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Delayed Write Failed errors


brwd09
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My home built WHS has become unusable. I hope that someone can help me to get it back, and save my data.

 

The machine has a 2.0gb Intel Celeron processor, 2 gig of Ram and 5 drives totaling a little over 2 TB (160 gig, 2x250 gig, 500 gig, and 1 TB). I have around 800 gig of data stored on the server. The 160 gig drive is the system drive and is also a part of the drive pool. I am using CrashPlan to back up some of the data to a 500 gig drive that I have placed in my brother's computer.

 

A few months ago (I don't remember exactly when) I started to see Delayed Write Failed error messages on the server. I did not see that any data was actually lost so I was not sure what the error meant and did nothing about it. Around the same time I was beginning to see some problems with the server backing up my main desktop. However, it would complete a manual backup and would then be successful again the next night, so again I did not take any action to fix anything since I could find nothing to fix.

 

Originally I was backing up via CrashPlan just my pictures folder which worked fine. I did decide to backup more data (all of the user files and the Music folder) since I was seeing problems with the server. In addition, my college daughter dropped about 50 gig off of her laptop into her user folder which means CrashPlan is trying to backup a total of 108 gig at the same time that DE is trying to move data around. This is pegging my CPU at 100% for days on end.

 

The Delayed Write Failed errors are now constant. They are to the point that the server does not seem to be able to do anything else. A couple of times I have been able to get them all cleared (each one takes anywhwere from 1 - 10 minutes for the server to respond and actually update the screen) to the point that I could do something else on the machine. Since the CrashPlan backup will take several weeks to complete I decided to try removing my 1 TB drive from the pool and copy all of my shares to it to protect them. DE started to remove the drive and I am now getting a constant stream of errors. The errors crashed CrashPlan. I am not sure if DE is still removing the drive (that window is still there, but with errors over it). I have spent the past 3 hours clearing the Delayed Write Failed errors and they are still coming.

 

I have looked up this error, but what MS says that this is does not seem to make sense to me. The machine ran fine for over a year before they started to come, so i do not see how I could have the wrong cable installed.

 

Can anyone give me any advice on how to resolve this and get my server back?

 

Thanks ahead of time for your help.

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Sure sounds like an HDD problem. Have you tried a new cable? What does SMART say? As a quick workaround, you might disable disk caching until you can successfully remove a drive from the pool.

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Sure sounds like an HDD problem. Have you tried a new cable? What does SMART say? As a quick workaround, you might disable disk caching until you can successfully remove a drive from the pool.

I have not tried changing the IDE cables since I built the box a couple of years ago. I suppose a cable could go bad, but there is no indication which one is bad if it is a cable issue.

 

I have given up on trying to complete the process of removing the 1 TB drive. It had barely started and I am hoping that I don't loose any data, but the most important stuff, our picture are all safely backed up at my brother's house via CrashPlan. I have started to run SpinRite level 4 on my 1 TB drive. It is 7% done now with about 36 hours to go. I have run it on my system drive (the 160 GB drive) a couple of times over the past few months so it should be good. I think I will take the time to run it on all of the other drives as well before I start up on WHS again.

 

The WHS console and the SMART add-in both indicated that all of my drives were healthy the last time I was able to look. that was a few days ago when I was noticing that the server seemed to be locking up a lot. That turned out to be the server becoming I/O bound while drive indexing was running. At the same time CrashPlan was trying to backup all of the new data that I have asked it to back up.

 

You may be right and it may be a failing hard drive. But could it be something else failing, like possibly the mother board (more specifically the IDE interface or maybe my SATA adapter card)? Or could it be lack of RAM (but 2 gig has been fine until now)? I am just wondering what to look at next if SpinRite does not fix everything for me. Hopefully I will have a nice t4stimonial to send in to the Security Now! podcast!

 

I will let SpinRite run over all of my drive and then see what happens. Hopefully by next weekend I will have an answer as to whether that resolves the problems or not. I will post back here what happens.

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Sounds like you have a few things going on here. High CPU usage, Delayed Write Failure, and Crash Plan working hard to back up your daughter's files. Do you have Duplication turned on? Demigrator can really hog system resources. If you are using dup, you have two alternatives to what's going on now. Either suspend Crash Plan until demigrator settles down, or suspend demigrator until Crash Plan finishes its tasks.

