TechBuilding another Windows Home Server on a Friday night...

Building another Windows Home Server on a Friday night – PART THREE

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This article is the third of a three part series of my building and setting up a Windows Home Server for a remote location. The parents bought a vacation home and I am going to build a WHS to run and watch the house while they are not using it. The WHS will control the lights, sprinklers (ran out of time), and camera in addition to the regular duties of a Windows Home Server.

WHS in Reno on Staples PC stand!

Background again…and again…

This WHS will be my fourth WHS system that I monitor and my second WHS home build. I am choosing to build because I had previously bought an OEM WHS from Newegg that should have been used for another installation. Since I already have the software, I bought an Inspiron 530 from the Dell Outlet and will use that for the WHS.

Equipment Needed

Ok, so I just got to Reno and am ready to do the install. Actually, when I got here I unloaded the truck and then proceeded to go to the Nugget and get my drink on. I also won enough to pay for the server. Sweet.

It is now the next morning and now I am ready to do the install. Burp. I don’t remember eating fish.

Lets set this pig on fire!

What A Mess

So I have unloaded everything and up in the “office” I am starting on the installation. My first job is to install the WRT54G Linksys Router and get wireless working in the house.

Computer crap on floor

Five minutes and the network installation is complete. Sweet. This might be easier than I thought.

Now that the network is set up I will connect the WHS to the router and start up the WHS. Once the server is running I click on the Start Menu and then click on the Windows Home Server Console. Pretty WHS Console with NOTHING in it. I miss MY server already.

WHS Console

I click on Settings and then choose Remote Access. I turn on the Web Site Connectivity and the router is NOT configured. Even if you were to click on it it would not work. I wonder why…

WHS Settings

…cause WHS does not load the Ethernet Controller! I mentioned this in the previous articles. Make sure you have your drivers ready to enable your network connection! Chances are that WHS will NOT get your network card running so again have the drivers ready.

Mental note: You should have drivers for XP and/or an installer package for XP systems. When I ran the “standard” installer package for my Ethernet Controller I got an error that the install would terminate since the OS was not supported. I had to revert to an old XP installer. Flippers.

Device Manager on WHS

I had my Ethernet drivers ready and even loaded my audio drivers. I copied the drivers from a USB drive to a folder on the C: drive and then updated them through the Device Manager. I did the audio drivers from the Dell installation package and it worked without any issues.

You can update your drivers manually. See your PC documentation for more information.

Device Manager on WHS

My Drivers (and me) are Loaded

Now that I have the Ethernet working I opened another beer and now I will go back to my WHS Console and click on Remote Access. I then click on Router Setup.

WHS Settings

It tells me that it will contact my Router. Coolio. My Linksys Router is UPnP compatible so I am good to go.

Router Configuration

The WHS does what it is supposed to do with a UPnP router. I have not set up the website yet so it gives warnings on that. I will not walk you through the domain activation in this article. Next!

Router Configuration Details

I set up the Domain name (purposely omitted those screen shots) and now everything via Remote Access is now working! Viva WHS. Seriously.

WHS Settings

I am about 30 minutes and two beers into the install. Flippin’ network drivers caused the delay.

Now that I have network access and the WHS is on the network I will start to add User accounts. I have my travel laptop with me and will add that one first. After that I will add the names of other family members so they can access the system online.

WHS Console

I have now added the account and will set up my laptop to see THIS network. It had already been configured to see MY network at home. One of the members who posted earlier told me I could use the Discovery.exe to find the new WHS. Lets roll!

Double click baby.

Laptop WHS Folder

Great so far…

WHS Connector Screen

Another familiar screen…

WHS Connector Screen

Looking good Randolph…

WHS Connector Screen

Feeling good Mortimer…

WHS Connector Screen

Crap. Pork bellies crashed…

WHS Connector Screen

But it is not complete. WTF? This laptop was on a newer WHS Power Pack.

Finish this WHS!

WHS Connector Screen

Oh great, error messages I have never seen! Flippers again. I am the Administrator you flipper.

WHS Connector Screen Error

Ok, so this is not working. So much for cornering the orange juice market.

