By now just about everyone knows I’m a big Novell and NetWare fan. I’ve worked on plenty of Windows servers in my time too, but it still pains me how quickly NetWare got squashed by the Windows NT/2000/2003 juggernaut. I’m not sure Novell’s Marketing Department could sell a raft to a drowning man, but it never stopped NetWare from being a technically superior solution to Windows-based servers for a long time.

Even now in many respects, Microsoft is still playing catch up with Novell. For example, one of the biggest new ‘features’ in Active Directory in Windows Server 2003 R2 and Longhorn Server is the ability to created a federated directory.  *Yawn* You could do that with NDS/eDirectory back in 2000. But right now what’s irking me about one feature that NetWare always had that’s severely lacking on Windows servers is the ability to undelete a simple file.

I was at a consulting customer’s site recently who had accidentally deleted a very important directory full of budget files.  The backup tapes? Naturally, the backups were no help because those files weren’t on the list of files that were included in the backup of the system. 

Had the customer been running a NetWare server, it would have been a quick trip to Filer and then Salvage Deleted Files. Unfortunately, they were running Windows Server 2003. I tried downloading and using Diskeeper’s Undelete 5, but installing the utility after the fact was pretty much a desperate and failed attempt.

Had Microsoft chosen to create a simple Undelete utility on its server OSes, it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s certainly not rocket science. NetWare had it back in 2.x with the old Salvage command. And why should a network administrator have to plop down money on an added utility for such a basic feature?  Maybe Longhorn Server will finally catch up with NetWare with some needed features – somehow I doubt it.