 

Regarding Delayed Write Failure: You could replace your PATA cables with new 80-pin cables. It's not lack of RAM, or maybe I should say that I doubt it. But if you have any other suspicions about RAM, run memtest for a few hours. Also, you could try disabling Write caching on each of your hard drives to see if the error goes away.

 

So can you check out what processes are driving CPU usage?

 

You mentioned the SMART addin. What other addins are you running? Look to see if any addins are driving CPU usage. Some addins use a fair amount of system resources.

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You might want to run a check disk at boot and see if it finds anything. Are you getting any errors in the console related to specific files? I had a drive go bad and SMART didn't point it out right away, but I kept getting corrupt files. Took me a while to determine which drive was causing the problem.

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Sounds like you have a few things going on here. High CPU usage, Delayed Write Failure, and Crash Plan working hard to back up your daughter's files. Do you have Duplication turned on? Demigrator can really hog system resources. If you are using dup, you have two alternatives to what's going on now. Either suspend Crash Plan until demigrator settles down, or suspend demigrator until Crash Plan finishes its tasks.

 

Regarding Delayed Write Failure: You could replace your PATA cables with new 80-pin cables. It's not lack of RAM, or maybe I should say that I doubt it. But if you have any other suspicions about RAM, run memtest for a few hours. Also, you could try disabling Write caching on each of your hard drives to see if the error goes away.

 

So can you check out what processes are driving CPU usage?

 

You mentioned the SMART addin. What other addins are you running? Look to see if any addins are driving CPU usage. Some addins use a fair amount of system resources.

 

All that was running when I was having all of these problems was CrashPlan and indexing. They were both pulling about the same amount of CPU according to Task Manager. I tried to make indexing snooze but that did not seem to help. I am running SpinRite on it right now (about 5 hours left on the 1 TB drive). I think that I will run it on my 500 GB SATA drive nmext before I try to boot up the WHS to see how it runs.

 

As for addins, all I am running is SMART, the addin app store (can't remember the real name oif this one) and Conflict Resolver. I have found that I never use anything else and don't really see anything else that is of much interest to me. At least there isn't anything interesting until I finally build a media center machine that I will hook to my TV.

 

And this may be a basic question, but I assume that PATA stands for Parallel ATA. Is that different then SATA which I thought meant Serial ATA? I assumke that you are talking about the red cable that connects my SATA drive to the mother board. How do I know if the cable is 40 or 80 pin? This may actually be the problem as I don't recall having the Delayed write Failed errors prior to adding SATA drives to the box. I have not had SATA drives until fairly recently (maybe the last year or so). I have always been using recycled older gear and have always had IDE drives (I still have 3 of them in this box).

 

Thanks for all of your help.

 

You might want to run a check disk at boot and see if it finds anything. Are you getting any errors in the console related to specific files? I had a drive go bad and SMART didn't point it out right away, but I kept getting corrupt files. Took me a while to determine which drive was causing the problem.

 

Thanks for the idea. I am running SpinRite on my drives right now which will take a while to complete. I can try your idea after that if this does not turn up any problems.

 

How were you able to figure out which of your drives had failed? Have you done anything to lable them in some way so that the WHS console can indicate which drive cooresponds to which physical location? If you have any ideas there I would be interested in hearing them.

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And this may be a basic question, but I assume that PATA stands for Parallel ATA. Is that different then SATA which I thought meant Serial ATA? I assume that you are talking about the red cable that connects my SATA drive to the mother board. How do I know if the cable is 40 or 80 pin? This may actually be the problem as I don't recall having the Delayed write Failed errors prior to adding SATA drives to the box. I have not had SATA drives until fairly recently (maybe the last year or so). I have always been using recycled older gear and have always had IDE drives (I still have 3 of them in this box).

 

You are correct. PATA is Parallel ATA. Differences between SATA and PATA include a number of things. SATA is hot-swappable, requires no jumpering for Master/Slave/Cable Select, and has transfer speeds up to 600 Mb/s. For more information, Google "What's the difference between SATA and PATA".

 

No, I'm not talkin about the red cable. I'm talking about the flat (usually gray) ribbon cable between your HDD and your motherboard. The one where you can actually see and count wires.

