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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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RE: HP's Home Server Includes the OS
By mcnabney on 12/28/2007 3:22:26 PM , Rating: 3
That is in fact exactly what you should be doing. The point is to make all files available and versions synchronized. The server is not a backup, it is a server. The way it uses multiple hard drives provides backup. If you just want a backup device, get a NAS or a USB drive. This silly thing is based on Server 2003 so one of the core functions is reading and saving to.
But I guess that depends what your definition of 'is' is.

For example, I am editing video. I would not want to have to copy it back and forth to my local computer. I would instead manipulate it on the server and avoid making needless copies of the same file.

RE: HP's Home Server Includes the OS
By kkwst2 on 12/28/2007 6:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well, a file share can be implemented different ways. Often you have a local copy of the file that whenever you save that local copy, the file share sees the change and synchronizes it to the server. Other clients can then see that change and sync to the server. If another client has also changed the file, then some kind of reconciliation is done, often keeping both copies and changing the name of one. If you are allowed to edit the file directly, then usually only one user can edit the file at the same time and the file is locked as read only to other users. I don't know how it's implemented in WHS, but would prefer the former.

As I mentioned in my post, I'm not sure exactly how it's implemented. But my interpretation was that the problem was if you directly edited the server copy instead of the local copy. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the nature of the bug.

It seems to me that if you're editing video, you would want to modify a local copy and then sync it at the end, rather than keep saving it to the server. Either way, you're "copying it back and forth", but by editing it on the server, you're doing it multiple times instead of once.

By mcnabney on 12/28/2007 11:24:12 PM , Rating: 2
No, that is not how a server works. Being able to synchronize files is nice and all, but it really isn't a server function. It is a backup function.

The entire WHS platform is designed to hold lots of drives. This is where you dump all your pictures, your videos, and everything else people accumulate. This holds the gigabytes in one place so you don't have to buy extra hard disks for all of your computers to hold the terabyte of stuff you have accumulated. In that case the WHS is the primary location of this data and will be directly accessed from the various desktops. Why do you think gigabit Ethernet is supported?

RE: HP's Home Server Includes the OS
By mindless1 on 12/29/2007 12:28:46 AM , Rating: 2
No, by editing from the sever you read once, write once. By editing a local copy you read twice,write twice (one read and write to server and one locally).

I feel you shouldl give up on the idea that others are supposed to do things the way you think they should particularly when they had done so fine without this massive flaw in one product.

RE: HP's Home Server Includes the OS
By kkwst2 on 12/29/2007 1:04:23 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't say anything about reads and write, I was talking about transfers to the server which might be reduced by utilizing local files, depending on how it is implemented. By saving a video file to the server, the file is getting transferred across the network each time you save.

For big files, that could get slow depending on network speed and traffic.

I'm wasn't really suggesting that others do things like I think, just suggesting how WHS might be intended to be used. I was admittedly somewhat myopic in my original post. It might not be a big deal for how I want to use WHS, but might be for others.

I was originally trying to figure out if the problem was really as I understood, which would not preclude ME from buying it given my intended usage. Understood that others may desire a more traditional file server behavior.

RE: HP's Home Server Includes the OS
By mindless1 on 12/29/2007 1:17:17 AM , Rating: 2
For multipass editing, yes it would reduce network utilization to keep a temporary copy locally. Beyond this, either way the same amount of data has to pass to and from the server in a typical edit-once, save-once scenario most often seen. In a business environment we might consider the impact on network bandwidth but in a home environment it is seldom an issue.

RE: HP's Home Server Includes the OS
By JAB on 12/30/2007 6:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Think about this kkwst2. You are saying a file server doesnt have to handle files without corruption. That is its main job though.

Sorry but if you are paying this much for something just to handle files it should do its job.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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