How To's & GuidesHow to Setup and Configure Windows Home Server

How to Setup and Configure Windows Home Server


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Continuing our series of “How To….” guides, this one is all about how to setup and configure Windows Home Server for the first time.

This guide assumes that you have either already installed the WHS software (if it is a self build WHS) or you have performed whatever initial steps are required for your purchased WHS, such as the initial client software installation with either the HP MediaSmart Servers or the Acer Aspire easyStore E340.

During this initial set-up and configuration, you have to set up a password for the administrator account and you get to name your Windows Home Server.

When you see the Windows Home Server – Welcome screen, click on the arrow.

WHS Setup 1

The set-up process will now begin to configure your Windows Home Server.

WHS Setup 2 WHS Setup 3

You will now be asked to enter a name for your Windows Home Server. Different WHS manufacturers have have entered something already – for example HPSERVER or ASPIREHOME. It is a good idea to name your WHS with something useful and memorable to you. It can be a maximum of 15 characters and can contain numbers.

Enter a name and click on the right arrow to continue.

name your home server

The next screen is the Type a Password for Windows Home Server page. You will use the password that you enter here when you access the Windows Home Server and when you need to log into the Windows Home Server computer itself, although you will need to do that only very rarely. Enter the password you want to use, and then enter it again to confirm it. You can also enter a password
hint, which you can request to see if you forget the password. Just remember not to make the password hint too obvious as anyone accessing your WHS can ask for the hint!

Also, be careful not to forget this password. If you do forget it, you will have to completely reinstall Windows Home Server again!

When you have entered these items, click the right arrow to continue.

type in a password

The Help Protect Windows Home Server Automatically screen, gives you the option to select On or Off. The recommended setting is On, which will configure Windows Update and keep Windows Home Server up to date with all relevant security patches and fixes, make your Internet browsing safer, and report any problems. If you choose the Off setting, you will need to manually update Windows Home Server with any relevant security patches and fixes—otherwise, your Windows
Home Server will be susceptible to security vulnerabilities and other potential problems that could impact its smooth operation.

Make your selection by clicking the relevant radio button and then click the right arrow to continue.

help protect WHS

On the Customer Experience Improvement Program screen, click either the Yes or No radio button to specify whether you want to participate, and then click the right arrow to continue.

customer improvement

The Windows Error Reporting screen, asks you to choose whether you want to enable automatic Windows Error Reporting. Make your selection by clicking the relevant radio button and then click the right arrow to continue.

windows error reporting

The next screen just advises you that the setup process will connect to the Internet and download any relevant important updates. All you have to do is click the right arrow to continue. It is interesting to note here though as of the time of writing this guide, WHS Power Pack 2 is not considered to be a relevant important update and so you will have to download this later.

WHS update

You will now have to sit back and wait while the updates are downloaded and applied. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the amount of updates, this might take some time.

Don’t worry though, you can sit there and watch the status bar moving if that is your thing 🙂

WHS update 2 WHS update 4 WHS update 5 WHS update 6

The last screen you will see is one advising you that the Windows Home Server will now been rebooted in order to complete the installation and configuration.

WHS update 7

And finally, once your Windows Home Server has rebooted, you will be presented with the ready to use screen.

Just click on the arrow to start up the Windows Home Server Console.

WHS ready

So, you can see how easy it is to setup and configure your Windows Home Server for the first time. The longest part of the whole process is the downloading and installation of any relevant updates – so be patient.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
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.


  1. hi !!

    I am running a 120-day trial but i am having a little problem description as follows.

    The windows home server console

    when trying to write password and password hint

    the ok-button does

  2. Ok, so I am just setting up my HP Media Smart Server, and it has reached the updates section.

    It has been at "18%" for the last 2.5 hours approximately.

    Is this normal? Should I shut it off and restart?


    • Marc – if this is the very first time you are setting up your server then it can take a long time, especially now that there are lot of updates (and lots more to do when the setup is complete).

      Also, the speed of your internet connection can have an impact.

      Last time I rebuilt by HP MSS I think it took about 4 hours or so.

      It will suddenly jump ahead when you least expect it.


      • Funny you should say that….literally about 1 – 2 minutes after I made that post…after waiting about 2.5 hours, what did it do? Ofcourse it jumped to 35% and finished shortly thereafter.

        Go figure, making a fool out of me.

        Another question I had, I noticed on the technet blog, they have a post about powerpack 3 for WHS where they talk about WHS able to create an image for Windows 7 machines.

        I have been running Windows 7 beta for many months now, and I thought it had been backing up to my WHS. Does this post mean that all WHS without powerpack beta 3 are not backing up Windows 7 machines? Or am I missing something here?

        Thanks much.

        • Dont worry, the first time I restarted and swore at it!

          As for PP3, the blog post isbadly written. The only Win 7 stuff is the inclusion of Win 7 libraries and the removal of the Action Center nag about no backup solution.

          Your Win 7 machines are backing up fine 🙂


  3. a big computer geek..but never set up a server.i do a lot of work for school or when i fix computers and i need to back up a lot of my data.will this set it up..(i built my computer to be my server)and my local computers run win 7 full edition.that has not been released friend is a developer..

  4. I installed the WHS tonite on an old Dell with 1 80 gb and 2 160 gb drives. I finished through this step shutdown then had to move computer to connect to router (it is now headless). I turned it on and it got an IP from the DHCP on the router. I then tried to connect using http:/ and I get a service unavailable. I am guessing I have not finished the setup far enuf yet.

    how is the connector s/w installed on my vista clients?

    i also tried to go to to browse to the software directory – again no luck.

    i supose I will continue reading. thanx

  5. Don – when you were installing the WHS, did you get through all the steps shown above and then throught the wizard that asks you to create an administrator password, etc, etc?

