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Can't access files - HELP RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello All,

    I am hoping you can help me with a trouble I am having with files on my WHS.

    I was originally looking to determine whether WHS would be sufficient for my needs, or if I would want to upgrade to a more flexible server environment, like SBS. I downloaded WHS from Microsoft to trial.  I installed WHS on a dedicated machine with the following specs:

                    MSI skt478 board with a 3Ghz Intel processor

                    1gb DDR ram

                    1 IDE 250GB drive for OS

                    2 IDE 500 GB drives for Data Pool

                    IDE DVD-R/W Drive

    Everything was working well, serving files, doing backups of 2 machines for a while.  Then I started getting an error message after about 3 months that the console could not start when I tried to log in from my remote computer.  Also, if I went to my homeserver.com website, I could log in on the site, but I couldn’t remote into the machine itself, just the website.  The file shares worked fine, I just couldn’t remote into the server.  It wouldn’t let me into the sever console when I logged in locally on the server either. I wasn’t too worried as I was near the end of my trial, and I was going to try SBS next anyway. The problem started when soon after it told me that I had 30days before my trial would end.  I figured if that was the case, I may not have access to the files on the shares remotely, so I planned a file transfer off the server for the weekend. On the weekend I planned to do this, I had 15days left (ok, it took me 2 wks to get some free time to work on it).   I hooked up a monitor and keyboard/mouse to facilitate the file transfer to a non-pool drive.  I could access the OS, but still not the console GUI to manage the WHS.  The registration bubble in the lower right taskbar said I had 15 days left to register.

    A few minutes after I started the file transfer, while I was on the server (directly) a message popped up in the middle of the screen saying that I had 1 hour left on my trial, and my computer will restart after 1hour!!!  WHOA??!!!  I started transferring the most important files first (family photos, baby videos, etc).  An hour later, while I was transferring, the server rebooted and wouldn’t let me log in, it said I could have limited access, which would then go to Microsoft.com to buy a cd key. 

    I took the drives out of the computer, tried hooking them up to my desktop pc, and transfer the files manually.  However, when I did this, I was able to delete the folders that I had successfully copied before my hour ran out, but I was unable to move all the other files on the drive.  I keep getting an error that states “Cannot copy file: Device not connected” I get this on each of the 2 500GB Data drives, as well as the data that is on the 250GB drive that has the OS and Data on it.  I have tried connecting them both internally, as well as externally with an external enclosure.  I can see the files, get properties for them, just not do anything with them.  This includes ‘use’ them.  What’s worse, when I connected the drives back on the server again, just to see what was going on, I still had 12 days left, but still getting the “Device not connected” error.

    I have searched the forums, the web, and found a few options to try, all of which didn’t work.  I tried the following:

    1)      Made sure to look in the de\shares\ hidden folders while connected to a diff machine.  However, de\shares only shows up on the 250GB drive, the other two don’t have them at all to browse.  They show nothing.  The 250GB drive only shows about 8 files( about 25gb) and the rest of the 100gb on the drive is in the \folders folder and they are .dat files (I believe they are backups) -  From Olaf Engelke's website.

    2)      Reinstall WHS on the same drive it was on, and try to have the machine re-tombstone the files.  I have tried this 3 times, and each time, I get an error that states multiple services could not start in the console (diskmigrator, 2 others) AND I get a popup that states ‘Microsoft Windows OS has encountered an error’ and asks if I want to send or not send.  I choose don’t send (not connected to internet at the moment) When I go into the storage management in the console, the 2 500GB Data Drives show up in the pool, but say “not connected” and the window on the right just has a waiting line scrolling and says it is trying to verify   the pool.  This sits there for a LONG time.  I am still unable to access the files, it says “Cannot copy file: Device not connected” on the server with the re-install

    3)      I tried a fresh install to a new OS drive (without the 2 data drives attached) and then reconnected the drives, and attempted to do a re-install (since this install is a valid install of the OS unlike the original which says the OS encountered an error from option 2 above).  However, with the 2 500GB Data drives attached my only option is fresh install.  If I try it without the drives attached, I get the option to re-install (very frustrating).

     

    I don’t know what else to try to get this data.  I would say it is close to 500-700GB between the three drives that I would like to get (mainly divx movies, DVD ISOs and a lot of misc data files and programs).

    Long Explanation, I know, but I have tried so many different things, and multiple times for each, I don’t know what else my options are.  I am disappointed to think that once a drive is in the server, the files on it aren’t accessible outside the server it there is an issue/error.  This is a ‘home’ consumer product after all, so data security can’t be ‘that’ concerning, I would think.

    If you have any help, I am greatly appreciative.

    Thanks again

    Ryan

     

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 9:48 PM

Answers

  • To recover your files the following procedure should normally work:
    (Probably you already tried this, just to make sure you used the correct procedure) 

     

    1.       Take the disks from the WHS and mount them in another PC

    2.       Log on as a user with Administrator rights

    3.       On each of the secondary disks you should find a hidden folder "DE" in the root of the drive. Please note you have to enable "view hidden files and folders.

    a.       For Windows XP:

                                                                   i.      On the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, click Folder Options.

