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Mailbag 16th March 2011

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Wake-on-LAN

Tom Asks:

Is there a way to wake one of the computers from hibernation from the Windows Home Server webpage or remote console?

When I travel the only system I keep active is my Windows Home Server, and then when I need to access one of the Windows Home Server clients it is inevitably offline, right when I need to access it… figures. Are there any add-ons to fix this issue?

Tom you are in luck, there is an excellent addin for Windows Home Server called Lights-Out, all you need to do is install the addin, then install the application on each machine, and then enable Wake-on-LAN on your network card and/or in the BIOS. If that sounds like a bit too much, don’t worry there is an excellent instruction guide that comes with it. Best of all, this addin can be used free of charge, although donations are gratefully accepted.

Once all setup you will be able to login to the WHS console from the WHS webpage, go to the addin,  select which machine on your network you would like to wake, once the machine has booted you will then see it available to access.

You can find Lights-Out here.

Faulty RAID Controller

Jim Asks:

I am getting:
Source: Si3114r5
TimeGenerated: 2/25/2011 5:03:50 PM
InstanceId: 3221487625
Catagory: (0)
CatagoryNumber: 0
EntryType: Error
Message: The device, \Device\Scsi\Si3114r52, did not respond within the timeout period.

Does this point me to a specific drive on a specific controller? There are 12 drives in my system on different controllers.

Jim this doesn’t seem to be a problem with a particular drive this is being caused by the RAID card you have installed, the drives that you have connected to that card are possibly at risk of losing data. This is a known problem with this controller and it does seem to like working with Windows Home Server, my guess is that if you are getting the error above you will most likely be getting the error below:

NTFS
Event Type: Error
Event Source: NTFS
Event Category: Disk
The file system structure on the disk is corrupt and unusable. Please run the chkdsk utility on the volume X.
(X is sometimes DATA, sometimes individual drive letters longer. The longer the system is up, the more errors and drives are reported)

I would also hazard a guess that you are getting file conflicts, NTFS corruption and maybe some hanging. I can’t give you a complete resolution as many people have tried different drivers but to no avail, most people’s resolution was unfortunately to replace the RAID card.

Hope this has helped to understand the error.

Migrate WHS to WHS

Renny Asks:

My WHS is pretty old based mostly on components which are 6YO. I would like to migrate to a newer MB/CPU set up that I have spare.

Can I literally just unplug the 5 HDDs I have in my server and DAS and stick them in the new box and expect it to work, or do I need to do a full reinstall to migrate???

Renny, this is something that is extremely annoying for me on a daily basis. The simple answer is no, you can’t just unplug the drive and put them in to a new machine, I can only hope for the day when that is possible. Unfortunately you have to completely re-install Windows Home Server on your new server and then painstakingly copy the data from the old server to the new one.

I know I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s questions, so those that haven’t been answered why not post them in the MSwhs forum.

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Mailbag 22nd February 2011

  • WHS 2011with integrated Media Center
  • What is the best way to Raid WHS 2011?
  • What happens after WHS 2011 beta expires?

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I am back!!! I have been gone unexpectedly now for 5 weeks to job search and I can confirm that is now over and I am back for the foreseeable future. Some major talking points while I have been gone, WHS 2011 released in beta which is great news, also some excellent addin news about DE in the form of an addin from third parties. It would seem that there is going to be three different addins available offering the DE function from DataCore Software, Drive Bender and StableBit, in my eyes competition is a good thing and it may be that Microsoft did us all a favor, so watch this space.

WHS 2011with integrated Media Center

David Asks:

I am a WHSv1 user, and I have been interested in Home Theatre PCs for a while. I don’t want to have 2 PCs on 24-7, so I thought about trying to get tuners into a WHS box. But since true MS Windows Media Center features are not found in v1 or WHS2011, I was thinking about building a Windows7 Home Theatre PC instead. With Drive Extender gone from the 2011 product, is it possible to set up WHS2011 in a Virtual Machine on the Home Theatre PC to do client backups? What would you recommend for RAID, partitioning, backups, and media sharing?

This is an excellent idea, this is certainly something I would do myself, if I was running Media Centre PC’s. The only pit fall I can foresee is a bandwidth problem; imagine you’re streaming a DVD from another PC in the home, direct to the media center with WHS 2011 hosted on, then another machine in the home starts its backup, then maybe another machine starts streaming a movie from the media center you are watching your DVD, It could end in chaos.

