Add-In: Drive Bender v2.0.4.0 Beta

Drive Bender Logo

There is a new beta release of Drive Bender

Here is the change log for version

  • [Bug fix] The Drive Bender implementation of chkdsk now reports the reason if it fails to run.
  • [Updated feature] The balancing method setting now applies to how files are moved from the landing zone to the pool even if the balancing option is disabled.
  • [Bug fix] Starting the duplication managed was showing an authorization required dialog.
  • [Bug fix] A worker thread could throw an exception when exiting.
  • [Bug fix] When view a drive in the manager, the drive’s volume name could not be changed.
  • [Bug fix] Changing a drive volume name could cause the Drive Bender service to hang.
  • [Bug fix] When creating a file, the files owner is now set correctly.
  • [Bug fix] Fixed a memory leak that was occurring when modifying a files/folders time stamp of security settings.
  • [Bug fix] The non-pool usage report now displays the correct value.
  • [Bug fix] When a landing zone is specified, if duplication is in use, the file is now duplicated when moved from the landing zone (was being created when writing to the landing zone, negating any speed advantage).
  • [Bug fix] A number of fixes and improvements to the drive adding, removing and swapping features.
  • [Bug fix] The file count maintained by Drive Bender was being corrupted when the file system health task was running (although it was corrected once the task completed).
  • [Bug fix] If the drive swap operation was cancelled, the added drive was still being flagged as "pending add".
  • [Bug fix] The worker thread engine (used for all internal task etc) could cause an exiting thread to hang.
  • [Bug fix] Email notification was not sending email when required.
  • [Bug fix] Under extreme circumstances renaming a large file while it was being moved from the landing zone to the pool, could result in 2 files being created.
  • [Bug fix] When swapping a drive, all system folders (i.e. system folder and the recycle bin folder) are now moved to the new drive.
  • [Bug fix] Many UI fixes and improvements.

This latest beta release can be downloaded from here.

Add-In: My Movies Home and Essentials Server Solution 5.00 Pre Release 9

The Pre Release build of My Movies 5 for Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been updated.

My Movies 5 Pre Release Dashboard

Here is the change log for My Movies Home and Essentials Server Solution 5.00 Pre Release 9:

  • Added: Professionals can now mark prior installations for automatic updates, and the software will then auto-purchase an upgrade license when My Movies 5 is installed.
  • Change: Performance of returning images in API.
  • Change: Extention of database optimization.
  • Change: The software no longer asks to confirm credentials for single-element locations.
  • Change: Personal data for Disc Titles is now saved together with rest of the data for the disc title.
  • Fix: About page in Windows Media Center showed My Movies 4 and not 5.
  • Fix: In some situations, the client PC could try to upgrade the server database.
  • Fix: In case of login problems, the database upgrade could be attempted more than once.
  • Fix: External credentials dialog could fail if not all credentials was added.
  • Fix: There could be issues storing drive configuration in some situations.
  • Fix: On disc title updates, the compare dialog contained a broken image.
  • Fix: Error when updating TV Series made it look like there was always new updates.
  • Fix: Person and role image sometimes got mixed up on update of person data.
  • Fix: Role information for TV Series characters is now updated with Series update.
  • Fix: Parental Controls were not available in settings when Windows Media Center was not present.
  • Fix: Discs could start to copy, even when the disc copier was not enabled.
  • Fix: Dune meta-data storage could not handle multiple elements having the same title.
  • Fix: Change in the GetTitleList API XML could cause problems for remote control drivers.
  • Fix: There was a problem in the migration function causing some images used for the API to not be generated for TV Series. Users affected can use the optimize database option, or restore a prior database.
  • Fix: Various issues with poster language contribution.
  • Fix: Migration message dialog did not open on top of the splash screen, and could be invisible.
  • Fix: Monitoring had problems with using folder configuration on Windows Home Server and Server 2012 Essentials

More info including download links can be found here.

