Microsoft addresses data corruption with WHS Power Pack beta

Microsoft has released a public beta of the first Windows Home Server update in order to show the world it has finally fixed an embarrassing data corruption bug it discovered six months ago and has been trying to correct since.

The public beta of Home Server Power Pack 1 is intended to help the Windows Home Server team "prove we fixed 'the bug'" that plagued the product's initial launch last year. The "bug" in question was a data corruption issue that occurred when certain programs were used to edit or transfer files stored on a Windows Home Server-based computer that has more than one hard drive.

Applications involved with the issue include: Windows Vista Photo Gallery, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Office OneNote 2003 and 2007, Office Outlook 2007, Money 2007, SyncToy 2.0 Beta, Intuit's QuickBooks, and uTorrent.

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Solving the problem proved to be quite an expansive task for Microsoft, according to developer Bulat Shelepov, involving a complete rewrite of the storage subsystem for Windows Home Server.

During that time, features were also added to the product, including: support for Windows Vista x64 editions, backup of Home Server shared folders, improved remote access capabilities and energy efficiency, and Chinese and Japanese language versions.

This release is another example of Microsoft extending its "dogfooding" to a larger scale, in which it enlists the help of as many people as possible to run through a series of test scenarios to guarantee desirable results. Developer Charlie Kindel wrote on the Windows Home Server blog that, "I am confident we'll get enough testers. The only remaining question is how quickly those testers download the bits and start testing them."

The final release of Power Pack 1 won't be made available until "the community has validated our work," Kindel added. Microsoft doesn't want to make yet another snafu by releasing the update and continuing to have data corruption issues with certain applications, especially considering how long it has taken to locate and correct the bug.

At Microsoft Connect, both an update package applicable to existing Windows Home Servers and an updated DVD and CD ISO images of an evaluation version of Windows Home Server with Power Pack 1 have been made available. The team has advised users running the Release Candidate on a "production" home server to make a full backup prior to getting started.

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