Windows Home Server still Saving my Butt


I know Windows Home Server is an outdated model for backups, but I have to admit, I’ve been reluctant to let mine go. Mine has rescued me on more than one occassion when other backup/restore options simply didn’t work (primarily during a few drive replacements and crashes). Most recent rescue was just this past week.

I discovered that I’ve somehow managed to lose quite a few music files from my music library. Many of them were songs I ripped from the collection of CD’s I’ve purchased since the 1980’s. I no longer have many of those CD’s. Others were from iTunes purchases (which I can recover from the store). My guess is that I screwed up an iTunes install on one of my machines, pointing it to the wrong OneDrive location for music and mistakenly telling it to copy music to the library when adding. Or perhaps it’s the other way around, I’m not sure. Could have also been Groove/Xbox Music. Throw some Windows resets in along the way for good measure. I really don’t know.

I use OneDrive extensively–I thought my data was safe. I thought as long as all my data is on OneDrive, I’m good to go. I took a few manual backups here and there just to be extra safe with precious pictures and video of the kids and family. Apparently that strategy was okay, except for music. I’ve always known video would present a special case as well.

As Paul noted recently, OneDrive still doesn’t allow you to manage music within it. You can’t choose to use OneDrive as your music folder instead of the local machine location. That sucks. I’ve always worked around that by manually copying my music to OneDrive and trying to be sure I kept new music going to it instead of the default location. I point all my machines–desktop, laptop, SP3–and apps to my music folder on OneDrive. I guess I didn’t do that so well after all.

Since January, I’ve been working on shutting my WHS down–slowly moving files to my desktop and then up to OneDrive. I’ve cleaned up my office, removed clutter, and rearranged some. The small WHS box is in the way and it hasn’t been serving much of a purpose, at least that’s what I thought until this week.

When I discovered my MP3’s were missing, my first thought was a few portable hard drives I had used for manual backups. I checked those and found the files were missing on them too. So I fired up my WHS dashboard and looked at the backup history for my desktop. Found backups going all the way back to 2011 when I built and fired up my WHS. You know what else I found? Those missing MP3’s!

I used to use Carbonite, but dropped it when Microsoft starting throwing OneDrive data at us. I was also having some upload bandwidth issues (I can’t get fiber). Things have improved a little on the upload bandwidth front, but still nothing like fiber.

I had hoped to get away from WHS backups and rely on OneDrive to keep most of my data safe.  Before I can completely eliminate my WHS, I guess I’m going to have to take another look at cloud backup solutions.  Wish Carbonite were still around for consumer.

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