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Microsoft's Windows Home Server corrupts files due to its incompatibility with data streams. What was once a hot tech gift, now appears more like a lump of coal.  (Source: TabletPC2.com)
Users who purchased Windows Home Server continue to get more than they bargained for, and sometimes a little less

Windows Home Server, released with much applause and sought to offer home server storage solutions, with hardware, starting for around $599.  Soon after its release, it was discovered that the server, when accessing data from a small list of programs could corrupt the files irreparably

Losing data, seen by many as a cardinal sin of the server world, made the issue a major priority to Microsoft and the company promised in an corporate blog a quick fix over the Christmas season.

Two months later no fix had arrived and the list of programs effected by the corruption blossomed to include such programs as Photoshop, Windows Media Player 11, iTunes, Excel, and Microsoft's own Zune software.  Now even more programs have been added to the list.  The Windows Knowledge Database article was updated to include the new prospective problems.

Terry Walsh issued a blog response to the growing number of problems.  The blog site is extremely popular among Windows Home Server users. Walsh acknowledges that the list of potential corruption candidates has greatly grown and affects a significant portion of users.  Walsh states, "Clearly that fix is not yet available, but I have been told [by Microsoft that] it’s being dealt with as a very high priority."

Walsh advices not to edit any files directly on the home server.  Walsh is of the opinion that with the growing list, any program may be vulnerable to corrupting data.  Walsh says the simple solution is to copy the file to a local machine, modify it on the local machine, and then copy it back to the server for shortage.  Doing so may increase work time substantially, but it protects users from potential data loss.  Another key point mentioned by Walsh is that the bug only effects users with systems with more than one hard drive.  Thus the vulnerable population consists of multi-HD users, still a substantial portion of users.

Interestingly Microsoft removed a prior reference from the knowledgebase article that stated that the corruption bug could be triggered by stress on the server.  This would indicate that WHS is equally capable of experiencing corruption under light loads.  Microsoft now states that the problem appears to be triggered by the saving of "alternate data streams" by programs, which is incompatible with the "Drive Extender" method which WHS uses to make multiple physical hard drives appear like a single hard disk.

Alternate data streams are used protected data from the users.  Its used for meta data, DRM data, copyright data, and other information that is saved in a sensitive manner.  The streams are infrequently used, but can be generated by a broad variety of programs.  Microsoft has made available a utility to checks files for special streams.  Any files that it detects should not be modified in WHS, as doing so raises serious risks of data loss. 

Microsoft has not commented on whether alternate data streams are the only culprit thats causing corruption, though the company is carefully examining the issue further.


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This sucks
By Pandamonium on 2/28/2008 1:05:10 PM , Rating: 4
I really wanted to build a WHS; now, not so much.




RE: This sucks
By Muirgheasa on 2/28/2008 1:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto. I have a pretty good Synology NAS (CS407) but for a while I was lusting after Home Server anyway for its hugely convenient auto backup service. Now, not so much at all.

You have to imagine that this will have a huge adverse affect on sales too.


RE: This sucks
By imaheadcase on 2/28/2008 2:20:02 PM , Rating: 1
It effects a very SMALL % of customers, it does not effect everyone who has said programs, it only effects some people.


RE: This sucks
By ToeCutter on 2/28/2008 3:20:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It effects a very SMALL % of customers,


Are freaking illiterate?

From the article:

quote:
..Walsh acknowledges that the list of potential corruption candidates has greatly grown..

quote:
..affects a significant portion of users..

quote:
..still a substantial portion of users...

Gee, I dunno, sounds like quite a few users are affected, huh?

Or perhaps you're just another MS apologist, defending a product who's primary role is to store data using redundant storage, but instead corrupts data and MS hasn't a clue as to why?

That's some fine logic, lightning.

Perhaps most egregious is that this product is targeted directly at non-tech-savvy users for safe guarding their precious photos, movies, music, etc.

There's simply no excuse for releasing this garbage on the unsuspecting public. I beta tested WHS last summer and was astonished when they suddenly announced it was RTMed and I hadn't been able to complete a single backup without a failure.

Microsoft has never deserved a class action suit more than with WHS. It's software fraud, completely useless. And ironically, right on the heels of their latest code-gem, Vista.


RE: This sucks
By FITCamaro on 2/28/2008 4:15:35 PM , Rating: 1
So then by your logic Apple should also get a class action for its bug in Leopard that caused data LOSS from a far simpler set of events.

