WHS PC dying - How can I transfer all files to 'new' system? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Our old WHS system is dying (very old hardware) and I can only access the system for a few minutes at a time before the computer freezes. (I get all lights on but nothing works - keyboard & screen attached now - but the computer is not sending anything to the monitor after freeze-up. Connector on the laptops can't find the WHS system.)

    So I need to get a new (second hand) system and start all over again. Apart from the cost, the biggest worry is getting at the data (we have no external drives) and transfering all the photos & videos, etc. over to the new system. Since transfers will take much longer than the PC will remain operational, can I pull the drives out and copy folders directly via a direct connection? I have duplication on and three drives, the biggest 1.5TB as the system drive. Would our files be duplicated onto one of the two other drives and if so, can I just access the drive (say via a USB-SATA convertor) and drag-n-drop stuff?

    But if you have a better idea, I'd be pleased (or am desperate!) to hear it...



    Thursday, March 24, 2011 3:11 PM


All replies

  • This is turning into a frustrating (& expensive) nightmare...

    However, now on the third day (a Saturday too!), I found Olaf's FAQ post 'How to recover data after server failure'. Hurrah! At least I have a way forward now. Thanks Olaf.

    (See: http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whsfaq/thread/cf354b5d-b37b-4b7f-a0d5-8e573697777f)



    • Marked as answer by ChrisOfTheOT Saturday, March 26, 2011 10:22 AM
    Saturday, March 26, 2011 10:22 AM
  • I was so captivated with this experience I thought I’d write a whole, self-absorbed monologue – as a cathartic exercise.


    I bought a copy of WHS a couple of years ago, together with an old desktop to convert for server duties. It was a ‘well used’ P4 system off eBay which cost just under £50. I had many teething problems; the motherboard was IDE only requiring a PCI SATA card, but it wouldn’t boot. I bought an IDE-SATA converter together with 1.5TB & 500GB SATA hard drives. It was a cheap system which worked well enough given the (excessive?) cheapness.


    All good things come to an end though and a couple of weeks ago it started to loose the network connection, eventually not connecting to the network at all even with the (slower) on-board network interface. Soon the system began to freeze every few minutes until it finally froze with all drive activity lights on and would not turn off (no matter how loudly I shouted). I had to crash it via the mains socket.


    I negotiated with Anna, my wife, and got the all-clear to spend about £200. I got hold of an eBay chappie (rg_computing) and we agreed a deal based on his largest box (up to 10 drives), an AS Rock gigabit/SATA II motherboard, 2GB RAM, 500GB HD & delivery for £210. I was well pleased. But there was still the ticklish issue of WHS OS…


    He wanted to supply a 180-day evaluation copy of WHS 2011 – which would have effectively spread the cost over six months – but could not get the okay from MS. I followed Olaf’s advice above and copied the hidden shares folder to the 500GB drive as a temporary solution (& backup): it worked fine but took several hours. My intention had been to do a clean install of WHS on the 1.5TB system drive and then, hopefully, a re-installation with the other drives attached: that would have enabled me to copy the shares folder back to hidden DE folder on the system drive.


    So I started the fresh install of WHS by booting from the DVD. All went as expected – region selection, etc. – until, to my unimaginable shock, the installation process recognised all the drives & data therein, including the 70GB system partition on the 1.5TB main drive.


    Then, joy of joys, the next screen offered a re-installation by default. (I had wrongly believed that this screen would have been first.) I found myself literally singing, ‘Oh, happy day’! It seems that with all the same drives (etc.?) WHS was quite happy to simply upgrade the whole shemozzle. It took many, many more hours but at the end of it, all the backups & photo/video folders, etc., were there and intact. The only glitches were one picture was deemed unreadable (though it opened perfectly okay) and two drives had to be checked:


    ‘Deleting an index entry from index $R of file 26’


    I’ve no idea what this is but it took quite a while. In the end everything was given a clean bill of health.


    I had one or two driver issues – one USB 3.0, still unresolved – but once the gigabit driver was sorted, I downloaded a 108 updates (!), which took several more hours. Then I thought I’d try to phone MS to see if I could get them to validate the licence even though I’d read here that the license is tied to the motherboard specifically.


    I had one other problem which caused eyebrow knotting: I’ve only got a PS2 mouse & the new motherboard is USB. So I bravely decided to do everything via keyboard shortcuts only. A quick search of the Vista help files revealed the basic shortcuts and I was away…


    Until the license activation. The keyboard shortcut to toggle a radio switch or check box is the space bar. This allowed me to toggle the internet activation but not to select the telephone activation & I couldn’t work out which key combination changed the radio switch. In the end I gave up and went for internet activation. Bam! It worked, right off the bat. Totally wonderful!


    Now the WHS system connects to everything else on the network much faster and more reliably. The new fan & power supply are much quieter and the new 500GB hard drive has allowed me to use the Backup Home Server option. The only ‘tired’ part is the DVD, which works fine but whistles quite well, but that won’t get used much now.


    So I have a smart new case & motherboard but with all the drives and everything else the same, bar the PCI SATA & gigabit cards which are now redundant; and MS were good enough to re-activate the WHS license. Other than hard drives, this is the only change I’ve made in the last two years. I remember reading something along the lines that MS allow X number of hardware changes over Y amount of time so I assume that is what got me through re-activation. Either way, I’m obviously very happy to have a working server again and equally grateful to MS for allowing it to happen.


    And they all lived happily ever after…






    P.S. I’ve only just noticed that my second edition ‘WHS Unleashed’ book has, on p711, Appendix B: WHS Keyboard Shortcuts. All seven pages of it. D’oh!

    Friday, April 8, 2011 8:50 AM