MicrosoftWindows Home Server10 things I learned about Windows Home Server the...

10 things I learned about Windows Home Server the hard way (on a Friday night)

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  1. If you really want to learn about Windows Home Server build your own
  2. It was about the same cost to build my own WHS as it would have been to just buy one (but not anywhere as fun)
  3. Advanced Admin Console should be your first Add-In
  4. Disk Management should be your second Add-In
  5. Gigabit, gigabit, gigabit
  6. Get a Router with UPnP
  7. Get the RSS feeds from the five blogs listed at Microsoft WHS (at least these five)
  8. You cannot use Restore to a change to a different size hard drive
  9. Backup WHS regularly
  10. Backup WHS regularly, again

Blogs listed at:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/community.mspx

See you next Friday night

Timothy Daleo

Timothy Daleohttp://usingwindowshomeserver.com
Timothy Daleo is a Project Resource Analyst and Oracle Applications Trainer in Pasadena, California. In addition to financial analysis, Tim has been developing training materials since 2003 and supporting direct projects through various auxiliary databases since 2005.

21 COMMENTS

  1. I've done a restore to a different size hard disk. I've done it twice now to upgrade those PCs to bigger disks.

    I did have a problem booting initially, but a quick repair of windows fixed that.

  2. What was your solution for the boot issue? After what seemed to be an easy Restore I got into the boot loop where it keeps trying to get you to boot in Safe Mode. Frustrated, I ran the repair from the XP SP2 disk that I had. Although it did complete in only 10 minutes, the download and install of SP 3 and the 3.5 Framework after the fresh boot was the issue. This total update process actually took about 30 minutes longer than if I had just used Windows backup first, put the new disk in, loaded XP and restored from the Windows backup. I have a working, larger and updated drive now but the time after the "boot loop" to updated Windows was over two hours after all of the updates. In fact, the whole process was about two and a half hours.

    I am very much Interested in your comments.

    Timothy Daleo

  3. I've also used WHS to install a larger hard drive on a laptop. It was painfully slow but it worked without a hitch. I did this about 6 months ago or so.

  4. I have even gone to a smaller diak on restore but do make sure the total data will fit on the new drive and it helps to have done a disk defrag on the old drive to compact things.

    But yes, I have done the bigger disk restore maybe 3 times, no problems.

  5. I think you forgot to mention to purchase a UPS just for your WHS. One that protects against brown-outs and such. It was something I learned the hard way.. only my desktop died and my WHS was unaffected cause it uses the Atom processor.

  6. I just tried to list the "hard" knock lessons I had learned. Some Add-Ins such as Alex's Remote Notification, WHS DB Backup and Grid Junction were easy and straight forward.

    I am very interested in how each of you got around the boot issues once the Restore finished. Everything was looking great until the final Restart. Again, I attribute my success to the XP repair disk and not WHS, hence the Number Eight entry.

    Timothy Daleo

    • I ran into a problem tying to upgrade a hard disk on a computer that was factory images with a restore partition. The restore partition was actually drive 0 and the OS partition was drive 1. When I tried to transfer just the OS partition, it wouldn't boot correctly until I edited the boot configuration file.

  7. I built my own server last year, and while I love it dearly, I just replaced it with an HP EX485, recently purchased at Fry's for $500, and I couldn't be happier.

    The reasons?

    1. The HP is tiny and quiet. My home-built server? Huge and loud. Granted, I used a SuperMicro case with 8 SATA hot-swappable drive bays that's generally found more often in the server room than the living room, but having built quiet computers in the past, I don't think I could beat the HP in that department price-wise (or style-wise!).

    2. The software. HP includes several pieces of extra software that don't come standard with the OEM version of Windows Home Server. The iTunes server and the Media Collector are the two that I use most. Perhaps this is all replaceable with free or commercial software, but I'm unaware of it. Backing up my MacBook Pro to the WHS machine is icing on the cake.

    3. Fit and finish. The HP is really great. Restoring from the system disks was a snap (I added a 1.5TB drive and made it the system disk before the first boot — it was a piece of cake). The machine was built for what it does, sits quietly on my bookshelf, and is the best piece of home equipment a Windows user could want.

    I'm usually the kind of guy to build all of my own desktop/server machines. But in this case, buying over building made more sense to me.

    • I would agree. I started out with using an old Pentium PC 512 Meg RAM and it worked great for backups and storing photos and even a blogger, but eventually a few hiccups on streaming media (.VOB files) over Windows media extenders and delay in adding all media prompted me to evaluate all available prebuilt hardware solutions.

      So while HP is great, I found it a bit short on future needs of the home server that I saw being well thought in Tranquil BBS2 Advanced server. (for shy of $500) e.g.

      Hot SWAP h/d drive bays (not sure if HP has them)

      Atom – 64 bit processor – in case Redmond decides 64bit WHS

      Low (guilt free) power consumption.

      Now that I have reliable hardware, I am using SAGE (for video) and Logitech Squeezebox (for Audio) happily all over the place.

      Buy over build has all the advantages

    • In regards to your completely free off-site backup, how are you achieving that? And what is the storage limit?

      Thanks.

    • @ Irvin – the WHS software is available in what is known as the system builder channel. Do a search on Google and you will find lots of places that sell it. For example, if you are in the US, Newegg sell it. Andrew.

  8. Revision to #8 Above:

    You CAN use Restore to change drives as long as you use Disk Manager during the process.

    My frustration was from installing a "used" drive the night I wrote that list. When the Restore completed the partition error made itselft evident when I tried to reboot. The drive I installed had multiple partitions and I did not catch it when it went through the Restore process. See my later article for more information.

  9. I'm curious if any of you guys have tried restoring to a new drive from an HP EX, but to an HP desktop. The reason I ask is that apparently the HP machines require a specific utility called HP DMI to mark the drive for installation.

    I have the utility and I have tried the restore of a 456GB image to a 1.5TB new drive without success. The restore says 18m initially then predicts 4hours +. I left it over night and it stated 1hr + remaining. Came back after 8 hours and the machine was seemingly restarted back at the restore boot initial screen.

    Any thoughts to a step or something I may be missing would be much appreciated. How long have you guys seen 450GB~ restores on a gigabit network take?

  10. Is there anyway to restore my whs backup of home computer to a completely different system? my old pc crashed and burned, I went from an intel system to a AMD system. Any help? Thanks

  11. I have just installed WHS on a Compaq ML370, 2 X 733 MHZ processors and 3GB of memory, i love it already!!! have a router that has UPandP but cannot access the website at home, got to work this morning and got straight in!! Will Backup Exec work to back everything to tape?

    • When you get home try and access the website using your home IP (probably 192.168.1.XXX) and see if it is a port or loop issue.

      Tim

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