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kri kri
Jul 18, 2007





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmD1U6Gqaco

What is Windows Home Server?

Pretty much the best thing to come out of Microsoft in a long time. The data corruption bug has been fixed so please don't ask about it. Windows Home Server is built on the same codebase as Windows Server 2003 SP2. It includes almost all technologies found in Windows Server 2003 SP2 but has been modified in some areas to remove or limit features.

I will let Wikipedia tell you more about the cool stuff it has!

Features

The big one here is the Drive Extender:

The best part is that the hard drives are formatted as NTFS, so if your WHS dies you can plug in into your desktop and just copy over any of the date on the hard drive. If you want to read some more about how drive extender works, here are two articles.
A reminder of the advantages of Drive Extender over RAID
Why RAID is not a consumer technology
RAID Made Easy

What are these Add-Ins I keep hearing about?

Windows Home Server allows for developers to publish community and commercial add-ins designed to enhance the Windows Home Server with added functionality. There are quite a few good ones, I usually just read about the main blogs to see what has been released. Go here to download them. http://www.wegotserved.com/category/add-ins/

How do I use Windows Home Server?

Clients use the Windows Home Server connector software. You can then run Windows Home Server console and configure your backups. You can set a time block of the hours you would like to back up your machines. You can enable wake your computer up an hour or so before you wake up yourself. You can also specify folders do never backup if you so desire. If you have multiple computers, WHS will minimize the amount of data stored on the server because it backs up using cluster levels. Once you do a full backup of your client, every subsequent backup will just back up any files that have changed.

You can remote desktop directly into your WHS box, and run pretty much and Windows program you would like. I personally run SABnzbd, uTorrent, PS3 Media Server, Dropbox, and some add ins. I have been running my WHS box since the fall of 2007 24/7 365 and it's still trucking.

How do I acquire such fancy technology?

You can buy a prebuilt WHS box from many companies, or you can be one of the cool kids and just build your own out of the parts in your closet. You can get a 30 day trial for WHS and if you like it buy an OEM key at Newegg for $100.

Microsoft purchase/trial page
Newegg WHS OEM

Goon Thermopyle has pictures up of his cool home build here.

I heard there is a new version of WHS coming out!?

Windows Home Server 2011 (Vail) has been released, and is on MSDN now as well. WHS 2011 has no drive extender, but alternatives exist, Drive Bender is probably the most popular one.

Hardware Requirements:

quote:

* Vail is a 64-bit only operating system.
* System Requirements:
- 1.4 GHz x64 processor.
- 1 GB RAM
- At least one 160 GB hard drive.
* NTFS is the only supported file system.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmnFoI8iqC8

Here comes the link spam

Official Internet Web Sites
Official Website
Official Forums
Microsoft Team Blog - Technical Briefs

Cool blogs
WegotServed
MediaSmartServer
Philip Churchill's MVP Blog
Home Server Hacks
WHS X:Files Edition
Home Server Plus (Add-Ins)

Guides
Virtualizing Windows Home Server On Hyper-V
WGS Wiki - lots of cool poo poo here

Vail
Hooking a monitor up to a prefab WHS unit. Props to Cryptic edge for the link.
http://www.mediasmartserver.net/for....php?f=6&t=8066

kri kri fucked around with this message at Apr 14, 2011 around 14:36

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SchoolBus
Mar 27, 2004
I can't afford a new title, so I'm stuck with this piece of shit! Thanks PhancyPants!

Another good site for info is Home Server Hacks. Has had some interesting articles.

manwh0r3
Feb 22, 2003
Soy inocente... es mi primer día

For those who want to virtualise WHS, this guide was posted from the last thread:

http://www.unproductivitydefined.co...-server-on.html

The main advantage of doing this is that you can then run multiple virtual machines on you WHS and still have a clean WHS install. I used to have Vmware server installed on WHS but found that the set up in the link above was much nicer than what I had.

Zoodpipe
Jun 24, 2004

This is an important call. So, shut the fuck up.

