Gen2 + Win8 = Fine in Dashboard not in Explorer

I have a very strange situation…

My Gen2 drobo (“all original”) was running perfectly fine via DroboShare (ethernet) to my Windows 7 computer. However, that computer started having problems so I upgraded to a new Dell 8700 running Windows 8. When making the switch-over, I also dropped the DroboShare in favor of a direct connection via USB.

I installed Drobo Dashboard and when I connected the Gen2 unit it appeared in the Drobo Dashboard, but did not appear in the Windows finder - meaning no drive letters were assigned and I could not find the drive. (On the previous Win7 computer, there were 4 drives letters assigned - one for each volume in the Drobo - even though I only used one of the drive letters for normal file activity.)

I thought, “well maybe Win8 needs the latest Dashboard” so I updated Drobo Dashboard to the latest release compatible with the Gen2 unit: 2.5.3 [66012]

Same outcome: Everything good in dashboard, nothing in Windows File Explorer
So I installed the first Gen2 firmware release 1.4.2 = same outcome
So I installed the next Gen2 firmware release 2.5.2 = same outcome

Now I am as “updated” as possible with this Gen2 Drobo and Drobo Dashboard.

Judging by the “Capacity” view (in Drobo Dashboard) it looks like my “data” is still there. I had 30% used and 3 drive lights with the old system, and I have 30% used and three drive lights now on the new system.

I’ve shut down the computer (not just restarted) which also deactivated the Drobo Gen2. I then powered the computer back up, which brought up the Drobo Gen 2, and still I have the same outcome: Everything looks good in the dashboard, but the drive doesn’t appear in the Windows finder.

I’ve searched the forums and Internet (yes, Google is my friend :wink: but haven’t found an answer, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you…

When you set up your Drobo with DroboShare, what filesystem did you choose? I don’t remember if it even let you choose…

Anyway, it might be simple as Windows not assigned a drive letter, or it’s possible that your Drobo is formatted as EXT3.

Actually, I think Drobo Dashboard tells you the Volume format, IIRC.

First check if Windows is simply not assigning a drive letter - not sure how it works in Windows 8, but in Windows 7/Vista/XP, you can do this from Disk Management. Windows-R (or Start>Run) diskmgmt.msc, or Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Disk Management

Look for Drobo in blocks at the bottom, right-click and choose Change Drive Letters and Paths - and add a drive letter if there isn’t one already assigned.

If that doesn’t get you where you need to be, then your Drobo may be formatted as Ext3…

You can try Ext2 IFS driver for Windows, though I don’t know how compatible it is with Windows 8.

Alternatively, you can boot off a Linux LiveCD like GParted to see if Drobo mounts and its contents are visible there. DON’T make any changes in GParted, if you go that route.

And be sure not to click “Initialize”, “Format” or anything like that when prompted by the Disk Management plugin in case it is, indeed, formatted in EXT3 and not recognized by Windows. And don’t mess with the volume in any way when you’ll see “uninitialized”, “unformatted”, “unrecognized” or anything among these lines. Actually, I think what Bhiga assumed (ext3 when using Droboshare) is almost certainly the case.

TIP:
The quickest way to bring Disk Management in Windows 8 is to right-click the Windows button or press Win-X, then “k”.

Thank you both.

Yes, Drobo Dashboard verifies my volumes are “EXT3” file system.

The Ext2 IFS driver (link) looks pretty old (2008).

What about this: http://www.ext2fsd.com/?p=123

???

Also, here is my Disk Management screen shot - clearly showing my (2) primary Drobo volumes as 2TB volumes Disk 9 and Disk 10. However, when I right-click, all options are grayed out except “Delete volume…” which I’m trying to avoid. :wink:

As for rocking ext3 on Windows using third party drivers - personally, I wouldn’t go down that route. What I would rather do would be to get/borrow enough disks to temporarily offload the data from Drobo, recreate the Drobo volume using NTFS and copy the stuff back.

But I cannot get the drives mounted - that’s the entire problem…???

I assumed you didn’t get rid of your DroboShare until you have verified that the new setup works :wink: Anyway, ext3-formatted Drobo should be directly mountable from any Linux distribution. Live CD version should be most convenient in that case.

That is true - I do still have the DroboShare. Do you think it will remount correctly if I plug THAT back in?

If so, then I’ll just leave it setup like that…

Yes, most probably. Basically, DroboShare is just a small computer running Linux, accessing ext3 filesystem hosted on Drobo.

Back to DroboShare via Ethernet…
All plugged in…
Rebooted everything…
And no dice… :frowning:

Well that’s not entirely true, the Gen2 drobo did appear in Drobo Dashboard but not in Windows Explorer and the blue drive lights never stayed on - they just flashed on and off every 30 seconds or so. It appears - and I suppose not surprisingly after I read the release notes - that DroboShare has been deprecated and is NOT supported by the latest Drobo Dashboard; not to mention the latest version of the Gen2 firmware.

I really have no idea what “Linux distribution” or “Live CD” is (I’m a graphic designer) so for now I’m going back pursuit of Ext3 file system support…

(…insert 10-15 minute pause from previous post…)

Well, THAT was easy. Maybe a little too easy…???

  1. Went back to USB direct to my windows 8 computer
  2. Downloaded and installed this: http://www.ext2fsd.com/?p=123
  3. Opened the Ext2Fsd control panel
  4. Right-clicked and mounted each of the (two) Drobo volumes
  5. Drive letters were assigned
  6. All directories and files are present and accounted for (or seem to be)
  7. Files are readable and drives are writable in win8

No restart, just bada-bing - there are the drives, there are my files. Baruch HaShem (praise G-d in Hebrew)

Many thanks to Zbig and bhiga for their patient assistance. May this little exercise and resolution be of assistance to others out there in Drobo world.

Shalom :slight_smile:

Glad you got things back up.

Hadn’t run across that newer ext2fsd driver so thanks for that! :slight_smile:

As Zbig said, I would be very hesitant to run with the ext3 volume long-term. The lack of journaling support in the driver makes it very susceptible to filesystem corruption.

I would use this opportunity to make a verified backup. I use ViceVersa PRO myself, but any copy/backup utility that does some kind of CRC/hash check is adequate.

Buy a backup drive (or two, if you can afford it) large enough to store you data, back your data up, (put the second backup copy [b]somewhere safe not on your site), reset & reformat as NTFS (you may want to increase volume size for future expansion), and do a verified copy of the backup to the newly-formatted Drobo.

Looks like you have < 4 TiB, so a 4 TB external drive should suffice unless your Drobo is very full.