Mailbag 25th October 2010

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USB 3.0 Hard Drives Going Missing in Windows Home Server

Ronald Asks:

I just installed a two-port USB 3.0 card in my WHS. Driver installed fine, and at first all drives worked well. Then one of the two drives connected to this two-port (one drive per port) card would intermittently report as ”missing” – coming in and out, then after the drive was no longer ”missing” there were file conflicts.

I tried restarting the machine several times – always with the same result. (OK at first, then this one drive would intermittently report as ”missing”, then there would be file conflicts).

I decided to remote into the machine (it is headless) and see if I could check and repair the D: drive. I right clicked on that D: drive, pulled up the error checking tool, told it to try to fix everything, and then restated the system. That was only a half hour ago, and with the 8 TB of space I’ve got I assume that this process could take some time, but not having a keyboard or a monitor on the machine I don’t know how it’s going. Should I be concerned?

This sounds like you may have a faulty USB Hard Drive, USB 3.0 Card or USB Cable. The reason you are getting file conflicts is because Windows Home Server starts to move data over to new drives once added for file replication (that is if you have file replication turned on).

When a hard drive keeps dropping out during data transfer, you will inevitably get corrupted data if it drops out enough/often. My advice would be, find the problem first, such as above, and then you need to do a CHKDSK which it sounds like you may have already done. CHKDSK can take a long time on a big drive, more so because you have told it to check every sector of the drive and make sure the data is ok, if not recover it, this is fine but Windows Home Server sees the D drive as all the drives put together, which basically means your 8TB of storage will all be CHKDSK’d.

You shouldn’t get any issues from doing a CHKDSK, although it will take hours to do the amount of storage you currently have. If after this CHKDSK has completed and there are still problems, remove the drive from the WHS console and then do a CHKDSK on a separate machine on the drive and make sure that comes back ok, only when you are sure the errors have been eradicated should you re-add the drive to the WHS console.

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Matthew Glover
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