How easy will it be to upgrade to the next version of WHS if I get the current version now?

Specifically, I'm looking to buy one of the HP MediaSmart (dual core) machines. If I go and get my data copied over and get eveything configured and purchase the new OS when it is available, will I need to copy all of my data somewhere else first, upgrade the OS and then copy eveything back?

Or, is the installer smart enough to know where the OS resides versus where your data resides?

Is the OS installed in it's own partition in your drive pool?

EC
Jul 10, 2001

The Legend


Zoodpipe posted:

How easy will it be to upgrade to the next version of WHS if I get the current version now?

Specifically, I'm looking to buy one of the HP MediaSmart (dual core) machines. If I go and get my data copied over and get eveything configured and purchase the new OS when it is available, will I need to copy all of my data somewhere else first, upgrade the OS and then copy eveything back?

Or, is the installer smart enough to know where the OS resides versus where your data resides?

Is the OS installed in it's own partition in your drive pool?

MS hasn't released much in the way of information about upgrade paths at this point. I'm really hoping they throw current users a bone and allow a seamless upgrade, but I sort of have my doubts.

Tivac
Feb 18, 2003

No matter how things may seem to change, never forget who you are

Zoodpipe posted:

Is the OS installed in it's own partition in your drive pool?

Yes. And the data on the drives in the pool is stored in standard NTFS so that it's readable on another machine. Assuming the hardware specs aren't too far out of whack it seems like upgrading to WHS v2.0 wouldn't be impossible.

FCKGW
May 21, 2006

Buttcoin is the future of online butts. Buttcoin is a peer-to-peer butt. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new butts or tracks butts.



Zoodpipe posted:

How easy will it be to upgrade to the next version of WHS if I get the current version now?

Specifically, I'm looking to buy one of the HP MediaSmart (dual core) machines. If I go and get my data copied over and get eveything configured and purchase the new OS when it is available, will I need to copy all of my data somewhere else first, upgrade the OS and then copy eveything back?

Or, is the installer smart enough to know where the OS resides versus where your data resides?

Is the OS installed in it's own partition in your drive pool?

One caveat to remember is that the next version of WHS is based off Server 2008 R2 which is 64-bit only. Any future upgrades will require a server reinstall and if you're buying an OEM WHS, make sure your hardware can support a 64-bit OS.

DNova
Jan 11, 2006



Tivac posted:

Yes. And the data on the drives in the pool is stored in standard NTFS so that it's readable on another machine.

How is data redundancy achieved then?

And how does it work if you have, say, a 1tb hard drive and a few 120gb hard drives, how much data protection can it offer, assuming you have more than 240gb of data to protect.

I'm curious how it handles that stuff.

MonkeyFit
May 13, 2009


kri kri posted:

...

You can get a 120 day trial for WHS and if you like it buy an OEM key at Newegg for $100.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/pr...server/buy.mspx
...

There is a good guide to picking parts to build your own server at the WGS Wiki
...

That build guide is horribly dated and unless that's a typo on the Microsoft website, the trial is now only 30 days.

kri kri
Jul 18, 2007



MonkeyFit posted:

That build guide is horribly dated and unless that's a typo on the Microsoft website, the trial is now only 30 days.

Updated the OP. Can you rearm the trial?

Anyone know of a good recent build guide?

FCKGW
May 21, 2006

Buttcoin is the future of online butts. Buttcoin is a peer-to-peer butt. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new butts or tracks butts.



DNova posted:

How is data redundancy achieved then?

And how does it work if you have, say, a 1tb hard drive and a few 120gb hard drives, how much data protection can it offer, assuming you have more than 240gb of data to protect.

I'm curious how it handles that stuff.

WHS will, if enabled, duplicate that file on your server onto another harddrive if space is available. This means that there are always 2 copies of the file on 2 physically separate drives. Here's an example of what I mean.



This is an add-in called Duplication Info, and it shows where my files reside over the 8 drives in my server. You can see from the file above that every file is stored on 2 separate drives at all time. The bottom shows the last time my server drives were balanced.

