Windows Home Server Causing File Corruption

Microsoft is facing its first crisis with Windows Home Server (WHS), which is causing file corruption when used with certain programs -- most of them from Microsoft itself.

The title of the Knowledge Base (KB) article sums up the issue: "When you use certain programs to edit files on a home computer that uses Windows Home Server, the files may become corrupted when you save them to the home server."

That's definitely a problem, since one of the primary uses of WHS is as a central repository for backing up a family's data. WHS, officially released on Nov. 4, is touted as a breakthrough product for Microsoft -- an easy-to-use server that provides centralized storage for, and management of, a home network. It has been well-regarded since its release, and regularly praised in the press.

The Microsoft-specific programs that appear to cause data corruption, and ultimately, data loss, include:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
  • Microsoft Money 2007
  • Windows Vista Photo Gallery
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Microsoft Office OneNote 2007
  • Microsoft Office OneNote 2003
  • SyncToy 2.0 Beta

That was the list supplied by Microsoft. Other customers have complained of similar problems with Quicken and Torrent applications. Quicken is the extremely popular home finance suite of programs. The KB posting said "Our support team is currently trying to reproduce these issues in our labs."

A posting on Microsoft's WHS blog, however, said that they were able to reproduce the problem.

"Our development team is working full time through the holidays to diagnose and address this issue. We will keep you posted on our progress on this issue as soon as we have more to share," the blog posting declared.

No updates to the issue have yet been posted, eight days after the initial notification. Microsoft hasn't released any more details about the snafu, but stated that it may have to do with a "recently discovered problem with Windows Home Server shared folders."

The KB article gives the following warning: "Make sure that you have a backup copy of any important program files before you store these files on a system that is running Windows Home Server." The irony, of course, is that WHS is supposed to be that backup agent, instead of the cause of data loss. So, until a fix is found, Microsoft recommends that you back up your data before backing up your data.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].