Ask Matt: your questions answered

Ask a Question

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

Have a question or problem?
I can’t guarantee an answer, but I’ll try. Click “
ask a question” above!

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 or you can see the full press release at 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 I found this: but it’s out of date they installed v5.5 and SmarterMail only offers v7.4 and I can’t find the install file they used.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 has posted his latest guide to installing, configuring and using SmarterMail v7.4 on Windows Home Server.

You can find the guide at

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 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 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 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 “
ask a question” above!

Ask Matt: your questions answered

Ask a Question

Mailbag 21st December 2010

  • WHS system storage very high
  • Windows 7 64bit console is not compatible
  • News on FlexRAID the Drive Extender replacement
  • Unable to access Windows Home Server shares

Have a question or problem?
I can’t guarantee an answer, but I’ll try. Click “ask a question” above!

This is my last mailbag before Christmas, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all that read the mailbag each week a very Merry Christmas. I will still be posting over the Christmas period, plus with the January sales just around the corner I will be taking the opportunity to start posting the deal of the week, if anyone does see any real WHS bargains please let me know. Continue reading

Ask Matt: your questions answered

Ask a Question

Mailbag 15th December 2010

  • Can I move my hard drives from my old WHS to my new WHS?
  • Does RAID & Windows Home Server really mix?
  • How to rebuild my Windows Home Server
  • Should I stick with WHS v1 or go for Vail when released?
  • WHS Open Source Options

Have a question or problem?
I can’t guarantee an answer, but I’ll try. Click “ask a question” above!

This week the spotlight has been around the open source alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows Home Server. There are many alternatives to WHS and it is very surprising just how worthy some of them really are, what’s more surprising is how many people are looking at the possibility of moving to some of them on offer.

It takes an incredible amount of faith to put all your home videos/photos, hundreds sometimes thousands of £/$ of music, and in many cases there entire film/DVD collection to an operating system like Windows Home Server, could you have the same trust/confidence in an unknown operating system?

I am not trying to discourage anyone from using open source software, after all many people really on open source software and I am certainly one of them, but I would say make sure you have a failsafe backup and make sure you have read reviews and write ups, about the pros and cons about any of the alternatives. Continue reading

Ask Matt: your questions answered

Ask a Question

Mailbag 8th December 2010

Have a question or problem?
I can’t guarantee an answer, but I’ll try. Click “ask a question” above!

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. Continue reading