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  1. #1
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    Basically just got the book, wondering how WHS works well with Windows 7? The book obviously only goes up to Vista, so which versions of 7 will it work with networking-wise and which won't? Thanks.
    "But Microsoft! What light through yonder Window breaks? It is the east and Java is the sun."

  2. #2
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    It works fine on my Win7 machine. You must have Power Pack 3 installed and the current agent installed on the Windows 7 machine. See Windows Home Server: Power Packs for more information.

    Joe
    Joe

  3. #3
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    While I'm at it, basically the WHS is supposed to be on the side without keyboard/mouse/monitor and use another PC to access it using the monitor software? Does that software have to be on all the PCs/laptops/etch-o-sketches that are connected via network? Could I use the server as a regular PC and keep the keyboard/mouse/monitor on it?
    "But Microsoft! What light through yonder Window breaks? It is the east and Java is the sun."

  4. #4
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    Any PC on your network that you wish to have WHS backup has to have the WHS Connector installed. The connector will give you a way to access and control the WHS machine. Any other machine can still access the shared drives on the WHS machine with the proper permissions.

    Joe
    Joe

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Thanks, but the original question really is could I set up WHS on a server and still use it as a regular PC, or do I necessarily need to have a PC connected to it to control it? I'll still have other PCs and laptops in the house backing up and other stuff, just wondering if I should go for a screaming fast server with huge HD space, or use a so-so PC for the server and connect a screaming fast PC to it? Why have two PCs?

    Another question if I may, Vista uses ReadyBoost, which allows USB drives to be used as RAM, does WHS have that feature?
    "But Microsoft! What light through yonder Window breaks? It is the east and Java is the sun."

  6. #6
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    In reverse order - WHS does NOT have Readyboost. WHS is based on Windows Server 2003 which came out way before Readyboost.

    You do not need a high powered server to run WHS. You may use almost any PC to host WHS. The CPU is not terribly important since WHS is primarily a file server. Just make sure it has at least 2GB RAM and plenty of disk space. If you use WHS as a media hub for your home you'll use disk space rapidly. When WHS is installed that becomes the operating system on the PC. You may attach a keyboard and monitor and use the PC as a PC. Be aware, that any applications you wish to install must be comptaible with Windows Server 2003. When you install applications beyond WHS you will need an increasingly powerful PC. Also, be sure to read about WHS, the drive extender technology and how it is different from what you are used to.

    Above all make sure you have a current backup of the WHS system before you start installing other PC applications.

    There are several very good WHS enthusiast sites. See Mediasmartserver.net and the blog roll on the bottom right of the home page for more sites.

    Joe
    Joe

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerard Schneyer View Post
    could I set up WHS on a server and still use it as a regular PC
    You can use the WHS server just like any other PC if you connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor (in fact there are times when you need to, see below).

    HOWEVER! you can not treat it like a normal windows PC and move files around at will. You need to make a distinction between the flies of the WHS own operating system and the shared files that are being served. All operations to the shared files MUST be done through the console software, if you start renaming directories or moving files between directories using the windows explorer of the WHS machine then you can break the system. If you are an expert and know how WHS works then you can manipulate files directly, but you have do more than just the change what you would do under Windows (XP to 7). The simplest thing for novice users and even experienced users is only use the Console software to maintain the shared files on the server.

    There are two bits of software that should be on each client, the Connector and the Console, these install as one but the connector is in use all the time on all the clients and the console is active on only one of them when needed. If you start up the console on a machine, any console that may already be currently running will shut down. I found it best to run the console on the WHS machine and only access the shared files on the clients via file sharing. To run the console software on the WHS machine you obviously need a keyboard, mouse and monitor. You could use a shared set on a switch but I found it easier to have them dedicated, they are cheap enough and are useful to use as spares in an emergency. I left the monitor switched off unless I needed to do something on the WHS mahine.

    M/S seem to have meant the WHS server computer to have been used without a monitor, keyoard or mouse, just a bare box. However the design of WHS has not properly allowed for this. You do not have full control through the console, only basic functions. If you get a BSOD or any number of other problems that do not happen in day to day running but every so often crop up unexpectedly you can not take corrective action through the console, you can not even diagnose what is wrong through the console. You have to have a monitor at least to see what is wrong, you have to have a keyboard to enter the password at reboot. You can set up the update system so that updates are downloaded and applied automatically (though that is not the Windows Secrets recommended setting) and with this mostly it will keep running but every so often the internal reboot after an update goes wrong and it gets stuck and a cold boot is required.

