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Data Storage Operating Systems Software Windows Bug

Windows Home Server Corrupts Files 459

Posted by timothy
from the handy-for-plausible-deniability dept.
crustymonkey points out a ComputerWorld article which says that "Microsoft Corp. has warned Windows Home Server users not to edit files stored on their backup systems with several of its programs, including Vista Photo Gallery and Office's OneNote and Outlook, as well as files generated by popular finance software such as Quicken and QuickBooks." Crustymonkey asks Don't back up your files to Windows Home Server, as recommended by Microsoft themselves? I'm not exactly sure what the point is in having a home server if you can't back up files on it."
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Windows Home Server Corrupts Files

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  • Obvious Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:14PM (#21830164)
    "I'm not exactly what the point is in having a home server if you can't back up files on it."

    Profit
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:20PM (#21830244) Journal
      Dude, you have to spell it out or you'll be modded to oblivion. Here's how this thing works, now pay attention.

      "I'm not exactly what the point is in having a home server if you can't back up files on it."

      1. go to store
      2. buy MS open server
      3. Install files
      4. Back up files
      5. ????????
      6. PROFIT!
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:18PM (#21831406)
        I mean really, after the first 6143569056076952107294386875907695350 times maybe it was worthy of a chuckle, but to keep on modding up this joke suggests some form of psychosis.

        Wait, I'll put this in a way that you mods can understand:

        1. go to slashdot
        2. find a story
        3. find a comment on that story
        4. post a tired, old, lame-ass joke for the 9 billionth time
        5. ???????
        6. GET MODDED UP!

        Ok, I followed the silly meme, where's my +5 Funny?
        • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:26PM (#21831470) Journal
          I always find these joke hilarious, but I have to tell you, yours set them apart. I like the way you went on the imitation rant and then worked into it. And the originality of making the ??????? step number 5 instead of 3, It made me spit my coffee through my nose. Now I have blister where boogers used to be and coffee flavored boogers in my keyboard. Maybe the profit is in selling sinus burn cream.
          • by ettlz (639203) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @06:37PM (#21834464) Journal

            That the GP got to "Score:5, Funny" says everything anyone ever need know about (a) the robustness of the Slashdot moderation system; and (b) the high level of abstraction inherent in the collective sense of humour of the Slashdot community (we've nigh-on perfected the art of meta-humour).

            And as long as I can also get the odd "Score:5, Funny" with cheap puns and innuendo, I shall waste time here.

        • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:54PM (#21832524) Journal
          There, you got your modpoint-free mod*. It's a three, just like mine, you little karma whore [slashdot.org]. Happy? Now go take your Zoloft or I shall taunt you again, silly person.

          -mcgrew

          * "funny" garners no karma. Karma whores don't do "funny". People who go for "funny" do it just to brighten someone's day. Now get off my lawn you miserable little humorless snot (hits AC in head with AC's own balls).
    • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:27PM (#21830334)
      It's a feature.
    • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:28PM (#21831490) Homepage
      Quote from Microsoft's support article [microsoft.com]: "When you use certain programs to edit files on a home computer that uses Windows Home Server, the files may become corrupted when you save them to the home server."

      A large amount of Microsoft's profit, in my opinion, comes from selling unfinished software, and then getting money for "upgrades". Microsoft won't get money for the fix to this problem, but I think you will agree that Microsoft is the largest supplier of unfinished software, and making the whole world a beta tester is cheaper than selling a finished product.

      Therefore, MOD PARENT UP.

      I notice that people are inventing nonsense about this; the problem appears not to have anything to do with editing backups.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lukas84 (912874)
        At least Outlook files (.pst) are unsupported on Network Shares, for various reasons:

        Read

        http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/archive/2007/01/21/network-stored-pst-files-don-t-do-it.aspx [technet.com]

        I'll agree that a normal home user does not know this, but any IT professional that's working with Outlook should know this.
  • Don't tell me everyone is asking that question.....just because it's a server doesn't mean you don't have to back that up as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:17PM (#21830204)
    They can't copy files to anywhere...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:30PM (#21831516)
      It only takes 131+ years to copy 168 MB of pictures [theregister.co.uk], what are you complaining about?
      • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:17PM (#21832070)

        Ok, 168 MB is 168*1024*1024 = 176,160,768 bytes.

        A Commodore 64's floppy disk, the 1541 runs at 300 baud. So that's 176160768/300 = 587203 seconds for an equivalent copy. That's 9786 minutes, or 163.1 hours. That's 6.796 days.

