Combine HTPC (WMC7) and WHS2011 box? RRS feed

  • Question

  • It seems like a perfect marriage so I don't have to have both running simulateously, but is it possible to run Windows Media Center 7 on a WHS2011 box?  My HTPC really only needs that one program (and its underlying functions) - it gets all its data/movies/etc from WHS2011.  

    I've never "virtualized" before - so if this is how it's done, can someone point me in the right direction?

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:36 PM

All replies

  • Is it possible? Yes. But it isn't supported or, really, recommended. You're not likely to get stellar performance out of whichever OS you virtualize, and you may find that some hardware is simply unavailable to a guest OS.

    Best is to stick with the current HTPC plus separate server. If your concern is purely power consumption, you'll probably find that the two will consume more power, while running, than a solution with both on the same hardware would, but that your server alone should be at least somewhat less, so probably overall you'll see more savings from separate hardware.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:44 PM
  • Hi tpg,

    I agree, it would have been nice to see those two combined.

    I managed to accomplish the same thing by installing NPVR (formerly called GBPVR) on my WHS2011 server. The only tricky thing that I needed to do was set up a script to download the TV guide on a daily basis, but that wasn't too difficult. I set up NPVR to put files into the Recorded TV share and then share it out to my HTPC which I only wake from standby on when I use it. NPVR has been solid as a rock.


    Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:20 PM
  • This has been the "holy grail" of HTPC enthusiasts for years. But as it is curerntly architected, Windows Media Center is strictly a Windows Client feature and is not supported on Windows Server, and WHS 2011 is even more closely tied to (and dependent on) the base Windows Server OS than was WHS v1.  So I don't forsee this happening soon.

    That said, it is possible to do this virtualized.  I installed Windows 7 on my WHS system using VirtualBox. You will need 3rd party shareware to allow VirtualBox to run as a service, and start and stop the VM when WHS is rebooted.  While this works reliably enough, I found that HD video streaming was choppy even on my quad-core AMD Phenom-based server, and ended up abandoning the idea.  Your results may vary depending on the hardware you have.

    What I ended up with instead is a dedicated headless HTPC box that sits next to WHS in our server closet. This machine hosts WMC for serveral Xbox 360 clients in our home.  This works well since the Xbox Media Center Extender client uses WOL to wake up the HTPC as needed, so the HTPC box can go to sleep when it is not being used, saving on energy. Not a bad use of an spare client computer, if you have one.

    • Edited by Gary Voth Monday, February 6, 2012 1:12 PM
    Monday, February 6, 2012 1:08 PM