To the OS, this is seamless, and when it copies a file to the OS is copies it to whatever 2 drives have the most free space. The OS will also balance the drives when needed, moving data from drive to drive as not to fill one single drive up first.

One great advantage of this over RAID is that if you were to pull a drive out and hook it up as an external on another machine you can read your data on that drive without rebuilding an array or anything. They're stored normally in a hidden folder on the drive. There a database on the main OS partition that tells OS where exactly the files are. WHS also supports shadow copies, so if you accidently delete a file you can recover it which is something RAID can't do.

If you have a 1tb and a bunch of 120gb drives and want to use duplication just take the total combined space, minus 20gb for the OS partition, and halve the size. So a 1tb and 3 120gb drives would offer a total of 670gb available space.


kri kri posted:

Updated the OP. Can you rearm the trial?

Anyone know of a good recent build guide?
Maximum PC did a good build guide a few months back

FCKGW fucked around with this message at Apr 17, 2010 around 19:32

Nephzinho
Jan 24, 2008



BorderPatrol posted:

WHS will, if enabled, duplicate that file on your server onto another harddrive if space is available. This means that there are always 2 copies of the file on 2 physically separate drives. Here's an example of what I mean.



This is an add-in called Duplication Info, and it shows where my files reside over the 8 drives in my server. You can see from the file above that every file is stored on 2 separate drives at all time. The bottom shows the last time my server drives were balanced.

To the OS, this is seamless, and when it copies a file to the OS is copies it to whatever 2 drives have the most free space. The OS will also balance the drives when needed, moving data from drive to drive as not to fill one single drive up first.

One great advantage of this over RAID is that if you were to pull a drive out and hook it up as an external on another machine you can read your data on that drive without rebuilding an array or anything. They're stored normally in a hidden folder on the drive. There a database on the main OS partition that tells OS where exactly the files are. WHS also supports shadow copies, so if you accidently delete a file you can recover it which is something RAID can't do.

If you have a 1tb and a bunch of 120gb drives and want to use duplication just take the total combined space, minus 20gb for the OS partition, and halve the size. So a 1tb and 3 120gb drives would offer a total of 670gb available space.

Maximum PC did a good build guide a few months back

Duplication doesn't need to be an all or nothing thing, does it? I want to have my documents and pictures duplicated, but my 800gb of tv really doesn't need it (at least not until i add a few more Tb- and there will probably be a variety of drive sizes between 1 and 2 tb each).

qutius
Apr 2, 2003
NO PARTIES


zerox147o posted:

Duplication doesn't need to be an all or nothing thing, does it? I want to have my documents and pictures duplicated, but my 800gb of tv really doesn't need it (at least not until i add a few more Tb- and there will probably be a variety of drive sizes between 1 and 2 tb each).

No, you can specific which directories/shares get duplicated and which ones don't.

To see the level of detail in that screenshot, you will need to install the add-on however.

Nephzinho
Jan 24, 2008



qutius posted:

No, you can specific which directories/shares get duplicated and which ones don't.

To see the level of detail in that screenshot, you will need to install the add-on however.

Okay, thought so. Was just making sure as I would have to hold off on buying my parts another week or two to get a few more drives together. The way he described it confused me briefly. And that addon looks very handy, /bookmarked.

Oddhair
Mar 21, 2004



I hadn't used any really advanced features, but as stated in the OP, WHS is one of the best things to come out of Redmond. In my house, it's just a 3.47TB file server, on a 1500VA UPS, which can run for about an hour without AC service. The backup, however, leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy. I can flatten and reinstall, with multiple (many and manifold, too!) sets of backup data from which to pull, and play with 100+GB datasets and not worry about running out of space, or worse running out of space on this drive, since it's just one big storage pool.

