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"Network Critical" - Backup Database Issue - HP EX485


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I hope someone can help.  I have an EX 485 and, up until recently had the original 750gb hard drive in there.  Things have been pretty fine since I’ve had it.  Over the past few months, though, I’d keep getting the message that my hard one hard drive was unhealthy and I should repair.  The message would go away on its own however, not due to anything I’d done.  I decided it was time to at least get another hard drive in there for the inevitable death of that original.  


I bought 2 Western Digital 1tb drives.  One about two weeks ago – added it to storage, no problems.  Then, just today installed a second identical WD 1tb drive.  At first I thought I wanted to install it to use as backup, but got the message that it needed to be partitioned.  I searched the forums and threads, saw that it was possible, but I am not very expert, so instead I just decided to add it to my storage and turn on Folder Duplication for all my folders.  I don’t have that much on my server, mostly music and photos, I think it was about 220gb all together.  So after installing the 2nd new hard drive, I had 2 new 1tb drives and the original 750gb.  I turned on Folder Duplication, knowing it would take a while.  I watched under the “Server Storage” tab as the “duplication” piece of the storage pie increased and finally matched the amount of my data.  All seemed well.


As that Folder Duplication was taking place, though, I was also reading forums and threads about both my “unhealthy” original hard drive and about backups.  After installing the first new WD 1tb drive two weeks ago I decided to enable backups for the two pcs in my network, mine and my wife’s.  There’s really not much critical data on them, as I keep that stuff on my server.  But, now that I had the space, it seemed like a good idea.  However, after reading about how silly it was to do daily backups of my local pcs, I decided to go in and stop the backups, thinking I would just run them myself on a weekly or every-ther-week basis.  So I stopped the backups for both pcs.  Then, in looking at the Server Storage tab, I saw that the backups the server had done in the past two weeks took up almost 150gb.  That seemed excessive.  I decided to delete all the old backups the server had created over the past two weeks.  The warning came up that the cleanup could take a few hours – I figured  only 150gb wouldn’t take all that long, so got the process started.  It was moving along smoothly until it got to 43% complete and then totally hung.  During that time everything on my network was incredibly slow, and I could not access my music through my SqueezeBox server add in, nor could I access my files or e-mail archive located on the server.  I let it sit there for at least 2 or 3 hours, then closed the Home Server Console.  Clearly a mistake.


At that point I lost all access to the server.  I could not login via the Console, got the message there was no communication.  I also tried getting in via Remote Desktop Connection, no luck.  I could ping the server using the DOS/Command Prompt and the server’s ip address, but no access to it at all.  At this point I started getting really nervous.  I thought perhaps if I just gave it more time, perhaps it simply needed to finish the cleanup of the backups I had started.  But 2 hours later, I still had no access from either PC (though my pc, the one from which I had been using the console, had the system tray server icon grayed out, while my wife’s pc had the system tray icon green).  Finally I decided to do reboot the server.


I tried a soft reboot, just pressing the server’s power button briefly, but nothing happened.  I know a hard reboot is not the best thing for the server, but it didn’t seem like I had much choice.  I pressed and held for 4 seconds and off it went.  I gave it a few minutes to calm itself, the turned it back on.  I waited with baited breath, certain I had ruined everything.  Eventually it all came back up, and I was able to log in to the console.  It took a while for the Server Storage tab to calculate everything, and the console was very slow in general.  Finally it was clear I had duplicated all the folders as I had 219gb listed for both my Shared Folders and Duplication.  BUT – The server’s right light was RED, and I now have a “Network Critical” message.


So the red light is on and my “network critical message” is that “The backup database has errors.”  It wants me to “Run the Backup Database Repair Wizard.”  I assume this is because I either closed the console or rebooted while the deletion of those backups was still in progress – does that seem likely and/or accurate?


