How can I access files from a fritzed Windows Home Server?
November 17, 2009 6:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I access files from a fritzed Windows Home Server?

Yesterday, we had a power surge at home followd by a a power outage. When the power returned, the Tranquil WHS wouldn't boot: turning the power on just got a fast blinking blue light and nothing else (no drive activity or boot up etc). Unfortunately, I urgently need some files of that drive.

So I removed the SATA hard drive and stuck that in my (Windows XP running) desktop. I thought that had worked, but while my desktop can see the drive and all the files, clicking on a file or copying it gets nowhere, I get a "this file cannot be accessed by the system" message or some sort of variant depending on how I try and open the file.

Have I just not installed it properly? Is the file system corrupted by the power surge? Is sticking a drive with its own operating system in another desktop the issue? Is there another way to get hold of the files I need in the short term?

To an extent, I'm more bothered about getting access to the drive than getting my WHS up and running again, as I've not been using it as anything other than an overspecced external harddrive for a while now anyway.

(Also as a bonus question: if I do get it up and running as another internal hard drive, is there a way of mapping a folder on a drive to its own drive letter: e.g. map "F:/shares/music" to "M:")
posted by Hartster to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Also: the WHS drive is partitioned into two discs for system and files if that makes any difference.
posted by Hartster at 6:32 AM on November 17, 2009

You try downloading an iso of a Ubuntu 9.10 and booting off the CD to run Linux in RAM. It might be able to access the data on the hard drive.
posted by COD at 7:09 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a permissions issue to me.

possible fix?
posted by whatisish at 7:29 AM on November 17, 2009

Second the Ubuntu recommendation, if there's no other way to get to the drive.

For your bonus question: you can use SUBST to do this.
posted by brool at 8:21 AM on November 17, 2009

It is a permissions/ownership issue. Honestly, if you have access to a Vista or 7 machine, that would be the easiest path. Attempting to access the files on the drive in Vista or Windows 7 will automatically give you the option to take ownership of the files, allowing you to copy/move/etcetera as you see fit. In XP, you can try this, but I don't have any experience with this method in retrieving WHS files.

I've rebuilt my WHS...four? five? times for various reasons in the past three months, so I'm confident that if you can see the files, they're intact and able to be accessed.

As for your second question: are you looking to map a folder on a hard drive in the current system to a drive letter, or map a folder on the WHS to a drive letter?
posted by sun-el at 10:33 AM on November 17, 2009

I've tried taking ownership of the folders and changing the permission but this doesn't seem to make a difference, which is pretty annoying. While I might be able to get a few important files off in the short term via a Live CD (about to try that shortly), the other 400 GB of music and photos is pretty important in the long term. I'm trying to avoid purchasing another internal hard drive and copying all the data over to the new one...

Is there an error log created somewhere? Could I reboot my Desktop using the WHS hard drive and do anything from there? Is that madness?

(If I do get the WHS repaired, is fiddling with the permissions likely to cause problems if I put the hard drive back in it?)

With regards mapping the filder to a hard drive: it's because my iTunes library looks for the music on the server with //Server/Shares/Music mapped to M:/. If I do get it up and running as an internal hard drive I'd like to just map F:/Shares/Music to M:/ and it looks like SUBST can do this.
posted by Hartster at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2009

Third-ing the Linux option. I use the LiveCD SLAX which is a pretty trimmed down option and generally has no problems using things like FTP, SMB shares, local flash drives, or even firewire drives.
You can map a local drive if you use the computer name for the UNC - so for example I want to map C:\Folder to the Z: drive. I would open the Map Drive util and put in \\mycomputer\c$\folder and that should work.
posted by msbutah at 11:57 AM on November 17, 2009


So even the Linux option doesn't work. Booting in using SLAX, I can again see all my files and folders. However they still won't open. Opening image files/playing mp3s in Slax, nothing happens (image opens as blank, MP3 has time duration of 0 and won't play). Copying them to a USB drive and trying to open them in Windows also fails.

So have I lost 500GB of music, photos and documents? Is it worth trying to contact a PC Repair company?
posted by Hartster at 3:37 PM on November 17, 2009

Follow up for anybody interested: according to Tranquil:

a) it's just a power supply issue (which makes sense) and
b) apparently there's protection on the drive which prevents the files being accessed in the ways I've been trying. According to the (mildly cryptic) support request, there's a way round the protection but it's easier to get the server up and running, which is fine by me.
posted by Hartster at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2009

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