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Data Corruption Issues with WHS

The Windows Home Server Team Blog have posted information where users have reported data corruption issues when saving files from applications, including:

Windows Vista  Photo Gallery
Windows Live Photo Gallery,
Microsoft Office OneNote 2007
Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
SyncToy 2.0 Beta

Additionally some applications, like Microsoft Money and Microsoft Outlook, do not support storing files on shared folders and there have been customer reports of issues with Torrent applications, Intuit Quicken, and with QuickBooks program files.

A Microsoft Knowledge Base Article has been published entitled “Editing files using certain applications may cause file corruption on a system running Windows Home Server (946676)”, with more information.

This is the issue we reported last week and has been known to also affect .vhd files for virtual machines and this happens whether file duplication is on or off. The only known workaround which has worked with the MS Money backup function is to use a batch file and a tool like robocopy or sync toy (NOT the beta) and copy the file from the home server share to the local drive, run the program on the local file copy, then after the program exits, copy the updated file back onto the Home Server shared drive.

Until this issue is resolved Microsoft recommend that you have a backup copy of any important program files before you store these files on a system that is running Windows Home Server and it is also recommend that do not use the programs that are listed in this article to save or to edit program-specific files that are stored on a WHS based system. In the meantime the development team is working through the holidays to resolve this issue.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Michael J Weldon says:

    Hmmmmm….
    Recently I received an invitation to participate in the Graffiti Beta ( http://graffiticms.com ). I installed the beta into a website created with Andrew Grant’s WHIIST and utilized a clean Access mdb file to do so. The site worked flawlessly for a couple of days then went South on me stating that the Access mdb file couldn’t be written to although before this message I had written to it multuple times. I tried a number of reinstalls and jiggering and it also fired up and worked properly the same way…couple of days…everything was A-OK and then the same problem reared it’s ugly head.

    I wrote to the designers about the problem:

    Is it possible to create the graffiti site in a WHS shared folder and utilizing Andrew Grants WHS add-in “WHIIST” (
    http://www.andrewgrant.org/whiist ) instead of creating a IIs virtual site…..and if so how exactly do you recommend doing it?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    I received this reply:

    Hi Michael,

    We do not have any experience with WHIIST, so I cannot say for sure.

    Graffiti definitely needs to be installed in the root of a web site or virtual directory, so if WHIIST is not creating a virtual directory or web site, I would not expect it to work properly.

    -Scott

    I am now wondering if the mdb file corruption is the result of the same problem ???

  2. Karen H. says:

    What is the point of using WHS?

    Microsoft recommend that you have a backup copy of any important program files before you store these files on a system that is running Windows Home Server!

    So, any files that are important DON’T trust WHS to store these files says Microsoft. Meaning WHS isn’t ready for home users currently, as it’s something only good for beta testers that are willing to invest unimportant data with…

    What do you call DATA CORRUPTION for us consumers purchasing OEM WHS “WOW, the fun starts here”?

  3. Matt TLC says:

    The WHS Shouldn’t Do List!

    you shouldn’t saving files from applications…
    you shouldn’t REBOOT – may result in data corruption
    you shouldn’t defrag – unless only with $M defrag tools
    you shouldn’t use Media Streaming – when backing up files (poor speed results)
    you shouldn’t use Outlook – your $M email
    you shouldn’t use $M Money – your financial statements
    you shouldn’t use P2P – your download files
    you shouldn’t use Photo Galley – your Photos
    you shouldn’t use OneNote – your $M notes
    you shouldn’t use Duplicate – your files and PC backup
    you shouldn’t copy .vhd files – your $M virtual drives
    you shouldn’t use ISP (Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner) – RIAA lawsuits and blocked ports

    So what can you trust WHS to do? Maybe we should ask, should anyone actually buy or expect to use WHS?

  4. Bob Crook says:

    Does anyone have a problem with this statement?
    1. Never run a BETA program on a production, read live or critical, computer or server.

  5. RU4US says:

    @Bob Crook

    WHS is sold as OEM, comes pre-installed on OEM such as HP EX475 ($800 USD) and many additional OEM’s.

    It should be obvious in that just like Vista, WHS isn’t a finished or even ready product for those (home users, businesses and certainly organizations) to consider until proven to function on a retail, final and complete version edition!

    I think that is what Bob is saying, WHS = BETA, but sold as retail final OEM…

  6. Hi all,
    Thanks for your comments. Thank goodness that this issue will be resolved shortly. I personaly am not experiencing any issues using any of the mentioned software.

  7. Hi Michael J Weldon,
    Thanks for your comment. Have you bought this to the attention of Andrew Grant?

  8. Bob Crook says:

    @RU4US
    WHS does not equal BETA. I run two WHS servers (one live and one evaluation) and so far have had no issues whatsoever. I do not run any BETA programs whatsoever on either server. I store only files that are PASSIVE; meaning no files are being constantly accessed or changed by applications. The live server runs in a Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Release 2 environment which houses active components of applications.
    What’s my point? WHS is a passive file server. Use it to store backups not originals. Comments please.

  9. Michael J Weldon says:

    Phillip,
    Actually no I haven’t mentioned the issue to Andrew yet. The reason I posted the issue here was in response to similar data corruption first reported here by your readers. Some of those very same readers might be trying out the graffiti cms software as well. I say this because I first read about the invitation for the graffiti beta right here in your November 7, 2007 posting. Also, Andrew’s application performed flawlessly with everything else I threw at it.