        The same copy will take Vista 131 years. That's 47815 days.

        That means that a Commodore 64 w. 1541 drive is roughly 47815/6.796 = 7036 times faster than Windows Vista.

        Now, for a human number. An average typist gets about 50-70 wpm according to wiki. [wikipedia.org] So we'll call the average 60wpm. Seems reasonable. That's 60*5 = 300 characters per minute. Since a C64 moves data at 300 characters per second, we can say that a human typist is 60 times slower than the Commodore 64. That means that a human typist is 7036/60 = 117 times faster than a Vista file copy.

        Impressive!

  • One wonders...... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:19PM (#21830224)
    .... If there's a user friendly alternative to Windows server for Joe Enduser? I run a Debian box with Samba on a computer that does hardware RAID 1 for my file sharing needs (I also have an SCP turned on so I can shove files onto it from outside my network too). But that's not something that I can suggest to my friends and family. So what can I suggest to them that is as "user friendly" as Windows Server?
    • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:27PM (#21830328)
      I would suggest a good DVD writer. There is lots of room, you can schedule backups, and all the people need to do is to remember to put in a new DVD every week or on whatever schedule you/they set up.

      As to Microsoft screwing up yet again, it's just funny. Very funny.

      Think Allen has rubber chairs to throw around now?
      • by schnikies79 (788746) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:40PM (#21830460)
        A dvd-writer isn't feasible to backup nearly 300gb.
        • No, I have 300gb once and small updates every week. I'm not doing a 300gb with dvd's even the first time.
          • by jedidiah (1196)
            Ok... then a samba share on another workstation (or NAS device).

            An entire dedicated appliance type home server is probably way
            overkill. Some fileshares, rsync and a cron job already do this
            job quite nicely and have been freely available pretty much
            universally (which means for windows too) for at least 10 years.

            If you don't like Unix tools then make it a windows app. An entire
            dedicated server apparatus really is kind of silly and contrary to
            the whole peer-to-peer ideas already in Windows.

            Have your entire hom
      • by Hatta (162192)
        What software is good for scanning your file system for recent changes, and making incremental backups to DVD? Then, when your hard drive dies, how do you find the disks with just the files you need?

        Backing it all up to DVD is not as simple as it sounds, but if you have solutions for these problems I'd be most interested in hearing them.
        • by jedidiah (1196)
          You're asking this on a board infested with Linux and Unix users.

          Are you kidding with this?

          Even without the commercial backup software solutions that are cheap and plentiful this is not a big deal.
    • Re:One wonders...... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:28PM (#21830346) Journal
      You can try FreeNAS [freenas.org] or Open Filer [openfiler.com].
      • I've had much success with NASLight from serverelements.com - It allegedly uses hand-tuned Samba that in independent tests blows away Freenas. It's ridiculously easy to set up, can boot from USB key, CD, or hard drive and has very light system requirements. I picked up two 500gb USB 2.0 external hard drives after thanksgiving and plugged 'em in - With one click in the web control panel, NASLight automagically rsyncs Drive1 to Drive2 once per day at the hour of your chosing.

          Scot
    • Ready to use boxes (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrYak (748999) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:41PM (#21830478) Homepage

      I run a Debian box with Samba on a computer

      Similar setup here, too.
      In fact, running a Linux + Samba + SSH/SFTP/SCP + RAID ( + Optionally NFS ) seems the best solution available.

      But that's not something that I can suggest to my friends and family

      You can't suggest them to install and configure Debian all by themselves.

      BUT

      There are virtually hundred of "network enclosure" : Small empty external cases, with a 1Gbps ethernet and a small ARM chip running Linux+Samba+Apache, almost ready to use, you only need to buy disks and mount them in (several computer part shop even propose you to sell a pre-assembled such solution).

      Linksys, D-Link and Netgear are a few of the constructor whose name jump to my mind right now, but there are virtually hundreds of them.

