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Failing Server.....again


brwd09
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I hope that someone can give me some advice. My homebuild WHS is failing again. I posted a few weeks ago about multiple Delayed write Failed errors that I was getting. In the past few days I thought that I had finally resolved that problem and had my server back, but I don't.

 

First, let me tell you what I have done up to this point. I appologize ahead of time for the length that this will likely be.

 

With the Delayed write Failed errors I checked to ensure that I had the correct style of IDE cables which I do. I ran SpinRite on all of my drive. It did not indicate any problems. The S.M.A.R.T addin did indicate that my system drive had a couple of errors, but it did not indicate an imenant failure. However, I concluded that my problem was probably that the system drive had enough errors to cause the Delayed Write Failed errors. Those error messages all indicated that it was not able to write to the C:\fs\* folder (this path may not be exact). I thought that since this is where DE writes its index of where files are stored that it woudl make sense for problems on that disk location would cause the server to freeze up with those errors.

 

So, I had to get me data off the server to a safe location so that i could shut down the server, pull the system drive and rebuild the server with a clean install of WHS v1. Nothing that I tried, for several days, woudl let me pull my data off. i could not run the server since it would freeze up within a couple of minutes of booting up. I tried to put my new 2 TB drive (I have about 1.5 TB of data) into a desktop, boot the sever box from a Ubuntu live CD, and then mount the new drive to copy the data off. I was never able to successfully mount that drive since windows 7 wanted a user name and password but would never accept any that I use. So, I finaly put the new drive into the server box, booted to Ubuntu and mounted the drive that way. this allowed me to eventually copy all of my data to the new drive.

 

Next I shut it all down and pulled the system drive. I disconnected all of my SATA drives (there are 2 plus the new drive) and attempted to install the OS to one of my 250GB IDE drives. I had to swap my DVD drive as well since v1 apparently dos not like SATA DVD drives. But I was able to build a new server. I installed all of the updates and added back all of my drives to the pool.

 

So I am now sitting with a rebuilt server with no data. I put the new drive into the box and began to copy data from it to the new shares. This worked OK for a while, but then I had the server lock up a couple of times. However, there was not error message, and no mouse pointer, it would simply freeze up such that it would not respond to any input. I could not even get the monitor to wake up if I had been away from it for a while to let it copy data.

 

That gets me to this morning. I had left it copying data last night. This morning it was frozen. I rebooted, and it froze druing me logging in as Adminstrator. I rebooted again and let it sit. It froze again, but I left it sit. After a while it popped up a Delayed Write Failed error again so I shut it down and went to work. This after noon I tried booting it and again got Delayed Write Failed errors.

 

Has anyone else seen this error? Does anyone have any ideas for me? What else besides a failing drive could cause this error or cause the machine to freeze like it is doing? I have checked the power supply and it tested fine. It is 500 watts with 5 hard drive which I think is plenty big.

 

The server is fairly low power (2 gHz Celeron with 2 GB ram). I use it mainly for storage. I run very few addins. I don't stream from it (but I might want to in the future), it mostly just sits there and stores data for me. It does (or actually did) also backup some of my data to by brother's PC via CrashPlan. that has not been running since this all started several weeks ago.

 

What should I do now? Should I give up on WHS and just buy a Drobo or simply a large external drive? Or maybe use this box to build an unRAID server? At this pont I am not sure if WHS is worth the hassel? Or is my problem related to the old motherboard and CPU? But I have been using it because I don't think that I really need a powerful machine to sit and store data; do I?

 

Thanks for the help.

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Wow, this is an interesting one. My gut tells me to replace that mobo but I guess there are some troubleshooting tests you could do beforehand.

Memtestx86 run clean? (running this just makes me feel better, eliminates ghost problems)

IDE Cable swap?

Install OS on a new hard drive?

Is it possible to install the OS on a SATA drive and stay away from the IDE channel? Although they may be handled by the same chipset. Have to get a BYOB'r in here for clarification on that.

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Have you run a Memory test? After all you have done, you really need to start at the bottom of the food chain so to speak. The RAM may be just good enough to allow a boot but not much more.

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This is really sounding like either a memory or heat issue to me. How long has the celly been installed; or more specifically, how long has the HSF been onnthat celeron? Dried up thermal paste or an old pad could lead ro increased temps under even mild load. You could track that even in BIOS to see. But I'm tending to lead to memory right now as well. After that, might want to check IDE cables as Dave said.

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I thought it was a requirement of WHSv1 to have at least the first drive be a SATA drive. Where is this IDE coming into play?

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Wow, this is an interesting one. My gut tells me to replace that mobo but I guess there are some troubleshooting tests you could do beforehand.

Memtestx86 run clean? (running this just makes me feel better, eliminates ghost problems)

IDE Cable swap?

Install OS on a new hard drive?

