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post #1 of 82 Old 02-15-2009, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

I've finally gotten time to finish up this app I've been working on. It basically balances all the data on your drive pool equally. Let me know if you like it!

/Edit: UPDATE ALERT:
New feature of including D: in the balancing effort has been included.
Code:
UPDATED NOTE:
Some people have been having trouble not getting any data to move when their D:\\ has lots of data on it. Before doing anything else, please run Drive Balancer to clear the landing zone only. To do this, choose "n" to include d:, then choose "y" to clear landing zone, and the "5" to exit. After this initial run (which can take hours), rerun Drive Balancer the with the options you want. I believe this will help the problem of no data being moved on some people's systems. 

Usage Notes:
This program was designed to "even out" the data on a drive pool for WHS. The main purpose was when a person adds a drive to the pool, it doesn't necessarily start getting used for a while. While Microsoft has made changes to the usage of the Landing Zone (as in it doesn't exist anymore), some people's systems might still be in a non "evened out" state as wish to correct this. On my own system, I routinely get within 2% of perfect balancing on all pooled drives. 

For a walk through of the tool running, checkout the walk_through.txt file.
Testing:
I have tested this program on my own system which consists of:

System Disk: 
Areca 1210 RAID5 set consisting of (4) 250GB Seagate Drives = 20GB C: and 678GB D:

Pooled Disks:
(3) WD 1TB Green HDs
(2) Seagate 1.5TB HDs


IMPORTANT NOTE:
With some help from user "S_M_E" on SageTV forums, I am able to "restart" the Drive Extender service which is responsible for doing the actual balancing. The program detects a restart is needed if <5MB/s of total disk throughput is monitored on all pooled drives. Monitoring disk activity would not have been possible within Sam Wood's help. At this point, it restarts the service and marches along. Feel free to restart the service on your own if you are watching the process and see no disk activity (using Disk Management plug-in). 

You WILL see some critical WHS warnings reported all related to storage space. Do not worry, this is expected behavior while the tool is running and will be cleared up at the end of the run. 

If you need to hit Ctrl-C out of the program even though it is automatic and will end on it own. If you feel the program is behaving badly, and you Ctrl-C out of it, You will have to manually delete the following DIRs:

C:\\fs\\*\\fake\\
D:\\fake\\

I have extensively tested this program on my own system with my own data. I have lost nothing and you should realize that this program does not delete any data (It only creates fake files). As such, I can't guarantee that any data on your own system. Don't be afraid, either do a backup first, or jsut trust me and run the tool anyway! :)

Acknowledgements:
Theo van Elsberg - author of LZReallocator
Brent from wegotserved WHS forums
S_M_E from SageTV forums
Sam Wood - author of Disk Management add-in

======================================================================================

Revision History:
v1.05
- Attempting to solve problem where no files are moved on the system when D:\\is filled 
  prior to running Drive Balancer. Please read UPDATE NOTE for potential solution
- Fixed bug where calculation of free space on D: was not "worked around". Refer to v1.03
  history notes below. This fix will help systems that either 
    a) don't include D:\\ in balancing 
    b) tried to clear the landing zone
- Added programmable time interval for checking disk activity
- Added programmable disk activity threshold for restarting Drive Extender service

v1.04
- Fixed bug where D: was not always cleaned up
- Modified restarting of DE service to monitor disk activity. This will restart DE within 
  seconds instead of 15 minutes. Should improve run time on systems with large files.

v1.03
- Handled bug where WHS returns free space of D: as (C: + D:)
- Fine tuned "crunching" algorithm so balancing should be better on different sized HDDs
- Added exception handling around creation of fake directories and fake files

v1.02
- Added option to allow D: to be part of balancing.
- Fixed bug where restarting DE would not occur and forward progress would likely not occur. 

v1.01
- Fixed bug with option #2 and a drive was large enough to contain an equal amount of data. 
- Added option for entering in your own data
- Added "quit" option in case all you wanted to do was clear the landing zone
Code:
****************************************************
How to Install:

Download the zip file and put it on a share on the WHS machine. Now, RDP into the WHS machine as Administrator and unzip the exe onto the C: drive. I've always run it on a share, but I'm not sure that won't lead to a problem, so running from C: is definitely fine. Now, you can either just double click the exe or you can open a cmd window and run it from that. I also suggest keeping the Disk Management tab open in WHS console so you can see the drive activity if you so choose. 

*****************************************************
Before Running, I suggest...

1) Stop all clients from writing data to the pool while the app is running. Writing to the disks will mess up the calculations from even distribution and if you write too much, you'll end up seeing no progress in the final step after some time and you'll have to let the timeout expire (30 min of no progress). 

