Windows Home Server, Day 4

I’m in troubleshooting mode now. The last two mornings I’ve woken up to a frozen server machine. No blue screen. Just the screen contents from whenever it froze some number of hours ago.

I’ve checked all the event logs and don’t see any suspicious activity any time near the freeze. I also had the foresight to leave both Task Manager, PerfMon and the WHS servers running and visible. Nothing out of the ordinary there either.

In both cases a backup from my Vista box was in progress. However, this morning (after rebooting) I initiated a manual backup which just completed successfully.

I do have some processor/motherboard monitoring software running. I’ll try pulling that first to see if that helps.

To test out the I/O throughput, I copied ~100GB of video from my Vista box to the WHS machine. Sustained throughput was around 22 MB/second. Both machines have GB LAN cards and SATA II disks. Watching the network throughput in Task Manager, the data transfer was bursty in roughly minute intervals, alternating between moments of 50% net utilization and 15% utilization.

Subsequently, watching the throughput during backup, the net card saw a more more consistent 25% utilization, and about 28 MB/sec to the disk.

As for new observations on the WHS software, I’ve noticed the Start menu contents are substantially trimmed down, relative to a regular Windows 2003 install. I had a need for one of the items (Control Panel) and it was easy to reenable it in the Start menu Properties page.

Comments (3)

  1. Norman Diamond says:

    > I also had the foresight to leave both Task Manager, PerfMon and the WHS servers running and visible.

    But you neglected to leave the serial (or other) connection to a debugging machine running and visible ^_^

    During 2006, in 90% of my cases where Windows XP froze in the same mode as your server freeze, a firewall was trying to display a prompt, but interaction between the firewall’s service and UI mode plus other parts of Windows were too much for Windows to survive.  The firewall vendor provided an upgrade and there were only around 3 repeats of this failure with the new version.  Other unknown causes remain but the frequency is lower.

    During 2002, in 90% of my cases where Windows 2000 froze in the same mode as your server froze, the problem was Windows 2000’s response to noise on an IDE cable.  The hard drive containing the boot partition (containing Windows system files) and a CD-ROM drive were on the same IDE cable.  So when an I/O error occured trying to read a CD-ROM, Windows tried to write to the event log on the same IDE cable, and Windows did not survive.  Windows NT4 survived the same situation because it didn’t try to write to the event log.  It took weeks to track down the cause.  We didn’t try XP on that machine.

  2. Norman Diamond says:

    Yesterday I read of someone getting the same kind of freezing in a file server running Linux.

    Rereading your posting here I see that IDE cables aren’t a cause of your problem ^_^  I wonder if SATA cables are vulnerable to the same kind of noise though.

  3. StillGrey says:

    FWIW you can get to control panel from starting windows explorer which is on the slim start menu.  It is listed toward the bottom.