Oh right, we only sue Microsoft because they've got lots of money and Apple doesn't.


RE: This sucks
By ToeCutter on 2/29/2008 1:34:48 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
o then by your logic Apple should also get a class action for its bug in Leopard that caused data LOSS from a far simpler set of events.


FITCamaro: DT's Most Notorious Troll


RE: This sucks
By omnicronx on 2/28/2008 5:19:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Are freaking illiterate?
Calm down there cowboy. WHS is still an OEM OS, meaning manufacturers can specifically make only 1 drive systems to prevent this problem. In fact for all you know, this is already being done.

quote:
who's primary role is to store data using redundant storage
The arcticle clearly states that when you are shadowing your drives (redundancy) this problem does not exist.. but ok..

quote:
I beta tested WHS last summer and was astonished when they suddenly announced it was RTMed and I hadn't been able to complete a single backup without a failure.
It's a beta, thats why you are testing. I had no problems backing up any files whatsoever from different MS OS's. Backing up files is not a problem with WHS, so i really wonder who has this bias opinion here.

quote:
Microsoft has never deserved a class action suit more than with WHS. It's software fraud, completely useless. And ironically, right on the heels of their latest code-gem, Vista.
Don't get me wrong Microsoft royally screwed up, but this is not software fraud. It's a bug, nothing more, obviously a much bigger bug than once though, but a bug at that. I for one do not use WHS because i was only using it because of the ability to combine drives. But that does not mean it is not usefull to many other people out there. I mean how many people using this user friendly WHS are going to be editing files on the server anyways?


RE: This sucks
By ToeCutter on 2/29/2008 1:31:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Calm down there cowboy. WHS is still an OEM OS, meaning manufacturers can specifically make only 1 drive systems to prevent this problem. In fact for all you know, this is already being done.


How is the OEM status of WHS is even remotely relevant to my illiteracy potshot?

Further, a server , that hosts a single drive? Kinda stretching the use of "server" in the product's description, huh? And all the OEM WHS literature I've read make certain to mention "x number of empty expansion slots"; just begging to be occupied with additional drives.

The ability to easily add storage to a global storage pool is one of the primary features of WHS. Developing the meta-filesystem that allows for drive extension represented the lion's share of effort put into coding WHS!

quote:
The arcticle (sic) clearly states that when you are shadowing your drives (redundancy) this problem does not exist.. but ok..


Seriously? From KB946676: Until an update for Windows Home Server is available, we recommend that you do not use the programs that are listed in the "Symptoms" section to save or to edit program-specific files that are stored on a Windows Home Server-based system. This issue only affects Windows Home Server systems that have more than one hard disk drive added to the server storage.

And, KB946676 has been updated several times as the story changes. HP's WHS site recommends that users keep copies on both their desktops and WHS's. I'm not quite sure how you got "clearly states" out of any of this.

And many thanks for explaining the concept of "beta" software for me. It's wonder I managed to complete the application without fully understanding why I was testing the beta. Perhaps I can clarify with some context: I was astonished that MS suddenly announced that WHS was RTM, despite numerous forum postings complaining of unresolved bugs, only days before the RTM announcement.

If you aren't using WHS, than why would you even take the time to make excuses for a severe, critical bug that potentially destroys data?

And lastly, any user with a mapped network drive is going to edit files directly from a server. It's kinda what servers were designed to do.

There. I'm exhausted from pointing out the the numerous misconceptions that you have about a product you so blindly defend. Why anyone would put so much effort in doing so demonstrates why I've come to just vote posts down instead of attempting to exchange reasonable dialog with the growing majority of clueless posters on these forums.

Bicker away while Rome burns...


RE: This sucks
By Blight AC on 2/29/2008 9:20:32 AM , Rating: 2
Directly from the Article:
quote:
Also, if users use folder duplication on their multiple drive setup the risk is elminated.


Which is great for me, as I have folder duplication on any folder which files might be edited directly, like photos and music.

Also, you comment, a few posts back that WHS was completely useless, based on your experience of beta software. I've noticed that bugs that I saw in the WHS beta, even the RC1, have been resolved in the RTM. PC Backups works just fine, there is no issue with that... well unless you still can't install the WHS Console on a 64 bit system. I'm not sure if that had been fixed yet or not.

quote:
Why anyone would put so much effort in doing so demonstrates why I've come to just vote posts down instead of attempting to exchange reasonable dialog with the growing majority of clueless posters on these forums.