Another Error

Mental note: From what I can tell the Discovery.exe did not work since the WHS install was on PP1 and my laptop was connected with a newer connector version. After the upgrade below I reran the Discovery.exe but got the same message. I actually had to uninstall the WHS Connector software, restart the laptop and do a fresh installation. I had even tried downloading directly from the server and got the same error. I would suggest when installing a new WHS that you let it upgrade Power Packs and all other updates before you try and connect another PC.

 

Windows Updates

I am kinda pissed about the connector so let me check on the WHS. Oh, it needs updates. I knew it would need to upgrade Power Packs. You go baby. I love a good upgrade.

Of course I accept your terms Microsoft. It should just say “Yes Dear” on the button.

Update WHS Screen

67 Updates? I thought when we met you were not going to change.

This is going to take a while. Time for another bevy.

Update WHS Screen

and a while longer…are you moving in already?

Update WHS Screen

…and a while longer (insert another beer here)…how much crap you got?

Update WHS Screen

Internet Explorer 8? Uh, NO. That was not part of the deal. You are not bringing that crap in here.

I click on Don’t Install. I don’t care what your best friend thinks. We will leave the existing browser in place.

I have read that the Advanced Admin Console May 2009 release now works with IE8 but I am not taking any chances since this is truly a remote install.

Goodbye IE8. Via con dios. Later skater. I want to break up. Of course I love you but I am not “in love” with you. Won’t let go of the past? Get out and take your crap with you.

Update IE8 Screen

Yes, thank you for the confirmation. Lets Restart over again. Like I have not heard that before.

Update WHS Screen

After the restart, and now that the network connection is stable, I will activate Windows. Thank you Microsoft.

Register Windows Screen

Add-In Installation

Now that I have WHS up and running and updated I will install my Standard Six Add-Ins. I have then downloaded already onto a USB drive so I will just copy them directly into the WHS folder. I have written articles on each one of these so check them out!

WHS Desktop

I open the WHS Console and click on Settings. No installed Add-Ins yet. Kinda sad it is so empty. Maybe I need to go to IKEA.

WHS Settings

I click on Available. There you are my friends. After a break up it is always good to have friends over!

Add-Ins

Each time you install and Add-In the WHS Console restarts. I am going to need another beer for this. You can see the list on the left has grown with new Add-Ins. After a break up it is always a good time to rebuild and take stock.

WHS Settings

All of the Add-Ins work as promised. Even the Grid Junction Add-In recognized the UPS I brought up here immediately after installation. Thank you Alexander. Power to the people.

Thank you to all of the Add-In creators actually!

Grid Junction Add-In

Another Update?

I thought I was done with the updates. Apparently WHS drunk dialed and made another Microsoft connection. WHS want to run another update? Ah, Internet Explorer 7. The Ex. Time for a little retro-action. She wasn’t that bad. Not like that new one where we had some serious conflicts and took up a lot of my resources. Why did things not work out with 7? It is only a one time thing. She will not be around long…

WHS IE7 Update

Final Windows Home Server Check

Now that everything is updated it is time to check the WHS Console.

WHS Console

Everything looks good but I will check to make sure there are no more updates before I start with the next step. No Updates Available! Sweet, I have closure.

No Updates Finally

Installing mControl

WHS is ready and waiting. I have downloaded the mControl Add-In and it is ready to be installed.

mControl Add-In

I have created two rooms, for now, and will add a couple of modules for lights. I have written a series of articles on mControl so check them out for the detailed directions.

After the Zones have been created, devices connected and macros written, I am done.

mControl Add-In in WHS Console

You can barely notice the Insteon controllers once they are connected!

Insteon module down there at the plug.

mControl and a Home Monitoring Camera

I want to be able to see the Living Room via video camera. This not part of their alarm system. It is so my parents can see the living room and make sure things are good. I will eventually add one upstairs and one outside but at $100 a pop I will be doing it slowly.

I insert the CD into my laptop (not the server) to start the installation. I also insert another beer into my mouth.

Don’t ask where the Step One screen shots went. I have no idea and I am not running the set up again for a few shots. Did someone say shots? Viva tequila.

