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some tidbits about SyncToy 2.1


ikon
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2 days ago I was trying to do a backup of my WHS2011 ServerFolders directory to the RAID array in my Lian-Li EX-503 external enclosure when something went seriously awry. The RoboCopy procedure started throwing "file system corrupt" and "destination not available" errors at me.

 

Sure enough, when I tried to access some of the directories manually, I couldn't. I ran CHKDSK on the drive (NTFS) and it found a pile of problems, and supposedly fixed them. However, when I tried to run the backup again, I got the same errors.

 

Rather than fool around with it any more, I decided to reformat the array and copy everything back to it (thank goodness I have so many backups of my data).

 

While contemplating the task ahead, I thought it might be interesting to try using SyncToy 2.1 instead of RoboCopy. I did a couple of quick tests and it seemed that SyncToy was faster than RoboCopy. I'm not sure why; maybe it's multi-threaded of something.

 

Anyway, SyncToy ran into a major problem. When the Preview of the copy operation was almost complete it threw an error, stating that it encountered a file with an "invalid FileTime". I wasn't sure if it was the file currently showing in the progress meter or some other file, so I created a new Folder Pair of only the directory that contained the suspect file — doing a Preview of that Folder Pair did not repeat the error.

 

So now I knew it wasn't the file being displayed. The obvious question is, "Which file is it?". I had no way of knowing, so I started doing some internet searching. I came across a thread on social.microsoft.com/forums that contained a post by a guy named ISDigital. In his post he included a URL to a utility he wrote that will search a specified directory tree for files with invalid FileTime entries.

 

I downloaded the utility and ran it on my WHS2011. It found about 30 files with invalid FileTime entries. Surprisingly, it also offered to fix them.... nice utility. I haven't checked, but I presume it uses the current time to fix the errors.

 

Anyway, after fixing the invalid FileTime entries, SyncToy no longer threw any errors. It is currently restoring all the files to my EX-503.

 

So, it appears SyncToy, besides being able to copy file and folder structures from place to place, can also inform you of inconsistencies in file entries. It's too bad it can't also fix them (that would have been a nice 'extra'), but the utility I downloaded can. You can get it here: http://www.isdigital.com/FindInvalidFileTime.zip

 

I will update this thread if I find any more interesting tidbits about SyncToy.

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2 days ago I was trying to do a backup of my WHS2011 ServerFolders directory to the RAID array in my Lian-Li EX-503 external enclosure when something went seriously awry. The RoboCopy procedure started throwing "file system corrupt" and "destination not available" errors at me.

 

Sure enough, when I tried to access some of the directories manually, I couldn't. I ran CHKDSK on the drive (NTFS) and it found a pile of problems, and supposedly fixed them. However, when I tried to run the backup again, I got the same errors.

 

Rather than fool around with it any more, I decided to reformat the array and copy everything back to it (thank goodness I have so many backups of my data).

 

While contemplating the task ahead, I thought it might be interesting to try using SyncToy 2.1 instead of RoboCopy. I did a couple of quick tests and it seemed that SyncToy was faster than RoboCopy. I'm not sure why; maybe it's multi-threaded of something.

 

Anyway, SyncToy ran into a major problem. When the Preview of the copy operation was almost complete it threw an error, stating that it encountered a file with an "invalid FileTime". I wasn't sure if it was the file currently showing in the progress meter or some other file, so I created a new Folder Pair of only the directory that contained the suspect file — doing a Preview of that Folder Pair did not repeat the error.

 

So now I knew it wasn't the file being displayed. The obvious question is, "Which file is it?". I had no way of knowing, so I started doing some internet searching. I came across a thread on social.microsoft.com/forums that contained a post by a guy named ISDigital. In his post he included a URL to a utility he wrote that will search a specified directory tree for files with invalid FileTime entries.

 

I downloaded the utility and ran it on my WHS2011. It found about 30 files with invalid FileTime entries. Surprisingly, it also offered to fix them.... nice utility. I haven't checked, but I presume it uses the current time to fix the errors.

 

Anyway, after fixing the invalid FileTime entries, SyncToy no longer threw any errors. It is currently restoring all the files to my EX-503.

 

So, it appears SyncToy, besides being able to copy file and folder structures from place to place, can also inform you of inconsistencies in file entries. It's too bad it can't also fix them (that would have been a nice 'extra'), but the utility I downloaded can. You can get it here: http://www.isdigital...lidFileTime.zip

 

I will update this thread if I find any more interesting tidbits about SyncToy.