DNova
Jan 11, 2006



Oddhair posted:

I hadn't used any really advanced features, but as stated in the OP, WHS is one of the best things to come out of Redmond. In my house, it's just a 3.47TB file server, on a 1500VA UPS, which can run for about an hour without AC service. The backup, however, leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy. I can flatten and reinstall, with multiple (many and manifold, too!) sets of backup data from which to pull, and play with 100+GB datasets and not worry about running out of space, or worse running out of space on this drive, since it's just one big storage pool.

Not sure how important your data is, but don't forget about offsite backups.

I am very interested in WHS. Does anyone know if it's available through MSDN-AA?

FISHMANPET
Mar 3, 2007



DNova posted:

Not sure how important your data is, but don't forget about offsite backups.

I am very interested in WHS. Does anyone know if it's available through MSDN-AA?

I think that might depend on what your school pays for, but I'm pretty sure my school buys everything it can and we don't offer it, so I'm guessing no.

DNova
Jan 11, 2006



FISHMANPET posted:

I think that might depend on what your school pays for, but I'm pretty sure my school buys everything it can and we don't offer it, so I'm guessing no.

Yeah I had an account for a semester, and I remember Server was in there but I don't remember seeing WHS. We have a *very* generous software lineup too. Oh well.

Triple Tech
Jul 28, 2006

So what, are you quitting to join Homo Explosion?


Oddhair posted:

WHS is one of the best things to come out of Redmond.

True that. It's sad that so many of their slam runs are minority products. SQL Server, Visual Studio, Windows Home Server, Windows Server (I think?) are all home dunks. But then I think of Windows Vista/7, the Zune, and their overall marketing strategy... It's just so sad... I kinda want to invest in them but they're pretty terrible. If I could somehow invest in only the teams that have great products, I would.

Rev. Bleech_
Oct 19, 2004

We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte - just delivered the BUMB, the Hiroshima bumb. Eleven hundred men went into the water.


Triple Tech posted:

True that. It's sad that so many of their slam runs are minority products. SQL Server, Visual Studio, Windows Home Server, Windows Server (I think?) are all home dunks. But then I think of Windows Vista/7, the Zune, and their overall marketing strategy... It's just so sad... I kinda want to invest in them but they're pretty terrible. If I could somehow invest in only the teams that have great products, I would.

Eh? 7 is considered a slam dunk and there's nothing wrong with the Zune whatsoever. 99% of Zune criticism boils down to "IT DOESN'T HAVE AN APPLE LOGO ON IT!!!"

enotnert
Jun 10, 2005

Only women bleed

Rev. Bleech_ posted:

Eh? 7 is considered a slam dunk and there's nothing wrong with the Zune whatsoever. 99% of Zune criticism boils down to "IT DOESN'T HAVE AN APPLE LOGO ON IT!!!"

Even as a linux zealot I can say the Zune is a fine product.

and WHS as far as an easy to setup server for most people goes. I use something else, but that's the dicketry/not wanting to pay for poo poo in me. I have no qualms in my experience with WHS though.

univbee
Jun 3, 2004

Let's maintain dazzling beer indefinitely.


Zoodpipe posted:

How easy will it be to upgrade to the next version of WHS if I get the current version now?

Specifically, I'm looking to buy one of the HP MediaSmart (dual core) machines. If I go and get my data copied over and get eveything configured and purchase the new OS when it is available, will I need to copy all of my data somewhere else first, upgrade the OS and then copy eveything back?

Or, is the installer smart enough to know where the OS resides versus where your data resides?

Is the OS installed in it's own partition in your drive pool?

The jury's still out on this one, although every WHS machine sold at OEM was 64-bit capable, which I believe was a stipulation for putting an OEM machine together back in the day specifically to make it upgradeable. That being said, the most likely situation would be requiring a clean install of the OS, but being able to mount the existing data pool; this is essentially what you do now if the drive holding the WHS OS fails. There would also likely be a need for a RAM upgrade (to 2 gigs at least), but RAM is so cheap it's not really a significant cost.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


Rev. Bleech_ posted:

Eh? 7 is considered a slam dunk and there's nothing wrong with the Zune whatsoever. 99% of Zune criticism boils down to "IT DOESN'T HAVE AN APPLE LOGO ON IT!!!"