    All of the aforementioned then prompted me to write directly to Graffiti about the issue and post their answer here in an effort to add to the information pool. Presently, I’m not sure that the ball is in Andrew’s court yet but failing resolution of some kind here with lack of specific response, it’d be a good time to query Andrew about it….providing I can capture his attention since he’s fairly busy buying Christmas presents with his $10,000 windfall from Microsoft!

  10. DOUGman says:

    Re: The WHS Shouldn’t Do List!

    Then whats the point of ever buying the thing to begin with? I rather like using my older Pentium 3 machines as homebuilt NAS’s using NASlite. Only issues I had were failed PSU’s or motherboards (bulged caps), the software is Linux based and solid as a rock.

    D.

  11. True Blue says:

    @Philip Churchill

    So what? Just because you claim you haven’t as yet experienced any of the above issues, keep in mind how you posted many of these issues on your website by other individuals using WHS!

    Questions for anyone to comment.

    1) Is anyone selling (OEM) or using WHS as a WiFi connectivity device (802.11.n)?

    2) Does it make ANY sense, what’s so ever, to have WHS erase, by formating with NTFS, the external USB/eSATA hard drive when it prepares it to add to the sever?

    3) Why would anyone using a RAID system want WHS to duplicate backup copies?

    4)Would anyone want more control than just what WHS console offers? Meaning system management tools or configuration tools supplied with Windows Server 2003.

    As for the comment about “WHS is a passive file server” it goes along with how WHS functions as a duplication backup method, as who wants to “trust” WHS? Especially, when many other readers already suggested the need to backup WHS!

    How many copies does someone using WHS need to create, duplicate and replicate on another backup system?

    Example: All PC’s to WHS, then backup WHS to external hard drive and online backup. Assuming here you only had just two computers, one desktop and one laptop, your talking about 4 additional copies at one time. How will a typical home users synchronize all these copies?

    As I see it, your typical home user can just use a real time RAID solution, and for those NOT using RAID, a third party solution like Acronis True Image works fine, as a CD bootable media to restore and backup files/folders and your operating system.

    Acronis (Universal Restore) CD even allowed to restore to a new PC with different hardware your operating system!

    Acronis also allows you to mount your image volume for picking out individual files to restore too!

    Also, Acronis can validate your backup image so there is NO data corruption to worry about later as compared with WHS duplication backup method which WHS users already have reported to be the case and without warning…

  12. […] Windows Home Server is going to make me do just that; Something fairly severe has come up on the radar, something that I’m afraid makes Windows Home Server quite useless. […]

  13. DOUGman says:

    Acronis makes some awesome software… before I ever did any Raid solution I use to have months worth of backups on my NASlite box at home, the office and those I did consulting work for., it was always a good feeling knowing that.

    NASlite has a feature that rsyncs data from one drive to the other or to another NAS box, if your not doing Raid

    D.

  14. Red Rabbit says:

    Setting up your NAS in a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configuration is one of the best ways to ensure your data either stays online or is quickly recoverable.

    Whatever RAID level you choose, back up your NAS device. People gain a false sense of security from having a NAS appliance. Yes, in a RAID configuration, it’s more secure than PC hard drives, but it’s not immune to failure.

    There should be a warning for all WHS end users. WARNING, your WHS hard drives can fail anytime and will fail some time ahead. Be sure you backup all your data and WHS operating system to recover before this event occurs.

    In addition, be warned WHS already has data corruption issues occurring requiring patches by Microsoft. WHS sounds more like a ticking time bomb for home server end users…

  15. Mark Roddy says:

    If I understand this issue correctly, the file replication drivers on WHS are either unaware of alternate file streams, or do not handle alternate file streams correctly when replicating data. This is vastly disturbing in a released product that purports to be a backup server for home use on several levels. Who wrote the file replication software? Did they actually have experience with this sort of software? Who reviewed the design? How did this mess get through any adequate level of testing? What makes Microsoft think that a fix to what appears to be a fundamental design flaw can be quickly and correctly implemented? How are end users supposed to know if their applications of choice use alternate data streams?

    Thankfully my WHS order is still in transit. My plans to upgrade my old and trusty file server using LDM mirroring are on hold.

  16. WHS MS says:

    Windows Home Server isn’t READY for Home Users!

    1) Microsoft warns of file corruption in Windows Home Server – TG Daily

    2) Windows Home Server Corrupts Your Files – Electronic House, MA

    3) Windows Home Server causing file corruption – Afterdawn.com

    4) Windows Home Server Suffers Data Corruption – SDA India Magazine, Singapore

    5) Windows Home Server trashes files – bit-tech.net, UK

    6) Microsoft’s Windows Home Server corrupts files – eFluxMedia

    http://www.news.google.com/news?ned=us&ncl=1125438041&hl=en&topic=t

  17. Hi all,
    Thanks for all your comments everyone.

  18. Hi Michael J Weldon,
    Thanks for the heads up on this issue with these particular programs.

  19. […] the sidelines for a while with the Windows Home Server, and I am still a little concerned about the data corruption issues they are trying to fix, but I have faith they will get it taken care of.  Plus, I just could […]

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