 

Wow, good information to know and good catch. Never heard of this issue so this is a first for me. Glad you got fixed and glad you had your EX for those quick recoveries. What 2T limit... :D

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Wow, good information to know and good catch. Never heard of this issue so this is a first for me. Glad you got fixed and glad you had your EX for those quick recoveries. What 2T limit... :D

 

:D Yes, just one of the advantages of copying data to back it up rather than using a backup program.

 

BTW, got a question for you. As a fellow EX-503 owner, do you have any idea where I could get more drive 'handles' for 503s? I've run out of space with my current offsite backup solution and am thinking of using my 2nd EX-503 as a JBOD box with 2 sets of drives.

 

I would back up my data to one set of drives in the 503, take the set off site, then use a 2nd set of drives to back up the next night. Then I would rotate the drive sets each night. Only problem is, I think the drive 'handles' are required in order to support the drives in the 503. I looked at the Lian-Li website but couldn't find anything about the drive 'handles'.

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:D Yes, just one of the advantages of copying data to back it up rather than using a backup program.

 

BTW, got a question for you. As a fellow EX-503 owner, do you have any idea where I could get more drive 'handles' for 503s? I've run out of space with my current offsite backup solution and am thinking of using my 2nd EX-503 as a JBOD box with 2 sets of drives.

 

I would back up my data to one set of drives in the 503, take the set off site, then use a 2nd set of drives to back up the next night. Then I would rotate the drive sets each night. Only problem is, I think the drive 'handles' are required in order to support the drives in the 503. I looked at the Lian-Li website but couldn't find anything about the drive 'handles'.

 

Don't know of any aftermarket places that sell them but you might try to contact Lian-li and see if that gets you anywhere. If you are going to get into plugging things in and our I would probably consider a different device that does not need handles or trays.

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Don't know of any aftermarket places that sell them but you might try to contact Lian-li and see if that gets you anywhere. If you are going to get into plugging things in and our I would probably consider a different device that does not need handles or trays.

 

I have used the Contacts page of the Lian-Li site to send a message, but it's a somewhat odd page; not sure if they will contact me or not. I've also considered just making some handles of my own out of aluminum.

 

I do have a couple of toasters I'm using at the moment. I've considered just ganging them to get more drive space. I've also considered just getting bigger drives, but I have all these 1TB drives laying around; seems a shame not to use them.

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Another item about Synctoy I'd like to mention is that, despite it being primarily a GUI application, it does have a Command Line Mode. In SyncToy 2.0 (and previous perhaps, but I'm not sure) it was possible to specify a '-R' argument that would let you run SyncToy and specify a Folder Pair Definition to execute. For example, you could open a Command Prompt Window and type SynToy -R CopyFolderAtoFolderB. Assuming CopyFolderAtoFolderB was a legitimate Folder Pair Definition then SyncToy would run using the configuration of that pair.

 

In SyncToy 2.1 things have changed a bit. There is now an actual SyncToyCMD.exe file. It still requires the '-R' argument, just like SyncToy 2.0. I'm not sure why the separate app, except maybe it made it possible to run without any GUI involvement, so it made auto-scripting easier.

 

I haven't tried it yet because my restore copying to my EX-503 is still ongoing, but I plan to set up a Scheduled Task that will run a series of SyncToyCMD.exe commands from a batch file. When I do, I'll post results here.

 

BTW, SyncToy requires the Microsoft Sync Framework 2.0 for it to run, but it will auto-install it if required.

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I use a windows scheduled task to run all me synctoy paired folders at 2am every night. Works a treat!

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I use a windows scheduled task to run all me synctoy paired folders at 2am every night. Works a treat!

 

Thanks for the confirmation. Can you also confirm that it works without anyone being logged in? That's on my list of things to test.

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I have my server automatically logged on if it ever reboots as I have some video surveillance software that doesn't run as a service.

 

But I'm pretty sure it would work so long as you setup the scheduled task correctly.

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UPDATE

 

When I tried to use SyncToy to back up my Client Computer Backups folder, it failed. Not surprisingly, and similar to WHSv1, it failed because the files were locked by the backup service.

 

On WHSv1 the service is called WHSbackup, so it was pretty easy to identify. On WHS2011 it's not hard, but there are 2 services running, and I didn't know which one to shut down, or if it was necessary to shut down both of them. I took a stab in the dark and shut down Windows Server Client Computer Backup Provider Service. It worked, so I didn't even bother trying the other service, Windows Server Client Computer Backup Service.

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