, etc.) and much thought to determine how best to use it, or whether to use it at all, you should expect that Microsoft will either simplify it significantly or omit the feature entirely. And because WHS is intended to be effectively a "closed" system as far as most users are concerned (remember, by design the only interactive access to the server is through the console, the shares, and the remote access web site), there are many things that one can usually do with a Windows OS that will likely never be supported on WHS.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:56 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken Warren said:
    Windows Home Server is not designed to meet the needs of an IT pro, per se. It's designed to meet the needs of a family with no technically proficient members,

    This was exactly the behavior i expected from Home server and I hoping to not use any of my "IT professional Skills" to run my home network, unfortunately the reality is that I spent a lot more time and effort on this server than I ever anticipated. Knowing what I know now, I would probably bought a WHS box rather than building one myself, but it sounded like a better option as I wanted a lot of storage.  Also, just to be clear I have done no customisation whatsoever to my system and have no requirement for this, I only wanted to be able to store files and backup my client PCs on my home network.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Niclas Lindblom

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 5:38 PM
  • As an IT professional I wish I'd just used server 2003 (or even just good 'ole xp) with shared folders and my own backup solution.

    I'm beyond frustrated with the mentality that the 'hardcore' home server users have - that the data corruption is acceptable because "you should have offsite backups" and the quirks are acceptable because "it's a home solution, not meant for business or 100% reliability"


    I feel like they made a couple of small changes to server 2003, implemented a shoddy raid 5-ish method of storing data (and don't get me started on the ridiculous 'landing zone' ordeal..) and packaged it up for resale.  The only thing that I really like is the remote access through IE.

    Here are a couple of good reads:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/b64fba20-df6b-4c11-aa4a-1771ffb625d8

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/a4493c00-7ae1-4ffb-a663-f7e6e66d66ca


    IMHO you should get out now.  It really doesn't offer anything that you can't do on your own.  IMO this is geared towards someone that does home desktop support, because they probably will get 5 or 6 callbacks fixing ridiculous problems.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 7:38 PM
  • JacobWM said:

    I'm beyond frustrated with the mentality that the 'hardcore' home server users have - that the data corruption is acceptable because "you should have offsite backups" and the quirks are acceptable because "it's a home solution, not meant for business or 100% reliability"

    I share your concern, but I think you need to understand that the "hardcore" home server users here are 110% mirroring the view from the Microsoft team working this product. They **really** don't want to be bothered with home users and **really** view their customers as the HPs of this world not anybody else. And the HPs of this world just want to capture some of the business going to the NetSLUgs and so forth without actually having to take on a complex product that requires dreaded expensive end user support. So the whole idea is to take the WS03 dreadnought OS, customize it just enough to hide 98% of the core product it was based on, add some unique features to keep it from bleeding into more profitable markets and make a value proposition compared to the NetSLUgs, and to try to narrow down the operating environment to the point that it doesn't need a lot of support.

    Us home builders/enthusiasts/techies just aren't part of the WHS equation.

    A great Backup solution and Remote Access are the only two things keeping me from WS08. DEM when it works is pretty cool too--except it breaks a LOT of other things like shadow copies.

    Now, as to the original problem in this thread, my WHS system is VERY SIMILAR to that. (Full details somewhere in the what's in your server thread.) I had some teething problems that ultimately seem to have been fixed by replacing a memory SIMM that was just unreliable enough to cause hard to find problems frequently fo the corrupted file variety but not so unreliable as to fail the one or two memory tests I threw at it when I first built the system. I'd STRONGLY recommend running a GOOD bootable memory test (memtest86 or the Microsoft one that's downloadable) with all the stress options enabled for a couple of days. You might be shocked what you find. I was.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:02 PM
  • Dick,

    Appreciate your comments, however I have actually swopped my Memory modules as this was what I initially suspected to the the problem. The new modules are of identical make so I will take your advice and run MEM386 on these modules just to make sure this can be excluded.

    I have to agree with your comment around WS08, the only thing that really makes it worth the effort on getting this working would be the client back backup. Think this is a great feature and if this was available as a standalone addon I would probably not have bothered as much as I have with WHS.

