At the beginning of the month I wrote about my Windows Home Server hard drive problems and at the time I was waiting for WHS to finish removing the bad drive from its storage pool. When I posted the article I was letting Windows Home Server run through the drive removal process while I slept. I had pulled the plug on the bad drive since it brought the server to its knees and was now trying to remove the traces of it from the pool.
When I woke up in the morning the console had crashed and wouldn’t start up. Not Good, but after a quick reboot the console started. The bad drive was still there and part of the pool. There were still some file conflicts reported but with the missing drive that was to be expected. I started up the drive removal wizard again and went off to work.
The console had again gone away by the time I got home. This time it started and the drive was still there. I decided to reboot the server and give the removal wizard one more try since I didn’t have time to do much else. This time when I got back to it the drive had been successfully removed and there weren’t any remaining file conflicts. I gave the WHS once final reboot just to be sure all was well. And it was.
The truth is, I wouldn’t have had the patience to run the wizard three times except for the fact the it was either that or do nothing while I slept and worked. Timing is everything, although in the future I’ll be sure to show some patience.
A few days later one of my 2TB drives finished its pass through a Spinrite level 5 check so I brought the server down again and replaced the drive. Since it was a drive in the internal cage the server needed to be pulled apart to get to it. While a bit tedious pulling apart the server to get the drive it went without a hitch and the server was happy with the new drive.
As it turns out that was one of three Western Digital TB drives manufactured in October of 2009 that went bad on me. There was the previously mentioned one that arrived DOA. At the time of my previous post that DOA’s replacement had just arrived. While it did spin up it failed to pass Western Digital’s own testing after being a bit flaky in my test PC, so back it went. When I pulled out this bad drive I saw it was manufactured the same month. I have a second drive purchased at the same time that I’ll be pulling to see when it was manufactured and running through a Spinrite test. While it only showed 4 pending bad sectors (compared to hundreds on its mate) I already removed it from the storage pool.
Unfortunately it didn’t hit me that the bad drive was a recent purchase and my delay in pulling it meant I missed the window for a hassle free return to Amazon. So when I get a chance I’ll run Western Digital’s diagnostics on it and if it fails I’ll RMA it, otherwise it will get the Spinrite treatment.
As for the server, I decided I only wanted to make one more trip into that internal drive cage, so it means replacing two 2TB drives at once. I didn’t have the free space to remove both drives from the storage pool so I turned off file duplication on my video files to free up the space. Once that was done I removed both drives from the storage pool. Once of those is one that’s probably manufactured in the same batch as my three bad drives. I’ve got two 2TB drives going through Spinrite level 5 checks now and if the time estimate is correct I should be able to replace the drives on Saturday and turn file duplication back on.
I have five more drives showing a couple bad or pending bad sectors. A couple isn’t necessarily bad if the number doesn’t increase, but I still plan to work my way through them all with a Spinrite level 5 check. Unfortunately level 5 is very time consuming. If I use my test PC (which is slow) it takes about 10 days to do a 2TB drive.
By this weekend my Windows Home Server should be back to full strength and I can use a spare drive to cycle through the testing of the remaining drives. It’ll take awhile, but since the drive testing doesn’t require me to do anything more than swap a disk and bang a few keys every few days it shouldn’t be too bad. What’s the saying? “An ounce of prevention…”