14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2013 6:41 AM by gdurniak

    FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7

    GerCat

      This is a real obscure problem I just ran into.

      I have a client that is running FileMaker Server 5 on Windows 7 Pro.

      there are 10 different databases

      I developed them in 2002 and they have been running fine since then with a few minor changes since launch. They do one thing with the databases and that hasn't changed over the years.

      I developed these databases on a Windows 2000 server

      I put them on the Windows 7 Pro computer two years ago and they have been running without incident

      There is three staff that access the databases

      The databases have been backed up four times each day and the system is backed up once a day to removable hard drives. This has worked well as I get emails each day on the success or failure of the backup.

      One week ago today the FileMaker Server 5 failed. It not only failed, it disappeared from the computer.

      FMS 5 runs as a service and has a console to run in, but it was all gone, there was no indication it was ever on the computer.

      There was a Windows update the previous evening (update Tuesday)

       

      Now it gets bizarre,

       

      The FMS software was gone,

      The database files were intact, but the last entry was in 2010

      I restored from backup, and the last entry was also in 2010

      I looked on all the computers in the company and there were no FileMaker files with data more recent that 2010

      If I were brought into look at this situation with out the history, I would say the files were not accessed after 2010, or they were using different files, or someone has gone through a lot of work to remove three years of records.

       

      I am at a loss as to what to do next,

        • 1. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
          gdurniak

          First of all, long live FM 5, the last version that anyone could easily understand

           

          I have seen a similar problem with FP7 files, but never with FP5.  The server quietly stops writing to disk, and operates only from cache. When the server crashes, everything is lost

           

          e.g.  https://fmdev.filemaker.com/message/53001#53001

           

          Since you may now have seen this happen in FP5, it would seem to be a Windows OS bug, and NOT a FileMaker Bug.  Either way, you may be screwed. Yikes !

           

          Note: it is a bit hard to believe that this was not noticed earlier, perhaps after a restart, and how could the install files be gone as well ?

           

          greg

           

          > I restored from backup, and the last entry was also in 2010

          I looked on all the computers in the company and there were no FileMaker files with data more recent that 2010

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
            GerCat

            Greg, thanks for the insite, this actually makes sense, disturbing as it may be. There is the question of were the installed files have gone. I will check the log files to see if it has been running straight for three years.

             

            Ger

            • 3. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
              gdurniak

              Keep in mind that it might pay to contact FileMaker Tech Support as well,  if the OS did prevent writes to disk

               

              They might object to resolving an FM 5 problem, but it could apply to all FM versions

               

              greg

               

              > thanks for the insite, this actually makes sense

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                GerCat

                Greg, I tried running FMS 5 on the computer, and it will install but will not serve the files, they are currently on a desktop machine with local sharing turned on. For me to send this to FileMaker I will need to duplicate the problem so I can document it well. As this happened on the morning after a Windows update and the FileMaker Server service will not run, even though the control pannel says it is running I am inclined to beleive this part of the problem is a Windows problem. I will build a new computer and set it up without the latest update to see if I can duplicate the problem.

                 

                I will post the results I get.

                 

                Thanks for your help.

                • 5. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                  gdurniak

                  That Windows Update probably was the last straw for FM 5

                   

                  Any chance you could find an older PC, perhaps running Windows XP ?

                   

                  And duplicating the problem may be difficult. I've never seen this happen twice

                   

                  greg

                   

                  PS

                  This thread is interesting:

                   

                  http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/24417752

                   

                   

                  >  I tried running FMS 5 on the computer, and it will install but will not serve the files, they are currently on a desktop machine with local sharing turned on.

                  • 6. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                    GerCat

                    Greg, thanks for the link. I have run into delayed write failed many times working with windows. If you put flush cache to disk failing with delayed write failed, its lining up to be the perfect storm.

                     

                    G

                    • 7. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                      ibrahim_bittar

                      Hi GerCat

                       

                      That happened to me with FMS5.5 and a Windows XP machine, right after an update. It was abouth six months ago.

                       

                      It definitely is a Windows bug. My files "traveled in time" four months back, my backups traveled too. It was a horrible tragedy . In this case I spent about two years insisting on a cloud backup service and the customer never wanted to "waste that money".

                       

                      Well, another horror story...

                      • 8. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                        LyndsayHowarth

                        Excuse me but I find this incredibly hard to believe.

