Downgrading MySQL from 5.5 to 5.1 on OS X

I recently had a need to setup a new instance of MySQL on my Mac.  I decided to use MySQL 5.5.x since it was, you know, the latest and greatest.  Only to later find out I needed to use MySQL 5.1 instead.  Time to downgrade.

Since I had used the 64-bit DMG from the MySQL Community Server site, the files were installed to default locations, the Oracle documents indicate simply installing right over the current install will work fine:

If you are downgrading within the same release series (for example, from 5.1.13 to 5.1.12) the general rule is that you just have to install the new binaries on top of the old ones. There is no need to do anything with the databases. As always, however, it is always a good idea to make a backup.

Notice this states a downgrade to a minor version.

When I proceeded to install 5.1, I was greeted with an error that would not allow me to install 5.1 over the top of 5.5, a clearly newer version.

MySQL 5.1.56-community for Mac OS X can’t be installed on this disk. A newer version of this software already exists on this disk.

My first instinct was to try to determine which files were MySQL-related and start to remove them one-by-one.  After a bit of searching around the web I found out the process of uninstalling MySQL can leave behind one particular file or set of files which prevent installing an older major version.  I figured I would start with the least common denominator first, running the command:

~ $ sudo rm /var/db/receipts/com.mysql.mysql.*

After rerunning the installation from the DMG, everything went fine.  I did have to rerun the package to create the startup-up item and create the System Preference item.  Do note though, the Oracle document referenced above says there is no need to do anything with the databases, be warned, this was not true in downgrading to a major version..I lost my databases.   Since it was a new install I didn’t care anyway but I thought you should be warned.

I am sure the purest out there will suggest to install from source, but I’m lazy and have better things to do with my time.  I bet you do too and hopefully this will help you.

 

Blog Move to WPEngine

Wpe 125x125

I have been having a lot of problems lately with my self-hosted WordPress instance on one of my Linode “slices”.  It seems around 2:00 AM, starting a few weeks ago, CPU utilization would spike to astronomical numbers and only get worse.  The solution was to reboot the node and things would return to normal.  This is not exactly a great way to spend my time as I am not a Linux admin guru nor do I want to be.

The strange thing about this sudden CPU problem is that nothing had changed on the node, no configuration changes, no upgrades…nothing.  Peering at the processes causing the issue revealed the culprit to be Apache.  A few hours of trying to fix this myself made me come to the realization that I was really wasting my time and I needed to move my WordPress site to someone who knew what they were doing.

After a bit of investigating and feature/price comparison, I settled on WPEngine.    They offer just about every feature that made me self-host in the first place, including being able to manage my installation; WP versions, plugins, themes, skins, etc.  They do offer things better than my self-hosting provided:

  • Managed Linux, PHP, MySQL, etc.
  • DDos Protection
  • Managed Backups
  • Memcached
  • Managed Firewall

These are all the things I don’t want to have to worry about and don’t have the skills to manage correctly.

So as of January 12th, this blog now runs on WPEngine.  Oh, they also offer expert support and I can vouch for it.  I took full advantage of it after totally hosing up importing my current blog into the new site.  They helped me quickly and I was up and running in a matter of a couple hours, it actually took the longest for the DNS changes to take effect.

The company consists of industry veterans who are WordPress experts indeed.

The site seems much snappier now and I don’t have to worry about CPU utilization on it any longer.

Why Open Source is Better for Your Business than Microsoft

I think everyone in the technology field knows Microsoft, you either love them or you hate them.  It seems there are more haters these days than those that love them and it is often times their own fault.

Commerce Server

My problems with Microsoft have been rooted around a project I had done for a client many years ago based on Commerce Server.  For those of you that don’t know, Commerce Server is a product which allows users to setup a complete commerce system based on the Microsoft platform.  It also allows developers to heavily customize it to meet the client’s needs.  Oh, and it is expensive.