                                                                 ii.      Click the View tab.

                                                                iii.      Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

    b.       For Vista:

                                                                   i.      2. Click Control Panel

                                                                 ii.      3. Click Folder Options

                                                                iii.      4. Click the View tab

                                                               iv.      5. Click Show hidden files and folders.

    4.       On the primary disk you will should find a hidden “DE” folder on the second (Data) partition

    5.       The DE folders will amongst other folders contain a “shares” folder where you should find your data.

    Reinstall problem is probably caused by missing SATA (or other IDE) controller drivers during server reinstall:

     

    1.       For server reinstall the hidden DE folders containing the data should be present on the secondary disks.

    2.       If you use a new primary disk should preferably be empty (formatted). You can use the original system disk, as long as you didn't already try server reinstall on this disk. In that case you may try formatting only the C partition, this will probably give you reintall option again. 

    3.       You need to make absolutely sure the (new) primary disk is the disk which is recognised by the system as boot disk.

    4.       If the secondary disks are connected to a SATA or some other (PCI) controller you may need to provide drivers for the disks to be properly recognised, once during initial phase of install, then again in the initial phase of text mode part of installation (F6 option to supply additional drivers, usually requires drivers on diskette)

    1. Alternatively (for SATA disks) you can set the drives to native IDE mode instead of SATA (AHCI) mode in the system or SATA controller BIOS. Personally I would advise you to use this method, since it's much easier as WHS will recognise the disks properly.

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:13 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • A couple of things,

    1. Did you have the connector software installed on any clients during the trial and did it indicate that any of these drives had failed or that your shares were unhealthy? This sounds like one or both of the 500GB drives might have a problem. If your backups stopped, the console would not open and the DEmigrator service would not start, it is usually a sign that a drive is problematic.
    2. Can you locate and/or copy the files using a cmd line?
    3. Do you receive the same error when you use the cmd line?
    4. What happens if you run chkdsk on all the drives either from within Windows Home Server or placing them in/attaching them to a client and running chkdsk /f /r?
    5. When you check the properties for the 2 500GB drives under c\fs\x where x is a drive letter assigned by the OS, what is their total used space?  Can you even pull this data?

      Thanks

    Lara Jones [MSFT] | Program Manager
    Community Support and Beta | Windows Home Server Team
    Windows Home Server Team Blog
    Connect Windows Home Server
    Windows Home Server
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 10:43 PM
    Moderator
  • Sorry for taking so long to respond to your help.
    1) The connector software never indicated that there was a drive failure.  It did stop backing up consistently my office pc (other was fine tho)
    No indicator to unhealthy share.
    Any idea why the DEmigrator service would not start on a new re-install?
    2) I can try cmd line (i assume you mean I have to remember my old DOS days).  I have time tonight to try finally.
    3-5) trying tonight - I'll let you all know what I find out.

    Ryan
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:02 AM
  • You're using the trial version. The trial period has expired. Why don't you buy the non-trial product?
    qts
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:08 AM
  • To recover your files the following procedure should normally work:
    (Probably you already tried this, just to make sure you used the correct procedure) 

     

    1.       Take the disks from the WHS and mount them in another PC

    2.       Log on as a user with Administrator rights

    3.       On each of the secondary disks you should find a hidden folder "DE" in the root of the drive. Please note you have to enable "view hidden files and folders.

    a.       For Windows XP:

                                                                   i.      On the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, click Folder Options.

                                                                 ii.      Click the View tab.

                                                                iii.      Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

    b.       For Vista:

                                                                   i.      2. Click Control Panel

                                                                 ii.      3. Click Folder Options

                                                                iii.      4. Click the View tab

                                                               iv.      5. Click Show hidden files and folders.

    4.       On the primary disk you will should find a hidden “DE” folder on the second (Data) partition

    5.       The DE folders will amongst other folders contain a “shares” folder where you should find your data.

    Reinstall problem is probably caused by missing SATA (or other IDE) controller drivers during server reinstall:

     

    1.       For server reinstall the hidden DE folders containing the data should be present on the secondary disks.

    2.       If you use a new primary disk should preferably be empty (formatted). You can use the original system disk, as long as you didn't already try server reinstall on this disk. In that case you may try formatting only the C partition, this will probably give you reintall option again. 

    3.       You need to make absolutely sure the (new) primary disk is the disk which is recognised by the system as boot disk.

    4.       If the secondary disks are connected to a SATA or some other (PCI) controller you may need to provide drivers for the disks to be properly recognised, once during initial phase of install, then again in the initial phase of text mode part of installation (F6 option to supply additional drivers, usually requires drivers on diskette)

    1. Alternatively (for SATA disks) you can set the drives to native IDE mode instead of SATA (AHCI) mode in the system or SATA controller BIOS. Personally I would advise you to use this method, since it's much easier as WHS will recognise the disks properly.

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:13 AM
    Moderator