    Cheers

    Niclas

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:29 PM
  • I saw that you'd swapped them. But, yes, I still would suspect them. That's why I would run both Memtest86 and the Microsoft tool for DAYS each. Mine was Mushkin memory. I was seeing errors in both tools on the order of once every SEVERAL complete passes coming from just one of the two SIMMs. And the errors only showed up in one or two of the many test cases each tester could run and always in the same small region.

    Mine is a Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H mobo running an AMD Athlon Brisbane BE-2350 CPU.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 10:12 PM
  • NicAnon said:

    Dear community,

    I have now been a Home server user for about 8 months and it's been a constant battle with corrupted files, reinstalls and wait for supposed fixes with the Powerpack, which was the exact opposit to why I decided to use Home server in my home environment. To prove to myself that my issues are not hardware related I have now changed all my hardware with the exception of the CPU Fan copied back my data and this time it lasted 8 days before the the file corruption, blue screens, lost backup database started and my home server is again dying a slow death (yes I do feel bitter..).

    A search on the Internet reveals that this does not appear to be uncommon and a number of people have reported similar issues which always seem to be knocked back with the excuse that it must be hardware related and the advice to log a bug report. Considering that this is meant to be a consumer product, i would have expected this product to have gone through rigorous testing and basics like not corrupting files should simply not happen with a product like this.

    I am an IT professional with 10 years + of experience with windows servers and always been loyal to Microsoft and promoted their software, however I can not honestly recommend to anyone to use this product in its current state. I am sad to say that have now decided to call it a day with Home server and must consider another solution as I simply have not got the time to deal with this anymore or put my data at risk.
     
    I would be happy to hear any comments to either confirm my experiences or if i'm completely wrong with my views on this product.

    Regards

    Niclas Lindblom


    I periodically get the "you've got to repair the drive" error on one of the servers running WHS and "repair" is required (Dell AMD 3800+, 2GB, new drive).  I also get the "you've got to install the driver" over and over on one of the clients.  And some Vista clients sometimes can't open a backup.  The other thing is that your new restore drive has to be at least as big as your old drive, and that's pretty limiting.  Not sure why they can't get that sorted out in VSS, but again, it's another "whatever".

    I don't run more than one drive in these servers.  I wouldn't try that, would definitely not use external drives, and wouldn't bother with folder duplication given the problems others have had.

    But even given the above, for the price it can't be beat.  I think you can get an OEM license now for $99.  That's phenominal for what this thing does.  But you do have to stay on top of it, and it is definitely not maintenance free.

    I don't think that the flaws in this product are fundamental, but I can understand your reluctance to continue.  A robocopy script, or Cobian or something similar, coupled with Macrium or one of the other shadow copy backup products might be a better bet for some.

    Good luck.
    Tuesday, December 16, 2008 11:32 PM
  • Oh Yeah,

    I have had many problems with a very simple machine, an Athlon XP.2500 with 1 GB of RAM, and two 500 GB SATA drives. I have to reboot it all the time to get it to release locked file resources. On average I can go about four days without trouble. On the whole, I love having automatic backups, and find that it works OK most of the time. If it ever gets so that I can leave it on and forget about it for weeks on end I will be impressed. What I want is a machine that does its thing and only requires me to blow the dirt out of it when needed.

    Not impressed so far. Not solid by any stretch of my imagination.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:45 AM
  • Odd, I usually only reboot on MS Patch-Tuesdays. I have to wonder if most of the problems are HW/Driver related or a simple case of PEBCAK... ;)


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:33 AM
  • Niclas,

    My WHS build has been more work than i ever wanted.  I have built custom PC's for 8 years.  I was a AD migrator/network admin for one of the largest banks in the U.S.  I am now a CCNP Cisco Data engineer.  There is now way the average mom and pop could have stomached the issues I have had with WHS.  I only wonder if I had bought one of the weaker HP models instead of my sweet homebrew machines that my issues would have gone away.

    So, I am right there with you.  I am about to throw in the towel also.  I am just tired of working on my WHS and throwing more $$$ at it.  WHS is such an awesome idea.  Unfortunately all the variables that go into a custom machine will inherently bring issues.

    I do want to give up but I will probably migrate all my data off and build another from scratch.  I just keep hoping :)

    -velvet

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:39 AM
  • Well, I only have 14 years professional experience and almost 27 years as a hobbyist but...