This version of Commerce Server relied heavily on XML and XSLT for rendering pages.  Microsoft was high on XML at the time as it was the technology to solve all of our problems.

Along came .NET and the next version of Commerce Server was all based on .NET and XML was not the hotness any longer so they re-wrote from scratch with all the bells and whistles of .NET.  What did this mean for the client wanting to upgrade to the new version of Commerece Server?  It meant, there was no upgrade.  It meant their entire code base was garbage and had to be rewritten from scratch.

This was certainly a dilemma.  Do they reinvest in Commerce Server and build their site from scratch, hoping a future version of Commerce Server would not require the same rewrite?  My recommendation to them was to toss out what they had and rewrite their system in plain old ASP.NET and C# at the time.

I think this worked out well for them as they don’t have to rely on something that Microsoft could drastically change down the road and leave them in a bind.  Sure, Microsoft could change ASP.NET but at this point it is a safer bet it won’t change that drastically.  It is at this point I really became suspect of Microsoft and buying into what they tell developers is the next great invention that we should use.

Enter Silverlight

Microsoft has been all about Silverlight for the last couple years as their solution for cross-browser, cross-platform rich Internet application development platform.  The idea is we write it once, we run it everywhere.  I think we’ve heard this one before (Java, I am looking at you).

The Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference is happening now (or just ended) and news coming out of Redmond is they are pulling back on Silverlight and HTML5 is the way to go.  An interview by MaryJo Foley with Bob Muglia from Microsoft tells the tale:

Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone,” he said. Silverlight also has some “sweet spots” in media and line-of-business applications, he said.

But when it comes to touting Silverlight as Microsoft’s vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime, “our strategy has shifted,” Muglia told me.

So what happens to all of those Line of Business applications these companies have been working on?  I don’t think I would bet my business on any continued development of this platform in the way it was originally sold to developers.

It leaves some folks wondering:

silverlighttweet

This appears to be another dead-end for developers.  Even if it’s not, the waffling about its future would be enough for me not to use it.

Open Source to the Rescue

I was a Microsoft developer for more years than I care to admit and I have been bitten by their change in direction more times than I can count.

The real solution is to control your own destiny and build solutions with open source components.  Speaking as a developer who leverages Ruby and Ruby on Rails, I feel much better about supporting a client and knowing the technology decisions I make for them are safe.   Since it is all open source, I am free to make changes to the framework as I need now or down the road.  The open source community is vibrant and even the smallest projects are active, but even if they die out..you still have the source to do with as you see fit.

Microsoft rolled off projects involving IronRuby and IronPython to the Mono folks and now these projects will live to see another day.

I really don’t care if Microsoft dumps products (or changes strategic direction, same thing) but don’t leave users in a bind.  These projects should be given to the community to move forward and to support.  Silverlight could easily be moved down this path, given to a community to evolve and keep those developers who put so much time and effort into.  Developers would have a way to leverage their codebase and not be left to explain to product owners how they have invested in a dead-end product.

This might start to build trust again in Microsoft by those that lost confidence.  But, open source puts the power and the future of the frameworks and tools we use in our own hands.

How-To Tether with Android and PDAnet

One of the annoying things with a non-jailbroken iPhone is the lack of tethering.  Tethering is the ability to use your 3G-enabled phone and its Internet connection with a computer.  When I am on the road I find times it would be helpful to be able to tether my Droid X to my laptop but not for the $20/month Verizon changes.

I was put onto the application known as PdaNet.  The application consists of a piece of software that runs on the Android phone and a client which runs on the computer you want to make use of tethering, both Mac and Windows clients.

The directions from the June Fabrics web site are pretty good but were missing a few details I stumbled over the first time I tried to set this up.  Maybe if I was a long-time Android user I might have not had any issues.

Setup

So, the steps I used to setup tethering of my Motorola Droid X to my MacBook Pro.

1. Install the Desktop Client – visit the June Fabrics web site and download the Mac client.   I am on a Mac, as I said, but a client is available for Windows as well.  The installation was fairy straight forward, requiring a reboot to complete the installation.

