Windows

Real World: Using Windows Home Server


I recently purchased a copy of Windows Home Server in order to take advantage of the functionality. I loaded Windows Home Server on a spare laptop as opposed to a server in my home office to be more "GREEN". I simply added a couple of USB drives to accommodate for backups and space. The laptop is a several year old Averatec with 1 GB of RAM. My main objectives for this server are the following:

  • Automate Backups of all my computers
  • Access files from anywhere in my home
  • Stream Music and Videos to any computer or device in my home
  • Add space as needed

I will be writing a lot on Windows Home Server over the next few weeks. Let me know what you think and if you are using it as well. Remember, you do not have to buy a server to run Windows Home Server (WHS). If you have old hardware that meets the minimum requirements, give it a try.

You can also download a trial copy for 120 days. What have you got to lose?

Let's move on.

After I loaded Windows Home Server, I installed the Windows Home Server Connector software that allows each machine on my network to talk to the Windows Home Server.  A Windows Home Server icon is placed in my system tray (Figure A.) similar to Windows OneCare.

Figure A.

After loading the connection software and rebooting, the first error message I received was that Windows Home Server did not recognized my account (Figure B). The account on my personal computer was called Office but I had no account in Windows Home Server. I created an account in Windows Home Server (Figure C.) and the following error went away.

Figure B.
Figure C.

The next error I received was that my passwords didn't match on Windows Home Server and my Desktop computer (Figure D).

 

Figure D.

If I wanted to have seamless connections to my Windows Home Server, it would be best to create the same password on my desktop that I created on my Windows Home Server.  A wizard walked me through the process (Figure E, F, and G).

Figure E.
Figure F.
Figure G.

At this point, I kicked off my first backup. It worked flawlessly. I look forward to unlocking the secrets of Windows Home Server and sharing them with my Techrepublic family (Figure H).

Figure H.
10 comments
quietcoolone
quietcoolone

Can i install and run small business office applications such as UPS shipping software, Peachtree accounting (multi-user), inventory or any application where the data files are stored in a central location and the program on the clients. Thank you

ACSt
ACSt

i need some help, I was using the trial software of home server and it expired. I bought the Full version and now i can not add my drives (with all my data) unless i format them. When i connect the drives to my Vista machine i can not access any of the data. Is there a way to access this data without losing the info? thanks

DMobley232
DMobley232

I have WHS up and running and I like so far. I just tested my remote connectivity and everything works like a charm. The only problem I have run across is that I tried adding an external HD and it is not able to format and add it. I think the problem is that the drive is an sata drive and I have it in an enclosure that allows me to hook up USB. Anyone else had the same issue?

timo
timo

This software has some great uses for the casual home user and the IT person. I have one at home and have 8 computers connected, the install is easy except 64 bit OS is not supported until a new update supposedly sometime this month. The backup program works easier than any I have tried before. The system health alerts are a nice feature since they appear on any of the computers so things are noticed early. I had to recently completely restore a pc with 427 gigs of data, I put in the boot disk and with 4 clicks, 5 minutes and 90 minutes of processing time I had a totally restored computer. I was reading on a blog from the WHS development team that they are using these servers within a standard server domain for easy backups of client pc's and one person had even restored the server from a backup, but they don't recommend it. Among the fun side is the ease of setting up your own web access to your media and using webguide plugin you can even stream your media to different devices at whatever bandwidth available, even pocket pc's. Hope to see if you have as much fun and ease of use that I have had this last month.

Philip Churchill
Philip Churchill

Great article Steve, and glad to hear that you are going to be writing a lot on Windows Home Server over the weeks. Just one thing though. The evaluation of WHS is not available for download from Microsoft, but for a reasonable price that covers shipping it will be mailed out instead.

dion2herrera
dion2herrera

Can you run wHS as second operating system in one laptop runing Windows XP Pro? (dual Boot)

Tech Warrior
Tech Warrior

I will have to try that, right now I am testing 2008 server on my home server but I do ned to learn about that too. As far as automating backup I have an awesome program by cyberscrub that works wonders for me and literally does it automtically, into self extracting zips even. I have it for download on the company blog. www.techwarrior.biz Thanks for the good word I look forward to hearing more about home server

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm planning a server for home here but one requirnment is that the wife's Apple be aware of it (easy with Samba/CIFS) and ther her iTunes be able to see all her music without taking up space on her laptop.

mdphoenix
mdphoenix

Great article. I've ordered my eval copy and will be putting it through it's paces when it arrives. Of course, if it's something I find that I'll extensively utilize, I'll remove 2k3 R2 from my current server and put WHS on it. Here's hoping for the next great thing!

Steven Warren
Steven Warren

You could but the whole purpose of Windows Home Server is to be able to have automated backups, and a file server of sort. Every time you boot back to XP, you break all of your connections.

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