Windows Home Server Connection Lost Troubleshooting

I’ve had a problem recently where clients would fail abruptly.  These were clients that had been backing up reliably for months so it seemed a little strange to me.  The error in my Event Viewer was:

 

Backup of volume C: to SERVER failed: Microsoft.HomeServer.Backup.Protocol.ProtocolException: Client / Server connection lost

 

The error points to a networking problem.  I researched it a bit and found recommendations to download the WHS Toolkit.  So I downloaded it and ran it.  It told me that my connector software didn’t match my server version.  So I deleted my connector software and re-installed it from the server.  I tried to run a backup again and it failed again at about 70%.  So I ran the troubleshooter again and it again told me that I had a version mismatch.

 

The interesting thing is that my home server was almost full.  I started the backup and it told me that it only had 139GB left in space.   Then it counted down as the backup continued until it told me that it only had 90GB of space left and then the backup failed again.  I checked the Event Viewer and the error was still the same, some sort of connection loss between the server and the client.  I ran the WHS Toolkit again and it again told me that I had a version mismatch between my client and server.

 

On a whim I purged 200GB of data from the server, ran the backup again.  It succeeded.  If you run into this problem and your home server is tight on space, I’d suggest offloading some data to an external drive or adding another drive and trying again.  The log output is misleading.  This is not a connection problem, you’re just out of space.

Recurring problem with Synergy on Windows 7 and my workaround

I run a program called Synergy that allows me to use one keyboard and mouse on multiple computers at the same time.  It’s a handy feature for power users.  Unfortunately, I’ve found that just about any time I install or change any network settings on my Windows 7 box, which is the server for this program, it breaks the set up.  I’ve tried all sorts of things, re-installing, troubleshooting the route, turning up logging but I’ve had this happen two times now and the only solution I’ve found is to re-install the Synergy server program AS ADMINISTRATOR.  Then it magically works.  For what it’s worth, I am running version 1.4.4 64-bit.  Hope this helps you if you’re having the same problem.  Oh, and the latest change was that I installed OpenVPN.

External USB Drive issues: Healthy GPT Protective Partition

So I’ve decided to start putting some old drives to use lately. I played around with freenas for a while but the throughput was pretty miserable and I had other issues. I now suspect that those issues were actually symptoms of another problem but in the meanwhile I sought another solution. That’s how I started looking into putting my old IDE drives into external USB enclosures.

The first problem was with the jumper settings on my disk. Apparently drives should always be set to master if you want them to be recognized. Unfortunately XP doesn’t really explain that in any of it’s troubleshooting. In fact, it will install the device and tell you it’s up and running but you’ll not find the drive under Disk Management like you’d expect.

I also read the documentation for a while and reinstalled the disk into another system. That’s because some of the documentation indicated I should reformat as FAT32. I did that and it didn’t help either. But once I set the disk to master, it at least was visible in XP.

But even then I couldn’t work with the disk. Under Disk Management the system was listed as Healthy (GPT Protective Partion). I don’t have a good answer for why this happened. This normally happens to linux disks migrated to a Windows system. And I did use a linux utility to format the disk to FAT32 but it shouldn’t have left any traces. In fact I used GParted, http://lifehacker.com/software/partition/download-of-the-day-gparted-live-cd-175024.php, ; since Gina Trapani’s site lifehacker.com recommended it. I still think the utility is useful but maybe not for this use.

Finally I located information about how to fix this problem at (currently this web page is down http://www.freshscoop.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5 ;, but I’ve mirrored it locally.  Click Here.

I used that utility to low level format the first 4096 sectors, rebooted, and whallah, now she’s cooking with gas. Good luck with your own external adventures.

Here is the type of external enclosures I used. They work just fine. Frankly, I bought them because they were available locally at Microcenter for a fair price.