2. Install the Android Client – install on the phone, grab the app from the Android Marketplace.

 PdaNet-QR

3. Enable Tethering – run the PdaNet application on the phone and select “Enable USB Tether”.

pdanet_setup

Turning it off later is pretty simple, just run the software on the phone again and you get only one option.

pdanet_enabled 

4. Enable USB Debugging – on the phone, go to Settings->Applications->Development and check "USB Debugging".

5. Configure USB Connection – this is the step that had me scratching my head.  As you should be able to see, the selection here says “USB Mass Storage”.  This is key since the default “PC Mode” does not work to tether the phone.

usb_config

6. Connect the Phone – armed with your phone to USB cable, plug into the USB port of the Mac.  Now, if all goes well, visiting the PdaNet menu on the Mac now finds the phone.

PDANET_Connect

Per the June Fabrics web site:

Now when you connect your phone to the computer, you should see the menu icon changes state, click on it to connect. When the icon stops blinking and turns blue, your computer should be online.

Network traffics on the Mac will go through PdaNet only if your system does not have other connectivities.

So, if you are testing this out and are connected via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable, it will still go through these connections.  Disable them to test.

Results

The bottom line is, it works.  It isn’t exactly fast but gets the job done and does it well.  You can see the results of the speed test from Speakeasy.net of my tethered Droid X.

3GSpeed

I would like to know what folks are getting for speed from their Verizon Mi-Fi.  This will certainly work and for most things like email, Twitter, blogging and less bandwidth-intensive jobs, it will work well.

Android Fragmentation is Disturbing

A recent blog post over on the TweetDeck blog shows just how fragmented the Android phone market is already, and we have just begun.

As we bring our initial Android TweetDeck beta period to a close, we wanted to quickly reflect on the Android ecosystem and what might be considered extreme fragmentation. To date we’ve had 36,427 active beta testers and below you can see the massive variety of phones and Android OS versions everyone is running. We were really shocked to see the number of custom roms, crazy phones and general level of customization/hackalicious nature of Android. From our perspective it’s pretty cool to have our app work on such a wide variety of devices and Android OS variations.

Taken from their post, you can see how many different devices they saw in their beta.  This is different devices with many potentially versions of Android.  By my precise calculations, that’s 244 different phones and 108 different versions of the operation system and ROMs.  This is pretty staggering and quite a task to try to support.

Google says this is not an issue, but I wonder.  As a software developer and have heard Android developers explaining their issues with supporting different versions of the Android operating system, I think there is more than meets the eye and more issues to come.  An article from ZDNet this summer supports my thoughts:

But is this a problem? Well, I think that six major releases in the space of 19 months has been a problem. That pace of change speaks of Android’s geeky origins. For Joe Average, this created an ultra-confusing marketplace where operating system versions changed every few months. It also meant that compatibility issues were inevitable.

I will personally not pursue developing for Android because of fragmentation alone.  Stepping into a market which has so many different devices and operating system versions wreaks of support nightmares for developers.  The sad part is, I don’t have a solution to the problem.  Apple get chastised for its closeness, but controller the hardware and the operating system seems to work well.

There is even a web site dedicated to the problem, AndroidFragmentation.com.

Droid X Replaces My Apple iPhone

This blog post was a lot harder to write than I initially expected.  I wanted to not come off biased against either platform but offer just a view of my hands-on experience with both devices.

droidxI have been using the Apple iPhone since the first generation release and have been very happy with it.  Apple has done a great job with the iOS mobile platform making their phones a pleasure to use.  Apple has failed (for me anyway) in a big way, by partnering with AT&T which makes the iPhone virtually unusable as a phone in the places I need it most.

I have lived a long time with the iPhone, buying the 2G first and then later the 3GS, hoping the weak signal issues I faced would be resolved, but this was not the case.