    If WHS was to blame, as some try to imply, everyone would be having problems and most of us are not. I'm not saying it's perfect nor completely bug-free but I'd be looking for something else to blame since so many WHS users are happy with it. YMMV :D
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3:32 AM
  • S_M_E said:

    Well, I only have 14 years professional experience and almost 27 years as a hobbyist but...

    If WHS was to blame, as some try to imply, everyone would be having problems and most of us are not. I'm not saying it's perfect nor completely bug-free but I'd be looking for something else to blame since so many WHS users are happy with it. YMMV :D


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine


    I of course have done no research to back this up, but from the looks of this forum that we are posting on "most" of WHS users ARE having problems, and SOME are not. Just an observation. I remember reading this forum befored i took the WHS dive myself, and it worried the ____ out of me. But i decided to go ahead and give it a try anyway. Now i remember why I was so worried in the first place.
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 4:17 AM
  • @ s.morrow:
     Beg pardon, but, pretty much no one out there is going to post here just to say "everything's peachy keen, no issues."
    The people that you see post here (generally) fall into two categories:
    - have issues
    - help those who have issues

    As Ken (and Olaf, and others) said earlier, those who bought a prebuilt (OEM) WHS box, generally, don't have issues (unless they install a badly-written add-in, or try to do something unsupported.)
    Likewise, many, many of us who rolled our own WHS haven't had problems, so long as:
    1- proper drivers are there
    2- drivers aren't buggy
    3- don't try to play with something that we shouldn't

    Just my $0.02,
    Chris
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 4:49 AM
  • You're trying to judge by a forum? I don't have the MS sales numbers either but I'm sure that the members here are just a small fraction of total users and most of the issues here are fairly minor. I'd still say most users, here or not, are happy with WHS. As I said, I'm not saying WHS is perfect nor bug free, it's just not the problem some people imply it is. :D

    EDIT:
    I just checked:
    4563 unanswered threads, in this forum, and 5602 answered threads. That's just the ones that marked them answered, even more got an answer and left without marking it answered.

    Again, I'd say most are happy with WHS


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 4:54 AM
  • Point taken... Dont judge a software by its forum...

    Second point taken... 4563 unanswered + 5602 answered = 10,165 people that HAVE had problems with WHS lol

    Sorry, couldnt resist. But yes, i agree there are a large number of people that ARE happy with their WHS. But you can also see that there is a large number that are not happy as well.

    (I realize it is an exaggeration to say that all 10,165 threads constitute an unhappy WHS user, it was just a joke. But it still shows there are alot of problems)
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:15 AM
  • I know over a dozen people who own WHS machines. None of them post here, because none of them have ever had a problem with their servers. I'm pretty comfortable with the statement I've made before, which is that the WHS forum population is self-selected for two traits. First, members tend, in general, to have slightly higher than average technical expertise. Second, members tend, overwhelmingly, to be having problems with their WHS systems. In other words, these forums probably represent a very significant fraction of all WHS users who have issues with their servers.

    But gentlemen, this discussion is becoming less than productive, I think. Could everyone please go back to answering questions, or asking them, as you're individually inclined?

    Thank you.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:16 AM
    Moderator
  • s.morrow said:

    Point taken... Dont judge a software by its forum...


    Second point taken... 4563 unanswered + 5602 answered = 10,165 people that HAVE had problems with WHS lol

    Sorry, couldnt resist. But yes, i agree there are a large number of people that ARE happy with their WHS. But you can also see that there is a large number that are not happy as well.

    (I realize it is an exaggeration to say that all 10,165 threads constitute an unhappy WHS user, it was just a joke. But it still shows there are alot of problems)


    Not all posts here are problems, some questions are merely informational. 10K posts by even fewer people. I have several hundred posts here and that's a small number compared to some members. As you admit, just because people post a question doesn't mean they're not happy with WHS. :D


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:22 AM
  • Could it possibly also be a category of users that have problem that are not aware of it ? My wife wouldnt lift a finger about a red icon saying something about "file conflicts" or "your backup database needs to be repaired". She would simply check if her files are still there and crack on. I suspect this may be the case of most home users.

    Cheers

    Niclas
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 7:38 AM
  • Fact is, there are many points, which could have be done better with WHS - but it is a product with version 1, and nobody is perfect from the beginning usually. Fact is also, many of the weaker points don't luckily touch the average home user, otherwise our daily load of trouble postings here would be much higher.
    About the counting of postings here - not all postings are problems, especially since the forums also have been used for the public Beta of Power Pack 1 etc.

