My Windows Home Server machine began it’s life in 2005 as my primary workstation – the one that I used to play games, did work, edited photos’ and video and so on. As life changed and my time-frame for using my computer moved later and later in the day, I found myself looking for a laptop to act as the primary, and a plan to rebuild the workstation as a server. So that’s what I did!
The first decision was platform. After playing with Ubuntu, Amahi, Windows Home Server, the choice was clear for me. The WHS option integrated seamlessly with both Vista and Windows 7, automating backups and connectivity and the all important permissions stuff that is often so incomprehensible. This is the specification for the Windows Home Server machine that I presented at the Sydney Windows User Group late last year.
- CPU: AMD 3200+
- RAM: 2GB of Rams
- HDD: 2 x 400GB 7200rpm drives, 2 x 1.5TB 5400rpm
- NIC: Intel 1000Mbit network card (with Jumbo frame support)
- Case: CoolerMaster Stacker 810 (with many fans)
- Operating System: Windows Home Server (based on Windows Server 2003)
- Utilities: Anti-Virus software, Wizmo from GRC.com
- Applications: DVD Fab Platinum – as much as my preferred approach is to avoid installing software on the server, having DVD Fab installed on the server makes the ripping of the DVD collection, and down-saving so much easier.
- Lights-Out (0.8.2)
- Server Disk Management (126.96.36.199)
- My Movies (188.8.131.52)
- Add-In Central 184.108.40.206)
The next update will need to include some photo’s: When my Home Server made the trip with me to the Sydney Windows User Group meeting last year, It resulted in a massive clean up, getting rid of the dust and schmutz that collects at the bottom of computer cases, cleaning the fans, tidying cabling, and labelling all the disks so that I know which is which in case there is a need to remove something. Clearly I had nothing better to do with my time!
Today I learned that a colleague as work is due to collect his new WHS machine this week. He’s had a dedicated machine built, which will start out with 3TB of disk – it will be great to compare notes.
The to – do list
As much as a Windows Home Server is a set and forget thing, there is always a list of new things that I’d like to add, so that I can answer the following questions:
- Is ClamAV less annoying than Comodo? (Comodo has an annoying habit of insisting on restarts for a virus definition update. On a server? Hello?)
- What do I need to install and automate so that I can record Lateline Business on ABC, and then convert it and push it to the smartphone so that I can watch it on public transport the following morning?
- Is there a perfect way to store movies and television series? Can I tie this in with Windows Media Center in a way that doesn’t annoy me? I’m really lamenting some of the changes to Windows Media Center in Windows 7.
- Should I run the file server as the DHCP server as well? Does that make sense? (Just doing it cause I can doesn’t seem like a compelling argument!
- Is Vail going to ruin my day? 🙂
At the end of the day, it’s a nice appliance, and I don’t really have to do anything to maintain it and make it work as it ought to. And that means that I’m in part doing the things above because I can.
Would you like more details or photo’s? Would that be useful?