Windows Home Server Saves The Day

posted on 01/04/10 at 09:49:59 pm by Joel Ross

On November 11th, The Wife's laptop needed to be rebooted. But it didn't turn out to be a normal reboot. Why? Because it wouldn't complete that reboot for nearly two months.

It hung while rebooting. It wouldn't repair the OS install. It wouldn't come up in safe mode. It just wouldn't come up at all. Oh, it would get half way. But it wouldn't ever finish. After running a few diagnostic tests, it turns out the hard drive was bad. It was under warranty, but that's where things got.interesting. We bought it at Circuit City before they went out of business. It's a long drawn out story which I'll leave out, but I will say this: Circuit City warranties are serviced by the same company that Radio Shack uses. As a result, I'll never buy anything that's covered by a warranty from The Shack. It was an all around horrible experience.

But,  we did finally get it back - on January 3rd. I wasn't worried about any data on the drive, and it came back with a fresh Vista install (which is odd, since it originally came with XP!). I booted it up long enough to see that it worked, and then immediately took it into The Dungeon. I shut it down, threw in the WHS recovery CD, and booted it up. 3 minutes later, the restore was running.

Most people say it takes 15-20 minutes to restore an image. I didn't see that, and I was connected via a 1 Gigabit connection. It took a little over 5 hours total. And you know what? I'm OK with that. Sure, 15 minutes would have been nice, but frankly, it's still a TON better than loading all of the software by hand and then restoring all of the data manually.

This is the second time that my home server has saved me - the first time was just days after getting it, and I got a virus on one of my machines. It was going to be painful to get it off, so I just restored the latest backup. But this is the first hard drive failure that I've experienced since getting my WHS. I knew in theory it should be this easy, but I'm glad to see it actually work (you know, other than the whole "losing a hard drive and waiting 2 months to get it fixed" part).

And more importantly, The Wife is extremely happy. Talk about a WAF builder!

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Categories: Personal, Software