I would hardly call your posts reasonable, you've made vast sweeping generalizations based on your personal experience. The reason people might defend the software itself is because they've had no real problems with it and consider it a good product, like me.


RE: This sucks
By ToeCutter on 3/1/2008 5:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
And still, another who suffers from poor reading comprehension.

Go back and read my posts.

quote:
Also, you comment, a few posts back that WHS was completely useless, based on your experience of beta software.

I never said WHS was worthless based on my experience. I described my surprise that is was RTMed, as did many others, during the beta testing.

My assertion that WHS is worthless is due to its propensity to corrupt user data; WHS has repeatedly suffered this flaw. You demonstrate another fine trait native to these forums: How replies often misconstrue comments made in earlier posts.
quote:
I would hardly call your posts reasonable, you've made vast sweeping generalizations based on your personal experience.

Addressed above.
quote:
The reason people might defend the software itself is because they've had no real problems with it and consider it a good product, like me.

Again, read the posts thoroughly. omnicronx admitted that he's not even a WHS user, which is why my comment was directed not to WHS users (like yourself), but those, like omincronx, who are simply feeling contentious and defend WHS despite it's critical, thoroughly-documented and repeated flaws, while rarely presenting an opposing point based on fact.

You've demonstrated difficulty in understanding my position, despite it being clearly stated here. It's no surprise you might find it unreasonable.


RE: This sucks
By Blight AC on 3/6/2008 9:32:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft has never deserved a class action suit more than with WHS. It's software fraud, completely useless.


Either way, this was what I was addressing. Completely useless... I tend to disagree. Admittedly, corruption on a file server is bad, cardinal sin bad for a storage device, but what your doing is blowing it entirely out of proportion.

As a PC backup device, there are no major issues (except possibly if you using 64-bit software, but I haven't followed if this was fixed or not as it doesn't affect me), you can backup your computers to the WHS, and there are no known corruption issues with this backup data. In fact, this is one of the main reasons non-tech savvy users would probably be getting a WHS.

As a media sharing device, there are no major issues, you can share your files on the internet, or intranet. It's just modifying them on the server that can potentially cause an issue. It's annoying, but certainly doesn't make the software completely useless. One of those things that if you're aware of the issue, you can make sure it doesn't happen until a patch arrives. Right now, most of the people with a WHS are the tech users anyhow, as it hasn't gotten much advertising yet.

And as far as the reading comprehension goes, with your uneducated comments, I'm not really going to take the time to read deeply into your post. Perhaps the reason you have trouble with other posters and reading comprehension is people do not want to take the time to completely read drivel you post.


RE: This sucks
By Samus on 2/28/2008 6:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, Microsoft is just on a roll with bombing products. I haven't seen so many Windows ME-style products from them since...Windows ME.

Obviously I'm referring to Vista, Office 2007 with its horrid interface that nobody likes, and of course WHS. Windows Server 2007 isn't all that great either. The TCPIP overhead is just as bad as Vista's because of the stupid file copy stack they incorporated. Opening files off of a server takes 2-3 times longer.


RE: This sucks
By JS on 2/28/2008 7:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
I like the interface of Office 2007, and I am somebody.


RE: This sucks
By robinthakur on 2/29/2008 5:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
The word on the street is that for Office 14 beta the interface has been removed. Tellingly the program in the suite which is most important to MS, Outlook, doesn't have the new interface because it was decided at high levels not to change it because umm...it just worked. The reaction to the new ribbon has been good from Microsoft Employees only and lord love 'em they've been trying like mad to convince people that its better and that only experienced computer bods dislike it. This is clearly not the case and take-up has been EXTREMELY slow as a result of high levels of fear from company training departments. A shamne really as much of their product intregration depends on having Office 2007 (such as the SharePoint 2007 strategy)


RE: This sucks
By Proteusza on 2/29/2008 5:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
They should update the MS knowledge base article to point people to the Ubuntu Server download page.

It works, its free, and its good.

In general, I do find MS servers a lot easier to administrate than Linux ones, but in this case MS really dropped the ball - if I owned a home server, I would put Linux on it at least until MS fixed the bug.


So..
By FITCamaro on 2/28/2008 1:05:29 PM , Rating: 1
Is the problem mostly related to the "Drive Extender" feature? If so can't you just turn it off so your drives don't appear as one big one?

