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WHS 2011 Freezes every 20 minutes RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I have a nightmare named WHS 2011, and it used to work fine. I custom built it with 6 hard drives, 4GB of ram, a decent i3 processor, a bunch of fans and even a PCI Express SATA extention card for 2 extra ports adding to the 4 on the motherboard. It worked for about a month without any problems and it didn't freeze. It backed up my computers, and it filled almost all of the 7 TB of space it offered. It was also not connected to the internet and I don't beleive I ever installed updates to it (for that reason).

    One day I installed Drivebender, and for another month everything was fine. Then the freezing started.

    I at first beleived it was since Drivebender was not activated (since the server was not online and could NOT activate offline) and maybe drivebender froze me for testing their product too long without activating. I just ignored the issue and restarted my computer every day or so, but the restarts got more frequent, twice a day, then three times a day until it was happening every hour.

    I just stopped using it at that point.

    2 months later I moved to a new house with internet access, where I could attempt to fix the server. I activated drivebender online hoping that would fix the freezing issue but no. It didn't change anything. So it wasn't the problem. I reinstalled WHS 2011, but the server crashed before it could finish. I reinstalled WHS 2011 from a USB in the BIOS, and it worked. I updated the server, reinstalled drivebender, and activated it. But it still froze.

    I also couldn't see some of my hard drives but it turned out that I hadn't installed the SATA extention card's driver.

    When I reinstalled the OS again, without updating this time, but still installing drivebender and activating it - it didn't freeze. I left it on for days and nothing happened. There were tears of joy. The main variable that was different was that I didn't install the SATA extention driver, which meant that 2 of my hard drives couldn't be used. Which means that although my server didn't freeze, it was still useless to me.

    I did the obvious thing and bought a new card from a reliable and totally different vender, which I installed today and it worked. Until it froze again. What the hell? I checked to see if it was compatable with Windows Server 2008 R2, which it was. I don't beleive any such card explicitly states it is compatable with WHS 2011 since it's about as well known as the backside of the moon (no offense).

    I have been in constant conversation with the support team at Drivebender to figure out this issue, and to summerize the dozens of emails, I have been told the following when asked if it was possible the software Drivebender (which was designed for WHS 2011 by the way) could freeze the computer from incompatability with hardware:

    There is no known issue with DB and any hardware as far as I know. DB does not look at the
    hardware, it simply uses the volumes presented by Windows. My best guess is
    that there is either a driver issue with the storage controller, or it is
    faulty. As far as replacing, personally I would stay away from that controller.

    So either both cards I tried are faulty, or it is something else. The cards are not from the same company, they look nothing alike, and they are both proper PCI express cards with no damage and the correct and most recent drivers installed.

    Please, anyone, how do I stop this freezing? what do I do? I am exhausted from trying to fix this for months and I have run out of ideas. My only backup plan is to just install windows 7 and run it as if it were a server. I would also like to keep the data on these hard drives, which I conviniently now need drivebender for in order to access. I do value what WHS 2011 offers over windows 7 though, so anyone? How do I stop the freezing.

    The freezing occurs at any point no matter: where the computer is, what is it doing, or what it is/is not running. It can freeze at the Ctrl + Alt + Del login screen, in the middle of backing up, opening a program, you name it. I thought I narrowed the freezing down to the SATA card when it stopped freezing after I disabled its' drivers, but this new card has made me quesiton that conclusion.

    Help?

    Jason

    The cards I have tried are:

    SY-PEX40008

    and more recently: StarTech PEXSATA 221

    here is a little information I gave to the Drivebender support team which may be of use in figuring this out.
    just for reference, DB1, DB2, DB3, DB4, DB5 and DB6 are the names of my hard drives and partitions therein

    "I looked under device management and found out that the driver for my storage
    controller, which is the SY-PEX40008 was not installed, which I think is why
    the hard drives were not showing up. I installed the latest driver and then I
    managed to take a screenshot of the hard drives detected and DB1, DB3, and DB6
    were shown, but then under my computer I saw that DB3 had in fact shown up, but
    not DB1 and DB6 (the same hard drive disk). However this doesn’t matter and the
    problem remains unsolved because after installing the latest driver off the
    manufacturer website my server froze. I rebooted a few times, each time it
    would freeze about 10-20 minutes in, just like it did originally before I
    reinstalled the OS to begin with.<o:p></o:p>

    I disabled the installed driver for the storage controller and the freezing stopped, and
    the server has been online ever since, but the hard drives remain not detected,
    obviously.<o:p></o:p>

    I still don’t understand how the server properly functioned for over a month with drivebender
    and the storage controller driver installed back when I originally put
    drivebender on the server. It never froze back then."<o:p></o:p>


    Saturday, June 16, 2012 2:39 AM

Answers

  • Start by checking event logs on your server for errors that occur around the time of the server becoming unresponsive.

    As for testing, you can test drives by connecting them to another computer to run chkdsk /r on them. You can check cables by trying a cable that you know is good. There's no practical way to test drivers and other hardware, though.

    One very strong indication that this is a driver or controller issue is this statement: 

    "I disabled the installed driver for the storage controller and the freezing stopped ..."

    disabling the driver is much like removing the hardware; Windows can't communicate with the hardware any more, so issues with that hardware will no longer have an effect on the OS.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    • Marked as answer by Sean Zhu - Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:40 AM
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 1:01 PM

All replies

  • Everything you say makes me think there's a storage issue, either with the hardware (disk controller, cables, disks) or with the drivers for the hardware. 

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 3:02 AM
  • If there was a faulty cable, or hard drive, or something else - is there a way I could confirm one way or another?

    If there was a problem with my OS hard drive, would it be freezing? I always thought a hard drive was dead or alive, I wasn't aware of an inbetween.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 3:09 AM
  • Start by checking event logs on your server for errors that occur around the time of the server becoming unresponsive.

    As for testing, you can test drives by connecting them to another computer to run chkdsk /r on them. You can check cables by trying a cable that you know is good. There's no practical way to test drivers and other hardware, though.

    One very strong indication that this is a driver or controller issue is this statement: 

    "I disabled the installed driver for the storage controller and the freezing stopped ..."

    disabling the driver is much like removing the hardware; Windows can't communicate with the hardware any more, so issues with that hardware will no longer have an effect on the OS.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    • Marked as answer by Sean Zhu - Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:40 AM
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 1:01 PM
  • thanks for the advice, I will play around with the server for a while and see whether I can locate what is causing the problem.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012 2:23 AM