When I click “repair” I have to check the box next to the warning message that says “I understand that I might permanently lose some backups while attempting to repair the backup database.”  Considering I’ve decided the backups aren’t that important to me, I’m thinking this doesn’t really matter.  But, it also warns me that the wizard may take several hours to finish.  I’m nervous about starting this process, and having it hang totally like it seemed to earlier, leaving me in the same place I am now. 


I guess one question is, can I safely ignore this “network critical” message?  There doesn’t seem to be a way “ignore this warning” to bring the server back to “healthy” status as there is with some other messages.


Any suggestions most welcome.  I know only enough about how the server and software work to be really dangerous!


Sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything that happened prior to this point.



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It's unfortunate you didn't post before trying anything. I think we could have saved you a lot of grief.


I think you're asking the wrong question. For the moment, let's completely ignore the backups; we can deal with that later. You're big issue is that 750GB drive. BTW, are you certain it's 750GB? It seems to me the EX series came with 250GB drives, not 750GB.


OK, to me, the first thing you need to do is clone the OS drive, before it gets any worse. I recommend you do that with Acronis True Image Home  (no, I have no affiliation with the company at all). You need to remove the OS drive from your MediaSmart Server, take it to one of your other PCs, and use Acronis to clone it to a spare drive. If you don't have a spare on hand, I would go buy one. I would NOT use either of the two 1TB drives you now have your data on.


After cloning the drive, the system should be able to boot from the clone, and that should get rid of the 'drive failing' messages.


Then, you can go ahead and run the Backup Database Repair. It likely will take many hours -- 24 hours is not unheard of. Do not manually shut down or reboot the server.


Once that's done, come back and we can proceed from there.


BTW, if this doesn't work, we have another option: a Recovery Installation, but I prefer the cloning method as a first step, particularly as your OS drive has issues.


Good luck.

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ikon - 


thanks for the reply.


Yes, as I was doing this all, I realized I probably should have asked for help BEFORE I continued.  oh well!  And, yes, my EX485 definitely came with the 750gb drive.  My storage space, according to the Sever Storage Tab was, before I installed the 2x new 1tb drives, something like 698gb.  Anyway...


I do have a few questions based on your suggestions.


1 - Why do you suggest NOT using one of the new 1tb drives I just purchased and added?  Currently, out of the 2.5tb I have available, I have 1.93tb free.  Even if I took out the 750gb original (OS) drive and one of the new 1tb drives to use as my new OS drive, I'd have enough room, as it looks like only have about 600gb in data that needs a place to live.  I mean, the new WD 1tb drives were "only" $59, but I'm not itching to spend more than I have to.  I had assumed I could "remove" one using the wizard and use that, but you, I imagine, I have a reason for recommending otherwise.


2 - My 2nd question, sort of two parts, is about cloning my OS drive, the one that is failing.  Using this Acronis software, is this a relatively simple task?  Does this software install on my client PC or do I install it on my server and access it via the add-in/settings menu or on the server via Remote Desktop Connection?  I've heard other people talking about cloning their drives, and often hear them talking about physically pulling the OS drive out of the Server and hooking it up to a PC.  Is that what I would be doing, and if so, what sort of cabling/connections would I need to make that happen?  


3 - The third question is also about that software - the link you included takes me to the "Acronis True Image Home 2012."  When I look on amazon, I see that there are numerous versions of it, including True Image 2013 and True Image 2014.  To be honest, the reviews of the product don't seem that great - any chance there's another similar program you like as well?


4 - Lastly, once I successfully clone that OS drive and have the new drive in the server, how do I specify for the server to boot from that new drive, or will I have already removed the old "failing" OS drive?


Obviously, I'm not expert with this stuff, I've certainly never cloned a drive, so diving into that makes me a bit nervous.


Thanks SO much for your help!!!! :)

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  1. because you already have your data on them. Unless you have at least 2 other backups, or you don't care about the data, I would not mess with them at this point. Also, if you mess with them, then they will not be exactly as the OS is expecting them to be after you clone the OS drive. This can really mess things up and you could lose everything.