The Home Server Show Podcast Episode 260


Episode 260 of the Home Server Show podcast is up:

“Another security reminder, this time from a NAS vendor! We’ll take a look at hard drive sizes, a new 4 bay NAS, Tablo TV on the go, and figure out what flavor of server I should install next. Enjoy!”

Another great episode, which you can find here.

Configure and Customize RWA

Configuring and Customizing Remote Web Access on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is a new article on Microsoft’s Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog.

Customize RWA on WS2012 R2 Essentials

The article explains how to configure and customize Remote Web Access (RWA) on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in detail, which you can find here.

Add-In: StableBit DrivePool v2.1.0.528 BETA

The beta build of StableBit DrivePool for WHS2011, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (and more) has had an update.

StableBit DrivePool Build 528 BETA

Version BETA has the following change log:

* [D] Fixed creation of empty "PoolPart…" files on drive removal (harmless but annoying).
* [Issue #2165] Meaningless folder placement rules are now defined as rules that are set up exactly the same way as the
                immediate ancestor rule. These rules will be automatically removed. With this change a rule with all the
                drives checked can now be "meaningful" as long as it has a different immediate ancestor rule. This allows
                you to effectively "override" and disable an ancestor folder placement rule on one or more specific
                child folders.
* [Issue #2165] Changed folder placement icon to a green filter icon when a folder placement rule is defined on a folder.
                The icon will turn black (and shrink) if a folder is "inheriting" a folder placement rule from an ancestor.
* When removing a drive from the pool, and one or more empty directories can’t be deleted because something has a handle
  open to them (like SMB), schedule a directory deletion on reboot.
* Disks list will now update more smoothly.
* Fixed disk tooltip disappearing issue over pooled disks.
* [D] When renaming a file violates a file placement limit, the service will be notified by the file system in real-time.
* [D] Fixed a crash when a new file is created and a measuring pass just started, before the first directory is enumerated.
* [Issue #2165] Added disk tool tips over the file placement disk list.
* [Issue #2187] File placement rules were not being saved if the only thing that changed about them was the order.
* [Issue #2165] For a new folder based file placement rule, the UI will now base the rule off of the parent folder’s
                rule. A new rule will only be created for the sub folder if it differs from the parent rule.
* [Issue #2166] Fixed emptying protected disks.
* [Issue #2165] "Balance immediately" wasn’t taking file placement rules into account.
* [Issue #2165] Meaningless rules will now be saved, if they are pattern based (not folder based).
* [Issue #2165] Added multi-select support for file placement rules (hold down Ctrl or Shift to select multiple rules).
* [Issue #2165] Folder based rules can now be rearranged, as long as the new arrangement doesn’t violate the path depth
                rules. Folder rules defined on deeper directory structures must always have a higher priority than folder
                rules defined on shallower directory structures. The depth of a folder rule is defined as the number of "\"
* [Issue #2165] File placement rules now have an option that automatically excludes new drives from being selected for
                that rule.
* [Issue #2165] Automatically prioritize file placement rules if any exist from previous builds with no priority. Also
                force a re-balance using the new priority based rules.
* Added drag and drop to the ordered lists in the balancing window.
* [Issue #2165] When file parts need to be cleaned up due to duplication changes, file parts that are violating placement
                rules are cleaned up first.
* [D] [Issue #2165] File placement rules now have a priority associated with each rule. Whenever a file path matches multiple
                    patterns, the rule with the highest priority is applied.
                        – Folder based file placement rules have a priority automatically assigned to them. Folders that are
                          deeper have a higher priority.
                        – Manually defined pattern based file placement rules can now be moved up and down the list to define
                          their priority. Rules at the top have higher priority than rules at the bottom.
* [Issue #2173] Added new "Increase priority" toggle button that will become visible in the pool organization bar. When
                toggled on the currently running task will be boosted in CPU and Background I/O priority.
* Added new .config settings DrivePool_BackgroundTasksPriority. This controls the CPU thread priority for background tasks
  such as calculating the balancing ratio. Valid settings are -15 to 15 (inclusive). Default is -2.
* A task could have taken on the thread priority / background I/O settings of another task in the same task group if the
  tasks were in the same queue. Each task now consistently sets its own background I/O and thread priority.
* "Balancing plug-ins respect file placement rules" was not working correctly.
* Fixed measurement inconsistency when removing a disk with duplicated files.
* Fixed checking for duplication consistency of the .covefs meta-data folder after implicit duplication count change.
* When duplication state was "Unknown" there was no option to start a manual duplication pass in the UI. The pool organization
  bar will now reflect this.
* [Issue #2173] Pool organization progress percent will now move more smoothly when moving large files while re-balancing
                and removing drives.
* [Issue #2173] Tasks such as re-balancing and file duplication can now be aborted from the pool organization bar.
* [Issue #2151] Added "Reset all settings" menu options under Settings -> Troubleshooting. This will reset all Store
                meta-data in the service.
* [Issue #2151] All concurrent tasks now write out error reports on failure.

