Print 27 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on May 28 at 4:55 PM

After nearly half a year diseased Windows Home Server may finally be getting close to a fix for its corruption issues

Microsoft is urging Windows Home Server (WHS) users not to get too optimistic that a bug-free fix for the operating system's chronic corruption problems will be finished by June, due to the time needed for testing.  It is understandable why it has to issue such a statement; WHS users obviously are likely to be a bit impatient after the long saga of problems that have plagued the OS.

Initially released last November with high hopes and billed by Microsoft to be the future of home user storage, it was soon discovered that the OS corrupted some types of files.  As the month passed, the number of file types found to be corruption susceptible and the situations under which corruption arose merely grew.  Microsoft promised a fix soon after Christmas.  By March there was still no fix and word came from Microsoft that the WHS's underlying file system was broken and that a full fix would not be available to June.

Microsoft did discover that the problem seemed to revolve around the use of multiple hard drives.  Users with two or more hard drives were the main victims of corruption.  There have been scattered unsubstantiated reports of single hard drive corruption.  In its blog Microsoft wrote, "It is at an extremely low level of the operating system and it requires thorough testing to ensure that the fix addresses the issue."

This week Microsoft finally rolled out the beta build of that fix, named WHS Power Pack 1.  Microsoft's WHS team is being cautious with beta release and checking for problems.  They write in their blog, "We intend to allow adequate time for feedback and thorough testing during the beta process."

As Microsoft points out, if this means missing the promised June release date, so be it.  They state in their blog, "
That date could change as testing progresses."

Until the fix is released Microsoft is basically recommending WHS users to limit their use of files on their systems.  This includes changing the server's share folders settings to read only and avoiding the use of media management programs such as Windows Media Player or iTunes with files on the server.  According to Microsoft, users should "
also avoid redirecting applications to access files that are stored in the Shared Folders because some applications may change the metadata of a file without explicit user action."

The problems with WHS have been perhaps the greatest on any recent Windows OS.  With the new patch the WHS team hopes to turn over a new leaf.  But they acknowledge that they may have to wait to do so.

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By TomCorelis on 5/26/2008 5:18:05 PM , Rating: 1
WHS is essentially Server 2003 with some add-ons and business features stripped. How is it a glitch like this makes it into WHS, but not the other Windows Server flavors?

RE: why?
By StevoLincolnite on 5/26/2008 5:35:48 PM , Rating: 1
Windows is a highly complicated piece of software, with millions of lines of code, all that could have gone wrong is added a new "Security" feature to cause a domino effect of problems which cascade through the code. (That was merely an example).

At least you can be rest assured that the problem will be fixed in the future, as Microsoft has the resources to make such a problem "go away".

RE: why?
By Pirks on 5/26/2008 5:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
blah blah... don't listen to this Stevo guy, he knows nothing, read my link instead, there's a name for the culprit: Drive Extender

MS screwed it up by deciding to write some POS from scratch instead of using the tried and proven RAID tech

RE: why?
By Pirks on 5/26/2008 6:03:20 PM , Rating: 3
and here's the link actually

Stevo, this is for you too :P

RE: why?
By StevoLincolnite on 5/26/2008 9:03:39 PM , Rating: 1
You must have missed the part where I stated "It was merely an example" but otherwise thank you for the information.

RE: why?
By Pirks on 5/26/2008 5:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
Some morons from Redmond decided that WHS should have its own disk volume/redundancy management software instead of standard WS 2003 stuff. They developed their own solution which, unfortunately, turned out to be totally buggy POS. It's been discussed numerous times in Paul Thurrot's netcasts and his blog as well.

RE: why?
By 16nm on 5/27/2008 9:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
What's really surprising is that they didn't go through the same trouble to test and debug such a low-level component the way they obviously had done with Windows Server. Windows Server is solid.

RE: why?
By oab on 5/27/2008 9:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
Server 2003 is a business/enterprise thing, and WHS isn't.

RE: why?
By oab on 5/27/2008 9:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
A nice new front-end to the RAID utility that hid all the advanced options from the user would have accomplished the same thing I would think; but NOOOO the WHS team had this great new idea that was better and it ... wasn't

RE: why?
By Pirks on 5/26/2008 5:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
WHS is essentially Server 2003 with some add-ons and business features stripped
Tom, that's totally not true. Read this please:

This POS called Drive Extender is the culprit, and it is NOT taken from WS 2003, it's a totally new POS written from scratch ;-)

RE: why?
By MrDiSante on 5/26/2008 6:37:34 PM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately RAID is missing a large chunk of the necessary features. For RAID you have to have same-size paired HDD's - WHS's Drive Extender removes that restriction, but as with just about every Microsoft 1.0 product it's got problems that need to be worked out. - here's a more in-depth post on Anand's blog.

RE: why?
By Pirks on 5/26/2008 7:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
Windows lovers can find consolation in the fact that the same kind of bug found in Mac OS 10.5 where it was corrupting disks while copying files over the network like there was no tomorrow.