  2. a) cloning the OS drive is relatively simple, except that the Acronis interface is not the best in the world. However, it does a good job of ensuring the cloned drive matches the original.


    B) I thought I had covered the drive removal part when I said, "You need to remove the OS drive from your MediaSmart Server, take it to one of your other PCs, and use Acronis to clone it to a spare drive.". So, yes, you physically pull the drive from the EX485.


    As far as connections go, what I prefer to do is disconnect any existing drives in the computer I'm going to use for the cloning (so I don't accidentally end up cloning to one of them) and then connect up the source and destination drives to the computer. I then boot the computer from an Acronis Recovery Disk and use its cloning feature. I find this the simplist way to go. There are a number of ways to make the connections, but you can just use the cables from the computer's existing drives. This is another advantage to disconnecting the computer's existing drives.


  3. I agree, Acronis has its fans and detractors. I'm not a huge fan myself, but I find it works very well for cloning, so I use it for that. I don't use it for system or data backup. It really doesn't matter which version: 2012, 2013, or 2014 will all work. I would download a trial copy from the Acronis web site, install it, then start the program and create an Acronis Recovery Disk.


  4. Since the new drive is a clone of the old one, the system should boot up from it automatically.


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Clone WHS v1 OS in a MSS?


I think that requires all kinds of registry hijinks if you plan to use TI Home, or another consumer grade equivalent. You'll run into problems that stem from some part of the registry having a different disk signature or serial number than the drive you newly cloned. I think you need the enterprise version of Acronis to do that.

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Actually, I've done it many times in the past, just not in a long time, since I haven't run WHSv1 in 2 years or so. The 'trick', if you want to call it that, is to ensure that the drive signature is copied along with everything else.


I believe I was able to do it with Acronis TIH, but I think I also did it with CloneZilla and Easus ToDo Backup.


In any case, I know it can be done. The only trick besides the drive signature is to not start the system between the time you shut it down and remove the OS drive and start it up again with the clone.

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I'm going to go with Acronis IKON suggest.  BUT (and maybe I'm preaching to the choir), it seems pretty insane to me that HP would make this so difficult.  When they started making these servers, did they think that the System hard drive would never fail?  If they assumed it would eventually fail, why would they not make its replacement simpler.  Again, I'm still kind of a newbie, and though it's clear you all (amazing and generous souls that you are) will provide with some support, it seems there are many things that can go wrong, and for someone who is not expert, that's very daunting and frustrating.  Reading some other posts about people doing this makes me a little anxious, lots of stuff about registry numbers and all sorts of things I don't know about. 


Ikon, a few more questions -


1) in terms of "booting my computer with an Acronis recovery disk" (after I've got the two drives connected) is this recovery disk something that comes with Acronis, or is it a disk i will make myself after installing Acronis on my PC?


2) if I'm going to be booting from that CD, do I have to go into my PC BIOS setup and make my cd-r drive the one to boot from to make that work?  Then I'd go in and change it back to whatever it's original setting was?


3) how exactly will I know that drive signature has been copied as you say?


4) lastly - when you say that a trick is not starting the system, i assume you mean my server.  So I'd power it down, remove the System drive, do the cloning on my PC, install the new cloned SYstem drive, then power everything up?


 Wish me luck!!

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  1. you make it after installing Acronis.


  2. many modern BIOS' allow you to press a key during the POST process and bring up a bootup menu. From there you can choose which device to boot from. Otherwise, you do it as you said.


  3. there's an option in the recovery process for copying the signature: it's a checkbox.


  4. yes, your server. The only thing I would suggest is to ensure you have backups of your data drives before doing it the 1st time.
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Very involved indeed!!!!  I hope I don;t have to go into that much depth to accomplish this.  Again, why the heck does it have to be so complicated!!!  In the 4 years or so I've have my server, this is definitely the biggest complaint.



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