I should have been paying attention to detail. Luckily Windows Home Server WAS paying attention.

But I was in a hurry while assembling a test machine this weekend. And I didn’t feel all that well (never fails – kids go back to school, bring home new bugs and the parents get sick!).

Well, I got sloppy. A couple weeks ago I wrote about this failing hard drive, and how Vista helped save my ass.

I didn’t label the drive as bad, and hadn’t had time to crush it before disposing of it. That was stupid. I also put it in the box with all of my other “spare” drives. That was even more stupid.

But I installed XP on it and moved my Server 2008 test environment (a virtual machine) over to it (yes, I didn’t copy it I MOVED IT). THAT was really stupid. I have no idea why I moved the virtual machine – I have plenty of space on the server it was on.

Anyway, to shorten a very long story – I had installed Windows Home Server Release Candidate last week – and I put the Windows Home Server Connector Software on my new server – mostly just to add another machine to my Windows Home Server test bed.

So I spent a few hours building and configuring this test machine and all of the data was now on a flaky drive. Luckily, I then got busy doing something else – so I didn’t really use the machine much.

But Windows Home Server didn’t forget the new test machine – it backed it up, just as it was born to do.

When I went to use the machine I found the drive completely dead. It would not even boot. I quickly realized my mistake and had that horrid hollow feeling you get deep in your guts when you realize that you just did something completely stupid – and that it cost you days of work. The test machine was nothing to me – the virtual machine image was extremely important to me though. It is hard to describe how important it is.

My son told me the other day that he saw a sign on the bulletin board at his college – someone had lost their USB memory stick.

Lost – black USB memory stick, 1 GB. Reward, $50. Contains – my life!!!

That is the kind of loss I was looking at. All because I was being lazy, and in a hurry.

I went back to the original machine to double check that I still had the image, and realized I did not. I tried to un-erase it, and I could not (the likelihood of un-erasing a file decreases if it is a very large file – so I am told).

I resigned myself to my fate and beat the living crap out of the defective drive with a mallet just to relieve my frustration.

And I selected another drive and started over, thinking this time I’ll have to spend ten or more hours recreating my virtual machine.

As Windows XP was reinstalling onto the new drive I went back to my main machine and saw Windows Home Server (WHS) had an error – it couldn’t find the test machine! I had forgotten all about WHS!

And WHS HAD backed up the test machine. Three times. I decided to try and restore from the first backup and I found the virtual machine image to be in perfect shape!

So I got my butt saved today – by a beta product. A Microsoft beta product.

So twice in a month Microsoft has saved me from either bad hardware, or my own stupid decisions.

I’ll do a review of Windows Home Server soon – it is an amazingly easy to use service that has just saved me the horror of telling a client that I was an idiot.


  1. Hooray for Windows Home Server. I have it in my house too and I’m waiting for it to save my bacon as I’m sure it will one day. I already used it to restore following a drive upgrade in a laptop.

  2. I am eager to hear more about this.