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    • Christopher (Drashna)

      Login issues   11/07/17

      If you have issues with logging in, make sure you use your display name and not the "username" or email.  Or head here for more info.   http://community.covecube.com/index.php?/topic/3252-login-issues/  
    • Christopher (Drashna)

      Getting Help   11/07/17

      If you're experiencing problems with the software, the best way to get ahold of us is to head to https://stablebit.com/Contact, especially if this is a licensing issue.    Issues submitted there are checked first, and handled more aggressively. So, especially if the problem is urgent, please head over there first. 
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ikon

A few notes from a newbie

Question

OK, first, just in case any one here knows of Ikon, let me say, I'm not him. Ikon was my father. I say 'was' because he passed away in 2012. I inherited all his tech, including his forum and social media accounts, software licences, etc. Anyway, I am not the techie he was but, for the past 5 years, I've been learning. His notes, emails, forum posts, and just things we talked about over the years have been invaluable in getting me more up to speed.

 

That said, in the past couple of days I've picked up a couple of things about DrivePool that I thought might be helpful to another newbie at some point.

 

I had a 3-drive pool set up, and it was working fine until Scanner found some unreadable sectors on 1 of the drives and labelled it as Damaged. I tried Removing the drive from the pool, but it wouldn't work. The pool's whole page was kind of grayed out: I couldn't do anything on it.

 

I shut down the computer, removed the 'damaged' drive, then booted up. DrivePool said the drive was missing (yup, it was; good of you to notice), but I still couldn't Remove it.

 

I moved all of the data folders from the PoolPartGUID folder on each of the 3 drives to the root of each drive. Then I deleted the PoolPartGUID folders.... all except for one that simply would not delete. I got an error every time. This particular PoolPartGUID folder had a .covefs folder in it. It always seems to be that specific PoolPartGUID folder that won't delete.

    I finally got around this issue by getting Properties on the PoolPartGUID folder, going to Security, then Advanced, and giving Ownership of the folder to my account. After messing around with it a few times I was able to delete the folder.

 

However, deleting the folder didn't completely solve the problem. Even though none of the drives had a PoolPartGUID folder on it any longer, DrivePool refused to list the drives in the list of non-pooled drives. Somehow, it thought the drives were still part of a pool, even though it no longer would display a page for that pool. I could have gotten around the issue by use Disk Manager to delete & recreate the partitions from all the drives, but I had almost 4TB of data on them. That's a lot of recopying. It was a Catch-22.

 

Thanks to this forum, and Courtney (who is the most awesome tech support rep I've ever dealt with), I found out about the Reset All Settings feature, although it took me a couple of minutes to find it (it's in the Troubleshooting section in the tiny gear icon in the top right area of the DrivePool window). After resetting the settings, the 3 drives showed up in the list of non-pooled drives, and I was able to build a new pool with them.

 

Many thanks to the posters in this forum, and many, many, many thanks to Courtney. Stablebit/CoveCube is very lucky to have him.

 

 

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If the disk is "missing", it should be able to be removed, no problem.   If it's not letting you, then something odd is going on.  

That said, the 2.2 beta may outright fix the issue though.

 

 

As for deleting the poolpart folders, make sure they're deleted and not just "recycled".  I've seen this happen, when "recycling" the folders.  

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Yeah, not being able to Remove drives has happened to me at least twice. It so happens that it has always happened to pools located in my two Lian-Li EX-503 5-drive eSATA/USB3 enclosures. These units use a JMicron controller. I wonder if that's somehow relevant.

 

As for the poolpart folders, indeed, I always do a Shift-Delete to ensure they're gone. I'm no guru, but I am learning, bit by bit. :)

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Late this afternoon the 6TB HGST hard drive I ordered on sale from NewEgg arrived. I put it into my OffSite Lian-Li enclosure, added it to the OffSite A pool, and am in the process of removing the 4TB drive that was part of the pool. It's going slowly, but seems to be working. The 4TB drive that's coming out will then replace a 2 or 3 TB drive in the NearLine pool, giving both pools another terabyte or 2 of room.

 

Hopefully, with Christmas sales coming up, I will be able to get another couple of 6TB drives that I can use to replace the 4x2TB drives that make up most of the MainStorage pool (that's the one that's showing the sector errors). That, in turn, will free up another 4TB drive that can be used to expand the OffSite B pool. When it's all done, every pool should have no less that 1TB of free space, and most should have 2TB. That will last me a while.

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Today I decided to temporarily abort the drive removal. I recall my father telling me he never put a new hard drive into service without first doing a surface scan on it. He used to use spinrite, but I remember him complaining something about spinrite not working on larger drives.

 

In any case, I decided to do the next best thing: I'm now using Scanner to do a surface scan of the new 6TB drive. It does have about 1.9TB of data already, but there's still a ton to put on it before the 4TB drive can be removed. Anyway, it's 4% done and no problems so far.

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Yup, on all of the above. 

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday is coming up soon. So there will likely be good sales on hardware! 

