Questions

USB hard drive quits

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USB hard drive quits

jamieyielding
I have a problem, I have a Dell 2600PE which is running 2003 sp2 with a 6 port(2 internal 4 external) USB2 I/O card and installed a Antec USB external HD enclosure w/ a Western Digital SATA 500gb HD. The issue is when I backup my main server to this USB drive the task will some times complete and sometimes fail but every time the drive quits and I have to power cycle the USB drive to get it to work again. Things I have tryed is:

Remove indexing from this drive
latest drivers for I/O card
Different USB cables
Different USB ports encluding onboard USB ports on server
Checking USB enclosure power supply
Changing jumper on drive to limit to 1.5gbs transfer rate
Server has latest bios updates and firmware updates for backplane

I can manually copy large files from drive to this drive no issues. This server is dedicated to backing up our main server. I am using ntbackup on main server to schedule the backup (of which I have never had any issues using before). Log files say cannot open media (if backup fails) or the logs confirm the backup completed no errors but drive quits after operation. Any help would be great.
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    On some USB drives they can shutdown for no reason, or the computer will shut down the port to save power. So you need to look in to that. Right click on the drive in question and the select " properties > power management" or something similar and make sure there are no ticks in any of the boxes. Make sure that the power on the drive is connected properly.

    Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

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    jamieyielding

    There is not any power settings related with the drive or the usb ports that I can find, either properties of the drive, device manager on either usb ports or drive. If it is in the bios I will have to check. I will post the settings when I check it.

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    ugadata

    Do you have another external USB enclosure available?

    Either another enclosure to try the drive in or just another external USB HDD.

    It looks like you've tried everything else and it's always possible the USB to SATA? controller is flaky. I have had similar symptoms with a USB HDD and it turned out to be the enclosures electronics that were bad.

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    jamieyielding

    Yes, I have a identical enclosure for use as a off site backup but same issue w/ this one as well...

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    Jacky Howe

    Open explorer and create a new folder. Something like USB. Insert the USB Drive. Open Computer Management, Disk Management and right click on the removable disk. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths. Here you can select a Drive Letter of choice by clicking Change, Select Add. Navigate to the folder and Select it and press OK. From now on when you insert the USB Drive you will have a copy of the contents in the new folder. You can set the Backup to the new drive letter without it ever changing.

    Let us know how you get on.

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    jamieyielding

    Is the idea of this to have a copy of the backups on the local hard drive of my server and a copy on the USB drive? The way the main server "sees" the USB drive is through a network share "\\backup\server backup" so a drive letter is not important because I could put the share on the local hard drive of the server and the main server would not know the difference.

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    0 Votes

    No

    Jacky Howe

    there wont be a copy of the Backups in that folder. It will only be available when the Drive is inserted. You can Share the folder or use the Drive Letter that has been associated with it.

    Have you created a User with Admin privelages that logs on and runs the Backup through Task Schedular.

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    0 Votes

    Yes

    jamieyielding

    I use shares instead of drive maping so I am not locked into a drive letter that could change if I make a hardware change. I have tested this by moving the "share" from one place to another and the backups follow it.

    The user I use is administrator which is logged on and locked at all times.

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    0 Votes
    ugadata

    Both USB enclosures exhibit the same behavior on the Dell 2600PE be it the add-in card (USB 2.0) or the onboard (USB 1.1?) ports?

    Do these USB enclosures work OK on any other PC or server? DO you have an enclosure that is not identical that you could try.

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    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    I do not have another enclosure but I will bring one of them to work and try it on one of the servers and computers here to see if the issue still exists w/ the enclosure. I am beginning to wonder if this is a server 2003 issue.

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    ugadata

    Is there always a user logged on to the server? If not this could be the problem.