Yeah, gonna have to agree with the this. The Zune HD is an awesome product...the only reason I've been keeping my first gen iPod Touch is because I use a few apps on it. The Zune desktop software is especially fantastic. I'd put it and WHS in the same corner as far as great stuff from MS.

Zoodpipe
Jun 24, 2004

This is an important call. So, shut the fuck up.

The HP EX490 has a dual core processor and 2 GB of RAM so maybe with just a ram upgrade it should be able to handle the next version without issue.

Thanks for evryone's input.

kri kri
Jul 18, 2007



Nice, added this along with add-in section to the OP.

Does anyone know if you can re-arm the trial version? I edited the OP to say 30 days.

Nephzinho
Jan 24, 2008



Just ordered my parts for a server, will probably picture the build and set up process for the thread. Came to just under $500 after taxes and shipping for a case that will hold 6 drives + another 3 if I mod the two 5.25" bays + Celeron dual core + 2gb ram. Specs come out a bit ahead of the mediasmart tower with more room for expansion and easily upgradable to 64 bit.

How hard is it to replace drives? I have two 1tb drives to start off, probably going to order 1 more once I sell some stuff today or tomorrow. I have two 500gb drives in an external sitting in a closet that i essentially use as loaners to friends. Is it worth the effort to replace them later for having that bit of extra storage now?

Triple Tech
Jul 28, 2006

So what, are you quitting to join Homo Explosion?


Replacing drives is physically easy. The only thing you might want to be worried about is doing the math about how redundancy plays out if you remove a drive. You might be setting yourself up for a window of no redundancy.

All you have to do is give the OS a heads up that a drive is decommissioned or no longer for pool use. I'm not sure if the approval process for that is instant or if it will rebalance then tell you it's okay. So you wait, then pop out the drive, and then add the new one into the pool. So easy.

EC
Jul 10, 2001

The Legend


Once you remove the drive from the pool via the console, WHS takes all of the data off the drive and moves it to other drives in the pool. This process can take a couple of hours in some cases. The best plan is to istall the new drive, add it to the pool, then remove the other drive.

PUBLIC TOILET
Jun 13, 2009



The Maximum PC guide looks pretty good. I remember from the old thread there was a guide using the Shuttle KPC case. Don't use that guide for the love of gently caress. The Shuttle KPC has an exploding capacitor issue and on top of that you can't have more than two internal drives in that case anyway.

Otherwise good job making a new megathread.

savesthedayrocks
Mar 18, 2004


I just want to check my understanding before I jump in to this. I'm looking to get a pre-built system to backup the 2 laptops I have, and serve as a media host for my media pc's and ps3.

With the pre-built systems that have only one drive, how are they protected from hd failure? Can I select certain things to back up (pictures mostly) if I add a smaller hd?

So if I put all my videos in a folder on the WHS, can I just point xbmc to the folder on the WHS and have it stream it, or do I have to use a proprietary WHS add on to do so? Same with itunes?

gariig
Dec 31, 2004
Beaten into submission by my fiance

savesthedayrocks posted:

I just want to check my understanding before I jump in to this. I'm looking to get a pre-built system to backup the 2 laptops I have, and serve as a media host for my media pc's and ps3.

With the pre-built systems that have only one drive, how are they protected from hd failure? Can I select certain things to back up (pictures mostly) if I add a smaller hd?

So if I put all my videos in a folder on the WHS, can I just point xbmc to the folder on the WHS and have it stream it, or do I have to use a proprietary WHS add on to do so? Same with itunes?

You aren't protected from failure if you only have 1 drive. If that one drive goes just like your PC there is no backup. So you should get either another internal or external hard drive to be able to have two copies of your important folders.

Duplication is turned a per share basis. So you can turn it on for documents, user folders, and pictures but leave it off for video. If you have home video you want to keep you'd have to create a new share for home videos and turn on duplication.

For XBMC you just tell it to view \\<server name>\videos and XBMC will see the rest. For iTunes I don't know.

