Another step along the way to having remote access for your Windows Home Server is that you need to select a personalized domain name for your Windows Home Server which makes it easier for you to remember the URL to connect to your Windows Home Server when you are away from home. For example, if it was available, I could use edneyfamily.homeserver.com. The only part of the domain name I need to choose is the edneyfamily part.

Because the personalized domain name is used to access your Windows Home Server over the Internet, it has to be unique, so try and think of something that is easy for you to remember and means something to you. Make sure you think of a couple of different possibilities just in case the domain name you want has already been taken by someone else.

All of the following steps are performed from the Windows Home Server Console, Settings, Remote Access tab. And for additional information, this walk-through assumes you are running Windows Home Server Power Pack 2 – if you are running an earlier Power Pack then these steps may appear a little different to what you see. Go download and install PP2 now.

Firstly, ensure that Remote Access is turned on. If it isn’t just click on the Turn on button (in which case you can skip the next step).

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From the Domain Name section, click the Setup button.

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This will launch the Set Up a Domain Name wizard.

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Note: You will need a Windows Live ID to set up a domain name.

Click Next to continue.

You must now sign in to Windows Live to continue.

If you don’t already have a Windows Live ID it is easy to create one. See the Creating a Windows Live ID section later in this article.

Enter your Windows Live ID e-mail address and password to sign in to Windows Live.

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Click Next to continue.

The next screen of the wizard is the Privacy Statement and Agreement.

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Note: As you are being asked to accept the agreement, it is a good idea to read it and make sure you are happy to agree. If you are not happy to agree then you cannot use the remote access facilities of Windows Home Server.

Read the Windows Home Server Privacy Statement and the Windows Live Custom Domains Addendum.

Click the I accept button (assuming you accept).

Click Next to continue.

On the next screen you must type in the domain name you would like to use.

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Type in the domain name you would like to use in the Domain Name box.

The domain name can contain the following:

  • 63 characters maximum
  • Letters, numbers, or hyphens. The name must begin and end with a letter or a number.

You can only register one domain name per Windows Live ID you have.

Click the Confirm button to check that it is available to use. If it is not available you will see the message telling you so.

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Don’t worry if the domain is not available, just choose another one and try again.

If the domain name is available it will be displayed on the screen – just click Finish.

You will see confirmation that the domain name has been set up.

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Tip: Make a note of the URL so that you can access your Windows Home Server. It will be http://domainname.homeserver.com followed be either /home for the homepage over port 80 or /remote for the remote access login page over port 443 (which will also start with https:// instead of http://).

Click Done to complete the process.

There is also a button called Configure, which enables you to either release the current domain name or choose a different domain name.

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Creating a Windows Live ID

Having a Windows Live ID is a pre-requisite for creating a domain name for use with Windows Home Server, but don’t worry, its simple and only takes a couple of minutes.

To create a Windows Live ID, just follow these steps:

Using Internet Explorer or any other Internet browser, visit https://accountservices.passport.net/ppnetworkhome.srf?lc=2057 which is the Windows Live ID website.

Select the type of Windows Live ID you want to create. For the sake of this example, I will select Sign up for a limited account.

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The next steps involve you having to create an e-mail address and password to use a Windows Live ID credentials.

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Enter an E-mail address in the box provided – you only need to enter the text before the @.

Note: The e-mail address can contain letters, numbers, periods, hyphens and underscores.

Enter a password in the box provided.

Note: The password must be a minimum of six characters in length – as you type the password you can see from the password strength visual how strong your password actually is.

Type in the characters that are displayed in the picture – this is used as a security mechanism to stop automated programs from creating accounts.

Click the Continue button.

The next screen contains the terms of use and online privacy statement.

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Type in your e-mail address that you just created in the box and click the I Accept button to continue.

The last screen confirms that you have created your Windows Live ID.

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Click the Continue button to complete the process.

You can now use this newly created Windows Live ID for creating the Windows Home Server domain.

You can also use this Windows Live ID for any other purpose that requires a Windows Live ID.