                         

                        Firstly... FileMaker did not become 'server' until v5.5

                         

                        Secondly... was the 'server' never restarted?

                         

                        Thirdly... when I have happy clients chugging away... I check and take a copy every couple of months... at a minimum. You know for sure that one day they will need to upgrade and that if you look after them it is YOU they will return to for that upgrade.

                         

                        Fourthly... why the $&&)@@ did the server OS get upgraded to 7... ?

                         

                        I run an old FM5Unlimited server. The machine is over 15 years old and still runs MacOS 9.2.... that's right...no X! I manually back it up every week and restart the server at the same time.... and open the files to check the validity of the core documents.

                         

                        I would say that the OS deleted incompatible software. I'd say they are in a bad way and have lost forever the last 3 years data... I'd say that they won't get you to do their upgrade and will probably never choose to use FileMaker again.

                         

                        It is stories like these which give us all a bad name.

                         

                        - Lyndsay

                        • 9. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                          gdurniak

                          Yes, this is by far the oddest post I have ever seen

                           

                          But there was a Server 5 in November of 1999, and I have a copy of Server 3 from 1997

                           

                          and OS X does create an Incompatible Software folder,  but not so sure about Windows

                           

                          I also wonder if someone might have setup a RAM disk on that machine. Then everything would have dissappeared

                           

                          greg

                           

                          > FileMaker did not become 'server' until v5.5

                           

                          http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514SFC5MCGL._SY300_.jpg

                          • 10. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                            GerCat

                            Lindsay, your not helping. I didn't put everything down, only the parts I thought were important. You don't know me or my client so I find it confusing why you automatically jump to the worst. If you have other ideas and need questions answered I will gladly answer them.

                             

                            To answer the questions you have raised, in the interest of finding a cause and a solution,

                             

                            FMS came out with 5, as I have the original installer.

                             

                            The server was restarted every Tuesday, so I guess this eliminates the idea of the cache only copy. As everything was working up the Wednesday morning, something else is the problem.

                             

                            The backup was run four times a day in FMS, and everyday this was backed up to Retrospect Server on an external raid that a hard drive was replaced everyday. The challenge here was there were only three external drives so this would still not be the only cause this existing problem.

                             

                            I have worked with Windows since 1988 and Mac OS 9 and 10 since 1990. My first database was in Ashton Tate dBIII, so I have some inkling about what I am doing. In all that time I have never seen an OS just spontaneously uninstall/delete application software and data. I have seen programs broken and data corrupted, or they would not start.

                             

                            Have you any meaningful suggestions?

                            • 11. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                              LyndsayHowarth

                              I concede that there probably was a FMS5... although I do have the box for FMP5Unlimited and the next release was 5.5. I do not see the Unlimited entry on any of the wikepedia and other 'history' sites so I am wondering if it were sold as "Server" in the US and "Unlimited" in Australia... Unfortunately the box is buried deep in the garage... but I will pull it out one day when I can actually get the kids to help clean it out.

                               

                              Sorry GerCat if I have offended. I really was astonished that there had never been any human intervention in the process for 3 years. It is pretty mind boggling. You are right... I don't know either you nor your client... but something went wrong somewhere along the way and neither of you knew or had anything to step back to that was more recent than 2010. Hence my third point.

                               

                              I've worked on windows since about the same time as you (never by choice) and Mac OS 1.0 and Apple since the "Apple" and TRS80 and Commodore62 and Microbee and a whole bunch of other stuff I'd rather forget (yes like dbIII or maybe it was II or IV and Helix etc).... and FileMaker since Plus or whatever it was came first on the Mac. That is all pretty meaningless unless as a consequence of all that computer/database experience that good backup and validation proceedures are put in place. I once saw over 100k books pulped because someone in the "Pubic Service" used a spell checker - lesson being that you can't 100% relyon the technology working without occassional checking. That is why grain and animals are inspected before they are put on ships and why you lamp comes with an electrical tested sticker...

                               

                              The only potentially helpful suggestion I have is that perhaps there is some disk-recovery you might be able to do on one of the volumes concerned.

                              I really do hope it helps! I love being dramatic but ultimately I do care.

