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Duplication failed when I needed it most after I had a WHS disk crash RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi there

    I have had WHS for over two years and have been impressed by it.

    In particular, it has on a number of occasions successfully restored my kids pc’s from WHS automatied backups.

    However this week I have had an incident which has completely undermined my confidence in WHS.

    My set up is a WHS PC with an internal 400 Gb drive and two external USB hard drives, one is 750Gb and the other a 1Tb drive.

    I have had duplication turned on for my shared photos and videos folders since installing WHS.

    This week I noticed that the 750Gb drive had failed completely and was making a clicking sound.

    As my second 1tb drive was still working I thought I would not have a data loss problem if I quickly replaced the fault drive with another.

    I then purchased a replacement 1.5Tb drive confident in the knowledge that I would not lose any of my precious photos as ‘WHS duplication feature ensured that every file was stored in two separate drives’.

    I added the new 1.5Tb drive to the WHS disk pool and then clicked on the failed 750Gb drive and dismounted it to remove it from the pool.

    I was then shocked to see that the sizes of my shared photos and videos folders were now very small and upon examining their contents I was dismayed to find that almost all my photo and video files had disappeared.

    The much vaulted feature of duplication had failed me when I needed it most!

    Luckily I had made a WHS backup to external drive from earlier in the year but it still means I have lost most of my famiy photos from 2009.

    What happened and what is the correct procedure to recover from WHS disk crash in future?

     

    Friday, January 15, 2010 8:58 AM

Answers

  • Thanks for advice. I think I will rebuild server first in case curruption is causing WHS duplication not to work properly
    • Marked as answer by sjprice Saturday, January 16, 2010 10:00 AM
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 9:59 AM

All replies

  • Hi,
    sorry to hear about your data loss.
    It is hard to tell what happend after. Eventually you can check the server event logs.
    If you had your server since a long time, it may be, that duplication has disabled itself (I think, there have been issues like this fixed in patches) or did somehow fail without you seeing this.
    External drives, especially such connected via USB, have caused trouble in the past for some situations by disappearing from the storage pool. If the disk was faulty, but not immediatly failed, it may have made WHS believe, that the original folder with the pictures is empty and duplicated this change.
    Power down the system to avoid any further overwriting of data and check, if you still can find your pictures on one of the DATA volumes by following the FAQ How to recover data after server failure.
    Sometimes (if the pictures have been on one of the accessible disks) you may need 3rd party software to recover the one or other file or folder.

    Besides this, such incidents show, how important the external backup of important data still is. There are too many situations, which may hit WHS as single point of failure and destroy it totally - i.e. overvoltage, fire, water, theft, user mistake (deleting/overwriting the wrong files gets also duplicated) or malware, to name a few.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, January 15, 2010 1:49 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Olaf

    So should I have first tried to backup all data files to external drive before i unmounted fauted drive?

    After I have full restored the WHS and backed up all my PC's again and done a full backup to external drive, I want to test WHS disk crash again to regain confidence in WHS duplication works and i again can use it as my main storage of photos without having to do an additional backup every day.

    My plan is as follows:

    1. switch off one of the drives to simulate a disk crash
    2. unplug it from WHS
    3. check to see if i can still access all data files and then backup them up to external drive
    4. Add a new formated drive to WHS pool
    5. unmount disk crashed drive.
    6. see if WHS still maintains duplication correctly and does not loose any data files. if not recopy all files from backup.

    Any comments on above procedure?
    Friday, January 15, 2010 7:30 PM
  • Note that, if a drive fails (is shown as "Missing" in the console), you will not have access to any files whose primary file shadow is stored on that drive until you have used the console to remove the drive from the storage pool entirely. This is because of the way Windows Home Server keeps track of and accesses files: when you attempt to access a file, you're always given access to it's primary shadow. If the primary shadow is inaccessible due to drive failure, you see an error. The secondary shadow should still be okay, however, and will be promoted and duplicated (assuming there's room on another drive) when you remove the failed drive.

    So in your proposed test, at step 3. you will lose access to any files whose primary shadow was on the "missing" drive. You will not regain it until you've removed that drive from the storage pool.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by sjprice Saturday, January 16, 2010 9:57 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by sjprice Saturday, January 16, 2010 9:58 AM
    Friday, January 15, 2010 7:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi there

    I have had WHS for over two years and have been impressed by it.

    In particular, it has on a number of occasions successfully restored my kids pc’s from WHS automatied backups.

    However this week I have had an incident which has completely undermined my confidence in WHS.

    My set up is a WHS PC with an internal 400 Gb drive and two external USB hard drives, one is 750Gb and the other a 1Tb drive.

    I have had duplication turned on for my shared photos and videos folders since installing WHS.

    This week I noticed that the 750Gb drive had failed completely and was making a clicking sound.

    As my second 1tb drive was still working I thought I would not have a data loss problem if I quickly replaced the fault drive with another.

    I then purchased a replacement 1.5Tb drive confident in the knowledge that I would not lose any of my precious photos as ‘WHS duplication feature ensured that every file was stored in two separate drives’.

    I added the new 1.5Tb drive to the WHS disk pool and then clicked on the failed 750Gb drive and dismounted it to remove it from the pool.

    I was then shocked to see that the sizes of my shared photos and videos folders were now very small and upon examining their contents I was dismayed to find that almost all my photo and video files had disappeared.

    The much vaulted feature of duplication had failed me when I needed it most!

    Luckily I had made a WHS backup to external drive from earlier in the year but it still means I have lost most of my famiy photos from 2009.

    What happened and what is the correct procedure to recover from WHS disk crash in future?

     

    What are your component numbers (Settings button, Resources tab)?
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 12:37 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for advice. I think I will rebuild server first in case curruption is causing WHS duplication not to work properly
    • Marked as answer by sjprice Saturday, January 16, 2010 10:00 AM
    Saturday, January 16, 2010 9:59 AM