Tech Software Windows Home Server Power Pack 2 – Now Available

Windows Home Server Power Pack 2 – Now Available

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Today finally sees the announcement that Windows Home Server Power Pack 2, formally known as Snoqualmie, will be released tomorrow via Windows Update. Power Pack 2 is a minor release for Windows Home Server but it is also a “must have” update to Windows Home Server!

If you have your WHS set to download and install updates automatically then you have nothing else to do but sit back, relax, wait for the download and installation to happen, and enjoy PP2! However if you don’t want to wait you can always force the download 🙂

If you don’t have automatic updates switched on, in which case why not, now would be a good time to switch it on to make sure that you don’t miss out on any updates in the future.

This is the release of the English version, with Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish currently scheduled to be available before the end of April.

If you want to read the documentation for Power Pack 2 click here.

You can check that Power Pack 2 has installed correctly by opening the Windows Home Server Console, clicking on Settings and the Resources, and confirming that the version you have installed is 6.0.2030.0 as shown below. The image on the left is the pre PP2 version numbers and the one of the right is the PP2 version.

PP1 resources resources new

All of your computers that are currently running the Windows Home Server Connector will have the connector automatically upgraded to the new version.

NEW FEATURES AND ENHANCEMENTS

There are a number of new features and enhancements that are delivered with Power Pack 2.

Remote Access Enhancements

The Remote Access settings experience has been greatly enhancement to make it even easier to setup and configure remote access to your Windows Home Server. There are some new wizards as well to help you with the initial configuration of remote access, and also to repair your existing configuration as well.

remote access remote config remote config2 remote config3 remote config5 remote repaired

The troubleshooting help has also been improved.

Home Computer Backup Enhancements

Have you ever tried to restore files and folders from a backup only to have the process stop somewhere between 79 and 81%? Well if you have then there are some fixes included in PP2 which should help eliminate this!

An Updated SDK

The Windows Home Server SDK has been updated and includes facilities to enable add-in developers to display a EULA during installation, amongst other things.

Server Storage and Shared Folder Enhancements

Improvements have been made to the amount of notification messages that WHS produces about the files that are stored in your Shared Folders. Previously the amount of messages produced could cause high CPU utilisation for any applications that might be accessing these files, such as a Zune. This update rectifies this issue.

Have you ever tried to copy large files from your Windows Vista computer to a share on your Windows Home Server and had it fail because you didn’t have enough free space on your WHS Primary Drive? For example, you only had 3Gb of free space on your primary drive but you wanted to copy a 5Gb file to your Videos folder? Well, this update changes this from needing the free disk space on your primary drive to needing the free disk space in the storage pool, which after all is what you were expecting, right?

Bug Fixes

Obviously there are some bug fixes included in Power Pack 2.

If one or more of your home computers has been running the Windows 7 beta, then you would have noticed already that prior to PP2, the Computers and Backup tab showed any Windows 7 computer you had as a Windows Vista computer. Now with PP2 installed WHS correctly identifies Windows 7 – as you can see below.

OS

Improved User Experience

Improvements have been made to the “Day 1 Experience” which basically means if you were to be installing Windows Home Server with Power Pack 2 for the first time there are now less screens that you have to go through before being able to use it.

There have also been some improvements in the Windows Home Server Connector installation experience.

New Language Support

Italian language support has been added in addition to existing Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish versions.

Media Sharing Enhancements

With the release of PP2 comes support for MP4 audio and video. Also, any content that is stored on your WHS and shared via WMC, including those MP4 files, will now show up in the music or video library with title, artist, composer, album and genre metadata.

music

Windows Media Center Connector

For some of you, this might be the one thing you were waiting for! This enhancement enables your Windows Media Center to connect to your WHS and access content that has been stored in your Shared Folders.

You can also use your Windows Media Center Extender to view content stored on your WHS.

How cool is that? In the past, you could hack your WHS and WMC to enable some of this functi
onality, but thankfully it is now fully supported and provided to you without the need to do anything extra. So, do you think that the future might see even more WMC integration with WHS?

If you click on the Windows Media Center icon that appears in the Settings area of the Windows Home Server Console before you have installed and configured the Windows Media Center Connector, you will see a reminder to install it first.

WHS WMC Console Settings

INSTALLING AND CONFIGURING THE WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER CONNECTOR

The required files for the Windows Media Center Connector are automatically copied to all of your Windows Media Center computers ready for you to install. To do this just follow these simple instructions:

On the Start menu, find Windows Media Center Connector and click it.

mce start menu

The UAC box will appear (assuming have haven’t switched UAC off) – click Continue.