    Sometimes also the expectations what Windows Home Server can do are simply to high, given the current specifications. (I still shudder, if I read about people with so and so many TeraByte disk capacity and compare this to my corporate environment, where storage in a much lower amount is still an issue.)

    Microsoft has also only a limited influence on the network environment in the home zone, which too often also causes problems.
    But using the Windows Server name resolution mechanics would have caused other debatable issues - incompatibility with some ISPs, the need to have the server really up always, when a client is running and so on. So a home server much more can only be a compromize, which tries to offer the home user a basic set of features, which are really necessary with the growing amount of computers in a household and easy to configure and to use (usually).

    If you want improvements, join the WHS Beta program on Connect and submit bug reports and feature proposals.
    Here in the forums we can help you with your urgent issues (hopefully, even if not always), but we cannot change the product for you to meet your and others needs better.

    In this way the discussion here is very interesting in my eyes.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:02 AM
    Moderator
  • NicAnon said:

    Could it possibly also be a category of users that have problem that are not aware of it ? My wife wouldnt lift a finger about a red icon saying something about "file conflicts" or "your backup database needs to be repaired". She would simply check if her files are still there and crack on. I suspect this may be the case of most home users.

    Cheers

    Niclas


    Of course there could be *some* users like that but those would probably still be happy with their WHS as long as their files are still there. I seriously doubt it's most though. I believe most people would contact HP/etc (or friends/family) support for help if red or yellow icons were warning them of problems. You may think that most people have problems because you have problems, I think most don't because that makes more sense. With the probable millions of WHS boxes if "most" were having serious issues it would be known, like Microsoft Bob, based on results. The only negative online reviews I've read were from linsux fanbois who hate anything MS. I still think most users are happy with WHS.

    As Olaf mentions, I seriously doubt the average user stores multiple terabytes of data/media on their WHS nor backs up 10 home clients.

    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:15 AM
  •  While the nature of this thread seems a gripe column, I still find myself uncomfortable with the idea that WHS problems do not have to be taken seriously if you rolled your own. The common saying "you should have bought one prebuilt, they have fewer problems" is no good. Where does HP get their BIOS, RAM, Hard Disks, and Display Adapters that are different? What they test out of their systems are BIOS settings to stablize cheap RAM. The Driver excuse doesn't work when all of the drivers in my system come from the WHS install. For those items, we are working with a very mature Windows Server 2003 which is plentifully supplied with rock solid drivers.

    The other category, Doing things for which WHS was not designed: the no-no's are documented in most of the books. If you do the no-no's on a prebuilt, you are still going to  mess up your system.

    It seems to me that a system that was very stable under Windows Server 2000, 2003, or XP oughta be absolutely stable under WHS.

    OK. My system is stable, but it doesn't do what it is supposed to do.

    Maybe the add-ins are the problem Dept: huh?

    Your network may be too complicated: Mine is a single segment Gigabit LAN, four XP clients, without wireless.

    Of all things, the File System, the Backup Engine, and the Client Services should be rock solid. The truth is, the strange brew File System is not yet polished. I think the Backup Engine runs well. I have Client Service problems not even on the WHS machine that crater XP Client machines. One of the related technologies, while not new but recent in NTFS evolution, is the Journal which keeps a sparse-file list of every change that is committed to disk. My bet is that the problems I am having with one of my clients relates to the NTFS Journal. Originally the machine had a 40GB disk that I recently upgraded to a 250GB unit retired from another computer. Rather than doing a complete OS reinstall, I used the Seagate Disk Wizard to clone the state of the small disk onto the larger one. The machine runs perfectly for everthing else I ask it to do. But not Home Server backup. Starting a backup is just like pressing the hardware reset on the Client.

    For the time being, I am going to start over with clean WHS/XP installs after (again!) extensive Microsoft Memory Diagnostic Tool sessions on the server and the problem machine. Oh what fun it is to ride a one-horse alpha system. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg...

    Oh Yes, I must first manually back up the stuff I put on my plug-it-in-and-forget-it system.

    WHS is supposed to be an elegant solution. Is there such a thing as elegant failure?

