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HP Guidance for MediaSmart Server Customers on Data Corruption Bug

An obscure, but particularly nasty bug  was highlighted in Windows Home Server’s Drive Extender technology in December [1, 2], that in some cases could corrupt files on the home server that were being edited in certain applications. The Microsoft Knowledge Base article communicating the bug was updated this week, bizarrely removing a lot of the background on context around the bug that had been previously posted. Another interesting aspect of the KB update, is that it now states an original publication date of April 3, 2007 so perhaps Microsoft have known about the bug for some time.

HP got in touch with us overnight with a statement for MediaSmart Server customers – as many of you will be aware, OEMs are duty-bound as part of their license agreements with Microsoft to manage customer support for Home Servers (if you’ve built your own, you have to do your own support!). This guidance will be published over at hp.com in the next few days.

The guidance reiterates advice previously given not to edit files on your home server directly on a home computer – HP however extend this advice to all applications, not just the ones noted in the KB article. There is also an expectation in there that Microsoft will have a fix available “in the coming weeks”.

Our advice is to go a little further than this, and to ensure your shared folders are regularly backed up to an external USB hard drive as part of your routine home server usage. In the standard RTM edition of Windows Home Server, this can be achieved through copying the files over to the hard drive in Windows Explorer. WHS Power Pack 1 will make the task easier through a wizard in the WHS Console.

Here’s the statement from HP:

On December 21st, Microsoft announced that in some situations, customers could experience data corruption/loss when using Windows Home Server. While this issue occurs only during specific simultaneous combinations of activities under specific circumstances, HP and Microsoft are taking this issue very seriously. MS is working hard on a fix, and HP will make sure that this fix gets pushed to all MediaSmart Server owners through the automated software update mechanism. We will also communicate additional information updates to our user base through MediaSmart user communities and Home Sever blogs.

MS is now able to reproduce the problem, and we expect that the fix will be tested and delivered in the coming weeks.

Here are a couple key things to be aware of:

  • If you are operating the HP MediaSmart Server with a single HDD, then this issue should not impact you.
  • This issue does not impact the data on the server from PC backups. You can continue to be confident in your automatic PC backups.

Until the final fix is available, HP is making the following suggestions to current multi-Hard Disk Drive MediaSmart Server owners:

  • You should not directly open and/or edit files that are stored on the MediaSmart Server while doing any other activity such as large data transfers or media streaming. If you are doing a large data transfer or streaming and need to edit a file on the server, you should first copy the file over to a PC and then open it for editing.
  • There are a few key applications that Microsoft has identified that can cause this issue when files are opened and edited directly from the server. However to be safe, HP recommends that you not open/edit files directly from the server until this fix is delivered.
  • A known list of offending applications can be found on the URL below.
  • HP recommends that frequently-edited and frequently-opened files be stored on both your PC drives and the server until a fix to this issue has been delivered.

More background information can be found on Microsoft’s support site on the following link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946676/en-us

WHS, Windows Home Server, Bug, Data, Corruption, KB Article, HP, MediaSmart Server, MediaSmart, Guide, Guidance, Microsoft, EX470, EX475, Extender, Fix, Knowledgebase, Media, Server

Source:→ WGS Blog

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