Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Windows Image Backup doesn't seem to work

Of three attempts to recover system image using Windows Setup I recently made, all failed. Usually, I received a message that there was no suitable disk to restore a backup to. Even if I created a system image file, replaced the disk by a blank identical one, and immediately tried to restore that image file on the same PC, it still failed.

So, if you are using System Image in Windows 7 or Windows Vista as a primary tool for backup, you should carefully test your recovery procedure.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

MSI 7681 P67A-GD65-B3 4 short beeps and reboot loop

If you have an MSI 7681 P67A-GD65-B3 mainboard, and it emits four (4) short beeps, then shuts down and goes into reboot loop, even before the BIOS is shown, consider the following

1. There are two generations of Intel iX socket 1155 CPUs, called Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge. Of the two generations Ivy Bridge is the latest.
2. The MSI 7681 mainboard supports Sandy Bridge CPUs out of the box. Ivy Bridge CPUs require a BIOS update.

Verify that you aren't trying to install an Ivy Bridge CPU into a motherboard without a BIOS update. If you just unpacked it, it is most certain that you need a BIOS update. Temporarily install an older Sandy Bridge CPU, update the BIOS, and you should be fine.

Now the word of caution, it appears from the Internet forums that installing an update prevents the board from starting with an old version of the CPU.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Reliability of Storage Spaces


At various times, there was a variety of tools to organize disk space on the PCs running under Windows both native such as Drive Extender (now extinct) in Windows Home Server, Logical Disk Manager (LDM) in Windows 7, Storage Spaces in Windows 8 Storage Spaces, and third party tools like StableBit or DriveBender.
Now less than two months after Windows 8 with Storage Spaces is released, it would seem that everything is bad - people on different sites cry that Storage Spaces is buggy and doesn't work. However, surprising as it may be, software developed by Microsoft is more reliable and better tested than any third party tools.
By this moment, obviously, Storage Spaces has a larger user base in terms of installations, number of disks, capacity of stored data, and disk-hours online than all the software from different vendors combined for all the time of their existence.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Downside of having a single large storage pool

The downside of having a single large storage, whatever it is, be it a Storage Spaces pool, or a plain RAID unit, is: if there is a problem with a storage, you have nowhere to back it up to.

With a pool of 15+ disks, there is a pressing need to repair the pool in-place; otherwise, the price tag for a disk set to copy the data off, DIY-style, would be like $1500 in drives alone (15x 2TB hard drives at $100 a pop), not counting controller and power supply requirements.

However, even if the drive purchase is involved, DIY would probably still be cheaper than a service recovery. As a positive side effect, you get a disk set which can hold a backup copy of the data.