Honestly my video server is just running MCE2005.




RE: So..
By bldckstark on 2/28/2008 1:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
The drive extender feature is not something that can be disabled. If you add another hard drive, it just gets added to the available storage pool. Heck, you can't even see the separate drives in My Computer.


RE: So..
By PAPutzback on 2/28/2008 1:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't add it automatically you have to tell it to. I am pretty sure you can log in remotely and make it a seperate volume. Which IMO is a better way to handle the non duplicated data or data that you don't want shared via the web interface but shared as a volume that can be mapped.


RE: So..
By PAPutzback on 2/28/2008 1:11:41 PM , Rating: 3
Well that is one major key feature of WHS. Unless you are technichally inclined and can figure out webguide and the photo addon for working with the IIS that is included.

Of course OpaqueBubble will say this in an attack on MS and deny that a serious problem exists. This O.S. is crippled, broke or should still be considered beta IMO.


RE: So..
By Shark Tek on 2/28/2008 1:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
Just turn it off and wait for a fix.

My repository @ home is a Win2K3 in a small box with 500GB, 1Gb of Ram and a Sempron 3000+ (socket 754) in a mATX mobo.
I also added a virtual Smoothwall Firewall in that same box running on top of VMware Server.

With this I can do many of the features of WHS like remote access via OpenVPN and/or use FTP, HTTP or Subsonic for streaming music in the internet.
The only missing feauture that I will love to have is the automatic backup of the windows machine. But I can do that with Acronis Workstation Edition.


Multiple HD's?
By bldckstark on 2/28/2008 1:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
Who has multiple HDD's in WHS and doesn't enable folder duplication? That would indicate that the server is not being used as it was intended. I have several folders that are not duplicated, but all of the users folders are, as well as the huge photo folder.




RE: Multiple HD's?
By PAPutzback on 2/28/2008 1:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
The only folder I had duplicated were pictures and music. I don't need to duplicate tv recordings at the current expense of HDDs.

The server has many more intended features than folder duplication. Network backups, remote access to local pcs and remote access to files are equally important features.


Raid1
By Alphafox78 on 2/28/2008 1:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
I get the folder duplication thing with multiple drives, but hasnt raid1 mirroring been around just a little bit longer and proven itself as reliable? I know there are other good features of WHS, but if you dont want JUST a server why not setup a MCE with a Raid1 setup... this is what I have, seems to work good for me!




RE: Raid1
By blaster5k on 2/28/2008 4:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
RAID setups generally don't handle adding and removing drives very well. I suppose with RAID1 you could add two drives at a time, but I'm not sure how you'd give the new drives the same mount point. I guess you'd have to manually decide which drive set certain stuff gets put on. If you've got a RAID5 setup, that has all kinds of headaches.

WHS duplication is sort of like RAID, but it's done in software and allows for easy insertion/removal of drives. And when you add new drives, they're still attached to the same mount point.

You don't get the same drive space efficiency that you get with RAID5's parity though, but that's a small price to pay I think.


Now that's a lovely pic
By eye smite on 2/28/2008 1:33:03 PM , Rating: 4
With that pic of Balmer, I have to post his audition for the next planet of the apes....sorry. lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHCRimwRGLs




By bigjoesmith on 2/28/2008 3:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, if users use folder duplication on their multiple drive setup the risk is elminated. Thus the vulnerable population consists of multi-HD users not implementing folder duplication, still a substantial portion of users.

Important correction: Using folder duplication does NOT elimnate the data corruption problem. There was, for a time, the suggestion that turning duplication OFF eliminated the problem, but that has been proven false. The corruption problem can occur on any WHS system with multiple drives, regardless of whether duplication is ON or OFF.




By blaster5k on 2/28/2008 5:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the article needs to be updated. Nowhere does it say that having duplication on with multiple drives avoids the issue.


oooh ahhh
By omnicronx on 2/28/2008 4:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft now states that the problem appears to be triggered by the saving of "alternate data streams" by programs, which is incompatible with the "Drive Extender" method which WHS uses to make multiple physical hard drives appear like a single hard disk.
This has been known since the beta, and it was all over the forums, I wonder why it took this long for Microsoft to come out and say what the problem really was.




Bad News about Microsoft
By mankopi on 2/28/08, Rating: -1
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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