      The best part is :
      - These box have Linux pre-installed on their flash memory. So no difficult configuration is required for the average users. Maybe just help them to configure secure access and configure the router if they also want to have access to the files from outside home. The computer part shop often can do the hard-drive mounting and deliver a ready-to-use product.
      - Almost any of those box runs Linux, so their firmware is modifiable and you can find several guides explaining how to run external software or even installing additional software into the firmware. MLDonkey [sf.net] is such an open source eD2K / Bittorrent / etc. client which is also precompiled for embed Linux.
      Not only the enclosure is useful for average user, it may be useful for lazy power-users who don't want to assemble their own server or prefer silent and energy efficient servers.
      - A lot of those boxes have USB2 "Host" connectors, so you can connect additional HDD to the server. But as it is Linux, a lot of different and interesting usage can be found be power users like plugins webcams, or use the box as a print server in addition to a file server.

      So yes, you can't easily tell your friends to *install* Debian all by themselves, but you can get them to buy an enclosure with Linux pre-installed. (And if they upgrade their box to a newer one, you can recycle the old one into some fun project thanks to Linux' openness and available USB2 connectors).
    • I have a similar setup as well... I have a box crammed full of 6 hard drives... 4 x 500GB in RAID 0 as one partition for storing all of my media. The others are 2 x 320GB in RAID 1 with 3 partitions (/, /boot, /data, no swap) for my backup purposes. I use Linux all around, so I just setup NFS Shares & wrote some archival scripts utilizing FAM to simplify it for myself. I know this solution is not for everyone, but it works great for me. I have an automated system monitoring some directories (the porti
    • by omeomi (675045)
      .... If there's a user friendly alternative to Windows server for Joe Enduser? I run a Debian box with Samba on a computer that does hardware RAID 1 for my file sharing needs (I also have an SCP turned on so I can shove files onto it from outside my network too).

      I do the same thing, although with Ubuntu, and minus the RAID. It wasn't all that hard to set up. I forget if Samba comes with Ubuntu by default, but even if it doesn't, Synaptic makes it easy enough to install. If somebody sold Linux home-server
    • by Znork (31774)
      If you're after something more advanced than a bog standard cheapo NAS box, maybe Openfiler [openfiler.com] would be what you're looking for. It's quite a bit more capable than a cheapo NAS or WHS, but at least it's web manageable.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pegr (46683) *
      One also wonders why some programs are safe and others problematic. If a program uses "standard" API calls, is it safe? Since some of the unsafe programs are Microsoft's, could it be that some of the "unpublished" APIs aren't implemented correctly? If Quicken is on that list, could it be they paid "homage" to Microsoft to get the "unpublished" APIs?

      Boy, if that's the case and Microsoft was screwed by their own unpublished APIs, how can you argue against karma? ;)
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:26PM (#21830918) Journal
      If you need "user friendly" you shouldn't be running a server.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by coaxial (28297)
        No. It just means that no one has created a decent home server setup.

        There's plenty of reasons to run a home server. Backing up your laptop without having to remember to plug in some external drive is one. Having a real htpc setup is another. People have lots of data, and a home server is the way to manage that. However there aren't any good home server tools for it.

        Maybe I should make one in my copious free time. Of course I have said Linux could blow me. [robotmonkeys.net]
  • Correction (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rolgar (556636) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:20PM (#21830240)
    Microsoft Home Server Converts Files to a Secure Format for Your Security.

    Microsoft will gladly sell you a one use un-convert license when you need to see the data.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mcrh (1050542)
      Better yet, have people bid for each file. Obviously, the highest bidder would be the one with most need for the information, presenting a free-market solution to computer security.
  • Curious... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:21PM (#21830248) Journal
    The blurb says that it corrupts files on the backup when you try to edit them...

    Isn't part of the point of a backup that you DON'T edit the backup media?

    I can look at this two ways... MS didn't test this enough because it didn't occur to them someone might do something so ridiculous...

    OR...

    Not only did MS create the misfeature that is editing backups, but they screwed it up too...

    Am I still feeling charitable from the holiays? Hmm...
    • Re:Curious... (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:34PM (#21830402)
      From what I understand from the article is that if you save certain file types to a Home Server for backup purposes from a workstation, you can corrupt them if you edit the original files and try to back them up onto the server again. Well that defeats the whole purpose of having a backup system. Like photos for example. If I backup all my photos onto the Home Server, then I decide to change the contrast on a few of them on my everyday PC, I can corrupt the ones I've saved on the Home Server if I save over the original backups. Then if I decide I need space on my PC and delete the ones saved there, my edited photos are inaccessible if I didn't save them anywhere else.
      • Re:Curious... (Score:5, Informative)

        by phuul (997836) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:54PM (#21830604)
        Well since the article NEVER mentions backup I'm trying to figure out why the blurb and everyone is going on about backups being corrupted. What is actually happening is that there is a bug in WHS folder sharing. If you edit files with particular programs that exist on a WHS share the files will be corrupted.