I also waited a long time for the rumors of iPhone on Verizon to appear but they have yet to materialize.

So, I have bid a farewell to the iPhone for the time being and moved to a Google Android-based Motorola Droid X on Verizon.

Some Initial Comparisons

When the Motorola Droid X finally arrived  (3 weeks after ordering), I spent a lot of time comparing the new phone to the iPhone. It concerned me what I might be giving up or maybe what I had gained with a new phone.  After 3+ years with the iPhone one becomes used to things.

Size

I was told how large the Droid X was and listening to podcasts from Android Central, I had definite doubts that I was getting into a phone too big to be useful.  I often carry my iPhone in my pants pocket and this was something I still wanted to be able to do.

I took a trip to my local Best Buy so I could compare the Droid X to my iPhone.  I was surprised to discover the Droid X was only slightly longer, maybe 3/8”.  This is a big phone, no doubt but the 4.3" screen makes it worth it.

iPhoneDroidX

The thickness of the Droid X is less than the iPhone 3GS, so it is a bit easier to manage.  This is a nice feature of the Droid X.  The iPhone with case is a bit bulky.

Screen

The iPhone 3GS has a beautiful screen and watching videos on it are really clear, but small.  The 4.3" screen on the Droid X is big and beautiful and watching movies is a pleasure.  I find the colors to be vivid with good contrast.  I can’t compare to the iPhone 4 retina display.

Battery Life

iOS does a great job of managing switching between applications and battery life benefits from this.  I can go all day of average use on the iPhone and still have 40% battery life left.

The story is not so bright with the Droid X.  It takes a lot more management of running applications as well as management of enabled features to be able to last well into the day with a single charge.  If features such as GPS, Wifi, bluetooth or 3G are all enabled, battery life is only a few hours at best.  Disabling all or some of these features helps the battery go a long way.

Battery life is greatly effected by the running applications and how often they access things like data or graphics.  It is easy to have email, Twitter client, Facebook, etc. running all at the same time.

Applications

The main applications I use on my iPhone is Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp.  All of these application are available for Android.

There are many more applications available for the iPhone as I would expect with such a big lead in getting to market.  Android is catching up though and developers are busy creating great stuff.  It seems many of the non-mainstream applications for Android appeal to geek in me.

Functionality of software is the number one priority for a good application but the user interface makes it a great application.  iOS does have a distinct advantage here with a much richer set of controls for developers to use and the applications they create show it.  I think the market is young and Android will look better as time goes by.

Updates

The Droid X arrived with Android 2.1 where other phones were shipping with 2.2.  The interesting fact about Android phones is each vendor is responsible for their own operating system updates for each handset they offer.  I had to witness 3 different Motorola phones getting 2.2 before I could upgrade mine.  Apple on the other hand rolls out a single upgrade for their phones and everyone gets it.

Updates are done over-the-air, which means there is no iTunes-like piece of software to have to run to install an update.  The update comes over Wi-Fi or 3G.

Android phones do have a sort of jail breaking that we see on the iPhone except it is called “rooting”, which allows for installing an OS update before the vendor has it ready.  This skirts the process and allows advanced users, geeks, to upgrade more often.

Android Phone Market

There are a ton of Android-based phones in existence and more coming out all the time.  Each handset manufacturer ships their own version and flavor of Android.  Each manufacturer is responsible for upgrading each handset model to the next version of Android..or not.  This doesn’t seem very sustainable to me.  I think phone buyers who are signing into a 2-year contract will be left with a phone which is no longer being upgraded by the end of their contract.

Fragmentation seems like a very real possibility and a problem for Android.  In the short time I have been an Android user I have seen many versions of Froyo (Android 2.2) be released for a large number of different handsets.  My installation of Android on my Droid X will not work on your HTC handset.

How will these manufacturers keep up and support all these phones?  It would be akin to Microsoft having a different version of Windows for each PC manufacturer.  It is a support nightmare waiting to happen.