    The biggest problem I had with WHS was the unreliability of its own back up. There was no proper support for access to mirrored files, if a file got corrupted or damaged then you lost it, you couldn't try each copy individually to see if one was OK. There is no back up of the WHS software (unless you get in there and fix it up for yourself), worse there is no Restore Point support. If a windows update goes wrong, a not unknown occurance, the only way to recover is to go back to rebuild the original system and apply all the subsequent changes.

    I stopped using WHS. Over two years of use I had three crashes that were nightmares to recover from (some files were totally lost). I have changed my server to run on Win 7 which backs itself up nicely automatically, can be used like a normal PC with no hassle and without creating problems and is faster in use than WHS. WHS was a nice concept, just what the home user wanted, but Microsoft didn't support it as a main stream product, just a nice concept that was tried out and left in the backwaters.

    Incidentally, if you used to use WHS on an XP system but stop using it and deinstal the connector software you will find that you still have a WHS task running that you can't get rid of without delving in to the registry. If you stop the task via the task manager it just starts up again.

  8. #8
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    Perhaps this discussion requires another thread, but JG Weston said in a previous note:

    "I have changed my server to run on Win 7 which backs itself up nicely automatically"

    I don't have a server but have often wondered whether it would be helpful. What do you mean by:

    "changed my server" - did you change hardware? or run some other software server product?

    "Win 7 backs itself up nicely" - did you use the Microsoft provided backup software or something else? did you back up to an external disk drive or elsewhere?

    thanks for any response and if these questions should be in another thread, please help me start one.

    Thanks !!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Weston View Post
    You can use the WHS server just like any other PC if you connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor (in fact there are times when you need to, see below).

    HOWEVER! you can not treat it like a normal windows PC and move files around at will. You need to make a distinction between the flies of the WHS own operating system and the shared files that are being served. All operations to the shared files MUST be done through the console software, if you start renaming directories or moving files between directories using the windows explorer of the WHS machine then you can break the system. If you are an expert and know how WHS works then you can manipulate files directly, but you have do more than just the change what you would do under Windows (XP to 7). The simplest thing for novice users and even experienced users is only use the Console software to maintain the shared files on the server.

    There are two bits of software that should be on each client, the Connector and the Console, these install as one but the connector is in use all the time on all the clients and the console is active on only one of them when needed. If you start up the console on a machine, any console that may already be currently running will shut down. I found it best to run the console on the WHS machine and only access the shared files on the clients via file sharing. To run the console software on the WHS machine you obviously need a keyboard, mouse and monitor. You could use a shared set on a switch but I found it easier to have them dedicated, they are cheap enough and are useful to use as spares in an emergency. I left the monitor switched off unless I needed to do something on the WHS mahine.

    M/S seem to have meant the WHS server computer to have been used without a monitor, keyoard or mouse, just a bare box. However the design of WHS has not properly allowed for this. You do not have full control through the console, only basic functions. If you get a BSOD or any number of other problems that do not happen in day to day running but every so often crop up unexpectedly you can not take corrective action through the console, you can not even diagnose what is wrong through the console. You have to have a monitor at least to see what is wrong, you have to have a keyboard to enter the password at reboot. You can set up the update system so that updates are downloaded and applied automatically (though that is not the Windows Secrets recommended setting) and with this mostly it will keep running but every so often the internal reboot after an update goes wrong and it gets stuck and a cold boot is required.

    The biggest problem I had with WHS was the unreliability of its own back up. There was no proper support for access to mirrored files, if a file got corrupted or damaged then you lost it, you couldn't try each copy individually to see if one was OK. There is no back up of the WHS software (unless you get in there and fix it up for yourself), worse there is no Restore Point support. If a windows update goes wrong, a not unknown occurance, the only way to recover is to go back to rebuild the original system and apply all the subsequent changes.

    I stopped using WHS. Over two years of use I had three crashes that were nightmares to recover from (some files were totally lost). I have changed my server to run on Win 7 which backs itself up nicely automatically, can be used like a normal PC with no hassle and without creating problems and is faster in use than WHS. WHS was a nice concept, just what the home user wanted, but Microsoft didn't support it as a main stream product, just a nice concept that was tried out and left in the backwaters.