                               

                              - Lyndsay

                              • 12. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                                worldcloud

                                There was a FileMaker Server starting with version 3, which hosted to FileMaker 3, 4, and 4.1 clients, just like Server 5 and 5.5 hosted to Pro 5, 5.5 and 6.0 clients; however, on those olderest versions it was a service on Windows and an app for the Mac. Some of these people need to check their history before telling you that you are wrong.

                                 

                                The advice to run a production database on an old machine that may have been on the ark with Noah does not sound like solid advice. A ten year old computer has already lived a 'full' life and I would have issues trusting it- not to mention if anything breaks finding parts becomes a challenge. This advise is like allowing a man with a history of heart issues to drive a race car.

                                 

                                My advice is to use vmWare Workstation (Windows) or vmWare Fusion (Mac) to set up a Windows Server 2000 or Server 2003 virtual machine on a 'modern' system. Alternately, Worldcloud can provide you will a 'cloud-based' Windows 2003 Server, possibly Windows Server 2000 if you really needed it. I'm not conviced that the Windows Update was the source of your problem; however, running your FileMaker Server 5 software on a version of the OS which it was certified for is certainly a FileMaker Best Practice.

                                 

                                You could have had a corruption in the volume bitmap, Windows 'log' of what is on the hard drive. You could have had some malware, or a host of other possibilities. Windows Update almost exclusively updates files in Windows folder, or maybe the program files/microsoft folder; but I can not ever think of a case where Windows Update went into the folder of a third party product.

                                 

                                Another advantage to running your Server through virtualization is that it becomes 'portable'. So if you start out setting up a 'virtual server' on your system using vmWare Workstation and you wanted to move it to another system and/or to a service like ours- the entire vmWare image can be uploaded and your 'server' will be exactly the same as it was on your machine...

                                 

                                There are several 'Undelete' utilities for Windows, I would be very tempted to have them scour your drive and see what it finds as it reads the actually blocks from the drive. If the files have not been overwritten, we've had fairly good results in recovering files after a user has deleted them. The more you use you hard drive (and write new data), the more you decrease your changes for a clean recovery.

                                 

                                It sounds like you may have some other options with your backups, but it sounds like you already have a plan of action there.

                                 

                                Good luck....

                                 

                                If we can help, let us know!

                                • 13. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                                  worldcloud

                                  I'm getting old, so I am not willing to say that the first version of FileMaker Server was version 3; however, this is the first version of FileMaker Server which I personally ever used- on a Power Macintosh Workgroup Server 9150, if I recalled correctly. At that time, I was a 'Mac guy' and the first time I took the FileMaker Proficiency Exam I blew a question because I assumed that the Windows version was an app, just like the Mac version was--- oops!

                                   

                                  Certainly, the modern versions of FileMaker Server are services on both Mac and Windows; but the FileMaker community has come a long way since then. If memory serves, the only way to web-enable a FileMaker 3/4 solution was with Lasso, back when it was owned by Blueworld.

                                   

                                  FileMaker Server 5 was a crazy straggered release between FileMaker Pro 5, FileMaker Pro 5 Developer, FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited, and FileMaker Server. If I recall, this is the version where we picked up CDML and 'native' FileMaker web support. I think that FileMaker Server 5 was the first FileMaker Server product for FileMaker, Inc, as FileMaker Server was a Claris product prior to 1998. FileMaker Server 5.5 was the first (and only) version of FileMaker Server for Linux.

                                   

                                  If FileMaker, inc. wanted to please a small, niche group of server admins very happy (and save us from paying Microsoft), they would introduce a Linux version of FileMaker 13 Server. I realize that things change, but I've had a 'VP-level' FileMaker exec tell me that we will never see such a release and I tend to believe him.

                                   

                                   

                                  Hopefully the picture below will debunk the myth that FileMaker Server 5.5 was the first server for FileMaker Pro clients.

                                   

                                  fms3.jpg

                                  • 14. Re: FileMaker Server 5 running on Windows 7
                                    gdurniak

                                    It's not the PC, it's the OS

                                     

                                    My PC is only three years old, with a  Dual Core CPU,  2Gb RAM, SATA Hard Drives, and Windows XP Pro SP3

                                     

                                    It just works

                                     

                                    greg

                                     

                                     

                                    > The advice to run a production database on an old machine that may have been on the ark with Noah does not sound like solid advice. A ten year old computer has already lived a 'full' life