Step Two and the remaining screens are really easy to complete. You basically just click on Next on each screen!

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

Give your camera a name. I want to name it Spot but giggle a little knowing how dumb that is.

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

This is the step where you set up the IP address manually. Had I only known…

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

Create a password…

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

I let it find the Wireless Network. It was connected earlier via Ethernet cable and told me to disconnect it. Apparently I do remember parts of Step One. It is coming back as a grey haze…well more like 256…

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

It found the Network. Make sure you know your security type and password.

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

Enter the information to connect to your network.

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

Step Three is now complete and shows a confirmation box. Nice.

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

Click on Save and you have now completed the camera installation.

Linksys Camera Setup Screen

Smile and try not to trip on that power cord dangling down the front of the cabinet.

Linksys Camera on cabinet looking at you.

I created a new zone for the camera location called the Kitchen. Once I created the Zone I clicked on New Device.

mControl Add-In in WHS Console

I completed the New Device entries and used the default 192.168.1.104. It worked but would only last a day. Little did I know…

New Device data for camera

Once I got home (the next day) I could not see the camera. When I went to make sure it was on the network I could no longer see the IP address .104. My sister was going over to pick up the food we left for her so I had her unplug the camera and this renewed the IP. As soon as she plugged it back in the camera showed back up.

Crap. Am I gonna make her go over once a day? She will kick my ass.

I used the Advanced Admin Console to open the browser. Once in a browser I opened the Linksys Router control. I then told the router to hold another IP for the camera. I then entered the existing IP of the camera to get to the camera controls. Once there I changed the IP of the camera to the new IP I had assigned.

Mental note: Make SURE you extend the lease time on your network for the camera IP. If you do not extend it, or give it a permanent IP, it will time out and not be on your network.

If you let the IP stay with the number within the DHCP IP range the lease will probably expire. Some new N routers allow you to set the IP. If not, try an number outside of the DHCP range and use the advanced settings to set the IP.

I did all this remotely after I got back (hence the delay of the article) so I want to make sure you learn from my mistakes. The screen now looks like this:

Corrected IP address for camera

Once the IP was updated the mControl camera system was ready to go!

mControl Add-In in WHS Console

While I was up there I even had a few minutes to connect the HP Media extender to the new TV. Looks like I am heading to Ikea for a TV stand before my next trip to Reno! Well, if you are drunk on the floor the TV is actually at the right level.

TV on floor with lots of HDMI cables

I will be back next week (just a few days due to this late posting) with a fourth article to talk about the final product and lessons learned.

Viva WHS. Seriously.

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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Great series of articles Timothy (or can we call you Tim?)

    You're covering all the stuff I'll be getting to once I have my WHS up and running so your articles are a great resource for my future projects.

    What's the background to your issue with IE8?

  2. HI Timothy.. or can we call you Tim 🙂

    I forgot about the connector on the new WHS being older then the one on your laptop. But hey it tried to work. And if we both weren't such bone heads it would have worked. Next time we'll know to make sure WHS is up to date before we try to install Connector software. Plus is your home WHS running PP3? If that is the case then Discovery.EXE would have never worked. Opps… pesky little details. Trust me though Discovery does work because I do it all the time with my laptop going from home to the office. Yes I have two WHS because… Viva WHS. Seriously 🙂

    fasthair

  3. When IE8 became part of the WHS update the Advanced Admin Console (AAC) had a conflict. I have heard it was fixed but then read a few posts that it still had some issues. Since I RELY on AAC for internet remote access I cannot take the chance on a conflict.

    Tim or Timothy

  4. The small bag has a bunch of hardware crap. Mostly cables, driver disks, extra drives and the occasional beverage…

  5. Hi imothy, nice writeups. What hardware do you use for controlling the lights ect ?

    Also I have a problem where on 2 laptops when I execute Connector setup.ex nothing happens … well an hourglass for 2 seconds and then that's it. Any ideas, seen this before ? (XP x86 SP3)

  6. John,

    I use Insteon modules for all controls through mControl. Smarthome.com carries them but you can also find modules through other vendors.

    I just wrote an article on WHS Connector issues so click on my name above and see the newest article!

    Tim

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