WHS 2011

Mar 06 2012

News - My Movies for WHS 2011, Windows 7 Media Center Updated

My Movies LogoMy Movies for Windows Home Server 2011 has been updated to v2.11 Pre-Release 1. The new version of the My Movies backend is adding a number of features along with the usual collection of fixes. Several of the fixes relate to how My Movies for WHS 2011 handles converted files. Of particular interest is the new backend support for downloading converted movies to mobile devices. My Movies updates tend to come in groups, and sure enough a quick visit to the My Movies website reveals that My Movies for Windows 7 Media Center and Collection Management have also received a pre-release update to version 4.03. Again there is a new set of feature additions and big fixes, including some love for the cutting edge among us with support added for PowerDVD 12 as an external player and a bug fix related to installing on Windows 8. There are few things in the tech world more exciting than running pre-release software on a pre-release operating system.

My Movies for Windows Home Server provides automated disc copying of Audio CD’s and movies from internal or USB attached optical drives, adding meta-data to copied discs, or movies and TV programmes  already stored on the server by monitoring your shared folders.

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Dec 31 2011

News - Guide to Building a Windows Home Server

Windows Home Server

If building a home server is on your to-do list for the new year, then perhaps a little how-to guide is just what you need to get started. I'm not sure about all of the hardware choices made for this particular guide. Intel Xeon processors tend to carry a price premium that isn't really warranted for a WHS box, though if you are interested in a true server CPU, the Xeon E3-1220L is a nice pick. That being said, one side effect of choosing a server motherboard is that this build is guaranteed to have access to Intel NIC drivers for Windows Server. Intel does not always provide drivers certified for Windows Server on mainstream and enthusiast class motherboards, and the Intel NIC is definitely one of the best reasons to go with an Intel motherboard. 

This article documents the process of choosing components for the new Windows Home Server 2011 box, from the low wattage Intel CPU, through the motherboard, PSU, memory and drives before looking at the setup process and how the OS looks and works in day to day use.

Hardware Heaven

Dec 18 2011

News - Guide - Manage Windows Updates for Client Computers With WHS 2011

WSUSUsers of WHS 2011 who have several computers to manage know that ensuring that all of those computers have all of the latest Microsoft updates can be difficult especially on computers that you don't always have direct access to. The folks over at wegotserved have created a three part guide that will enable you to manage windows updates for all of you client computers from within WHS 2011.

Are you responsible for the administration of your family’s computer systems? Would you like to push Microsoft’s OS updates to your home computers and reboot them automatically from a central location (like your server?) If you answered yes to these questions, WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) may be the answer.

Because WSUS downloads Microsoft’s updates one time and stores them on your server, you will reduce your bandwidth usage. Additionally, once the updates have been stored on your home server, updating your computers will be much faster.

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Nov 11 2011

News - Drobo Gets a WHS 2011 Add-In

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Too many, in fact. One podcast I used to listen to that has fallen off my playlist is The Home Server Show. It's too bad I haven't been listening as I evidently missed a challenge issued on a recent episode to the WHS community to develop an add-in for managing an attached Drobo. Turns out the community accepted the challenge.


WHS Drobo Status is for Windows Home Server 2011 owners who back up their shared folders to a Drobo. The add-in shows how much space you have available on your Drobo, and the status of the drives.

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Nov 01 2011

News - Drive Bender for WHS 2011 Reviewed

Drive Bender

Drive Bender was released a couple of weeks ago, making it the first commercial add-on to bring drive pooling back to Windows Home Server. The original WHS Drive Extender was sorely missed in WHS 2011, but it had its fair share of issues, so any third-party solution looking to bring that same kind of low-level functionality has to be approached with some trepidation. Unfortunately, it sounds like Drive Bender might need a little more time in the oven before we can evaluate how well it works. The screenshots I had seen were promising, but seeing the add-on in action tells a more complete story.

