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Files and folders disappearing from Windows Server 2003 Server.

Posted on 2009-04-29
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I have a Windows Server 2003 Server that lost a few files and folders today at one point.  A little while later more folders and files disappeared.  I then Restored the entire folder from tape into a different folder within the folder in which the files were missing which was successful.  A little while later the restored files were all missing from the restore folder.  The virus protection is up to date and I performed a full scan of the server and it came back clean.  I am a bit clueless as to why this could be happening.  Could someone offer some help?
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Question by:Emulous
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by:rettif9
ID: 24266049
Just thinking out loud... Are you running hardware or software RAID? Can you see the files from a Safe Mode command prompt? If not RAID have you done an integrity test on the drive? Is server on a UPS? How full is the drive? Has it been defragmented regularly?
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by:Emulous
ID: 24266124
Yes, it is hardware RAID on the system partition as well as the Data.  The Data partition is the one with the issue.  The RAID software shows that all is good.  Have not defragmented in a while.  Yes, everything is on a UPS.  Haven't run any tests because I have been working remotely.  I am running a checkdisk now.
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by:rettif9
ID: 24266301
Just to make sure I understand, are you saying you have one array with two logical partitions or two physical arrays? What type array is this? If this is RAID 1 or 5 then its not likely that multiple drives would lose the same data at the same time. To do it twice the odds would be astronomical. That leaves the controller or a software issue. If RAID software doesn't see any I/O issues then I lean toward a software issue. Does windows disc management see any issues with the drive? Were there any read/write errors during recent back-ups? Are there any application or system event log issues that might be related?
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by:Emulous
ID: 24266330
There are 4 Physical Disks.  2 for the system partition in a RAID 1 Array and 2 for the Data Drive in a RAID 1 Array.  There is nothing in the Event Viewer that would suggest a problem.  The RAID software reports everything as Normal.  I ran a checkdisk and there are no evident issues.  Disk Management reports all drives as Healthy.  Backups have been succesful for 5 days straight with just minor issues on other servers being reported.  The drive is 72 GB and there is 50 GB free.  There have been no blackouts or power outages recently.  Could it be the swine flu?
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by:rettif9
ID: 24266508
Swine Flu... Thats good! I've been googling - There is considerable discussion about the merits of defragmenting RAID arrays on various sites. I found this article that seems to make some persuasive arguments in favor.
http://www.processor.com/editorial/article.asp?article=articles%2Fp2540%2F31p40%2F31p40.asp
Another thread on EE causes me to ask if you are running VM software. I hadn't thought to ask. This affects defragmentation. Are these SATA drives? One thread on Toms hardware claims that only one of the drives in a pair is defragmented, the other left untouched. Hmmmm. I hate to say this but I'm running out of ideas... If no one else jumps in you might want to request attention or try adding the thread to more zones. I will be listening and thinking If I get an idea I'll chime in.
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by:Emulous
ID: 24266551
No VM Software deployed and they are all SCSI drives.  I am running a defrag in Windows now.  I know the article suggests that I should use a better utility but being in a remote site and it being late I guess it will have to do.  Thanks for the help.  It is greatly appreciated.
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by:rettif9
ID: 24269237
Here's another defragmenter that's free.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Hard-Disk-Utils/Power-Defragmenter.shtml
Sysinternals and Mark Russinovich are names you can trust. In fact Microsoft liked Sysinternals so well they bought it.
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rettif9 earned 1000 total points
ID: 24269481
When you restore the files from backup do you see anything out of the ordinary about them? After restore were they checked for integrity? After you ran chkdsk were they still there?
I hate to mention this but is there any possibility of intentional deletion? How did you discover the files were missing?
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by:frostburn
ID: 24271611
Hi there,

Who has access to the files in the folder you restored.
If it is a shared folder and other people have access to it they could be deleting the files and then seeing them again and deleting them again.
Users have been known to do this without reporting and thinking it a fluke or some miraculous occurance. :)

Hope this helps
-FB
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by:Emulous
ID: 24286422
I really have not found a solution at all.  I have restored the files again and they appear to be fine for a couple of days now.  I would not imaging that the users are deleting them but at this point that is the only thing I think it could be.  I really hate to say that too but you just never know.  Thank you for all of your help!!
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