2) Stop clients from reading data while the app is running. Not nearly as important, but I say this here because you're read performance to a client is going to be horrible if the app is moving data on the disk your client is reading from. 

3) Stop SageTV service or any other service on the WHS machine which affects #1 and #2. Some users have reported crashes of the tool (again not a big deal, but you'll manuall have to cleanup the d:\\fake and c:\\fs\\*\\fake directories. 

4) Basically, you ideally want an idle server (minus your RDP session) for best results. Not listening to these suggestions will not break anything other than the efficiency of the app, so no harm will occur to your data. 

*****************************************************
Things that can cause a less than stellar results

1) Look at the amount of Shadows as a whole on the drive pool. If this number is greater that 0, it will affect the final outcome of drive balance. I found that I had 100GB+ of Shadows during my first run of drive balancer. After the first run completed, an overnight run, the shadows were gone. I then reran drive balancer and it finished up the job. 

2) The amount of duplicated folders can may make it difficult to get a "perfect" balance. I am not suggesting turning off duplication on anything, I'm just pointing out that duplication will limit the choices DE has when it moves around files. If you have 4+ disks in the pool, this becomes less of an issue since DE will have more choices. 

*****************************************************
Here's a typical walk through of the program's steps

1) Decide if you want to include D: in the balancing effort. This is a personal choice, so I'm just giving the option. Personally, I'm not sure what's better.

2) If you chose yes to #1, then skip to number #4. Otherwise, the D: is now filled up with fake files to within 10GB of it's capacity. You are then asked if you want to clear data off of the Landing Zone. Again, personal choice, so you decide. I just put in the options. 

3) If you chose no to clearing the landing zone, skip to #4. Otherwise, The app will restart DE and it should start to move off data. It will do it's best to move off data, but if after 30 minutes of no progress, it will declare victory and move on. 

4) Time to choose how you want to balance the data and make a few calculations. They are self explanatory, so I won't dive into that. There are checks in there to make sure you don't try to overfill a drive or don't have enough capacity. Remember, this tool doesn't delete/move/copy your data files, it just creates fake files to get DE to do what we want. After the calculations are made, you will be asked if they seem appropriate. If you say no, the app cleans up and exits. If you say yes, move on to #5.

5) Now it's time to balance the data. Suffice to say that It will tell how it progresses, when it goes to sleep, and when it tries to restart DE. If you find it isn't making progress, you can hit Ctrl-C. You must then delete the D:\\fake and C:\\fs\\*\\fake directories to cleanup. 

I have found that if you aren't happy with the balancing results another run can help. The issue is I'm being cautious in balancing the data and it's sometimes too cautious to get good results. The perceived "cautiousness level" is indirectly proportional to the amoun of data in your pool. The more data, the perceived cautiousness is lower. The tool is more aggressive than past revisions, and should be within 10-20GB on each drive.

 

Drive_Balancer_v1.05.zip 13.189453125k . file

 

Drive_Balancer_v1.01.zip 8.642578125k . file

 

Drive_Balancer_v1.02.zip 10.736328125k . file

 

Drive_Balancer_v1.03.zip 11.712890625k . file

 

Drive_Balancer_v1.04.zip 12.6220703125k . file
Attached Files
File Type: zip Drive_Balancer_v1.04.zip (12.6 KB, 79 views)
File Type: zip Drive_Balancer_v1.03.zip (11.7 KB, 55 views)
File Type: zip Drive_Balancer_v1.02.zip (10.7 KB, 48 views)
File Type: zip Drive_Balancer_v1.01.zip (8.6 KB, 63 views)
File Type: zip Drive_Balancer_v1.05.zip (13.2 KB, 148 views)
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post #2 of 82 Old 02-16-2009, 06:08 AM
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I'll check it out, thanks.

P
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post #3 of 82 Old 02-17-2009, 03:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me know how it goes.
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post #4 of 82 Old 02-18-2009, 07:01 AM
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NEVER MIND!

OK...call me a 'newb', but what are the instructions for running it...it's not an add-in...do I run from a remote connection on the WHS itself?

Hope you don't find this insulting!

Cheers...
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post #5 of 82 Old 02-18-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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not at all....

I'd first suggest reading the reasme to figure out if you can benefit from what this app does. Secondly here's how to run it.

Remote Desktop into the WHS machine and put the .exe file somewhere on C: drive. Then, open up a cmd window and go to the place where you put the exe file and run it. Follow the directions as they come to you. The readme will give you an idea of what to expect.