FCKGW
May 21, 2006

Buttcoin is the future of online butts. Buttcoin is a peer-to-peer butt. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new butts or tracks butts.



iTunes will work just fine. Just go to Preferences > Advanced and change the media folder location to your server.

None of the computers in my network store any content locally anymore, everything is stored and accessed from the server.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


I have the Acer Aspire easyStore and the only issue I have with it is the total lack of video port (or enough space to put in a PCI-E card) for when the newest version of home server comes out and its time to do an upgrade.

Anyone tried an external USB video card on one of these types of setups and know if it will work? The only other option would be to custom build a new one and migrate off of it. I'd rather not if I can avoid it though.

FCKGW
May 21, 2006

Buttcoin is the future of online butts. Buttcoin is a peer-to-peer butt. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new butts or tracks butts.



Cryptic Edge posted:

I have the Acer Aspire easyStore and the only issue I have with it is the total lack of video port (or enough space to put in a PCI-E card) for when the newest version of home server comes out and its time to do an upgrade.

Anyone tried an external USB video card on one of these types of setups and know if it will work? The only other option would be to custom build a new one and migrate off of it. I'd rather not if I can avoid it though.

USB video card won't work, it requires driver to run which wouldn't be loaded during BIOS or Windows setup.

The HP Mediasmart servers can restore over the network. You can plop the restore CD on any machine on the network and it'll restore the server completely headless. I'm hoping that there's an option for that with the upgrade disc, but I doubt it.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Yeah, the Acer ones do the headless restore too, I'm just kinda worried that it will freak out and not allow for an upgrade install and only a reinstall of whats currently on it. I've never used a USB video card so I'm not sure of what the deal is with them in general and frankly won't go waste cash on something that won't fulfill my needs usually.

FCKGW
May 21, 2006

Buttcoin is the future of online butts. Buttcoin is a peer-to-peer butt. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new butts or tracks butts.



Cryptic Edge posted:

Yeah, the Acer ones do the headless restore too, I'm just kinda worried that it will freak out and not allow for an upgrade install and only a reinstall of whats currently on it. I've never used a USB video card so I'm not sure of what the deal is with them in general and frankly won't go waste cash on something that won't fulfill my needs usually.

The next version of WHS is 64-bit only so there won't be an upgrade option, only a full server reinstall.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Well to be fair, what I meant with upgrade install was use the software to tell it to install the new version from a clean install anyway. I don't use upgrade installs for servers. Ever.

Trillest Parrot
Jul 9, 2006

trill parrots don't die


Cryptic Edge posted:

I have the Acer Aspire easyStore and the only issue I have with it is the total lack of video port (or enough space to put in a PCI-E card) for when the newest version of home server comes out and its time to do an upgrade.

Anyone tried an external USB video card on one of these types of setups and know if it will work? The only other option would be to custom build a new one and migrate off of it. I'd rather not if I can avoid it though.

This is funny because I just accidentally disabled the NIC on my easyStore, and I can't find the restore CDs. I'm thinking that my options now are:

1) Reboot it and hope it decides that it doesn't like booting without the NIC on.
2) Use the reset button and hope that WHS Console on my PC will connect to it.

Any other bright ideas?

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Oh drat thats got to suck. I don't know where mine are exactly, but I have a general idea (they are in a specific drawer, just a question of how deep)

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1000 kilotheodores
May 1, 2007


urbancontra posted:

This is funny because I just accidentally disabled the NIC on my easyStore, and I can't find the restore CDs. I'm thinking that my options now are:

1) Reboot it and hope it decides that it doesn't like booting without the NIC on.
2) Use the reset button and hope that WHS Console on my PC will connect to it.

Any other bright ideas?

When I did this to my HP MediaSmart, I had to restore via network cable, unfortunately. I couldn't think up any better ideas at the time, but it did preserve all my data, I just lost installed programs and settings.

I think you can download the install ISOs from Microsoft, but it probably wouldn't include the software to allow for remote restore.

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