Overall

After having had the Droid X for a couple months now and have given the phone a pretty fair test.  One thing I can say the Droid X does better over the iPhone is well…operate as a phone.  This is the number one feature I require in a, you know, phone.  It is the one feature I could not count on with AT&T and the iPhone.

I live in rural CT and the AT&T service was never good at my house, if I was lucky I could go outside on a clear day and make a call.  Verizon service just works every where in the house, even 3G.

On a recent vacation in northern New Hampshire AT&T service was dismal and virtually non-existent.  A later trip to the same location for some backpacking with the Droid X resulted in fantastic service.

I spent a lot of time comparing applications and the user experience between the two operating systems and I have to say, iOS is much more polished than Android.  Android looks much less integrated and thought out than iOS.  Android gives me the impression a collection of separate teams worked on the operating system, not a single cohesive team.

Battery life is a pretty serious problem with Android whose battery management is not as sophisticated as that under iOS.  This means the user has to know what they are running for applications or what services they have enabled.  This is not something an average user can or should do.  The iPhone easily wins here.

Android is nice but it is not iOS.  I am waiting for the day Apple finally puts the iPhone on Verizon, I will be the first in line to order the Verizon iPhone.

My Perfect Laptop Bag

I have to admit, I am a bit of a laptop bag junkie.  I have had pretty much every type of bag, I think I have tried them all.  Most of the bags I’ve used I can say I didn’t like for one reason or another.

I don’t like backpacks because I feel like I am back in High School heading to Chemistry class.  Messenger bags, don’t like them either, I look like I am trying to be hipper than I actually am.  Maybe if I was 20 years younger I could pull off a messenger but that’s not the case.

I started my quest for a new bag recently, going for the professional look but still remaining functional.  I don’t think showing up at a business meeting with a backpack or messenger will ever work for me.  I want to be able to carry my 15” MacBook Pro, power adapter, cables, mouse, pens, file folders and a notebook.

Much of my search led me to so many backpacks and messenger bags that I thought I may have reached the end until stumbling upon Waterfield Designs.

Waterfield Designs

I came across Waterfield Designs’ bags from a blog post by Dan Benjamin of Hivelogic when he was looking for a new bag.  The company was mentioned in the comments of the post, but only once.  They are located in San Francisco and founded by Gary Waterfield.

The company sells a variety of products from laptop bags, laptop sleeves, to iPhone and iPad cases and many others.

The Cargo

I decided the Cargo bag from Waterfield was worth a try.   Yes, the bag is a bit pricey but it is NOT one of those bags mass produced.

medium_alpine-md

The picture here is from the Waterfield site and it hard to get an idea of the size and construction of this bag.  The bag pictured here is the model of bag I ordered, the medium Cargo.

The Waterfield web site does a really nice job of showing off their products with great product descriptions, photos and reviews.  I was torn between ordering the medium or large cargo, the large appeared too big and I feared the medium would be too small.  All of the comments I had read about the company raved about their customer service.

I was pleasantly surprised when I call the company and the phone was answered by Gary himself.  I find it particularly comforting when you can call a company and the founder is not too important to answer the phone.  I explained the bag I was looking for and my dilemma with trying to choose between a medium and large bag.  After hearing what I planned to do with the bag and the type things I wanted to carry, Gary just said the large bag was “big” and I would probably better off with the medium.

The single phone call and the way I was help choose the bag sold me right away.  I set off to order the bag online, placed the order and began the wait.  I received a call a few minutes later from Gary letting me know the bag I wanted in the colors I chose utilizing the standard buckle would take a bit longer to receive but he did have the upgraded bag with the buckles in-stock.  It was a no-brainer, just add the $10 extra and get the better buckle and get the bag sooner.

The Bag

I had ordered the bag via FedEx 2-day deliver.  It came in packaged very well, almost like a presentation.  The bag itself is really a thing of beauty built with very heavy nylon, the bag feels indestructible.