As the dashboard reports this as what I would “believe” to be an existing drive, it might perhaps make sense to use the second option.  From a user standpoint, I should not have to make this distinction.  As the addition of a drive to the pool is supposed to be non-destructive, these options should be combined into one simple option: “Add a drive to the pool” and have the program determine which path to proceed inside the program.

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Nov 01 2011

News - FlexRAID Drive Pool and RAID for WHS 2011

FlexRAID Drive Manager

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of real-time FlexRAID for over a year now.  It would appear that not only will I get my wish, but anyone using Windows Home Server 2011 will also have an additional option to bring back drive extender-like technology.  Just to be clear, FlexRAID works both with or without WHS.  In fact, it also works with Linux.  Having used FlexRAID in the past and dealt with the developer (Brahim) personally, I have the utmost faith in his "Cruise Control" version, which is the name of the real-time version.  As I'm currently testing the waters of migrating my WHS server to multiple VMs under vSphere, Cruise Control will undoubtedly be a part of the implementation.  Anyone even remotely considering one of the add-ons/plug-ins announced by 3rd parties for WHS 2011 should take a serious look at FlexRAID.  Oh, did I mention FlexRAID is FREE?

FlexRAID provides the cleanest integration into WHS 2011 out of all solutions out there.

FlexRAID requires no plugin and presents its Storage Pool drive as a native NTFS drive to WHS 2011.
This means you can add and manage a FlexRAID pool drive just like a regular but massive drive in WHS 2011′s dashboard.


Oct 26 2011

News - Auto-minimize the WHS 2011 Launchpad

LaunchpadOne of my biggest Windows Home Server 2011 pet peeves involves the new Launchpad software. It's not that I don't like the software. It does a good job of exposing the server's functions and alert status. The problem is that there is no option to launch it minimized at startup, leaving it to constantly float around on my desktop. It's especially annoying on my HTPC where it totally throws off my home theater feng shui. As minor an inconvenience as it may be, it is nice to know that someone was able to come up a solution, albeit a more complicated solution than it should be. 

The following How To Guide was submitted to WGS’ Tutorials section by forum user RedCat. Check out the Tutorial over at WGS Forums. If you find Windows Home Server 2011′s Launchpad pop-up annoying when you boot up your PC, this one’s for you!

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Oct 15 2011

News - Drive Bender Released, Pooled Storage Comes to WHS 2011

One of the signature technologies of the original Windows Home Server was Drive Extender. Drive Extender allowed multiple, disparate hard drives to appear as one single drive with built-in redundancy to boot. It was simple, elegant, and dropped from Windows Home Server 2011. As soon as word hit the streets that Drive Extender was not to be a part of WHS 2011, intrepid developers began working on a replacement. 

Drive Bender was one of the first pooled storage add-ins announced and one of the most promising. As of version, Drive Bender is available to the public.

The developers have launched the add-in with an introductory offer for home users, pricing Drive Bender at $40 for a limited time. Business and Enterprise editions of the add-in are expected to launch in due course and a version for Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2003, Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2 is also available.

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Oct 03 2011

News - Fractal Design Define XL Case Review

Fractal Desigh Define XLWe recently reviewed and are now giving away the Fractal Design Core 3000, one of Fractal Design's larger cases. We tried it out as a home server case and found a lot to like about it. However, their top end case is the Define XL. With internal space for 10 hard drives and 4 5.25" bays just begging to be outfitted with a backplane hard drive cage, a look reminiscent of my beloved Antec Mini P180, and potential support of front-mounted USB 3.0 ports, this could be a monster home server case. Now if Fractal Design could come out with a variation of the define XL that would provide external hot-swap access to 10 or more hard drives, I think I would have my dream chassis. 

The question is what do you get for that $160? To start with, if you are looking for a non-rackmounted case with maximum expansion options that can hold a *LOT* of hard drives for a Windows Home Server, you may find a few cases that can hold more than the XL, but not many.

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