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Microsoft issues a dire warning that its Home Server product may irreversibly damage pictures, torrents, and other files

Microsoft just announced a big bug that many users of its Windows Home Server users may wish to take note of.  Microsoft warned users not to edit files stored on their Windows Home Servers.  Editing and saving files on a home computer connected to Windows Home Server can lead to data corruption within a week it has been discovered.

Microsoft describes the problem, stating, "When you use certain programs to edit files on a home computer that uses Windows Home Server, the files may become corrupted when you save them to the home server. Several people have reported issues after they have used the following programs to save files to their home servers."

Microsoft details that the following file types are among those affected:

  • Photos
  • Office Outlook files (2007)
  • Office OneNote files (2003/2007)
  • Microsoft Money files
  • Quicken files
  • QuickBooks files
  • Torrent files

Microsoft has not yet announced a concrete schedule for the release of a patch to fix the problem.  It blames the current bug on an internal glitch with Windows Home Servers' shared folders code.  Microsoft is currently trying to reproduce the bug and better understand it.

An anonymous blog was posted on Microsoft's developers pages stating that Microsoft's Windows Home Server Team is working full-time through the holidays to try to fix the problem, so obviously it is a relatively significant issue.

Windows has aggressively tried to market its Home Server products and grow a business in consumer backup storage.  The Windows Home Server software retails for $189.99, while a number of partners produce the physical hardware.  Among these is the HP 500GB EX470, which retails for $599.99. 

So for a total of about $790 you can have a working home server set up for backup operations -- you just probably don't want to back up your pictures, emails, or torrent files on it for now.

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This is important, but not as big as you make it
By BPB on 12/28/2007 1:50:59 PM , Rating: 0
The problem only occurs when editing data on the server and saving it there. My gut says most users of this product will not be doing that very often. Most people will copy from the server and edit on the PC from which they did the copy. I think WHS will be used primarily for backing up data, not storing currently used data. I know for myself, as a developer, I develop on my PC and backup to a server. I don't as a rule develop from a server. Same thing for editing photes, etc.

RE: This is important, but not as big as you make it
By mcnabney on 12/28/2007 3:30:29 PM , Rating: 5
I think the first thing that the average user will do when finding the file they want on the WHS drive is to DOUBLE CLICK IT . That means when they hit save after making changes it will be saving right back to the WHS directly. Who on earth would take the extra step of copying it to the desktop, opening/editing/saving, and copying back to the proper place on the WHS. I run gigabit ethernet at home and I always open/save directly from other computers in my home. I think 99% of users do too.

By MrDiSante on 12/29/2007 11:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't the major mitigating factor: the major mitigating factor is that your server has to be under immense load. We're talking copying 5+ gigabytes worth of stuff in 3 or more concurrent operations (what it took for mine to start killing data - sometimes) AND using one of those programs AND having bad luck AND having the file stored on the server as opposed to being a backup. I have WHS and decided to see if what Ed Bott described here was true - it is. This really ISN'T as often-occuring as they might make it seem.
Furthermore, call me paranoid, but I wouldn't store files on the server directly: WHS has a feature to be able to access the files of other users even if they're stored only as backups. Use that, far safer and less of a chance of data going missing. Just because it's used as a back-up doesn't mean that it should be your only copy of the information.

RE: This is important, but not as big as you make it
By leexgx on 12/28/2007 4:50:05 PM , Rating: 3
i guess some users do not know how to open files but know how to waste time copying files back and to then editing them,
why in the right mind or wrong mind would some do that, its not how you would edit files

even norm users would not do that

the whole idea of WHS is to use it to store files and work on them as well

if your messing with Big files yes norm better to work on them localy (WHS working with big files is poor as i have played with it)

By SmokeRngs on 12/31/2007 12:46:39 PM , Rating: 2
i guess some users do not know how to open files but know how to waste time copying files back and to then editing them,
why in the right mind or wrong mind would some do that, its not how you would edit files

Well, depending on who you talk to about me, some would say I'm in a right mind and some would say I'm in a wrong mind. I have a feeling it's all a matter of personal perception.

Anyway, I'm one of the type who has a tendency to be paranoid about data in regards to editing something. Even with small files I have a habit of making a quick backup of the file I'm going to be working on whether it's just saved under a different name or copied to another part of the drive.

In a case such as this, in most cases I would make a copy of the file from the server onto the machine I'm working on locally. That way, the backup copy is still a backup copy until I decide it is no longer needed. This is on my personal home machines. At the current time, I do not have to worry about anyone else accessing or making modifications to the files so this works out well for me.

However, if there is more than one user who is accessing the files, it would be a good idea to have a lock on the files being accessed so only one person can make changes and anyone else can only view it as read only. Data corruption in a situation such as this is unacceptable.

What some people may consider a waste of time is just security to others or in my case paranoia. I often times end up saving the local file with a new filename and copy it to the server so I still have both copies.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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