-Brian
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post #6 of 82 Old 02-19-2009, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Original Post has updated code with a fix and more features
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post #7 of 82 Old 02-20-2009, 10:28 AM
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Just tested the v1.02 and it works almost perfectly. I set it to empty out my D-drive, but there wasn't enough room on the other drives to empty it completely so the program kept looping and checking to see if the drive was empty or not.

How about adding some functionality to check if any data has been moved off the drive since last check, if not - there's probably no space left on the other drives and you can assume this stage has completed.

But a nice, little program - I highly recommend it!

-rune
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post #8 of 82 Old 02-20-2009, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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runewa -

The app should have timed out after 30 minutes of no change in the free space on D:. I know that is a long time, but with slower hard drives, DE could prematurely stop moving data off of D: if it's less.

Did you wait the 30 minutes, or did you hit Ctrl-C or what? I'd like to know if there is anything wrong with the program itself.

-Brian
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post #9 of 82 Old 02-20-2009, 11:23 AM
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Hmmm, not sure. I started the program when I left work, and it had finished moving data off my D-drive and was looping when I got home.

I have started it again, will be more patient this time and let you know what happens


Edit: Let the program run for 30 minutes, and indeed, the program detects no disk activity and prompts yo to hit enter to continue.
A great app!!
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post #10 of 82 Old 02-20-2009, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.. the 30 minutes timer is new, so I wanted to be double sure nothing was wrong with it.

Thanks for the kind words.

-Brian
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post #11 of 82 Old 02-20-2009, 12:16 PM
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worked great for me. I have one 500 sys, 2 400s that are 99% full and a 1.5tb with 0%. Ran the program and now i have i think 79% on the 400s and 13% on the 1.5tb. Im probably going to remove the 400s soon anyways.
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post #12 of 82 Old 02-20-2009, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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fireburster...which option did you choose when it came to how to balance the data?
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post #13 of 82 Old 02-21-2009, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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test.. i got an email but the message isn't here..
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post #14 of 82 Old 02-21-2009, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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stevetoney wrote:
I used the 1.02 version on my WHS and now have a big problem

I have a WHS running under a virtual machine under windows 2008. the first HD is a virtual drive of 120gigs that has the WHS install and the two partitions the install make, then I have 4 1TB drive in the pool.

before the run the main system drive was 30% full, first 1TB drive in pool was 7% full, drive 2 was 98% full, drive 3 was 7%, as was drive 4

I included "D" in the allocation pool -- probably a mistake as it is now 99% full after the balancer finish

anyway to recover from this and get the allocation only on the 4 1TB drives, I wish to keep the core virtual drive with the system partition and other default partition as clean as possible

The balancer seems to have done a good job of balancing the data on the 1TB drive, but my choice put too much data on the smaller virtual drive
thanks

**********

For some reason that didn't show up here.

In your setup, don't include the D: in the balancing and then choose to clear out the landing zone. FOllowing that, you'll balance the drives and you'll be all set.

Also, make sure you delete the following dirs if they exist from the last run and then do a "refresh" in Disk Management plug in

c:\\fs\\*\\fake
d:\\fake

-Brian
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post #15 of 82 Old 02-21-2009, 09:58 PM
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I forget i think it was even % of data on each maybe. ill try to look when i reinstall. Im moving to a new mobo with more sata and doing a reinstall this weekend.
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post #16 of 82 Old 02-22-2009, 03:25 AM
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I deleted the message - since I figured it out a bit after I wrote it

Thanks -- program worked as stated and was waiting for manual input.

I would like to do a scheduled run every so often, so it we me nice to have a way not to interact manually and have it finish

thanks


Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefcake View Post

stevetoney wrote:
I used the 1.02 version on my WHS and now have a big problem

I have a WHS running under a virtual machine under windows 2008. the first HD is a virtual drive of 120gigs that has the WHS install and the two partitions the install make, then I have 4 1TB drive in the pool.

before the run the main system drive was 30% full, first 1TB drive in pool was 7% full, drive 2 was 98% full, drive 3 was 7%, as was drive 4

I included "D" in the allocation pool -- probably a mistake as it is now 99% full after the balancer finish

anyway to recover from this and get the allocation only on the 4 1TB drives, I wish to keep the core virtual drive with the system partition and other default partition as clean as possible

The balancer seems to have done a good job of balancing the data on the 1TB drive, but my choice put too much data on the smaller virtual drive
thanks

**********

For some reason that didn't show up here.

In your setup, don't include the D: in the balancing and then choose to clear out the landing zone. FOllowing that, you'll balance the drives and you'll be all set.

