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Is it ok to leave WHS logged on? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Due to a problem with uTorrent service I am having, I am wondering if it's ok to create a new user with low priviledges leave it logged on?
    I am planning to let uTorrent run as a program on this user.

    Many thanks.
    Friday, February 19, 2010 6:36 PM

Answers

  • Due to a problem with uTorrent service I am having, I am wondering if it's ok to create a new user with low priviledges leave it logged on?
    I am planning to let uTorrent run as a program on this user.

    Many thanks.
    First, logging into the server desktop for any reason is unsupported.  Second, leaving a user logged in creates a huge security/administrator risk.  You would be better off setting it up as a service.

    Having said that, it should still work.
    Friday, February 19, 2010 7:11 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Yes. As long as it isn't locking any of the WHS files, you'll be just fine
    Friday, February 19, 2010 7:09 PM
  • Due to a problem with uTorrent service I am having, I am wondering if it's ok to create a new user with low priviledges leave it logged on?
    I am planning to let uTorrent run as a program on this user.

    Many thanks.
    First, logging into the server desktop for any reason is unsupported.  Second, leaving a user logged in creates a huge security/administrator risk.  You would be better off setting it up as a service.

    Having said that, it should still work.
    Friday, February 19, 2010 7:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Due to a problem with uTorrent service I am having, I am wondering if it's ok to create a new user with low priviledges leave it logged on?
    I am planning to let uTorrent run as a program on this user.

    Many thanks.
    First, logging into the server desktop for any reason is unsupported.  Second, leaving a user logged in creates a huge security/administrator risk.  You would be better off setting it up as a service.

    Having said that, it should still work.

    Yes, I fully understand that. But strangely for my case, running uTorrent service severely impacts my WHS performance. It will sometimes hog all of WHS resources leaving WHS to hang for a long time before resuming. I am doing a test now with the service turned off and so far (circa 24 hours) everything is running fine. Will run more tests.
    Friday, February 19, 2010 11:06 PM
  • Here's the thing about uTorrent and other peer-to-peer tools like it: they're designed to run on the desktop, not as a service or on a server, and therefore they support graceful shutdown/resume, etc.

    In other words, my advice would be to move your torrent activities to a regular PC and just move the completed files to your server once you decide you're done seeding them.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, February 19, 2010 11:38 PM
    Moderator
  • A logged in locked user is as secure as a logged out user.

    If properly configured uTorrent will run fine on Windows Home Server.
    --
    Saturday, February 20, 2010 7:09 PM
  • I'm going to say this a little more plainly:

    In the OP's case, uTorrent apparently doesn't run fine on his server. The simplest solution is to put the uTorrent client where it really belongs, on a desktop. We all know it will work fine there, and it sidesteps the whole "desktop software isn't supported on Windows Home Server" issue.

    And putting on my (old, disused for years, but I made a living at it for a while) "white" network security consultant hat, "A logged in locked user is as secure as a logged out user." is not true. There are several avenues of attack that are available to a malefactor when a user is logged in to the console (even when the console is locked) that are unavailable when nobody is logged in. Is a locked console safer than an unlocked console? Yes. Is a successful hack likely on a Windows Home Server machine, regardless of the console state? No. But your blanket statement is false, and bad advice.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, February 21, 2010 10:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Unfortunately as per my other thread, WHS totally failed on me so I had to copy all the data to an external source and perform a clean reinstall.

    I guess this is in a way good as it should iron out any previous problems I had. I was in a rush to install all the add-ins during my first WHS install and I might have messed something out that time.

    I am planning to leave WHS bare and make sure it is fully updated and functional before slow adding add-ins one by one.

    So, is uTorrent definitely not recommend to be run as a service in WHS then? Has anyone done so without any problems?
    Monday, February 22, 2010 10:33 AM
  • Right, finally managed to get WHS reinstalled and now copying over all the data to WHS. However, I am very interested to know if running uTorrent as a service will impact WHS's performance?

    Really don't want to go over the reinstallation process again...
    Monday, February 22, 2010 9:27 PM
  • It really isn't possible to say "yes, it's safe" or "no it's not safe" unless the software is known to cause problems every time someone installs it. It's entirely possible that you're having some sort of interaction between hardware, drivers, and the uTorrent client when run as a service.

    I've already given my recommendation, which is to use the uTorrent client (a desktop application) on a desktop, rather than on your server. Some users have had problems and some haven't (do a search in the forum); this also suggests some sort of environmental influence. Since I don't use uTorrent or similar peer-to-peer file sharing software very much, I'm inclined against trying to sort the server issue.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2:54 AM
    Moderator
  • It really isn't possible to say "yes, it's safe" or "no it's not safe" unless the software is known to cause problems every time someone installs it. It's entirely possible that you're having some sort of interaction between hardware, drivers, and the uTorrent client when run as a service.

    I've already given my recommendation, which is to use the uTorrent client (a desktop application) on a desktop, rather than on your server. Some users have had problems and some haven't (do a search in the forum); this also suggests some sort of environmental influence. Since I don't use uTorrent or similar peer-to-peer file sharing software very much, I'm inclined against trying to sort the server issue.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    I've read somewhere that sometimes uTorrent could have problems with DE in WHS. Many recommend that uTorrent should download to a local drive and then copy to a network share. I have found another person that actually mounted another HDD that is not in the storage pool. I was just about to try this but my external HDD died and the only HDD I had around was PATA (My mobo has problem if I plug in a PATA with SATAs, it will only recognise the PATA as primary OS drive) so I can't test that theory now.

