Windows Home Server Data Corruption Hits

My iTunes library is located on the Windows Home Server music share so that it can be managed from any of my Macs. I knew this was potential problem with the data corruption issue. Still, I continued to run the library from the WHS share since I suffer from “can’t happen to me” syndrome. I even continued to run it even after iTunes was specifically added to the list of possibly affected software. I liked the convenience and I had backups.

This weeks my backups were put to the test. And they worked as expected!

Because my iTunes library is so large (150GB+), backing it up is a problem. So my strategy is:

  1. I Sync the library with a copy on my iMac’s local hard drive (I use ChronoSync)
  2. Clone my iMac hard disk nightly – before the library sync mentioned in step 1 occurs

This give me three copies of iTunes:

1. The active copy on the Windows Home Server that I use.

2. A copy of last nights library on my local iMac.

3. A copy of the library from two nights ago on my cloned hard drive.

So I have a couple days to detect the corruption. As expected the corruption occurred when I was actually using iTunes. I was told it could not write the library. I tried to shut down iTunes but had to force quit after 3 hours of waiting for it to exit. At that point upon restarting iTunes, the library was empty (although the song files were still on the WHS share.).

I decided to run iTunes from my local iMac to avoid future occurrences of the issues, rather than restoring the corrupt library files. I held down the Option (alt) key while starting iTunes and selected the local copy as the library. I expected to have to change the settings so iTunes would look for music on the local disk but it was already set this way. This may have been due to it returning to default settings due to the corruption.

I now sync the local iTunes library with the WHS share as the backup.

I did lose any changes made during the day such as downloaded podcasts and play counts. The podcasts simply downloaded again and I deleted the ones I listed to. If I had added any songs I would have had to import them again.

There’s really no way to know if this was the data corruption bug or just some other problem. I’m leaning towards the bug because I have also been copying a lot of files to the Windows Home Server so the drives have been very busy, which seems to be a needed ingredient.