        Here is the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/946676/en-us?spid=12624 [microsoft.com]

        It too doesn't mention using WHS to backup but does say that you should backup the possible affected files before storing them on WHS.
        • Label your CDs and DVDs by scratching the name on the back back with a nail
        • typing DELTREE /Y \*.* from the C:\ prompt
        • Put your minidisks in the A: drive (I once actually had one poor sod put a floppy in the tape backup slot. Much hilarity ensued)
        • Put your floppies on the refrigerator with a magnet (mostly obsolete now)
        • Leave the server out in the rain
        • drop a big rock on your foot
        • throw chairs
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Am I still feeling charitable from the holiays? Hmm...

      As it's Microsoft we're discussing here, shouldn't that be "chairitable?"
    • This is too perfect an opportunity!!!

      C SIG
    • Re:Curious... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Deviate_X (578495) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:34PM (#21832262)

      The problem isn't actually anything to do with backups.

      The problems is probably due to Windows Home Server file shares not catering for NTFS streams (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941914 [microsoft.com]).

  • MS also don't recommend you put your Outlook Personal Folders on a server (or 'network drive') either, which in this case could be an "Enterprise" server...

    Yes really: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297019 [microsoft.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Ya, because a PST being written and read over a network is slower, and if the connection goes down, the file may be corrupted... just like working with any other file over a network. From the link:

      This is not efficient on WAN or LAN links because WAN/LAN links use network-access-driven methods, commands the operating system provides to send data to or receive from another networked computer. If there is a remote .pst (over a network link), Microsoft Outlook tries to use the file commands to read from the
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by igb (28052)
        Oh please. ``a, because a PST being written and read over a network is slower, and if the connection goes down, the file may be corrupted... just like working with any other file over a network.'' That might be the gospel according to Redmond, but for those of us outside the horrific networking decisions Microsoft have made, terabyte-class Oracle databases work just fine over NFS. Remote access via GigE to dedicated filers is faster than local spindles unless those spindles are in exotic raid arrays, and
        • by plague3106 (71849)
          Huh, that's funny, because I remember files being corrupted (and my workstation crashing) when my home directory was over an NFS mount and the NFS server went down.

          But please, go ahead yank that cable out of the box hosting the NFS share which you are storing your database on an tell me how it goes.
        • This has nothing to do with networking decisions, it has everything to do with the format of the data file and the way in which the client software writes to the file.

          Terabyte class Oracle databases have error routines written into the front end, and roll-back of transactions on the back end, which makes certain that if a network error occurs, the entire transaction is rolled back and either tries again or sends an error to the client. If you want this type of functionality in Outlook, you aren't using PST
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by whoever57 (658626)
      I have always thought that MS take the "personal" part of "PC" too far -- to the extent that MS does not "get" networking.

      In the *nix world, it is common that one can sit down at *any* machine in the network, log on and one's desktop/files, etc are just the same (assuming the same OS). This has never been true in the MS world. MS requires you to have *your computer* and to always use *your computer* if you want to have any semblance of a familiar desktop/files. Even with server stored profiles, the files ar
  • by FredFredrickson (1177871) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:23PM (#21830272) Homepage Journal
    So I read TFA thinking, so there's a glitch when windows has virus X on wednesdays only, and only in regions that have the chinese language pack, and only on systems with 64-bit version installed with a sound blaster driver installed.

    But for the first time ever, slashdot's title isn't sensationalist. Microsoft simply states, yeah, for no apparent reason, files are getting corrupt using our operating system.

    Jeebus F'n H Chroist! You had one job to do, and you screwed it up royally.

    It's one thing when some obscure feature doesn't work correctly. It's another thing when a fundamental operation of your software hasn't worked for A YEAR since it came out.

    IT'S AN OPERATING SYSTEM. Your job is to interface the hardware with the user and software.

    *sigh* Bring on the "my linux-distro of choice doesn't do that, that makes me right all along" comments.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When I submitted this story last week, I mentioned that it was likely due to the way it handles ADS (NTFS' Alternate Data Streams) on shared folders. Fortunately, there are only so many programs that actually use those.

