Review: Microsoft Windows Home Server: Software
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Reviewed by Ryan McLaughlin on 11/11/2007
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  • I recently started having some trouble with data in my Windows Home Server. It started out by having one of the drives go unhealthy about once a week. Even though I would repair it, the drive would go back to being unhealthy about a week later.

    After a while I was unable to access some of the data in my shared folders. I would get an error that said “Invalid File Handle” or “The directory name is invalid”. I tried contacting Home Server support but they just tried to get me to check the permissions and other stuff that didn’t relate.

    So I bought another 1TB drive installed it and ran the remove drive option on the bad one. Windows Home server told me that I would not loose any data or backups. Unfortunately, when it was done all my backups were gone. After the drive was removed I ran chkdsk on it and found that it has some bad sectors.

    The drive that was going bad is a 4 month old Seagate AT31000340AS. I tried calling Seagate, but they won’t support it because it is an OEM drive that I bought from Newegg and they only offered a 30 day warranty. I have never had a hard drive get bad sectors before and this is the first Seagate drive I have purchased. I may have to rethink that brand in the future and also buying OEM drives. As far as I can see OEM is all Newegg sells. I may have to buy from someone else next time. I am glad that prices have come down. I originally paid $279 for this one. The new one I bought to replace it is a Western Digital and it only cost $199. Hopefully Western Digital drives are more reliable than Seagate drives.

    The one good thing is that all my data seems intact. I am now able to access all the data in my shared folders.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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  • I have been using WHS for a while now and I though I would share some of my thoughts.

    Until recently I have not had any trouble with it. Without thinking I started editing some photos, taking out red eye and rotating them to the correct position. I edited them directly on the server using Windows Photo Gallery on Vista. After about an hour of editing I went back to look at some of them and realized that they were all corrupt. At first I was really worried that I had trashed a bunch of my files. So what did I do? Well WHS has a nice restore feature built-in (shadow copy). So I spent another hour using the ‘restore to previous version’ feature on all the files I had edited and they were back to working order.

    This was all caused by a known bug in WHS. The moral of the story is copy files off of the WHS, edit them and then copy them back. Always making sure I have a second copy just in case. People who put 100% trust in any technology are asking for trouble.

    I still think this is a great system, yes it needs work, but the way it seamlessly backups and restores files from a PC is awesome. I have had to do a couple full system restores and they all worked perfectly. I have even turned off system restore on all my machines because the WHS restore is much better.

    In addition, the best way to protect your data is not to put it on the WHS, but instead leave it on your PC and let it be backed up every night. This part has never had a bug and it works every time. This also protects you against accidentally deleting the files. If you store the files on the WHS directly you can still accidentally delete them.

    I now use WHS to store all my DVDs. I have 275 DVDs on my server taking up 1.16TB. I have not had any trouble with these.

    Another problem I have seen is editing playlists through Windows Media Player. Fortunately, these are easily recreated or restored, just like my photos.

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