    I know mapped drives only work when a user is logged on. UNC path names can work without a user logged on if the "service" is signed on with a user name/ service that is allowed network access (typically service accounts are not allowed over the network access)

    I have a similar setup where I use NTBACKUP to backup across the network to a USB drive attached to another server. Both server are running Server 2003. I do however have to leave a user logged on the server running the NTBACKUP (either at the console or a remote desktop session) otherwise the backup will fail.

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    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    Yes, administrator is logged on the main server and locked at all times. Like I said no issues until installing the USB drive. When I used a local drive with a share on the backup server backups went like clock work.

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    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    Now I just checked and last night the backup completed w/ no errors and the USB drive was still up!?!?! I am beginning to think this is a windows issue (indexing error, bad sector, or something like that). This is a production server w/ exchange so I can't just take it down any time I like. I am going to check database's and array configurations to make sure that there are no issues this week end. I will keep you posted.

    FYI the main server is a Dell 2800PE w/ 4 drives 3 striped and the 4th as a hot spare. The network is a gig end to end.

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    0 Votes
    Iam_Mordac

    I couldn't find definitive proof from M$, however we experienced a simular issue with Maxtor USB HDD's while setting up an image-based backup and wanted to use a pair of usbhdd's for offsite swapping. Maxtor finally told me "It will never work!"

    Server 2003 does not 'officially' support the use of usb hdd's due to timing issues or some such. (Sorry, can't remember the exact reason) You can get them to work some of the time, even most of the time if you are lucky, however you will end up chasing transient problems the entire time. Check the M$ HCL or the mfg's compatibility.

    I figured, "Well it works on XP, and Serv2003 has the same core so of course it'll work!!!" A week later, I told my boss, "ahh, OOPS!!!"

    We ended up going with Buffalo's NAS devices. Set a pair of them up with the same static ip and swap them out bi-monthly.

    Good luck and YMMV, I don't know if M$ patched it in the interim.

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    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    OK here is what I have discovered over the weekend - If I use the onboard USB port on the server the drive works but backups fail saying cannot mount media. If I use my I/O card the backup will finish but immediately after the backup runs the drive quits and I have to power cycle the unit to get it to work. This has got to be a win2003 issue. I have not had a chance to try the enclosures on a xp machine yet...

    +
    0 Votes

    Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    OK here is what I have done to work around this issue. Have ntbackup put the files on a local share on the backup server and used a batch file to xcopy the backup files to the USB drive and this works so my only conclusion so far is that ntbackup as well as server 2003 has issues w/ USB drives. I am going to let this run for a couple of weeks to see if I have any more issues.

  • +
    0 Votes

    On some USB drives they can shutdown for no reason, or the computer will shut down the port to save power. So you need to look in to that. Right click on the drive in question and the select " properties > power management" or something similar and make sure there are no ticks in any of the boxes. Make sure that the power on the drive is connected properly.

    Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    There is not any power settings related with the drive or the usb ports that I can find, either properties of the drive, device manager on either usb ports or drive. If it is in the bios I will have to check. I will post the settings when I check it.

    +
    0 Votes
    ugadata

    Do you have another external USB enclosure available?

    Either another enclosure to try the drive in or just another external USB HDD.

    It looks like you've tried everything else and it's always possible the USB to SATA? controller is flaky. I have had similar symptoms with a USB HDD and it turned out to be the enclosures electronics that were bad.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    Yes, I have a identical enclosure for use as a off site backup but same issue w/ this one as well...

    +
    0 Votes
    Jacky Howe

    Open explorer and create a new folder. Something like USB. Insert the USB Drive. Open Computer Management, Disk Management and right click on the removable disk. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths. Here you can select a Drive Letter of choice by clicking Change, Select Add. Navigate to the folder and Select it and press OK. From now on when you insert the USB Drive you will have a copy of the contents in the new folder. You can set the Backup to the new drive letter without it ever changing.

    Let us know how you get on.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    Is the idea of this to have a copy of the backups on the local hard drive of my server and a copy on the USB drive? The way the main server "sees" the USB drive is through a network share "\\backup\server backup" so a drive letter is not important because I could put the share on the local hard drive of the server and the main server would not know the difference.