      That said, yeah, I wouldn't use Windows for a server, either. It's just not reliable enough, given that you can do better for free.
    • Gentoo/Kubuntu/Ubuntu/DSL/RHL don't do that, that makes me right all along! :-)
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:24PM (#21830280) Homepage
    Everyone knows you have to wait until at least version 3.1 to get anything useful out of Microsoft.
  • Point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170)

    I'm not exactly what the point is in having a home server if you can't back up files on it."

    It's to show another failure at Microsoft in their core markets, while they pursue TV, Magazines, Video Games, etc.

    Put your trust in Microsoft, because they're gonna kill off every other competitor anyway
  • Why would anyone edit the backed up files anyway, sorta defeats the purpose if they are stored copies of backed up files from the clients. Just edit the files on the client and let them backup again. No need to store data on a share... /sarcasm

    Obligatory link to KB article [microsoft.com]

    • Why would anyone edit the backed up files anyway, sorta defeats the purpose if they are stored copies of backed up files from the clients. Just edit the files on the client and let them backup again. No need to store data on a share... /sarcasm

      Just when you think you've developed an idiot proof application, along comes a better idiot. /cynicism

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pavera (320634)
      From a later post, I guess Windows Home Server *automatically* backs up clients that are connected to it, so you have your pretty little PC you open up your pictures and crop them... and whatever, Home Server at some point will back that up (corrupting the files in the process).
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:30PM (#21830354) Journal
    The link from the summary leads to... damn it's so bad I can hardly say it. Worse than tubgirl and goatse combined.

    As the blank screen fails to load, an ad pops up. Then a "greeting page" appears on the blank page ("greetings from our advertisers")

    Then I notice the "click here to ignore this greetings page and enter ComputerWorld, the world's worst IT magazine".

    Of course I quickly hit the "back" button so I wouldn't be assaulted with a million ads and a paragreph of content-free lead-in text before "click here for next page".

    Honestly, guys, can't you find a better link [pcworld.ca]? Oh shit, the only two that Google News shows is ComputerWorld and PC World.

    Why is it that the very WORST sites on the internet are IT sites? It's embarrassing! And people wonder why, if you RTFM, "ewe muss bee knew hear". We KNOW BETTER! We know what is ready to assault us if we dare click a link to an IT site!
  • by stevenp (610846) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:39PM (#21830452)
    According to the MS knowledge base entry:

    "Make sure that you have a backup copy of any important program files before you store these files on a system that is running Windows Home Server."

    In other words, use something else to backup the files first if you intend to backup them with Windows Home Server ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Frozen Void (831218)
      With Microsoft its a healthy precaution.
      And besides who in their right mind would use WHS for backups? That would be like using MSpaint to draw pictures.
  • Why didn't they upgrade to the latest version of Samba ?
  • Microsoft says: "When you use certain programs to edit files on a home computer that uses Windows Home Server, the files may become corrupted when you save them to the home server."

    1 - If there is a Home Server somewhere on my network that I save files to, does that make MY computer "a home computer that uses WHS"?
    2- Does "edit files on a home computer" mean opening a file that is ON my PC, or merely opening a file WITH my PC?
    3 - Is WHS a backup system, or a file server? If it is a file server, then I have
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UncleTogie (1004853) *

      From Microsoft's site:

      When you use certain programs to edit files on a home computer that uses Windows Home Server, the files may become corrupted when you save them to the home server.

      Programs affected: Windows Vista Photo Gallery, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Microsoft Office OneNote 2007, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Microsoft Money 2007, and SyncToy 2.0 Beta. Additionally, there have been customer reports of issues with Torrent applications, with Intuit Quicken, and with QuickBooks program files. Our support team is currently trying to reproduce these issues in our labs.

      Finally, they say:

      This issue may occur because of a recently discovered problem with Windows Home Server shared folders and with certain programs.

      Fraggin' scary.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @12:53PM (#21830592)
    I use it. It backs up your machines automatically, so editing files it "backed up" is a non sequitur. It would be like telling Linux people Amanda is corrupting files, so don't edit files it backs up (you people still use Amanda?).

    In this capacity, the problem would be with using WHS as a file server. I must say this is nail #2 in the grave of my disappointment with WHS. My first problem with it is that there is a bug in performance - reads are fine, but writing data to a WHS share is unacceptably slow. Some will claim it's Vista autotuning, or differential copy, or something else but it's demonstrably just piss-poor performance on WHS.