IMG_1262

The paratrooper buckle is a great upgrade, especially for $10.  You can see here how nice it is:

IMG_1261

The main compartment is pretty large and fits my MacBook Pro inside of my Marware sleeve with no problem.  The inside of the bag is a nice yellow-orange color which lets me see inside even in dim lighting.

IMG_1264

The outside pocket has a nice zip closure with plenty of room for the MacBook Pro power supply, mouse and my headset.

IMG_1259

Even the small details like the pad for the fully-adjustable shoulder strap are well-thought-out.  The padding is a gel and extremely comfortable, unlike so many other shoulder straps.

IMG_1256

Conclusion

This is a really nice bag and is not too flashy and hip but hip enough to have a different look than the other bags you see you there.  I think this is the perfect bag for the professional who doesn’t want to carry a huge bag around and one that looks professional going to a client site.

I have been using this bag for over a month now while visiting client sites, it travels really well.  I have used it to haul everything I need and everything fits perfectly with plenty of room for extra items like magazines, notepads and client documents.

One common complaint I have with most bags that have a shoulder strap is the fact they are all uncomfortable, except for this one.  The strap comes with a gel-padded strap and it is a really nice touch to a perfect bag.  I will be buying more from Waterfield for my future iPad and other gadgets.

2009 Year in Review

Well the past 12 months have gone by really fast, again. It seems I always tell myself this each New Year’s Eve. So looking back on 2009:

Ruby on Rails Consulting

I have made many changes in the past year from a business standpoint, taking on more Ruby on Rails projects and less .NET projects. I think the decision to transition to more Rails projects has been a welcomed change from .NET if only to be doing something new. I have to say the quality of potential .NET projects is a lot higher than Rails, but I’m not sure why. I tend to think it might be because Rails tends to attract too many clients with little or no money, but this is just a guess based on observations.

iPhone Development

I signed up in the later part of 2008 for the iPhone Developer Program with the intention of putting my stake in the ground and implementing some ideas I had for mobile applications I thought would be good on the iPhone.

To say the least I was disappointed by the way Apple has been processing app store submissions and subsequent seemingly random rejections. It would take a lot for me to spend 3-6 months writing an app *hoping* Apple is kindhearted enough to accept it into their store for someone to possibly find. Not going to happen.

I may revisit the platform at a later time if the approval process changes because I think it is a great platform for developing apps, I am just not into playing the app store approval lottery.

Freelancing

I have been doing full-time freelancing for over three years now and 2009 really was a pinnacle of the realization how difficult it can be. The year started off very well but as summer came and things slowed down to a crawl but picked up again in the Fall. It was really a feast or famine time and it has made me realize just how hard it is to juggle the “feast” portion of freelancing.

It has made me realize how much consulting or freelancing does not scale. I can’t work 80 hrs a week for any number of clients, the work suffers, health suffers and overall life suffers. A freelancer can only work so many hours at full-speed but when times are tough, it gets really tough.

Unless you can juggle getting work, doing the work and getting more work in a reasonable time frame, it can be tough.

Looking Ahead

I think this is one aspect I need to change in my approach for 2010. Things are already in the works but I won’t go into detail right now, but expect news in the coming weeks.

I wish every one of my readers a happy and healthy new year and look forward to 2010.

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Enabling Wireless on a Dell Mini 9 Running Ubuntu 9.1 Netbook Remix

I have had a Dell Mini 9 for quite some time now and played around installing various flavors of Linux on it, more as an exercise than anything else.  The recently release of Ubuntu 9.1 which has a distribution configured especially for netbooks, piqued my interest.   The download is called Ubuntu Netbook Remix and is available as an ISO.  There are various instructions for installing, including a thumb drive, but I decided to burn to CD and boot off of an external USB CD-ROM drive I have just for this occasion.

The installation goes pretty quickly and is uneventful, until booting up the OS for the first time; no wireless care detected.  It seems this is a known issue with Broadcom wireless and has a variety of solutions. 