    If the answer is no, then you didnt complete the setup.

    As for the software install, either install it from CD if you had one or browse to WHSnamesoftware once the installation is complete.

    Can you see the WHS on your network? Can you ping it by name?

    If you need any more help, can I suggest you post a question in our new forums as that is the best place now to ask questions 🙂


  6. I have re-installed win7 beta on my laptop and now have the issue whereby the home server console installation prevents me from progessing past the enter server password stage. Before, it was connecting ok and win7 was part of my server backups list – now it isnt!!

    I have tried the following steps:-

    – removed all references to windows home server off my win7 ultimate beta system

    – removed/re-installed the console software various times, both from cd and msi file generated off the server

    – removed my win7 user account from the home server user list

    – rebooted at the password entry stage and successfully conected via the consoile to the server. However, I staill cant add the win7 pc to the backup list!

    So, short of re-building ALL my systems, server incvluded, what else can I do? Is it a problem between a 32bit server and a 64bit console connection, maybe?



  7. Neil

    can you give me a litle more information?

    what version of WHS? pp1/2/3?

    what version of Win 7?

    what exactly is happening / displayed when you enter the password? Do you know what is stopping you?

    i am running Win 7 64 bit and dont have any problems.

    Have you used all 10 licences? if you are installing a different version or build of Win 7 this will be treated as a new machine and new licence by WHS.


  8. I'm a little confused about passwords.

    I entered a complex one (upper/lower/numbers) when prompted and didn't use the same one as my normal PC since I expected to use the complex password access only rarely (according to the docs).

    When I click on the icon in the notification corner, it prompts me for the password and expects the complex one.

    Occasionally (and it's doing it now) it tells me that the WHS and computer passwords are different and that they should be the same. Then it offers to change one or the other, and when I take it up on the offer it tells me that one or the other password is incorrect.

    And then I can't access the shares or my user account (for a while only, I think, because the last time it happened it began to work again).

    So, what's the deal with passwords?

    Do I need a complex one for administration (I think yes)?

    How does WHS know when I'm trying to administrate if I do (no user name as far as I can tell)?

    Do I need a complex password on my computer so I can log in remotely (as me, not administrator)?

    Is this different from the admin password?

    Why or how or when do I make my main machine password the same as the WHS password?

    Pulling what's left of my hair out and reluctant to commit too many files to the WHS in case I lose access altogether.

    • Charlie

      I think you are getting confused about accounts and passwords. Let me try and explain…

      The Windows Home Server itself has an ADMINISTRATOR account which requires a password. This is seperate and has nothing to do with your user account or any computer account passwords you have.

      This account is used to connect to the WHS via either Remote Desktop or via the Windows Home Server connector software console. When you run the console it asks you for a password it is this ADMIN account password you created during the WHS configuration.

      Right, now you have an account and password for your computer that you use. You need to create a user account IN the WHS console to matches the username and password of the account you use on that computer.

      Regarding the mismatched passwords, hopefully now you have read the above you understand that your issue is because you havent created a user account on the WHS that matches your computer user account and the WHS Admin password has nothing to do with it.

      So, that also answers the question about how the WHS knows you are trying to do administration because you can only access the WHS Console using the Admin account, so it only ever asks for that password.

      If you want to use remote access, then yes, you will need to use a complex password, but when you create the user account on the WHS via the console you need to enable remote acccess and it will tell you if the password isnt good enough.

      So, hopefully now as well you will see that you machine password doesnt need to be the same as your WHS password, but that you seem to have missed the step of creating a user account on the WHS.


  9. Just a quick follow up to my previous post. I'm asking all these password related questions because I'm not sure if I set things up the right way the first time. I came to this page looking for restore info thinking that I'll have to start from scratch again but, of course, I'll need to know how to handle the password thing.

  10. Got it! Thanks Andrew.

    I do have a user account set up with a different password (and a strong one, apparently), but I get an "access denied" message sometimes along with the "match up the passwords" message. This one comes up once in a while, seemingly at random, for an hour or so then goes away and all is well. I think this is partly what had me confused.

    I haven't figured out why or when this happens (seems mostly random, as I mentioned above) but if I see a pattern and can't puzzle through it, I may post again in a more appropriate spot.

    Thanks again.

    • Ok, this is because WHS thinks that account "a" (your computer account) has a password of X and the account you logged in with on the computer has a password of Y. What happens is that after a certain amount of connection attempts the account will become locked.

      To avoid this just set the WHS user account password for that computer and the password on the computer itself to be the same and it will solve the problem.


  11. Andrew,

    Great website and very informative.

    I am looking to build my own WHS and was wondering about the drive configuration. I have seen on other sites that what appears they installed WHS on a single drive and had a RAID configuration as another drive. I was thinking of installing it on a RAID so that it's one be happy family. From what I gather on your site is the drive you install it on is the shared storage drive.

    Is it wise to install it on the RAID? or should I install it on a single drive and configure the RAID for shared storage? Can you even do that?

    Which brings me to my next question, why did you install it on such a small drive? I hope it was just for this sample installations. ;o)



    • Hi Jeff

      Thanks for the comments 🙂

      WHS doesnt support RAID at all, so to be honest, steer clear of RAID!

      You install WHS on the first drive, which a portion is used as the system drive, and the rest becomes part of the storage pool. Any additional drives, of any type or size are then added to the storage pool and used. If you have enabled folder duplication then your data is duplicated over multiple drives in the pool.

      For a lot more detailed explanation of how this all works, go to and do a search for the Drive Extender Technical Brief – its rather informative.


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