The next screen to appear is the Windows Media Center Connector installer. Just click Next to carry on.

wmcc1

You will then be asked for your Windows Home Server password (remember this is the administrator password). Type it in and then click Next to continue.

wmcc2

The installation will only take a few seconds, then when it is complete you will need to click the Done button to restart your computer. If you don’t want to restart at this point you can check the “Do not restart now” box – just make sure you restart before you want to use the new functionality.

wmcc3

Now when you go into the Windows Home Server Console, click on Settings and then Windows Media Center you will see it is populated with information specific to your Windows Home Server.

WHS WMC Console Settings - after

You can specific access to different folders for Windows Media Center and also Windows Media Center Extenders just by clicking the relevant radio buttons – just as you are used to already with Windows Home Server. You can even stop all access with a single click of a button. Don’t worry, you can re-enable access with a single click as well!

Recorded TV folder

When you go into the Windows Home Server Console and click on the Shared Folders tab you will notice a new tab called Recorded TV.

shared folders

If you double click on the Recorded TV folder you will notice that Folder Duplication is switched off by default, so if you really want to protect your Recorded TV, now might be a good time to enable it.

recorded TV properties

Another nice feature is that every user by default gets Full access to the Recorded TV folder. So if you don’t want every user to have this, make sure you go and change it.

recorded TV properties - user access

It is important to know that Windows Media Center does not automatically copy your Recorded TV from your Media Center to the Recorded TV folder on your Windows Home Server. This is something that you still have to do manually. Why then you may ask is it there? Well, it’s for consolidating your recorded TV content, and also ensuring that it gets backed up. All very useful!

Anything copied to or stored in the Recorded TV folder appears on your Media Center under Recorded TV, just as though it was stored on the Media Center itself.

recorded tv

Conclusion

Ok, so that’s it – what are you waiting for – go get Power Pack 2 and start experiencing even more with your Windows Home Server.

Andrew Edneyhttps://moviesgamesandtech.com
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

25 COMMENTS

  1. I installed PP2 via remote yesterday. After the update restarted the server I could never regain a connection. My Remote Notification kept sending messages about the backup service being down and other errors. A few hours later when I got home, and after no response from the SC440 server, I had to reboot using the power button. Once the server was happy again I noticed that the computers running Vista had little red houses. Upon clicking it told me I had to update the connector software. My XP machines were green. During the process of connector update the license agreement came up with Power Pack 1. I assume they just forgot to change it? Maybe the will get on the next revision. Once the connectors were updated I could update the WMC WHS application from the program menu. Enabling of the WMC connector require a restart of the PC. Great, more restarts. I finally have everything up and running however I am still trying to get the WMC to find the video folder where I have stored my DVD files. I see the Users folder but not the other folders. Within the WMC settings in WHS I have Full access for all folders. In addition, I have added to the library all the server folders. I should now be able to access the DVD files in my Videos folder on the WHS from any WMC PC on the network, yes?

    All my resources are now 6.0.203.0. Woo hoo?

    Looks like I will be busy this Friday night again.

  2. I can play my DVD library that I stored in the Videos folder from my dekstop. It has worked well for some time. I replaced my HP extender (connected to my plasma) last week with a Dell Studio Hybrid so I could access all of the full feature of WMC. At that time the HP could not access the DVD library. I did not want to run a bunch of hacks etc. so the refurbished Hybrid for $400 with Blu-ray was the way to go. Just trying to get my stuff worked out now I hope.

  3. Hello Andrew. I posted the following on the forums at the "We Got Server" WHS site, but thought I'd run it by you as well. I'm not sure if the current WHS connector software is supposed to be designed for use with the Windows 7 beta, but given the relatively large number of people running the Windows 7 beta, I'm sure I am not the only one trying to use WHS with it.

    I am running Windows 7 beta 64-bit and am running into problems with the new WHS Media Center functionality.

    After upgrading my WHS to PP2, under Windows 7, I am not getting the Windows Media Center Connector installer to appear in my Start Menu. I first tried to completely uninstall the WHS Connector and reinstall it and still no go.

    I have a dual-boot setup with Vista 64-bit installed, and which previously did not have the WHS Connector software installled. I installed it in the same manner as in my Windows 7 setup, from the shared folder on my home server, and it did add the shortcut to my Start menu to install the Media Center Connector. So I tracked down the installer and found it is placed under Program FilesWindows Home Server.

    I booted back to my Windows 7 setup and checked the corresponding folder there and there is no setup program for the Media Center Connector. So I uninstalled again, completely deleted the contents of Program FilesWindows Home Server, and reinstalled the WHS Connector again, and same thing. It's not putting the Media Center Connector installer in the Program FilesWindows Home Server directory.

    In a last ditch effort, I tried to run the installer from the Vista partition under Windows 7. It fires up, but after prompting me for the WHS password, it comes up with a red X and an "Unknown error". I have verified that the Media Center option is showing up in the Settings area of my WHS, so I'm at a loss at this point. Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    John

  4. Everything now seems to be working as advertised. I was unaware of the fact that once I had enabled the DVD Library that I had to link the WHS video folder again through the Library. You would think that the changes I had made in the WMC main settings to add the server folders would be the only place.

