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Mailbag 8th December 2010

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I have to admit when Microsoft announced drive extender was being cut from WHS Vail I was as shocked as anybody, this feature was the life blood of WHS, and certainly a feature heavily relied upon. Here I am 2 weeks after the decision was made and we are all still talking about it, I am still receiving emails from angry users asking why this has been cut and where to go from here.

I don’t really have any answers for those people, its true Microsoft have made a crazy decision, and the fact is, that it was cut based on Microsoft being unable to  implement the same technology in its business products. Surely Microsoft should realise that if they can’t use it in their business products but can be used in WHS, then just use it in WHS. I think the main problem is that most of the original WHS team is no longer present, Microsoft merged the WHS and SBS team at the start of Vail’s incarnation. I don’t think the new team really realised the impact of cutting a feature as big as drive extender would have on such a well-rounded product.

It still remains to be seen if Microsoft will throw a life line to Vail, and reinstate drive extender solely into Windows Home Server, I personally would back them all the way if they did this, and I will continue to campaign for this change to be made.

On a final note, some of you may have noticed that the forum is currently down for maintenance, we are in the process of bringing a new fresh new interface into play, with features galore, we are hoping to be completely up and running again either today or tomorrow, so watch this space, and look forward to seeing you all in there.

Ronald Asks:

Simple question (I hope). My Windows Home Server has gotten a bit sluggish over the past 2 years of usage (as my collection of audio files has grown).

May I change out the processor (currently dual core at 2 GHz + 1 MB cache + 800 MHz bus) with another manufacturer-approved processor (4 core at 2.66 GHz + 8 Mb cache + 1066 MHz bus)? Current processor is Intel E2180; proposed replacement is Xeon X3230, Memory on board currently is 4 GB DDR II – 667 MHz

Your current CPU the E2180 uses the LGA775 socket architecture, the new CPU you plan to install the Xeon 3230 also uses the LGA775 architecture, this means that you can swap the processors without any repercussions or detrimental effect.

The only thing that you may have to do is reactivate your Windows Home Server with Microsoft, because you are not making any changes that require any serious driver changes this process is very simple, if on the other hand you decide to change the motherboard at the same time, the process becomes very tedious, at this point you will almost certainly have to completely reinstall your entire Windows Home Server.

Art Asks:

I have a Windows Home Server that has been flawless for the past two years. My daughter recently bought a new laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium on it. I set it up as with all other computers in my system – with matching passwords to allow instant access, however, i keep getting a message that the passwords don’t match. I have re-installed the Windows Home Server connector software, re-wrote passwords, etc.. to no avail.

In researching this problem it appears to be quite common with Windows 7 and Windows Home Server and there are a variety of strategies being put out there. The most positive seems to be to run secpol.msc and change a setting in it – but Windows 7 Home Premium does not have this file, I am at a loss, any thoughts?

I can certainly assure you that secpol.msc (Local Security Policy) does exist in Windows 7, try going through below, this should certainly resolve your problem.

Run “secpol.msc” >> Go down to Local Policies | Security Options >> Find “Network Security: LAN Manager Authentication level” >> Then set this to “Send NTLM response only”

David Asks:

Ok, I know it’s in Beta; I stumbled upon the Windows Home Server V2 beta (Vail) while researching Windows Home Server V1. I REALLY want to use this platform. I can see where the Drive Extender being taken out would be a major step backwards when it already works. I am currently using the Windows Home Server V2 Beta (Vail) software. LOVE IT. But that may just be because I haven’t used a home server before, especially one designed to go with all my PC’s.

I have a 2-fold question…

I know there is no direct upgrade path from V1 to V2 due to 64bit etc… BUT! Is there any word/rumor/info on whether or not, once V2 goes live, I can continue to use my files/system/setup and simply re-install a licensed copy of the OS? Or will I have to do a total, complete reinstall of EVERYTHING?!

Next: For those of you in the know, is V2 REALLY pointless if no Drive extender is included? All BS aside, I still have all my files still on all the PC’s simply because it is a Beta after all. But If V2 isn’t going to be worth it if they take out DE, then maybe I should just plunge into V1

What are your opinions?

These questions can only be answered by yourself as only you know your requirements, to answer your first question, if you are using Vail beta at the moment you won’t be able to perform an upgrade to the final release you will need to do a fresh install and although this is painful and tedious, I wouldn’t really recommend upgrading from beta software under normal circumstances anyway.

Your second question certainly divides opinion, drive extender was brilliant for those with lots of data, you can keep adding more drive to your WHS and it will keep spanning the data across those drives all day long, so for those people it is a massive loss. On the other hand there are people that only use there WHS to backup there PC’s, for them I think they will be pretty safe, Microsoft will be doing everything they can to make sure that the backup side of WHS will continue to work without hiccup, after all there really isn’t anything else on the market that can do this in this way so consistently, at the end of the day you will have to make a decision as to which version of WHS best meets you needs.

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Matthew Glover
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