 

How you tell if the PATA (IDE) cable is 80-pin? Actually, I misspoke. Sorry about that. I should have said 80-wire. Both 40-wire and 80-wire cables have 40-pin connectors. The extra 40 wires of an 80-wire cable are there to "reduce the effects of capacitive coupling between neighboring signal wires, reducing crosstalk". (Quote taken from Wiki article on Parallel ATA.) Basically, the extra wires reduce signal degradation. The 80-wire will be marked 30AWG or 32AWG somewhere on the cable itself. The 40-wire is marked 28AWG. You can also start from one side and count 20 of the wires to see where that lands you. If you're in the middle of the cable, it's a 40-wire. A quarter of the way across would be an 80-wire.

 

If you think the PATA drives are linked to the problem, try replacing those cables as well. I usually keep extra cables handy just for this purpose.

 

Keep us posted, especially if SpinRite actually fixes the problem. I'd be curious to hear about it.

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You are correct. PATA is Parallel ATA. Differences between SATA and PATA include a number of things. SATA is hot-swappable, requires no jumpering for Master/Slave/Cable Select, and has transfer speeds up to 600 Mb/s. For more information, Google "What's the difference between SATA and PATA".

 

No, I'm not talkin about the red cable. I'm talking about the flat (usually gray) ribbon cable between your HDD and your motherboard. The one where you can actually see and count wires.

 

How you tell if the PATA (IDE) cable is 80-pin? Actually, I misspoke. Sorry about that. I should have said 80-wire. Both 40-wire and 80-wire cables have 40-pin connectors. The extra 40 wires of an 80-wire cable are there to "reduce the effects of capacitive coupling between neighboring signal wires, reducing crosstalk". (Quote taken from Wiki article on Parallel ATA.) Basically, the extra wires reduce signal degradation. The 80-wire will be marked 30AWG or 32AWG somewhere on the cable itself. The 40-wire is marked 28AWG. You can also start from one side and count 20 of the wires to see where that lands you. If you're in the middle of the cable, it's a 40-wire. A quarter of the way across would be an 80-wire.

 

If you think the PATA drives are linked to the problem, try replacing those cables as well. I usually keep extra cables handy just for this purpose.

 

Keep us posted, especially if SpinRite actually fixes the problem. I'd be curious to hear about it.

 

Well, things are not going so well. I ran SpinRite on level 4 on my 4 system drives (2 SATA and 2 IDE). I did not run it on my system drive since I have done that nopt that long ago. This took almost a week to complete and finally finished late last night. I restarted the sever this morning and it seemed to be working OK so i started to remove my 1TB data drive before I left for church. By the time I got home the server was locked up again with Delayed Write Failed errors. I spent almost an hour trying to clear them before I gave up and shut it down.

 

I opened the box to check the cables. the one on the system drive was the correct type, so i replaced the one on the 2 IDE data drives so I am sure now that I have the correct 80-wire cables on those drives. However, this did not fix the problem either. Within 10 minutes of restarting the server again I started to get the Delayed Write Failed errors again.

 

So, I am now running SpinRite on level 4 on the system drive which is a 160 Gig IDE drive. SpinRite is showing a lot of ecc and seek errors on this drive, but it is not indicating any write errors or bad sectors. One of the data drive had the same thing earlier.

 

So, I am not sure what to do next. I am trying to get my data off of the server so that I can rebuild it. But I am not able to get the server to run long enought ot remove a drive or to be able to connect with it long enough to copy my data off. Can anyone give me any advice on how to get the data off of this server? Is there a way to pull the drives with the data on them and recover it? Since DE moves it around between drives I have no idea what might be where. I had duplication turned on on somne folders earlier. I turned it off when I started having all of these poroblems, but I don't know if DE got a chance to clean things up yet.

 

Also, is there a way to pull the system drive and replace it with something else? Or do i need to blow the whoe things away and start from scratch? I hate that I can not remove the system drive, and that it is simply one drive within the pool. I would have much prefered to have been able to segregate the physical drive as the saystem drive and not put any data onto it to protect from just this type of problem.

 

Anyway, any advice that anyone can give will be appreciated. I am also going to start a couple of more posts asking other questions about backups, virtualization, user "My Documents" folders (libraries?) and the use of Honmegroups with WHS. Please take a look at them when I get them out and let me know what I can do with those things as well.

 

thanks for your help.

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You can always pull the system drive, put it in another computer, and then pull the share data off of it.

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Did you ever disable disk caching on your drives? Are you using a SATA card in your setup? What AJ said is definitely an option. If you have room on your desktop, dump the files to it.

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