Also, make sure you delete the following dirs if they exist from the last run and then do a "refresh" in Disk Management plug in

c:\\fs\\*\\fake
d:\\fake

-Brian

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post #17 of 82 Old 02-22-2009, 11:46 AM
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The first run of the tool gave a fair balancing of the drives (equal free space) except system drive is full..... (drive0 = 99%,drive 1-3=73-74%)

Now trying to run the tool again with different options where d is included i get various errors One system.IOexception

Rerunning gives me an interesting one:
Still need to create 18446744073709551606 files on drive 0..............
ctrl-c out of that....

trying option one now returns:
Making Calculations for drive balancing...
New free space amount is too large: Must be 10GB less than capacity of the drive......


Hmmm logically since you are not moving any files there must be another explanation...... yes now i rememberd. fake files.....
found 'em all on all drives and deleted them....

Now rerunning the tool gives me the system.io.ioexception again:
Here is what happens....
Choice (1-5): 1

Making Calculations for drive balancing...
Stats - Drive: 0 TotalCap: 212GB NewFreeSpace: 50GB
Stats - Drive: 1 TotalCap: 931GB NewFreeSpace: 220GB
Stats - Drive: 2 TotalCap: 931GB NewFreeSpace: 220GB
Stats - Drive: 3 TotalCap: 931GB NewFreeSpace: 220GB
Does this seem appropriate (y/n)? y

Unhandled Exception: System.IO.IOException: There is not enough space on the dis
k.

at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError(Int32 errorCode, String maybeFullPath)
at System.IO.FileStream.SetLengthCore(Int64 value)
at System.IO.FileStream.SetLength(Int64 value)
at Drive_Balancer.DriveBalancer.InitialPaddinng(Boolean[]& CrunchDisk, UInt64
[]& numFakeFiles, Double[]& freeGBytes, UInt64[]& newFreeSpace, List`1& Folders)

at Drive_Balancer.Program.Main()

C:\\Documents and Settings\\Administrator>


Now do you have any idea on how to make my system drive (drive0) as free as possible and distribute the rest of the data as evenly as possible on the rest of the drives (drive1-3) ?

BDW thanks for publishing this wonderful utillity!!! Since i am a programmer myself maybe i can help?!? Any help is greately appriciated!!!

/BX
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post #18 of 82 Old 02-23-2009, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Over the weekend, I did notice that including the D: in the balancing has a small problem. The way Windows returns free space is not accurate for D:\\. The total size is correct for the partition size, but the free space is reported as a total of C: AND D:.

As a result, if your physical disk that holds C: and D: is small in comparison to the rest of the pooled drives, the D: drive will fill up more than it should. I have been working on this issue over the weekend and have a solution that works correctly on my own system.

As far as the exception, I plan to add in error handling in my next release as well. I'll be working on this tonight/tomorrow so that when things like this happen in the future, I'll be able to tell exactly where the error is.

Thanks for offering your help. I should be able to fix this problem up on my own, but if I can't or don't have the time, I will certainly ask you for help.

-Brian
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post #19 of 82 Old 02-23-2009, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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In order to clear out the D drive, choose 'N' to including it in the balancing. Then, choose to clear out the 'Landing Zone'. Finally, choose Option 1 and you should be all set.

-Brian
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post #20 of 82 Old 02-23-2009, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I deliver .....

Check OP for updated code which has the bug fix and error handling included.

-Brian
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post #21 of 82 Old 02-28-2009, 01:13 PM
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All is now working great!! Thank you!
The support on this app is better than Panda Antivirus, Microsoft Windows, and any other support i ever needed!

- really!!! Thanks for the quick fix!

suggestions:
- adding parameter "/c" for clearing
clearing the 'fake' folders without doing anything else and then exiting.

- adding parameter "/d" for all default (exclude D: from balancing, Clear out the landing zone, balance for percentage used space)
my preference would be balance for ammount free space but percentage would serving the common public better making this tool very user friendly.

- adding parameter "/t for timetosleep
making it possible to set the time to wait for the DE default is 60sec
(1 minute) and possible values should be 15 - 240.

After experimenting i see that i with an idle system dont need more than 15 seconds and a normal system with s-ata drive shouldnt need more than 30sek. so sanitycheck at minimum 15 and max 240 should be fine giving advanced users the abillity to fine tune but leaving the normal users with safe defaults...

/Bx
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post #22 of 82 Old 02-28-2009, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I do like your idea of some command line options.

As a side note about timetosleep:
I tried 30 seconds once and it seemed too short. Yes, your average drive can move 1G of data in that time, but there is another issue. If you have large files (like 20G in size), it could take (@ 30MB/s) about 11 minutes to move the largest file. WHS will not report any more free space as it's moving files until the entire file is moved. So, just keep that in mind.