I fixed the problem in a couple of steps:

1. The Dell Mini has a wired Ethernet port, so I grabbed a cable and plugged into my router.  Internet connection established.

2. The restricted Broadcom driver needs to be installed so I ran these commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get –reinstall install bcmwl-kernel-source

3. Setup connection to wireless network, with proper security and pass phrase.

4. Done!

It was all pretty easy but pretty annoying little issue with this distribution only on certain hardware.  Overall Ubuntu 9.1 on the Dell Mini is a really nice experience, very well done.

A Serious Windows Home Server Pain Point

pain I talked about my experiences with not having a solid backup strategy back at the end of August.  My solution included using a Microsoft Windows Home Server (WHS) system to handle backups for all of the computers on my home/office network.  I wanted to give a bit of follow-up to the experience and explain a huge pain point I found.

Reflection

I have been using the Acer Aspire Easystore H340 Windows Home Server for the past 6 weeks, backing up several computers on a nightly basis and it has been working flawlessly.  Computers are set to backup each night between 6pm and 11pm and this gives WHS plenty of time to complete all incremental backups with time to spare.  Backing up from Macs using SuperDuper works great too.

The WHS has been great to store all of the software we use on a regular basis when we need to share installation files. 

A Pain Point

I did run into a rather annoying problem this weekend that resulted in a kludgy workaround.  When I setup the WHS in August I had purchased an extra disk to be using in the WHS after I was confident my Windows development system was functioning fine.  The idea was to take out the 1TB (Western Digital Green) and replace with a 1 TB Western Digital Black drive, which is faster than the green.

I cloned the green drive to the black, took out the green and rebooted the development system, all worked great.  I was informed by WHS that my system had a new hard drive and I needed to log in to WHS Console and configure to recognize the new disk.  When running the wizard, I was greeted by this message when almost to the end:

This computer is not online or Windows Home Server cannot access the computer’s hard drive. Please make sure the computer is powered on and connected to your home network.

After much trial-and-error I could not get the new drive to be recognized by WHS.  It was aware there was a new drive but could not recognize it was a replacement for the old drive. I came up with a solution that worked but is not ideal:

  1. Uninstall Windows Home Server Connector
  2. While using Windows Home Server Console, remove PC from list of backed up PC’s.
  3. Cleanup backup database using the "Cleanup Now" button in the WHS Console
  4. Reinstall Windows Home Server Connector – install from either original DVD or by accessing via the Software share on WHS.
  5. Retry setting up backups – should now be able to configure backup for system.

I performed actions 2-3 from the actual WHS itself by utilizing a Remote Desktop Connection to the WHS.  I then had to reconfigure the backup for my system, including all of the folders I had previously Excluded.  This wasn’t a surprise but don’t forget to do this or your backup might be a lot bigger than expected.

UPDATE: Joel Ross made a comment suggesting the correct way to change out the disks under WHS:

I think (and I could be wrong here) the proper way to do this would have been to do a back up with the old disk in the dev box, replace the drive in the dev box, and then do a restore on the dev box using the windows home server software. I haven’t replaced a drive in any of my machines yet, but that’s what I’ve read others doing.

Conclusion

This solution certainly worked but was not a very clean and user-friendly way of replacing a disk.  This begs the question – what happens if I have a disk failure and need to replace the drive, will I be able to connect and restore?  The answer is not clear at this point.

After some searching around the web and there are many reports of this issue back to the WHS CTP and it has yet to be resolved as of WHS Service Pack 2.  It appears it could be due to the fact the new drive is not on the same SATA connection as the previous drive but, in my opinion, this should not matter.  A fix for this is needed or I will not have as much confidence as I once had for Windows Home Server as a key backup solution.

If anyone has a better solution than the one I have found, I would love to hear it. If there is a released fix for this, I would like to hear about it as well. I am running on Windows 7 Ultimate RTM, if that matters.