  5. I have forced updates on the WHS and it comes up with NO NEW UPDATES. Had some issues installing .net 3.5 sp1 and had to manually remove all the .net to get it to take. I've even done the windowsupdate.com site for CUSTOM and cannot find PP2. It seems everybody else in the universe has automatically received the PP2 download.

    Can't find another way to force it. Ideas?

  6. Yeah, checked that. Shows Windows Home Server with Power Pack 1

    All versions are showing

    Windows Home Server Console: 6.0.1771.0
    Windows Home Server Backup & Restore: 6.0.1771.0
    Windows Home Server Drive Extender: 6.0.1771.0
    Windows Home Server Remote Access: 6.0.1771.0
    Windows Home Server Storage Manager: 6.0.1771.0

    • same problem, can't update past my PP1 prerelease…surely there must be a manual way to update??

      • George – on your WHS, go into Add/Remove Programs and uninstall the pre-release version of PP1. Then you should just be able to run Windows Update from the Console and it should all pull down. Andrew

  7. Thanks Andrew, though hearing that just adds to my frustration over this. I've gone through innumerable iterations of unintalling and reinstalling the software, including trying to set the compatibility mode to Vista, and it is just not installing the Media Center Connector setup files. I am presuming that this is because, for some reason, my system is not being detected as a Media Center PC, even though I do of course have Media Center and even tried having it running in the background when trying to install the WHS Connector, hoping that it would detect it, but nope.

    FWIW, I am a computer professional, a senior systems admin with many years of Windows and Unix administation under my belt, so I have a good degree of knowledge about these matters. I am running on a new i7-based system with an SSD as my primary system drive, so maybe there's some anomaly there. I suppose for now I will boot Vista if I need to serve media files, but I have been running Windows 7 almost exclusively so that's not exactly an optimal solution.

  8. printer question here — I was running Vista/32 client just fine and was able to print to a shared printer connected to my WHS machine.

    But I recently got a new PC running Vista/64. My WHS Connector installed fine and things appear good, but I can't seem to create a printer to connect to my shared WHS machine. Whenever I try to connect to it, it tells me that the HP driver isn't installed, and puts up a browse window for me to locate the inf file. I can't seem to find the right version of the printer driver to satisfy that dialog box.

    I've tried to go to the WHS machine and select the printer, select 'advanced' and the 'load other drivers' entry. But for what OS? Should it be a 64 bit driver or a 32 bit one?

    Any opinions or comments are appreciated

  9. I too cannot find the Windows Media Center Connector. PP2 is installed (according to the file versions and title as shown on the resources tab), but the mcwhssetup file is not found either on my computer or the EX470 server. The media center tab indicates that I should run the connector from the all programs menu, but it is simply not listed. I'm currently running 32bit Vista Ultimate. Any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated.

    • Lyle

      Have you updated the connector on your Vista machine since upgrading to PP2 on your server?

      You say you cannot see the Media Connect setup from the Program Files listing on your Vista machine?

      Can you go into Media Center on your Vista machine and see if you get prompted to install it?

      If that still doesnt work, why dont you drop a question into a new forums area for others to help you with?

      Andrew

  10. Mike — I too am experiencing the printer serving problem with a Vista 64-bit client. I have the 64-bit driver installed on the client but I still get the 'wrong driver' error when trying to connect to the WHS print server.

    I found this post by someone who fixed it but they used a DVD with 64-bit Server 2003 to load a 64-bit printer diver onto the WHS server.

    http://adrianba.net/archive/2009/05/07/legacy-pri

    If anyone knows where that software can be gotten I'd love to know.

  11. I have setup Windows Home Server and run all of the updates, but my computer continually shuts down and restarts. It is not a machine issue that I verified. It is something within Windows Home Server causing it. Can you give me some guidance.

    • Kal

      What add-ins are you running? Its possible that one of them is causing the problem.

      How fo you know it is not a machine issue?

      With the limited information you have given my guess would be an add-in causing the problem.

      Andrew

    • John

      Power Pack 3 is now available so you should be looking to go to this.

      Are you trying to upgrade your WHS via Automatic Updates on your WHS or via the Console? That is the best way to do it.

      Andrew

  12. So far so good. I really like the remote desktop and the remote console. This allows you to set the server anyplace without the need for a key board or monitor. Installation of the software was a breeze with two exceptions. I talk about those below. There are a few applications that I installed that adds to the beauty of this operations system. My Movies for Windows Home Server makes managing your home movies very easy and fun. I also, at the recommendation of the Microsoft webpage, downloaded and installed virus protection designed for Home Server.

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