One thing I was thinking of looking into is to program up the current disk transfer rate. Instead of just waiting 15 minutes of the same amount of free space being reported, I could look at the current disk transfer rate and if it is below say 5MB/s for 30 seconds, restart the Drive Extender service. I haven't much free time lately, but I will hopefully give some thought to this tomorrow/Monday.

Thanks for the input. Glad to hear the tool is working for you now.

Also thanks for the praise.

-Brian
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post #23 of 82 Old 03-07-2009, 11:17 AM
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So far it seems to be running. I am running 4 drives and all the data is on 3 of the drives (500GB OS, 640GB, 640GB) 4th drive (750GB) drive recently replaced with no data really on it.

Here is what I get looping over and over when I go to run this application:

Drive 0 is 12% Done
Drive 2 is 11% Done
Drive 3 is 9% Done
Going to sleep for 1 minutes

Then it waits a minute then dumps the same text.

Any suggestions on what this is doing?

Thanks!
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post #24 of 82 Old 03-08-2009, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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yes, it is busy moving data.

I would suggest leaving it alone, and I also suggest that you install the Disk Management plugin for WHS so that you can see drive activity. It can take up to 15 on these messages before it creates another "fake" file.

-Brian
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post #25 of 82 Old 03-11-2009, 07:36 PM
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Hmm i tried the 1.04 version:

4 drives (4x1TB)
dont include d:, dont clean landingzone, (3) equal free space...

Generated this...

Going to sleep while data is being moved...

Unhandled Exception: System.FormatException: Input string was not in a correct format.
at System.Number.StringToNumber(String str, NumberStyles options, NumberBuffer& number, NumberFormatInfo info, Boolean parseDecimal)
at System.Number.ParseInt32(String s, NumberStyles style, NumberFormatInfo info)
at System.Int32.Parse(String s, IFormatProvider provider)
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterLib.GetStringTable(Bool ean isHelp)
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterLib.get_NameTable()
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterLib.get_CategoryTable()
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterLib.GetCategorySample(S tring category
)
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterLib.GetCategorySample(S tring machine,
String category)
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterCategory.GetCounterInst ances(String categoryName, String machineName)
at System.Diagnostics.PerformanceCounterCategory.GetInstanceNam es()
at Drive_Balancer.DriveBalancer.GetDiskActivityCounter()
at Drive_Balancer.DriveBalancer.CrunchTime(Boolean[]& CrunchDisk, UInt64[]& numFakeFiles, UInt64[]& newFreeSpace, Double[]& freeGBytes, List`1& Folders)
at Drive_Balancer.Program.Main()

C:\\Documents and Settings\\WHS Services>


The last status was:
Drive 1 is 11% done.
Drive 3 is 64% done.
Still need to create 147 files on drive 1
Still need to create 58 files on drive 3

Drive 1 is 11% done.
Drive 3 is 65% done.
Going to sleep while data is being moved...


Help is as always appreciated

Cheers!!
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post #26 of 82 Old 07-13-2009, 02:15 PM
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Brilliant!!! I've spent a whole weekend trying to move my itunes library (180GB) only to be told no space available - thanks a bunch!!!
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post #27 of 82 Old 07-13-2009, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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EvertonB, I'm willing to help, so please don't pass judgement and be arrogant.

If you could provide info about the drives in your system (size/type) and what Disk Management reports....

Also, what were the options you chose specifically for Drive Manager. There are a few systems out there which aren't working and I don't know why. Providing this information could help me tell you if you fit in that group or not.

Also, try grabbing 1.05 from here or at We Got Served forums.

Thanks,
Brian
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post #28 of 82 Old 07-13-2009, 04:10 PM
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lol I wasn't being arrogant, i was saying thank you as this solved my itunes problem!!!

Maybe you shouldn't pass judgement so quickly..... ;-)
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post #29 of 82 Old 07-13-2009, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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sorry, I've had a crappy day at work....

glad to hear the tool fixed your problem....man I feel like a a-hole now.
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post #30 of 82 Old 07-13-2009, 05:06 PM
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The landing zone was removed with PP1. Data now goes directly to it's final location the first time. So does WHS really "balance" anymore? I haven't noticed it. Not since PP1.
And from what I understand the other issue was how drive size was reported to Vista Operating systems. Vista would see the D: partition drive size and refuse to start a file transfer if not enough disk space was available. I thought that this was also fixed as of PP2?

Either way, I haven't had any sort of issues on my WHS machine.

Streaming Devices: Nvidia Shield, 2x Roku 3's, 1st/2nd gen chromecast, ATV4k, Apple TV 4, xbox 360/one
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