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Posts tagged ‘Windows Home Server’

Die cast

Had a PCI SATA card on the Windows Home Server die recently. It did something unspeakable to the installation, so much so that the time cost to up and running is lower if I do a re-installation. I know that I haven’t lost any data, so it’s just a matter of getting the platform up and running.

So I’m going Windows Server 2012 Essentials. The Release Candidate. I am confident in my backup methodology, and I have a shelved set of rotating backups. It does mean a change to domain accounts, but that’s OK, as for some reason I’ve made sure that all my clients are running Win7Pro as a minimum.

It will be interesting to see the difference in performance between Drive Extender and Storage Spaces.

More to come.

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Help! Hard Drive Survey

I now have three PC’s in the house: The HP TX2z, the Windows Home Server, and the Home Theatre PC.

I have lots of hard drives (the WHS is 7.5TB at the moment), but for the purposes of boot drives, I have the following three to choose from:

Here’s the question:  Which drive goes where?  How do I maximise my bang for buck?

My current theory is to stick the 128GB SSD in the laptop (blend of speed and size), the Intel in the HTPC (raw speed, and there is another disk and a server there for TV recording duties), and the Raptor in the Home Server (by process of elimination).

Have I got it all wrong?

The Windows Home Server: What’s inside?

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.

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Network cards annoy me

Bought myself a nice new DLink Gigabit switch (look – it’s Green!) last week to act as the heart of the network between the docking station, the home server and the HTPC. The docking station and the HTPC connected with the switch nicely, reporting 1 Gpbs. The server? Unfriendly.

I reconnected the cable to the router, to find that I had a nice solid 100Mbit connection.  Yes – the motherboard has a gigabit NIC onboard – I really really checked all the documentation for the board.  Really.   I updated the nVidia driver pack.  No change.  I swapped out the cable for a new Cat6 – no change.

What is odd is that the switch is auto-sensing – it’s supposed to decide whether to connect at 10, 100 or 1,000 based on what it is connected to.  When I connect the machine to the router, 100Mbit and rock solid.  Connect to the switch, the machine attempts to connect, and drops, attempts to connect, and drops.  And no throughput at all.

Now – you’d think that if I connected a 100 Mbit NIC to a 10/100/1000 switch, it would connect at 100 Mbit.  But I get nothing at all.

Is there something that I’m missing?  I’m going crazy here!

This weekends HTPC and WHS maintenance

Things to do this weekend:

  • Play with the kids
  • Help out around the house
  • Update the Windows Home Server:  I installed an evaluation version just under 120 days ago, so it’s time to update.  So that I don’t go through this work for nothing, I’m using it as a test of the migration strategy I’ve been planning for the commercial installation of WHS that I’m planning for a pro-bono client this year.  Wait for advice on timing of WHS vNext.  Nothing to report at this stage.
  • Continuing to test the Home Theatre PC for Windows7 video issues.

Automate WHS backup to external HDD?

While you’re on the Microsoft Connect website adding your vote and thoughts on MSE’s relationship to WHS, have a look at the other suggestions as well.  I’ve just voted in support of functionality to automate backup of WHS to an external HDD (link requires Windows Live profile to log in).  At the moment, a backup of the content of your WHS is only possible (excluding those that have a subscription to an online backup to the cloud) by:

  1. Connecting an external drive to your WHS;
  2. Opening the WHS console (and configuring the external drive as an external archive, if this is the first time);
  3. Hitting the backup now button.

I suspect that any solution is going to require the pressing of at least one button somewhere, otherwise your WHS won’t know whether you’re intending on running a backup or doing a restore.  In any event, it would be nice if execution could be handled by the pop-up on the client – after all, the comms are already there to send messages to connected clients.

How would you like to see external backups work?

Update on MSE and WHS request

About a month ago, I posted questions about the strategy for MSE, particularly in relation to the home market, and specifically in relation to Windows Home Server.  In that time, the suggestion on Microsoft Connect has been voted up with 50 people marking it as important.  Thanks to all those that have added their support and comments.

Have you added your vote?