    Overall the product is a good idea, it's just poorly implemented at present. If they fix this new bug and fix the performance issues, I'd actually be pretty happy with it.

  • IMHE (In My Humble Experience), file locks are glitchy and don't really work right on network storage (please please provide counter-examples if you have them). If one writes an application that makes heavy use from write-only locks, shared-read locks, and other file system locks provided by Windows, yeah, I can see some corruption possibly happening when the network store refuses to honor those requests. Also NTFS-specific file system conveniences (sparce-file options, alternative data streams, etc) genera
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:10PM (#21830758) Homepage
    Having come from a DECNet background, when I first encountered PC networking I was completely flummoxed by the situation.

    MS-DOS and Windows users seem to take it for granted that a file that is across the network is accessed via different APIs, different user interfaces, and has generally different properties from files that are stored locally. In the MS-DOS days they were always mumbling about The Redirector. Why does a file need to be REdirected across the network? Why isn't it just directed, the way it would be directed to a disk volume or a floppy or what have you?

    It isn't so long ago that most Windows programs couldn't even reference cross-network files in a straightforward way in a file open dialog. You first had to assign a "drive letter" and "map a network drive." (And, of course, all references to that file would break if you ever assigned the remote directory to a different drive letter).

    And when they finally got around to fixing it in the OS, it only fixed it for new programs that were written to some new API. Existing programs, even things like Visual C++ utilities, continued to go through the mapping tapdance, because apparently the existing OS file dialog routines weren't updated to do things the new way.

    The assumption that files across the network are totally differents sorts of thing from local files appeared to be so ingrained in the Windows culture that Windows people don't even understand why it is a criticism of Windows to mention this. They think it has to be that way, because, well, they're across the network. As if there were some physical property of 100-base-T cables that made them intrinsically different from SATA cables.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      While it's true that DECNet (and VMS) made it simple to "SET DEF (some directory on a machine across the country)", the real fact is that VMS was built in such a way that only the current directory was of any (real) use. Sure, you could copy from $10$DUA:[foo.baz.bar], and you could have a login.com full of aliases, but at the end of the day, 99.5% of your work was done in the current directory. And don't get me started about the evils of LAT.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:10PM (#21831992)
      MS-DOS and Windows users seem to take it for granted that a file that is across the network is accessed via different APIs,

      I can't speak for MS-DOS (are there any MS-DOS users left?), in Windows you don't use a different API for a network files. Any differences are taken care of far below the application level.

      different user interfaces,

      Really? On my Windows machine, networked files show up in Windows Explorer just like local files. If anything, it's not different *enough*-- i.e. it would be nice to have a mark in the icon to tell me if a file is on a network drive, especially when I'm on unreliable wifi networks.

      It isn't so long ago that most Windows programs couldn't even reference cross-network files in a straightforward way in a file open dialog. You first had to assign a "drive letter" and "map a network drive."

      You never *had* to do that. Well, ok, maybe pre-95 versions of Windows. But Windows 95 would work just fine if you typed \\network\path into an Open dialog. I did that just a couple years ago at a hospital I was working at with some ancient machines still in use.

      Of course you have the option to map a drive letter if you want, and there may be some buggy applications that didn't work unless they had a drive letter to work with, but you can't blame Microsoft for buggy third party apps.

      The assumption that files across the network are totally differents sorts of thing from local files appeared to be so ingrained in the Windows culture that Windows people don't even understand why it is a criticism of Windows to mention this.

      Maybe they just think you're crazy for "criticizing" Windows for something you basically made-up.

      I'm not a huge Microsoft fan, but most of your post is just plain wrong. I know this is Slashdot and thus you were +5 Insightful, but please make some effort to at least be a little accurate next time you post. Let's reduce the amount of bullcrap here, not increase it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sohp (22984)
      Aww, no fair comparing windows networking to DECNet and VMS. The first system to get file access right and consistent across disks/tapes/clusters/networking/carrier pigeon. Well, other than the 9-character limit in the filename part itself. And being different than any of the other slash-based filesystems around there were a lot of cross-platform tools that didn't cross over to VMS well, but I digress. With the distributed lock manager built into Files-11, everything was pretty transparent.

