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How to copy files from crashed Windows Home Server

Yesterday we had a power surge, followed by a power outage. This left my WHS borked: powering on just gives to a flashing blue light (the led on the power supply also flashes green) - no fan or boot activity, nothing.

I urgently needed some files off there in the short term (and the 500GB of photos, music, personal video etc in the long term) so I took the hard drive out and put it in my computer.

The files and folders showed up, but I couldn't access them - clicking on an image gave an invalid image error in Picasa, I couldn't play MP3s etc.

I changed the ownership and permissions of the files, still nothing.

I booted in with a LiveCD, the same: files appear, but won't open.

Is there anything else I can do? I'm now wondering if it was just the power cable that's broken, but if so, why can't I access my files from the hard drive? If it is the power cable, and I replace that and the hard drive, will I have done any harm messing around with ownership and file permissions?

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marked as duplicate by random Jul 10 '11 at 14:41

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6 Answers

Do you only have one hard disk in your WHS? If you have more than one it is likely the data is on the other drive.

On the main WHS hard disk (the one the OS is installed on), the data partition actually stores very little data usually. Instead it stores references to the data on other drives, see this explanation for more information:

http://www.davescomputertips.com/articles/server/windows_home_server_drive_extender.php

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It's worth mentioning that one of the design features of WHS is that once you have more than one drive it duplicates your data across them for safety. Another part of their design is that your data is the important thing, so the files and disks are set up so that you should be able to pull any of the data disks (not the system disk) out, plug it into any normal Windows machine and just copy the data off. The whole thing is designed to work best with multiple hard disks. –  GAThrawn Jan 20 '10 at 11:15
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There is a program called PC Inspector File Recovery that may do what you are wanting.

Here is a link to an article containing instructions:

http://www.emergingtechs.com/posts/how-to-recover-data-from-a-crashed-hard-drive/

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i'd give testdisk a shot- its saved borked drives before, and this sounds exactly like the situation i'd use it in

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You might try the data-recovery products mentioned here by others.
My addition here is in case they fail to recuperate the data.

From Power Failure Surge Brown Out:

Almost as bad as a surge, a power failure can also cause quite a bit of damage to both your computer and your hard drive. A computer that gets shut down without proper sequencing can cause damage not only to the mechanical hard drive, but to the data on that disk. Most programs can’t restore from a dirty shutdown, or be rebuilt from a power outage. Another physical hard drive recovery issue from power outages is within the electronics within the disk. Power supplies send out an expected amount of voltage to the hard drive. Insufficient amount of power can cause the motor speed to fluctuate and sectors to be damaged.

If your problem is bad sectors, you might try to resuscitate the hard disk by using a commercial product such as SpinRite or HDD Regenerator. SpinRite can sometimes work magic, and gives an absolute money-back satisfaction guarantee.

However, if software can't fix your disk or recuperate your data, some hardware work might be required in addition by a qualified repair shop.

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Fine if you're using phsyical media to run your WHS - I'm running mine on VHDs, and for some reason, WHS is shoving a bad block on the disk during the backup cycle; thus, breaking the backup, and breaking the backup database. Not nice.

Mounting the VHD on the host OS and running chkdsk causes the disk to dismount. I suspect this is something to do with the 4G files that WHS backup uses - I don't have enough physical memory to load these in while they are copied to other parts of the drive.

Still - I'm working on it - currently two files affected: hostname.C.VolumeClusterLatest2.4096.dat and Data.4096.17.dat - if I could get these files recovered and copied over to another VHD, then I've effectively cloned the drive - I'm hoping that mounting this disk in place of the failing VHD will be successful...

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I don’t think this is going to help the OP since they are not using a VM. –  Synetech Nov 30 '12 at 17:43
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For future reference:

The problem is probably that the shares folder only contains the thombstones for the files. the actual files are in the hidden DE folder.

Using Folder Options in windows 7 you can access the DE folder and copy your files from there

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