    So far, it takes about the same amount of work as doing all of my backups manually. The main advantage seems to be that the backups are much faster with WHS Server's style of incrementalism.

    So No, I am not buying the argument that problems I am having with the OEM-ONLY Software are my fault. In its current unpolised state, WHS is nowhere near as robust as XP or Server 2003 products. Saying that Vista is better than WHS is like saying that Microsoft has lost interest in testing. "It ain't supposed to be good. It is supposed to be bought."

    I cannot recommend it, pre-installed on HP or otherwise, until it lives up to the plug-it-in-and-forget-it claim. IMHO, WHS is not quite ready for prime time.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 1:44 PM
  • If you dismiss HW compatiblity, settings, add-ins, drivers, user error and everything BUT the WHS code, why doesn't everyone have the same problems? Why is my WHS box (and plenty of others) rock solid? As I said before, I only reboot it on MS Patch Tuesdays, once a month and if there were no patches for several months I doubt I'd need to reboot it for a long time. I often don't use the console/remote desktop for weeks. Sorry, I can't put the blame on WHS when so many work fine, as expected.
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 9:44 PM
  • When I read the "Sticky" post on this forum "File Conflict Messages and PP1", I think this summarises the current position very well. There are a number of users reporting that they receive error messages regarding File conflicts, the usual suspects replies with encouragement to log a bug report and advise to check hardware and potential workarounds to recover lost data. 

    The problem I have with this is the complete denial that there still is an issue with file corruption which give me no confidence whatsoever that this will be fixed.

    My theory to why not "everyone" is having these problems is

    1. Average home user not aware of problem or thinks its OK to loose the odd file or server crashing now and again 

    2. I suspect the issue only occurs when folder duplication is switched on

    Niclas 

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 10:20 PM
  • 1) I'm not the average home user...

    2) I use duplication on all but one share...

    Next?

    EDIT:
    Oddly enough, I *just* had a drive failure. I don't blame WHS for it, it was a pooled drive, not the system drive, and it was an old, small, 250G (1 of 2 that size), used drive that has been running 24/7 for about 3 years. It started the "Click o' Death" and threw up warnings that the drive was missing and file conflict messages. I removed it and rebooted, no more errors and no lost files. I still have 1.35T free space.


    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -- Thomas Paine
    Thursday, December 18, 2008 12:26 AM
  • NicAnon said:

    Dick,

    Appreciate your comments, however I have actually swopped my Memory modules as this was what I initially suspected to the the problem. The new modules are of identical make so I will take your advice and run MEM386 on these modules just to make sure this can be excluded.

    I have to agree with your comment around WS08, the only thing that really makes it worth the effort on getting this working would be the client back backup. Think this is a great feature and if this was available as a standalone addon I would probably not have bothered as much as I have with WHS.

    Cheers

    Niclas



    Hi Niclas,

    You might also check for a BIOS update for the motherboard.
    Lara Jones [MSFT] Windows Home Server Team
    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 7:15 PM
    Moderator
  • JacobWM said:

    As an IT professional I wish I'd just used server 2003 (or even just good 'ole xp) with shared folders and my own backup solution.

    I'm beyond frustrated with the mentality that the 'hardcore' home server users have - that the data corruption is acceptable because "you should have offsite backups" and the quirks are acceptable because "it's a home solution, not meant for business or 100% reliability"


    I feel like they made a couple of small changes to server 2003, implemented a shoddy raid 5-ish method of storing data (and don't get me started on the ridiculous 'landing zone' ordeal..) and packaged it up for resale.  The only thing that I really like is the remote access through IE.

    Here are a couple of good reads:

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/b64fba20-df6b-4c11-aa4a-1771ffb625d8

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/a4493c00-7ae1-4ffb-a663-f7e6e66d66ca


    IMHO you should get out now.  It really doesn't offer anything that you can't do on your own.  IMO this is geared towards someone that does home desktop support, because they probably will get 5 or 6 callbacks fixing ridiculous problems.



    I followed your advice and "Got out Now" after WHS thrashed a couple of my harddrives to death.
    Now I took the box and built a simple XP system and some backup systems that I could automate and have enjoyed the quiet. no more constant monitoring and tweaking trying to get WHS to behave!!!
    PGordini
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 6:22 PM