      NODE"user pass":
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        heh - old DECnet (note the spelling) memories.

        ever play with 'hidden areas'? at DEC we had so many nodes in the EASYnet that we had to use hidden areas (EASYnet was the name for our corp. network inside DEC):

        node1::node2::NODE"user pass"::device:[dir.subdir]filename.type;ver

        a form of explicit routing. once you are 'at' a given node, it uses its local area.node (I can't believe I remember this stuff) lookup tables (or routing) to then figure which next IP^H^HDECnet node to send the packet to.
  • Not really news (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:12PM (#21830780) Journal
    I've seen this before in AD groups. Windows will do a 'delayed write' of a file, then let you know later on if the write failed. Great if you're copying files up, terrible if you're saving a document while quitting the application and you get told 30 seconds later that your data was lost.

    Example: http://cdslash.net/temp/images/datalost.png [cdslash.net]

    Quite frustrating. I've yet to lose serious amounts of data so far, but I'm sure it'll happen.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:17PM (#21831392) Homepage Journal

    Which do well to explain the reason why, when a $1000 PC is faster than a $1,000,000 mainframe, that businesses still buy the mainframe. And then they stock the washrooms with single-ply toilet paper to cut costs.

    Microsoft has made a lot of noise about being "Enterprise class" software, and having "Reliable" servers, but when things like this happen, it just goes to show that Microsoft won't ever be able to touch big iron:

    • Why wasn't this caught by QA? And it has been out for a full year before they figured out that it was a problem? Clearly, Microsoft, even after 30 years in the industry, doesn't know much about software engineering. This is the same company that took 5 years to produce Vista.
    • The fact that Microsoft is the most virus-prone vendor in the industry doesn't reflect well on it as a company. But in light of issues like this, it seems that their persistent problems with viruses - dominating the field for the past decade - has more to do with their lack of design than their popularity.
    • Microsoft has a patch mentality which is totally abhorrent to those of us in the high-availability industry. Sysadmins simply can't "just patch" every time Microsoft discovers a hole in their operating system. It takes weeks - if not months - of testing before a business can roll out a new patch, during which time, the whole business is at risk. This is a risk which is simply not present on mainframe and UNIX systems.

    The next time I hear anyone use the term "enterprise class" and Microsoft in the same sentence, I'm simply going to refer them to this bug. Totally unacceptable - even for a gaming OS.

  • by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte.yahoo@com> on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:42PM (#21831664) Homepage
    Apple Guy: Hey, PC. Whatcha doing?
    PC Guy: Backing up my files.
    AG: Wow. That's a lot of stuff - sure you can handle it all?
    PC: Oh, sure. I'm using Vista Home Server. It allows me to back up my files by placing them securely in here.
    AG: Whoa! What's the noise!?
    PC: It's my backup appliance!
    AG: Dude! That's a shredder!
    PC: What!? Can't hear you!
    AG:
  • by Mage... (18148) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:13PM (#21835656)
    First off, the problem is:

    You are editing a file that is saved directly to a shared folder on WHS, which WHS accepts and gives the A-OK signal to your software, then later has a problem writing the file, and tells you about it, with no chance of recovering the file at that time. Since this can happen after you have exited your software, you have no way of recovering the file.

    The problem is not:

    • You make backup files, then try to edit them directly on the WHS share folder.
    • Your backup files get corrupted.
    • You are doing something that WHS was not intended for.

    The third one is the trickiest. See, if you go to the current WHS Discover site [microsoft.com] (click Help and How-To's) you will see that the big thing is Remote Access, Media Sharing, and Computer Backup. This would lead people to believe that any other use, is not what it was meant for, and when something goes wrong, you should have known better.

    But, one only needs to look back at previous pages for WHS to see that Sharing was a central feature [archive.org]. Yes, full sharing, not just Media Sharing. Even the Overview of that page focuses on sharing first, and backup (protection) was third. The first overview item was Sharing, and that is simply what this problem is about, shared folders. Either for your own use as a networked server, or to share with other users.

    Now, if you go to Eric Bott's blog [zdnet.com], you will see the explanation that the largest factor is "a home server is under extreme load." Well, I'm sorry, but if the touted role, even at the beginning and not right now, was acting as a share folder to save your stuff to, then by damn it better do that. If the server gets loaded down, it should not pretend it got the file and tell you later that it didn't, it should just either not respond (and your software would have to let you know it couldn't do it) or it should give an error response (your software's problem now).

    Honestly, this product was marketed as a home server for storing and sharing your files, with acting as a backup server making 3rd on the list of features. Now, they want to change that and say that it is for backup first, file sharing from special locations and under special conditions, and not really for file storage.

This is now. Later is later.

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