 

 

As for the drive, yeah, definitely test before production use.  If you look up "bathtub curve failure", you'll see why.  Basically, most drives fail right away, or after years of service, rarely in between (hence bathtub!). 

 

And yeah, on SpinRite.  He used to do that. But it's a well known issue that SpinRite has issues with large drives. The problem is the DOS (FreeDOS, IIRC) driver for the drives. It has issues with drives larger than 2TB.

 

Steve Gibson (the SpinRite dev) has mentioned fixing it. Though, the question is: Will he get to it before we add the same functionality to StableBit Scanner!! :)

 

Also, for "in Windows", running a full (non-quick) format, and a surface scan should be about the same as a SpinRite (or similar) pass.  It makes sure that all sectors are readable and writeable. 

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I'm thinking Mr. Gibson is taking too long. And I do like that Scanner works while Windows is running, and works in the background. I now have it set to scan between 5am and 10am. The backups my father set up run between midnight and 5am, although I will have to check if they really need that much time. If not, I may be able to give more time to Scanner. So, yeah, push on with that update :)

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Well, ... the last verison of SpinRite (6.0) was released 13 years ago (2004)....  

That's not knocking it. Aside from the 2TB issue, it works fine, otherwise! 

 

 

As for the backup times, if this is for WHS, or Windows Server Essentials, it sets up the systems to backup any time in that window.  So, it may be at the end of that window.  

 

Other software works different, so it really depends. 

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That sounds like a really long time for a software program.

 

I have to clarify about the backups. These are pretty much all data copying CMD files that my father set up to run something called Robocopy. Any data that's placed in the MainStorage area of the server is copied to a NearLine external enclosure, then to an OffSite enclosure, then just the Documents folder is copied to a couple of pooled drives that he labelled MyDocumentsReserve. I have no idea why it's called that (but I have no reason to change it).

 

There are 2 sets of hard drives that rotate through the OffSite enclosure. Somehow his routine figures out which set of OffSite drives are currently in the enclosure. My father rotated them every day. I'm not that religious :)  I do it about once a week, or when there have been significant changes.

 

The final piece is Task Scheduler. I had to learn how this works in order to set up the new Windows 10 Server. I'll be honest; it's a bit of a beast to wrap my brain around. The concept I get; the way they've implemented it, not as much. I figured out enough to get new tasks set up to do the backups, so yeah....

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Yay, the scan of the new 6TB HGST is complete — no errors found. Back to removing the 4TB from the OffSite pool. It took a while, but the plans are back on track :)

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For software that runs offline, has no network connectivity, and whose core functionality hasn't changed much, it should be more than fine!

Aka, if it isn't broke.... 

 

 

As for robocopy, yup, very familiar with it. :)

So, it would be a scheduled task then, most likely.  And you can check the Task Scheduler for the start and finish times, then (assuming that's how he implemented it) 

 

And the Task Scheduler is a very power tool.  I use it a LOT (including an automatic parsing and downloading of new installers of our software) 

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I hear you about spinrite........ except it seems technology has moved ahead of it: i.e. it hasn't kept up. Oh well, Scanner will have it 'real soon now', right? B)

 

I did find the task my father set up for the backups. He set up quite a large window for it to run within. What I haven't checked is how long the backups actually take. He wasn't running Scanner on the Windows Home Server, so he probably didn't care. When I get a little more time, I'll check the log files (one of the things I discovered about when trying to read the CMD files--he uses a few of them).

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The removal of the 8TB 3ware drive from my MainStorage Pool completed sometime in the wee hours this morning. I removed the drives, and the 3ware card, then moved the replacement drives (2x4TB, 1x2TB, 1x1.5TB) into the slots emptied by the removal of the 2x2TB drives. So far, good.

Then, when I went to boot up, it wouldn't. After a few tries, I managed to get the system to enter the BIOS. I went to the Boot section. It showed one of the hard drives as the first boot device, and the DVD drive as the second. I pressed Enter to get a list of drives, so I could pick the Intel SSD that I installed Windows 10 on. It wasn't there. Hmmmm...

So, I went to the Disk Drives item and hit Enter. It showed 12 drives, none of them the Intel SSD. Double hmmmmmm.

I futzzed around with the connections and stuff and, finally, I managed to get the Intel SSD to show up. I picked it as the boot device and it worked. Not sure of all what I did, but I guess it's better to be lucky than good :)

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9 hours ago, ikon said:

The removal of the 8TB 3ware drive from my MainStorage Pool completed sometime in the wee hours this morning. I removed the drives, and the 3ware card, then moved the replacement drives (2x4TB, 1x2TB, 1x1.5TB) into the slots emptied by the removal of the 2x2TB drives. So far, good.

Glad to hear it! 

9 hours ago, ikon said:

So, I went to the Disk Drives item and hit Enter. It showed 12 drives, none of them the Intel SSD. Double hmmmmmm.

I futzzed around with the connections and stuff and, finally, I managed to get the Intel SSD to show up. I picked it as the boot device and it worked. Not sure of all what I did, but I guess it's better to be lucky than good :)

Yikes! But I'm glad to hear that you were able to get everything working again! 

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