I certainly think it’s a bold idea and if planned correctly could be a fruitful one. My advice on hardware would be this:

System: 120GB SSD
Data drives: 5 x 2TB HDD (Raid 5)
Network: 1Gbps
CPU: Core i5
RAM: 8GB
Optical Media Drive: Blu-ray

The best way to set this up would be install the Windows 7 OS on the SSD drive, install Virtual PC and install WHS 2011 into an expanding VHD, then add a second VHD as the data drive setting the size limit to around 9TB. This way you have 1TB in the pool for the expanding WHS 2011 OS drive and a place to put the recorded media from the Media Center.

This is a great idea and one I would like to share with the rest of the community while it is being built, let me know how you are getting on at each stage and we will follow the progress here at MSwhs.com

What is the best way to Raid WHS 2011?

Jerry Asks:

Now that it is a definite that DE will not be in WHS 2011, what hardware build do you recommend for a DIY builder? I am especially interested in setting up a RAID 5 array. Are any of the Motherboards with RAID on-board good?

Any motherboard with RAID ability will certainly do a job and should always be sufficient for any home user, but if you really want to go that step further a dedicated RAID card is the other way to go. RAID cards aren’t normally very cheap for what they are and a good one will certainly set you back around £80/$120.

Cheap RAID cards at around £30/$45 are excellent for adding additional SATA ports to a machine if you find yourself running out.

What happens after WHS 2011 beta expires?

Thomas Asks:

Ok, maybe I missed it, but where are the inputs/comments about whether or not you retain all of your current folders, add ins, and data on your current Windows Home Server HDDs, if you elect to try the new Windows Home Server 2011? Do you lose it all and have to start over, etc, etc. Also, is there a recovery feature that allows you to go back to the old Windows Home Server settings if you so desire or when the beta expires???

First of all let me stress that any beta software shouldn’t be used in a production environment, this is software that has been released for testing purposes only and WHS 2011 is no different. I also need to stress there is no downgrade path or upgrade path for that matter, if you install WHS 2011 the only way to go back to WHS v1 is to do a fresh install, which means formatting your data drives and hence losing all data on them.

If you want to go from WHSv1 to WHS 2011 you will need to backup all your data then install WHSv1 a fresh. If you come to the end of the beta and you have data within WHS 2011 then you need to back it up and move it out of WHS 2011 as you will have a hard time getting it back if it expires.

All settings, addins and customizations will be lost once the beta expires.

I know I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s questions, so those that haven’t been answered why not post them in the MSwhs forum.

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Mailbag 18th January 2011

  • How can I install SmarterMail on Windows Home Server
  • How can I extract data from hard drives of a failed WHS?
  • Windows Home Server Vail 32bit
  • Setting up a VPN on Windows Home Sever
  • WHS console and share connectivity

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What will Sandy do for Windows Home Server? Sandy Bridge of course, what did you think I meant! Sandy Bridge is released and many people are raving about the performance increase over the original Core i* processors released, but can it really make a difference to Windows Home Server?

Well I can certainly see a place for it, the power usage will make a massive difference to a machine on 24/7/365 and with the power increase this will certainly allow innovation to flow when it comes to addins, it’s time to make that work horse work.

It just so happens that the first Sandy Bridge powered Windows Home Server has been announced, you can screenshots and more at http://whs.gs/1mp or you can see the full press release at http://whs.gs/5en. I am told these new Windows Home Servers are perfectly quite, I will bring more on these as soon as I can.

How can I install SmarterMail on Windows Home Server

T.Bone Asks:

I am looking for information on how to install SmarterMail on Windows Home Server. I found this: http://whs.gs/i2q but it’s out of date they installed v5.5 and SmarterMail only offers v7.4 and I can’t find the install file they used.

How do I go about installing and configuring this for my Windows Home Server using version 7.4, any help would be greatly appreciated?

Just this week Andrew Edney over at usingwindowshomeserver.com has posted his latest guide to installing, configuring and using SmarterMail v7.4 on Windows Home Server.

You can find the guide at http://whs.gs/jlf

How can I extract data from hard drives of a failed WHS?

Paul Asks:

I know you answered ’Can I restore files from a failed WHS hard drive?’ but my Windows Home Server drives have not failed; only my motherboard has failed.

I bought have a USB 2.0 to SATA adaptor so that I can connect these drives to my PC (running XP Home Edition); however, I am unable to read these drives.

Is there a way to extract the data files from the hard drives without using WHS v1?