Is it possible to install the OS on a SATA drive and stay away from the IDE channel? Although they may be handled by the same chipset. Have to get a BYOB'r in here for clarification on that.

 

The only memory test that I have done is what is done during boot up by the bios. I will download and run Memtestx86 tonight and see what it turns up.

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This is really sounding like either a memory or heat issue to me. How long has the celly been installed; or more specifically, how long has the HSF been onnthat celeron? Dried up thermal paste or an old pad could lead ro increased temps under even mild load. You could track that even in BIOS to see. But I'm tending to lead to memory right now as well. After that, might want to check IDE cables as Dave said.

 

I had not thought about temprature issues since the freezeups are happening event after the machine has been sitting off all day, and then booted. So I would not think that it is running hot already when it has only been turned on for a couple of minutes. However there may be damage from before caused by heat that is causing this problem. This CPU has been on this board since I got it back in the day when these were new (10 years ago mabe?). So the paste could very well be dried out. How would I track the CPU temp in bios?

 

What do you think, is it worth trying to continue to use this board and CPU? Or is it time to move on. I just hate to have to spend several hundered dollars to replace it if I don't have to.

 

As for the cables, I did just put "new" cables into this box on my IDE drives. These are the best cables that I have.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

I thought it was a requirement of WHSv1 to have at least the first drive be a SATA drive. Where is this IDE coming into play?

 

I have always had an IDE drive as the system drive. In fact, I think that I originally built the machine with only IDE drive. Also, it would not install from a SATA DVD, I had to swap that out with an IDE DVD to get it to install correctly. Maybe WHS2011 requires SATA drives. That would make some sense.

 

One other thing. The SATA drives that I have are connected to SATA cards (one 2 port and one single port) since by mobo has only IDE. Is that asking for problems? However, my original problem which started all of this happened when there was only a single SATA card in the box; the 2 port card. It ran that way for several monthis, if not more then a year, with no issues.

 

thanks for your help.

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Yes as said check ram if that is ok, try ruining it with just one harddrive perhaps see if that give you problems if it dose reinstall on a different as dave said with sata in stead of IDE to ensure it is not your cable of or port on the motherboard.If you are still having issues it is likely something else. Then I would try replacing the power supply as you said it is more then powerful enough but power supplies do often have problems with providing the correct voltage, and this dose often happen with time, actually maybe you should try changing the power supply before doing all the work with the harddisks. If you don't have a spare one laying around, it might be worth just trying it out with one that is working in a different computer hoping that means it provides the right volts. Oh and before doing anything else go to the bios and disable anything that you do not need on it if you have not done that before. Since you have been running for a while I would not think it would be heat except if the fan has gotten a hole lot of dust on it.

 

If none of this works you need to look at alternative cpu, motherbord. This could mean it will crash during boot and that you need to do fresh install of windows home server and not just a reinstall as you normally would be able to do.

 

Hope this can help and good luck hope you have spare part too if needed. I have run in to several problems of similar nature to yours, often due to me ruing on old hardware or messing with the setup but it can work just fine WHS that is, when you where talking about going with a different solution.

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I had not thought about temprature issues since the freezeups are happening event after the machine has been sitting off all day, and then booted. So I would not think that it is running hot already when it has only been turned on for a couple of minutes. However there may be damage from before caused by heat that is causing this problem. This CPU has been on this board since I got it back in the day when these were new (10 years ago mabe?). So the paste could very well be dried out. How would I track the CPU temp in bios?

 

What do you think, is it worth trying to continue to use this board and CPU? Or is it time to move on. I just hate to have to spend several hundered dollars to replace it if I don't have to.

 

As for the cables, I did just put "new" cables into this box on my IDE drives. These are the best cables that I have.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

 

 

I have always had an IDE drive as the system drive. In fact, I think that I originally built the machine with only IDE drive. Also, it would not install from a SATA DVD, I had to swap that out with an IDE DVD to get it to install correctly. Maybe WHS2011 requires SATA drives. That would make some sense.

 

One other thing. The SATA drives that I have are connected to SATA cards (one 2 port and one single port) since by mobo has only IDE. Is that asking for problems? However, my original problem which started all of this happened when there was only a single SATA card in the box; the 2 port card. It ran that way for several monthis, if not more then a year, with no issues.

 

thanks for your help.

 

 

My suggestion based on the age, is to replace it. I realize it is a harse approach but to me it sounds like a definite hardware failure. Even it fails memtest, it does not necessarily mean the MB is still good as the it could be the memory controller. You can reseat the memory to see if that helps but ultimately you will end going back and forth. For a system that age and the value it adds to you, find a low cost replacement and replace the CPU/Memory/MB. In my opinion it is not worth repairing especially since I assume you rely on the data and count on some worry free operation. Just my two cents.

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