You can download this release from here, and read more on the updates to file placement here.

Backup to Azure with WS2012 R2 Essentials

The Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog has a great article on configuring Microsoft Azure online backup on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

Microsoft Azure Server Registered

The article explains in detail how to install the add-in and configure it to backup your data to the cloud.

A detailed read, which you can find here.

DVBLink v5 Beta1

DVBLink version 5 is released for public beta.

dvblink Mobile Logo

Here’s a list explaining the most important additions:

  • Grid like EPG interface for a web browser
  • Support of video transcoding for live and recorded TV on Windows, Linux and NAS platforms
  • Transcoded live and TV recordings playback in web browser on all client platforms – Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Streaming multiple channels from the same transponder for DVBLink TVSource
  • Server streaming activity monitoring interface
  • Social network integration to share your impressions about programs and/or recordings
  • Download daemon for xmltv source
  • Recording schedules based on search pattern
  • Internet update for transponder files and other DVBLink resources
  • And a lot of other smaller, but still important updates, features and fixes

More info can be found here, including upgrade and download instructions.

Video: WD DS6100

Another review on the WD DS6100 and this one is from Storage Swiss – Storage Switzerland.

Their review takes a quick look at the the unit and also includes this 5 minute video too:

They have more videos to come on the DS6100 too.

The Home Server Show Podcast Episode 259


Its that time of the week for another episode of the Home server Show podcast:

“If you have ever considered Plex or want to know more about it this episode is for you.  I’m also giving you a first look at Tablo.  If you are looking at alternative Media Center products listen in!  This is a big media episode.  A lot of TV, Roku, DVD talk that is centered around the server or NAS in your home.”

You can find episode 259 here.

Add-In: StableBit DrivePool v2.1.0.503 BETA

The beta release of StableBit DrivePool for WHS2011, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials plus lots more has had an update.

StableBit DrivePool BETA

Version BETA has the following change log, and its a big one:

* [D] Fixed x86 disk driver installer.
* [D] When removing the last limit on a pool part, the file system was not notified and that limit remained.
* If an Exception was raised in a delayed action during cancellation, a deadlock was possible, thus stalling service shutdown.
* Initial balancing settings will now default to balance immediately, but not more often than every 12 hours.
* Fixed critical balance bytes default in the initial balancing settings.
* [Issue #2165] Added warning strip to the file placement tab when balancing rules are not being satisfied due to low disk space or other conflicting rules.
* [Issue #2165] Added bar chart that shows file distribution per pool part when a folder is selected.
* [Issue #2165] Added folder size pie chart to file placement folder tree.
* [D] When the file system detects that a pattern limit has been violated, inform the service. The service will set a flag and it will be reported in the pool organization bar.
* When performing background duplication or drive removal, try to respect file placement limits:
    – When looking for destination pool parts in order to duplicate a file part, prefer pool parts that don’t
      violate existing file placement limits for that file.
    – If a file placement limit must be violated, then reflect that in the balance state, which will be reflected in the pool organization bar.
* Drive removal progress percent was not being reported correctly in the pool organization bar.
* Drive removal no longer requires a remeasure after it completes.
* [Issue #2166] When balancing and emptying a disk, added edge condition to fully empty the last remaining files even if that strictly violates the target pool part’s balancing delta. For example, when one file is remaining on the source pool part and there are 2 target pool parts, that single file obviously can’t be split up in 2. This ensures that file evacuation works as expected.
* Added new balancing options to deal with Balancer <=> File placement interaction:
  See Pool Options -> Balancing… -> Settings
    – The file pattern mover should not violate real-time file placement limits set by the balancers.
    – The existing pool part file mover should not violate file placement pattern rules when moving files around.
        – Unless, the pool part is being emptied.
* After successfully removing a pool part, check file placement limits to make sure that there are no limits that exclude all existing pool parts. If such limits exist, they are meaningless, remove them.
* [Issue #91] Both measuring and a file consistency check is required, measure first then check consistency. Previously the file consistency check would take priority. This was causing user confusion.
* Implemented a background file placement balancer:
    – When changing file placement rules, the "file placement balancing state" is marked dirty and a file placement background balancing run is needed to move the existing files on the pool in accordance with the file placement rules. This drops the balancing ratio to 0.0.
    – In the horizontal UI mode, if the file placement balancing state is dirty, a little file icon will be shown next to each pooled disk’s balancing bar indicating that file placement balancing is required on this disk.
    – When the file placement balancer needs to move a file off of an existing pool part because it is violating the pre-set limit, it uses these rules when deciding which pool part to place the file on:
      – A pool part is chosen that doesn’t violate other pattern based file placement limits and doesn’t violate real-time file placement limits.
      – If no such pool parts exist, the file is not moved.
      – Protected files are never moved onto a pool part that resides on the same storage unit as another file part of the same file. This would break the file protection rules.
* Added a folder based file placement rule configuration UI. See Pool Options -> Balancing… -> File Placement ->
    – Specifying a folder rule will automatically generate a pattern based rule for that folder.
    – The pattern for a folder based rule cannot be edited.
    – Folder based rules cannot be defined for the meta-data and root directories.
    – Only meaningful rules are saved. A rule with all drives selected is not meaningful.
* [D] Added real-time pattern based file placement rules. See Pool Options -> Balancing… -> File Placement:
        – You can specify one or more rules that will direct matched new files to be put on one or more specific pool parts.
        – Patterns can include wild-cards (*, ?).
        – Given the wild-card support you can create patterns that are absolute such as "\Users\*" or relative "*.ISO".
        – Each rule can optionally overflow files onto deselected disks if all the chosen disks are getting full.
        – A non-overflowing rule will give an out of disk space message if all of the chosen disks are full for any file that matches that rule.
        – A simpler folder based interface will be added.
* [Issue #2159] Each balancer has 30 seconds to calculate the balance ratio, if it takes longer than that then abort it.
* [Issue #2159] Respect DrivePool_BackgroundTasksVeryLowPriority when calculating the balance ratio. Prior to this, calculating the balance ratio would always be performed using idle thread priority.