So yeah, MS is somewhat $hitty when it comes to code quality, but what's good here is that it's no more $hitty than that fruity RDF-touting company's code is :-P And it just turned out MS is not more $hitty even in hardware department - I just got a few friends complaining that their precious PS3 BR drives took a dirty nap :-) Seems like Sony just got their own kind of RROD, hehe

I say MS is pretty decent with regard to product quality these days when you look at their competition and compare :P

RE: why?
By leexgx on 5/27/2008 5:58:29 AM , Rating: 3
there was the bug when moveing files as well

if you moved and file to an removable disk or network share and it was unpluged, disconnected or ran out space the Mac OS would del the files that was left on your pc that you was trying to move :)

RE: why?
By jimbojimbo on 5/28/2008 4:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, this was touted as a "feature" in the OS and not a bug. Some people actually defended it. Go figure.

RE: why?
By Locutus465 on 5/27/2008 12:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not intimatly familiar with the issue, but my basic undestanding is that home server abstracts permenant storage to a level that other window's OS's don't. Unless I'm mistaking I think that basically it will mesh all your harddrives (and perhaps networked storage) into a single storage space, regardless of whether you have any sort of physical raid or not.

If my undestanding is wrong please feel free to correct, but that's my basic understanding.

RE: why?
By leexgx on 5/27/2008 6:10:23 AM , Rating: 2
if you have 2 or more disks and its turnd on what the WHS does is makes sure there is 2 copys of the file on 2 disks
so if you have 4 disks 2 of them will have the same file on it, the setup is like RAID 1 but the freedom of been able to use any disk size

so if you wish to remove an disk fire up the wizard to remove an disk and you can remove it (unpluging not recommend with out the wizard but if the hdds are quite should be ok)

WHS does not support networked disks but i think you can use USB ones (not check on that one tho)

i was going to use WHS on my server as it of been perfect for my use but due to this bug loseing files was lieky to happen and very poor disk perfomace when its syncing up the disks it is not giveing network I/O priorty so perfomace suffers alot (same problem as vista superfetch on windows desktop load)

i do think linux has some OS around that can do this 2 copys to an hard disk as some companies sell them

RE: why?
By leexgx on 5/27/2008 6:13:50 AM , Rating: 2
-- USB disks pluged into the WHS server directly --

it is best to not use WHS at this time (or use the beta for test as i am in VMware you can reproduce the bug very fast)

RE: why?
By rs2 on 5/27/2008 12:27:21 AM , Rating: 2
Less stringent QA because the release is intended for home users instead of business users?

RE: why?
By mattclary on 5/27/2008 8:07:08 AM , Rating: 1
I chalk it up to MS attempting to "dumb down" the way the OS works for the home user. Results went somewhat as expected.

RE: why?
By JumpingJack on 5/27/2008 2:55:50 AM , Rating: 3
As mentioned above, WHS utilizes a unique data storage system that manages multiple drives differently than what is found in any other Windows Server on the market. The drive extender pools all the HD resources together and presents home users with shared folders and not direct drive access (though a saavy user could easily configure it to be a simple overall server with shared drives).

The overall concept is good, the implementation was bad in this case.

What I find more surprising is how this was not caught ... the bug easily manifests itself in many applications if you attempt a direct 'save' to the server. File copy and file reading are unaffected, but do not use third party apps and some MS apps to open and save directly to the server folders... you are beggin' for problems.

RE: why?
By DragonFire on 5/27/2008 4:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
Why can't we get a fraking edit button!

What I find more surprising is how this was not caught ... the bug easily manifests itself....

When it comes to releasing buggy software and then worrying about fixing the 101 bugs they know about. Microsoft is the only company that tries it's best to be worse then EA Games.

RE: why?
By DragonFire on 5/27/2008 4:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
From the article:
"We intend to allow adequate time for feedback and thorough testing during the beta process."
If thorough testing had been done to begin with.....

Microsoft has the resources to make such a problem "go away".

No, they have the resources to make things worse. Example: Vista.. Also, with such great "resources" they should have caught this before release.

Unfortunately RAID is missing a large chunk of the necessary features. For RAID you have to have same-size paired HDD's
Maybe the whole WHS bug is the reason why RAID doesn't have such a feature....

Less stringent QA because the release is intended for home users instead of business users?
True but sad.

I chalk it up to MS attempting to "dumb down" the way the OS works for the home user.
I'm sorry but we are talking about a OS made to work as a server and any home user that wants to run a server should have enough know how that MS doesn't need to "dumb" it down that much. IMO, if a home user is clueless about computers and how they work, then they don't need a server to begin with.

Well the good news.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Well the good news.
By FireTech on 5/27/2008 6:13:22 AM , Rating: 2
True, there are others (FreeNAS is easy to set up & free) but not that are a simple for non-geeks to deal with (when WHS is working as advertised).
I'm using it and have had no issues but by the same token I'm getting a little tired of the delays, teasing (PP1 and the Vista 64 incompatibility situation is whole other story) and also the excuses.
I've said from the start of this debacle that I fully expect MS to finally throw their arms in the air and tell us all we need to buy the much talked about WHS v2 at some point in the future in order to have this all fixed.

RE: Well the good news.
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2008 10:06:38 AM , Rating: 2
My home "server" is running MCE 2005. I've got 7 drives in it now. 2.5TB of video storage space. But I don't have the drives in RAID. Only RAID I'd do would be RAID 5 and I can't afford a controller card that supports it.

By bigboxes on 5/27/2008 12:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
This is news? This sounds like too serious of a bug to have actually been released. Seriously, if you can't trust your data with it what good is it?

Missed it by 'that' much!
By SiliconJon on 5/26/08, Rating: 0
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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