    +
    0 Votes

    No

    Jacky Howe

    there wont be a copy of the Backups in that folder. It will only be available when the Drive is inserted. You can Share the folder or use the Drive Letter that has been associated with it.

    Have you created a User with Admin privelages that logs on and runs the Backup through Task Schedular.

    +
    0 Votes

    Yes

    jamieyielding

    I use shares instead of drive maping so I am not locked into a drive letter that could change if I make a hardware change. I have tested this by moving the "share" from one place to another and the backups follow it.

    The user I use is administrator which is logged on and locked at all times.

    +
    0 Votes
    ugadata

    Both USB enclosures exhibit the same behavior on the Dell 2600PE be it the add-in card (USB 2.0) or the onboard (USB 1.1?) ports?

    Do these USB enclosures work OK on any other PC or server? DO you have an enclosure that is not identical that you could try.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    I do not have another enclosure but I will bring one of them to work and try it on one of the servers and computers here to see if the issue still exists w/ the enclosure. I am beginning to wonder if this is a server 2003 issue.

    +
    0 Votes
    ugadata

    Is there always a user logged on to the server? If not this could be the problem.

    I know mapped drives only work when a user is logged on. UNC path names can work without a user logged on if the "service" is signed on with a user name/ service that is allowed network access (typically service accounts are not allowed over the network access)

    I have a similar setup where I use NTBACKUP to backup across the network to a USB drive attached to another server. Both server are running Server 2003. I do however have to leave a user logged on the server running the NTBACKUP (either at the console or a remote desktop session) otherwise the backup will fail.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    Yes, administrator is logged on the main server and locked at all times. Like I said no issues until installing the USB drive. When I used a local drive with a share on the backup server backups went like clock work.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    Now I just checked and last night the backup completed w/ no errors and the USB drive was still up!?!?! I am beginning to think this is a windows issue (indexing error, bad sector, or something like that). This is a production server w/ exchange so I can't just take it down any time I like. I am going to check database's and array configurations to make sure that there are no issues this week end. I will keep you posted.

    FYI the main server is a Dell 2800PE w/ 4 drives 3 striped and the 4th as a hot spare. The network is a gig end to end.

    +
    0 Votes
    Iam_Mordac

    I couldn't find definitive proof from M$, however we experienced a simular issue with Maxtor USB HDD's while setting up an image-based backup and wanted to use a pair of usbhdd's for offsite swapping. Maxtor finally told me "It will never work!"

    Server 2003 does not 'officially' support the use of usb hdd's due to timing issues or some such. (Sorry, can't remember the exact reason) You can get them to work some of the time, even most of the time if you are lucky, however you will end up chasing transient problems the entire time. Check the M$ HCL or the mfg's compatibility.

    I figured, "Well it works on XP, and Serv2003 has the same core so of course it'll work!!!" A week later, I told my boss, "ahh, OOPS!!!"

    We ended up going with Buffalo's NAS devices. Set a pair of them up with the same static ip and swap them out bi-monthly.

    Good luck and YMMV, I don't know if M$ patched it in the interim.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    OK here is what I have discovered over the weekend - If I use the onboard USB port on the server the drive works but backups fail saying cannot mount media. If I use my I/O card the backup will finish but immediately after the backup runs the drive quits and I have to power cycle the unit to get it to work. This has got to be a win2003 issue. I have not had a chance to try the enclosures on a xp machine yet...

    +
    0 Votes

    Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

    +
    0 Votes
    jamieyielding

    OK here is what I have done to work around this issue. Have ntbackup put the files on a local share on the backup server and used a batch file to xcopy the backup files to the USB drive and this works so my only conclusion so far is that ntbackup as well as server 2003 has issues w/ USB drives. I am going to let this run for a couple of weeks to see if I have any more issues.