* Fixed localizations for service and UI notifications.
* Merged community translation changes.
* [Issue #1160] Added community Bulgarian translation (thanks).
* [Issue #122] When removing the third or second drive from the pool, StableBit DrivePool would generate false duplication warnings about the CoveFS metadata that indicated that you need to add another disk to the pool.
* [D] [Issue #2157] Fixed exception handler in MDL creation function.
* [D] [Issue #101] The context of a byte range lock request is not always the current thread. (E.g. Hyper-V)
* [D] [Issue #101] FileObject->LockOperation seems to be inconsistent, switched to internal flag.
* [D] [Issue #101] Byte range locks were not being released immediately on file close. Oddly, this is exactly the expected behavior according to MSDN ( "If a process terminates with a portion of a file locked or closes a file that has outstanding locks, the locks are unlocked by the operating system. However, the time it takes for the operating system to unlock these locks depends upon available system resources." Unfortunately this was creating a number of issues.
* [D] [Issue #121] Removing a drive from the pool which has a reparse point file part would fail.
* [Issue #121] A failed drive removal would not show the failure error message.
* [Issue #106] Added RemoteControl_MulticastGroupIp and RemoteControl_MulticastGroupPort to advanced settings. You can use these settings to change how remote control peer discovery is done, either for segregation purposes or to resolve IP / port conflicts.
* Fixed error recognizing an additional pool created from the UI.
* First pool welcome message was not being shown. Rewrote test logic, it was too complex and error prone.
  The first pool welcome message will be shown only after creating your first local pool from the UI.
  Creating a remote pool or having an existing pool will not trigger it.
* [Issue #91] When denying balance ratio calculation, deny all queued instances as well.
* [Issue #91] Added additional trace data when denying the calculation of the balance ratio due to the pool measure state.
* [Issue #79] Added additional trace data for disk update notifications.
* [Issue #81] Fixed burn EXE deployment.
* [D] [Issue #74] When an oplock break possibility exists, wait for the first proxy call regardless of the returned status code.
* [Issue #56] When a pool part goes missing, set the pool to read-only until the missing pool part is reconnected or is removed from the pool.
* [Issue #65] Added a new advanced setting for overriding the default culture (DrivePool_CultureOverride).
* [Issue #59] Pools can now be in an "offline" state and remain that way for 365 days. This means that when a pool is ejected or all of the pool parts that comprise a pool go missing, the pool’s settings will not be lost.
* The pool title in the UI was not updating consistently.
* [D] [Issue #60] Allow safe ejection of the pool virtual drive (using the standard drive removal tray icon).
* [Issue #60] Do not keep a handle open to the pool at all times.
* Added .MSI creation to deployment script.
* [D] [Issue #51] WSS storage service would not recognize the pool drives because the drives were reporting that they were virtual drives. This was causing all kinds of problems with the Dashboard.
* [Issue #50] Changed how we delay file system access on metadata load to work around odd behavior by file system filter drivers causing a lock up on boot (observed with Avast).
* [Issue #50] Simplified and reworked how we obtain the volume device name on mount.
* [Issue #50] CoveFS on Windows 8.1 was not being updated to the 8.1 build. Windows 8.1 machines will need a reboot after installing this build.
* [D] [Issue #35] Pool performance statistics were being reported for all the pools at once instead of for each pool individually.
* Never balance the pool or calculate the balance ratio if the pool’s measurement is incomplete.
  If the measurement gets into an incomplete state while balancing, abort the balancing run.
  Otherwise this could lead to perpetual balancing, as re-measurement is disabled while balancing.
* Pooled / Non-Pooled disk counts were not being refreshed properly.
* [D] Fixed the extraneous 30 second delay when creating a new pool.
* Updated code signing certificate (2014).
* [Issue #19] Fixed service crash on clean install introduced with the new boot time tracing.
* [D] [Issue #13] Fixed race condition in work queue exiting causing potential lockup. Work queues are used when measuring the pool and in other places.
* [Issue #9] Added option to enable / disable file system activity logging under Troubleshooting.
* [Issue #9] Added option to enable boot time logging to the new "Troubleshooting" menu in the options drop down. Boot time logging will write CoveFS file system activity logs to %PROGRAMDATA%\StableBit DrivePool\Service\Logs\CoveFs. File system logs can be submitted to technical support for analysis.
* [Issue #8] Added error reporting functionality to detect errors on store change events (e.g. StoreValue_ItemChangedWeak).
* [D] Fixed querying for file IDs (this was causing issues with the NFS server).

With this beta release StableBit DrivePool now supports per folder (and per file) balancing, to learn more you can read the following blog post.