    I used to set it do download to D:\DATA\CustomFolder before moving them to D:\DATA\Shares\Downloads but still I think it would be affected by DE?
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 3:52 PM
  • Hi,

    You shouldn't use any tools to directly interact with the Windows Home Server file system.   All access should be done remotely over the network using shares created using the Windows Home Server Console or locally using \\localhost\sharename - this is one place where you went wrong.  If you don't know how to properly configure a non Windows Home Server application on Windows Home Server then it's best not to try and make it fit.

    Cheers,
    Al
    --
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 4:33 PM
  • Any tool that accesses files in the shares can conceivably have issues with Drive Extender. uTorrent is particularly likely to because of the way it works (constant file access, holding files open for long periods, etc.), so the recommended course if you insist on using it on your server is to add a drive that's not part of the storage pool. Failing that you can create a folder on D: outside of those that Windows Home Server uses (your CustomFolder folder would not be part of Drive Extender, for example). The problem with using space on D: is that any space (on any storage pool drive including the system drive) not used by one of the recognized wedges in the pie chart gets lumped into "system", which will obviously include anything you're seeding or downloading.

    All of this is unsupported and "at your own risk" of course. :)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 4:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the advice so far guys. I have bought this great eSata compatible external drive enclosure :

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Sharkoon-SATA-Quick-Port-PRO-%2825-35-SATA-HDD-to-your-PC-Via-USB-eSATA%29-plus-Card-reader-plus-2xUSB-H

    I am planning to use it as an external backup drive for WHS by following the procedures outlined here :

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/10797/backup-windows-home-server-folders-to-an-external-hard-drive/

    Is it ok if I also create a directory on the external drive for use with uTorrent to store current downloads? I will configure uTorrent to automatically move completed DLs to a network share location AND also configure uTorrent to scan a network share drive for .torrent files to load. Is this also ok?

    Cheers!
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 5:37 PM
  • There are two reasons your plan may not be the best:
    1. The primary reason for backing up your server shares to external storage is so you can take a copy of your data off site for better data protection. Using a portion of that drive as uTorrent storage will anchor the drive to your server, making off site backup impossible.
    2. eSATA drives offer much better performance than USB as far as using them in the Windows Home Server storage pool is concerned. As backup drives, Windows Home Server typically won't offer the option to "temporarily" remove one so you can take it off site (this has to do with how SATA and eSATA are seen by the BIOS and the OS), so you would have to shut down your server to disconnect the drive. For backup use, USB drives are preferred.
    I would get an eSATA drive if you're going to use it as server storage, or a USB drive if you're going to use it for server backup. Or both (one of each), if you want both sets of functionality.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 6:11 PM
    Moderator
  • There are two reasons your plan may not be the best:
    1. The primary reason for backing up your server shares to external storage is so you can take a copy of your data off site for better data protection. Using a portion of that drive as uTorrent storage will anchor the drive to your server, making off site backup impossible.
    2. eSATA drives offer much better performance than USB as far as using them in the Windows Home Server storage pool is concerned. As backup drives, Windows Home Server typically won't offer the option to "temporarily" remove one so you can take it off site (this has to do with how SATA and eSATA are seen by the BIOS and the OS), so you would have to shut down your server to disconnect the drive. For backup use, USB drives are preferred.
    I would get an eSATA drive if you're going to use it as server storage, or a USB drive if you're going to use it for server backup. Or both (one of each), if you want both sets of functionality.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Thanks for your reply Ken.

    1) Ah I see. Point taken. I will either just use the external drive solely for uTorrent then. The drive I have linked also has 2 USB ports and Flash card reader. I might use USB pen drive for uTorrent storage since it's just temporary storage and devote the HDD for WHS backup. The drive itself has (for storage):

    a) 3.5" HDD support - I'll use this for WHS data backup?
    b) 2x USB drive for USB pen drive support - maybe get a USB pen drive to host uTorrent files?
    c) Flash card support - not sure at the moment.

    According to the information provided by the website, the device as 2 option for interfacing with a PC - eSata or USB so I guess I can choose. I could be wrong though. Reason why I am not so sure about USB for external drive is that my Maxtor OneTouch 500GB just died on me. I used to use that as the WHS external storage.

    2) So if I understand correctly it's only wise to use eSata if I plan to add the device to WHS storage pool whereas USB should be enough for external storage?

    Finally, I have more questions and since it's slightly on topic I might as well ask it here rather than start a new thread :

    3) Is it ok to set uTorrent to automatically scan a share drive? uTorrent has a feature to scan a folder for .torrent files and automatically load them.

    4) I notice if I send large files (multiple folders) over the network, I will get pretty slow speeds. My HDD, network infrastructure and also associated hardware all support high speed data transfer (GIGAbit LAN. 3GB/s data transfer for HDD, SATA2) but I still get speeds like 2.55KB/s for example. Is there any (cheap) way to speed this up?

    Thanks.
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 7:30 PM