Windows Home Server–recovering files on ‘missing drive’

So my Windows Home Server has well and truly died, its reporting that one of the four drives is ‘missing’, the result being that a large portion of my data can be browsed through the directories on the shares but those files cannot be copied or opened. Closer inspection shows not only is the drive not missing but its working just fine. This leads me to believe that WHS has somehow un-mounted the drive or lost track of it, either way its pretty serious loosing a chunk of my data. I’ve had many attempts to repair the drive, check disk attempts as per the documentation but all have failed sadly.

My WHS, like most peoples I’m sure, holds lot of digital memories which I really don’t want to lose. So I decided to take matters into my own hands to see if I can find the data (photo’s, videos, etc) that had been stored on the ‘missing drive’ and recover it to my new NetGear NAS drive.

So this is a bit of a pain, but it seems to have worked and allowed me to recover my data. I removed the ‘missing drive’ from the WHS and mounted it in a stand alone USB drive caddy which I connected as a standard USB drive. At this point you can simply explore the file system. WHS keeps all the data on your shares in $\DE\shares, fortunately the data is stored as normal files (no replacement of file names with GUIDs etc I’m glad to say). WHS seems to shard the files across the multiple drives mounted in the same directory structure, so unfortunately you have to follow this process for all the drives in order to recover all the data – but that’s better than losing your data! Regardless, at this point I used RoboCopy to copy any missing data off WHS onto my new NAS drive.

It would be nice if Microsoft documented how the data was laid out across the individual drives for the catastrophic failure recovery scenario – it would have saved me multiple attempts to repair WHS which is extremely time consuming, regardless I’m very happy I’ve managed to recover my data!

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~ by kevinsmi on July 23, 2012.

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