Interesting post over at Intel’s Software Network Blog, where regular blogger Ylian Saint-Hilaire discusses his experience with a Lenovo D400 Home Server which crashed – the system drive simply went pop. Not great, but hey these things happen.

It’s for situations like this that God (actually, someone at Microsoft) invented Server Recovery – this idea is that you place Windows Home Server in a recovery state by booting the machine and hitting a recessed switch and the server would boot from a Flash ROM to await recovery (via running an application on one of your home computers attached to the network).

Worryingly, the D400’s Server Recovery procedure failed for an unknown reason: Ylian writes:

After looking at the CDROM’s that came with the unit and going online, there is a recovery procedure. I replaced the failed 1T drive with a 1.5T and hit a small reset button in the back, this seems to cause the BIOS to start the network adapter (my network switch light up) and you start a recovery disk on the desktop which launches the re-imaging of the device. When you re-image, you can do recover or factory reset. I am not sure why, but the recover option did not work. Maybe because I changed the boot drive? That’s not good.

Not only is this not good, it’s totally unacceptable – the hallmark of a good home server is that PC Restore and Server Recovery should work without issue every time. Period. If it doesn’t, how can you possibly trust the product with your data? I’ve heard of many people recovering a home server on to a new drive, so that shouldn’t be the problem in this case.

This may be a one off issue, but I really hope there isn’t an inherent problem with Lenovo’s implementation of Server Recovery on the D400 – for a project over the weekend I’ve been testing out Server Recovery on a variety of OEM and Self-Built home servers. All worked without an issue. Unfortunately, I don’t have a D400 here at WGS right now to test out.

Any D400 owners out there care to test Server Recovery for us? (Please backup your data first!) We’d really love to know the outcome – if there is an inherent issue, Lenovo will need to act quickly to resolve.