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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
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

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.

Windows 7 Beta Signup Period Extended

Microsoft has made the announcement last week that they will extend the beta signup period for the Windows 7 Beta until February 10. This is actually the second extension of the beta signup program. Microsoft wanted to initially hand out the Windows 7 Beta to a limited number of downloaders but quickly changed their stance after experiencing troubles during the signup phase.

Plans were to end the public beta phase on January 24 which got then extended again last week. Users who start the beta download until February 10 will have time until February 12 to download the Windows 7 Beta from the Microsoft servers.

The product keys that are needed to run the beta version of Windows 7 after the initial 30 day activation period will even be available after that day since MSDN and Technet subscribers will still be able to download and install the beta version.

Original Post:

10 tips for Windows 7 beta testers


Windows 7 desktopMicrosoft is releasing Windows 7 to 2.5 million beta testers today. Here are ten tips for those who are preparing to take the plunge:

1. Back-up your system

Whilst we’ve been mightily impressed with the stability of Windows 7 ever since the pre-beta launch, this remains a work in progress. If you’re even considering installing Windows 7 on a mission-critical system, make sure you take a full back-up first, so that you’ve got a fall back if it all goes horribly wonky.

2. Take note of your settings and software keys               

If you’re making a fresh install of Windows 7, rather than upgrading a previous OS, make a note of all your crucial settings  – such as your wireless network key and Outlook configuration –  so that you can get online immediately. Also make sure you can lay your hands on keys for any essential software that you’ll need to re-install in Windows 7.

3. Tweak the Taskbar

Beta 1 is the first version of Windows 7 to include the new look Taskbar. If you can’t abide the chunky new icons, you can make them smaller by right clicking on an empty part of the Taskbar, choosing Properties and checking the Use Small Icons box.

4. Uncover the jumplists

One of the best new features of the new UI is the jumplists. Right click on a Taskbar icon and you’ll be presented with a series of shortcut options for that application – selecting a recently-played album in Windows Media Player, for example. You’ll also find jumplists sprouting from application listings on the Start menu.

5. Unpin the default apps

Windows 7 taskbarMicrosoft has cheekily pinned Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Windows Explorer to the Taskbar, ensuring they remain a constant presence on your desktop. If you want to get shot of them, right click on the app’s Taskbar icon and select Unpin This Program From Taskbar. If you want to replace them with your favourite software, open the application of your choice, right click on its Taskbar icon and select Pin This Program To Taskbar.

6. Tone down the eye candy

Windows 7 will probably install an Aero glass scheme by default, and the good news is that the vast majority of the PCs we’ve installed the new OS on have coped with this effortlessly. However, if you find that windows are juddering, right click on the desktop, choose Personalize, and select one of the Ease of Access Themes, which are far less demanding.

7. Stretch out on extra displays

It’s now far easier to extend the Windows desktop on to secondary displays. Simply press Windows +P and you’ll be presented with options to extend, duplicate or show your desktop only on the secondary display.

8. Boost the text size

The huge screens and high resolutions of today’s flat panel monitors can make it difficult to read on-screen text, particularly if you use your PC as a Media Center on the main living room television. Windows 7 allows you to boost the size of text on screen to up to 150% of its normal size to make it more readable. Right click on the desktop, choose Screen Resolution and select the Make Text And Other Items Larger or Smaller.

9.  Sort out the System Tray

The System Tray now has an overspill area, allowing you to relegate attention-hungry applications to a hidden sin bin. Click on the little up arrow on the left-hand side of the System Tray and click Customize to pick and choose which System Tray icons you want to see, and how much you want them to bother you with alerts.

10.  Silence User Account Controls

The bête noir of Vista has finally been hobbled. To stop UAC interrupting your working day every two-and-a-half-minutes with another inane request, type UAC into the new Windows Start menu search bar, select the Change User Account Control Settings option and drag the slider right down to Never Notify. Just take a little extra care with your day-to-day computing, as you’ll almost certainly be running without security software.

Original Post:

15 Activation Keys for Windows 7 Pre beta

Although we can download Leaked version of Windows 7 Pre beta through torrent,but without an activation key, you can only use it up to 30 days trial.

It was found that the old Windows Vista Beta and RC product keys can be used for Windows 7 Pre-Beta which can activate it,but those keys are limited to activate up to 10 copies installed on a Pc.

But I Googled one article which share us list of 15 Multiple Activation Product Keys that you can use to activate your Windows 7 Pre beta both 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

These are the activation keys


These Activation keys can be used unlimited times in unlimited different client PC.

Original Post:


these keys are no longer working i have tried them all, the only way to install is install the trial verson i.e without putting the windows key in. and then keep using the rearm command to extand the trial.