This is most certainly a different issue to the one I talked about last week. Windows Home Server stores your shared files across multiple drives and keeps track of that data via a database, all the files are kept in the normal raw form that you would find on any normal Windows PC, although they are hidden when on the drive.

If your motherboard has failed and you want to retrieve the data, then this is actually relatively easy, go to http://whs.gs/cqk for a full guide on how to do this.

Windows Home Server Vail 32bit

Anonymous Asks:

Will Microsoft come up with WHS Version 2 (Vail) for 32-bit machines, if it will then when?

Unfortunately Microsoft will not be releasing there next installment of Windows Home Server Vail in a 32bit edition. Anyone currently using Windows Home Server v1 on 32bit architecture, and hoping to upgrade unfortunately this will not be possible.

Microsoft certainly have no plans to change this, I can’t even imagine it would be up for discussion.

Setting up a VPN on Windows Home Sever

Anonymous Asks:

I have been trying to setup a VPN over the 2WIRE DSL/Modem/Wireless router, it looks very complicated, i been trying several options, but none of those works, I have my static IP from AT&T, on the homeserver website the ’compatibles’ routers are Linksys and others but no 2wire, will this be the reason why I am unable to setup?

2wire routers are not the easiest to configure, they are very clunky and certainly cannot be called intuitive, coupled with setting up a VPN problems can easily arise.

There is an excellent guide to configuring your 2wire router over at http://whs.gs/jpo this will show you how to open the relevant ports needed to allow a VPN to establish a connection through the 2wire router, also the ports that need to be opened and pointed at your Windows Home Server are: TCP Port 1723, TCP Port 1701, UDP Port 500.

Also if you are experiencing any issues in setting up the VPN on Windows Home Server or maybe you just want to check you have the right settings, there is an excellent guide at http://whs.gs/5u6 this will walk you through creating and connecting your new VPN.

WHS console and share connectivity

Jim Asks:

I just replaced a faulty router with a new Linksys E2000, since then I have been unable access the shared drives via Explorer (i.e. //server/public/…).

The server is running and other applications (Squeezebox) are able to connect and access files, also the server can connect to the PC’s on the network to perform backups. Any suggestions to get connectivity back?

The first thing I have noticed is the server address you are you using i.e. //server/public/ is incorrect; it should read \\server\public although having said that it doesn’t explain why you have lost connectivity to the console.

Try doing the following:

  1. Make sure you have rebooted the server since the install of the router it sounds simple but easily missed.
  2. The new router maybe configured for a different IP range to the old router, make sure your WHS is not configured statically assigned, you may need to plug the old router back in, in order to connect to the server again while you go through this process.
  3. Make sure your software anti-virus or firewall is configured correctly for the new IP range.
  4. See if you can connect to your Windows Home Server via RDC, press Windows Key + R >> type “mstsc” >> type your server name in the box and click connect >> fill in username and password if this works, you will now be able to examine network settings further.
  5. Open the WHS Console and underneath the password box click options then click “reset Windows Home Server Console…” then try logging in, this may allow you to login to the console.

There are quite a lot of things that can cause these kinds of problems so you may need to contact me in the MSwhs forum to discuss the problem further if above has not fixed this.

I know I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s questions, so those that haven’t been answered why not post them in the MSwhs forum.

Have a question or problem?
I can’t guarantee an answer, but I’ll try. Click “
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Written by

Matthew Glover
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Mailbag 12th January 2011

  • Blu-ray drive and ripping software for WHS
  • Can I restore files from a failed WHS hard drive?
  • Is it possible to have no data on my WHS hard drive?

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It has been a very interesting week, with a lot of attention on the Consumer Electronics Show. The big news coming out of CES is the naming of Windows Home Server Vail, some very eagle eyed sole has noticed that the next edition of WHS is going to be called Windows 7 Home Server. I presume this is to bring consistency across the board i.e. Windows 7 Server, Windows 7 Home Server, Windows 7 and finally Windows 7 Phone. A Microsoft representative later confirmed this is indeed the official name for the next version otherwise known as codename “Vail”. However MVP Andrew Edney has informed me that it was a printing mistake, so it looks like a Microsoft rep has got it totally wrong! Many people still believe that this is going to be the new name and the Microsoft rep has let it slip; only time will tell!!!

Anybody running the latest beta of Windows Home Server Vail will know that it will have expired yesterday, you can still re-activate via a fix here. No data will be lost if your copy has expired but you will need to re-activate it in order to access the data still further.

The next beta release of Vail is expected in the next 6 – 8 weeks and I will be bringing more news of this as we approach and once released. Continue reading

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