    Incidentally, if you used to use WHS on an XP system but stop using it and deinstal the connector software you will find that you still have a WHS task running that you can't get rid of without delving in to the registry. If you stop the task via the task manager it just starts up again.
    You are able to get to the WHS using RDP. You do not need to have a monitor, mouse, & keyboard. I've never had a problem doing that. Then you have access to all the WHS/Windows Server tools to do what you wish. As you stated, anyone accessing WHS via the console or RDP must be very careful. I've installed and uninstalled software accessing WHS using RDP. When did you stop using WHS? There have been significant improvements with each Power Pack that has been released.

    You are correct about no restore points. WHS is based on Windows Server 2003 and System Restore is not available on any Windows server software. With access to the WHS desktop via RDP you can still take action on a failed update. No System Restore is a weakness.

    There is a major new version of WHS that will be released very soon. See WHS Vail Preview and Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Home Server "Vail" Preview for more information about what is new.

    Joe



    Joe

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerF View Post
    "changed my server" - did you change hardware? or run some other software server product?
    I have a "green" pc (low power consumption) which I leave on all the time that hosts all the shared files (via the workgroup), and the printers, for my other PCs and laptops (mixed XP and Win 7). I was running this under WHS but then changed the operating system to Win 7, but still using it as an unattended file and print server.

    "Win 7 backs itself up nicely" - did you use the Microsoft provided backup software or something else? did you back up to an external disk drive or elsewhere?
    I use the standard microsoft backup of Win 7 to an external USB drive, this is much improved over XP (in my view has actually become usable). Under XP I used a combination of Goodsync and Drive-Snapshot. I still use Drive snapshot after big software changes but mainly rely on the Win 7 backup, which like WHS once you have set it up it just gets on with it quietly in the background and is there if you need to restore a file which you can do individually.

    I think this is Ok here, it is still relevant to WH (i.e an alternative)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    You are able to get to the WHS using RDP.
    I have never come across RDP it was only console when I was using it, and you could not see what message WHS had output to the screen, you had to connect a monitor to find that Windows Update had got tangled up, or that WHS had got a BSOD. Also at IPL you could not enter the password via the console, but needed a keyboard. The mouse wasn't vital, but just convenient if you are used to using both.

    As you stated, anyone accessing WHS via the console or RDP must be very careful.
    There used to be KB article on this detailing exactly which folders and files you should never touch. I searched for this after I posted but couldn't find it.

    When did you stop using WHS? There have been significant improvements with each Power Pack that has been released.
    Over a year ago, maybe 18 months or more I can't remember exactly when.

    No System Restore is a weakness.
    It was a show stopper for me. Also when I had a problem with file names because my directory depth had exceed the (parsimonious) limit on file name length within .NET, which I found to my horror was being used as the underlying file system. I expect operating system software to be written using low level hardware commands, not in a high level language targeted at third party developers. That was the camels straw for me.

    JG

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Weston View Post
    I have never come across RDP it was only console when I was using it, and you could not see what message WHS had output to the screen, you had to connect a monitor to find that Windows Update had got tangled up, or that WHS had got a BSOD. Also at IPL you could not enter the password via the console, but needed a keyboard. The mouse wasn't vital, but just convenient if you are used to using both.
    Any Windows system since XP has had the program MSTSC.EXE installed. That is the RDP client. Note: only servers or professional/enterprise versions of Windows can host RDP sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by JG Weston View Post
    Also when I had a problem with file names because my directory depth had exceed the (parsimonious) limit on file name length within .NET, which I found to my horror was being used as the underlying file system. I expect operating system software to be written using low level hardware commands, not in a high level language targeted at third party developers.
    .NET is development & run time environment which does not have a file system. WHS may have significant pieces or all of it written in .NET including the drive extender technology. The underlying file system is still NTFS. The total file name length limit is not a function of .NET but is a limit imposed by NTFS.

    As far as operating systems being written using low level hardware commands, you seem to be thinking of mainframes and pre-Windows NT days. Today mainframe OSes have migrated significant portions of the OS to higher level languages to get away from what used to be done with pure assembly language. Windows uses an abstraction implementation where no program even most of the OS does not directly interact with the hardware but uses a published set of APIs. .NET is a methodology to implement managed code to even further protect the OS & system resources from the vagaries of most programmers.

    It will be interesting to see if some of the drive extender technology in the "Vail" release of WHS makes it into a future release of Windows.

    Joe
    Joe

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