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Have I bought the wrong product? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I purchased a Home server and WHS.  The server has a primary 320 gig and a secondary 1 tb drive.  It has a 3 ghz processor and 3 gig ram.  I did all of this so that I could use my email and quicken from any where and have it backed up.  I'm now lost.  I can't find any way to do what I want.  If I leave the email on the server and connect from remote desktop it is painfully slow, especially if there are graphics involved.  If the is sound involved then I get none as there is no sound card in the server.  I have already spent more money than planned and still can't do what I set out to do.  Can someone point me in the right direction?  I am using Thunderbird as email.  Quicken 2009 as financial software.  Winows 7 Ultimate is on both of my laptops.
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:45 PM

Answers

  • First, I tend to think you bought the right product, but for the wrong reasons. Windows Home Server is designed to protect your data, it provides a central place to collect your data, and it allow you access to your data and your home computers from afar. What it doesn't do is give you a centralized desktop to access from afar; the presumption is that you already have that.

    So if you want to access Quicken, email, and other desktop applications with the same data from anywhere, you can either A) carry a laptop with everything you want installed and back it up to your server for protection, or you can have a computer at home (running a version of Windows that supports Remote Desktop) with all your apps that you access from wherever you are. Don't expect sound to work well from afar whatever you do.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:14 PM
    Moderator
  • I want to thank everyone for all your help.  I think I thought that I could just log into my server and run all the important software there.  This works but is entirely too slow.  I am working on different remedies and when I find one that works for me I will let you know.  I have modified my POP email to leave the messages on the email provider for 1 day after I retrieve them.  This allows my server to get all the emails and which ever laptop I am using still has a chance to get them.  I have to clean up the server every couple of days but that's not too bad.  Again thanks for all your help.
    • Marked as answer by oldsalt001 Friday, March 5, 2010 11:40 PM
    Friday, March 5, 2010 11:37 PM

All replies

  • First, I tend to think you bought the right product, but for the wrong reasons. Windows Home Server is designed to protect your data, it provides a central place to collect your data, and it allow you access to your data and your home computers from afar. What it doesn't do is give you a centralized desktop to access from afar; the presumption is that you already have that.

    So if you want to access Quicken, email, and other desktop applications with the same data from anywhere, you can either A) carry a laptop with everything you want installed and back it up to your server for protection, or you can have a computer at home (running a version of Windows that supports Remote Desktop) with all your apps that you access from wherever you are. Don't expect sound to work well from afar whatever you do.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 3:14 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken I'm really try to make sure that my apps are synced with all three machines.  I tried GoodSync and the server will not let me sync the files.  And I do carry a laptop where ever I go.
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 4:07 PM
  • oldsalt -

    Let's try and break your problems down and see if we can find a good solution for everything you've mentioned.  I'm a bit confused on some of the things you've said, so please correct me if I make any incorrect assumptions.

    First, a quick explanation of what WHS can do for you and then I'll get into a bit more on how I might go about using it in your particular situation.  WHS has two primary methods of storing the data from your computers.  First, it does nightly backups of all of the computers on your network that you've setup the WHS Connector on.  They do need to be connected to the network and plugged in for the backup to work.  In my family, our desktops are backed up every night and if it's been a while since a laptop was left on at night, I'll make sure to leave it on so it gets backed up as well.  These backups typically aren't something that is regularly accessed and to open them you'll need to use the WHS Connector to open your WHS Console to open the backups.

    Secondly, the server has shared storage that you can access from every computer on your network.  These folders can be a good spot to store documents you want on each computer, however, when travelling with a laptop, you won't be able to access your network shares.  Instead, you can visit your homeserver.com website to connect to your windows home server's web page and access the shared folders that way.  This may work for some of the things you want to do.

    1.  "use email from anywhere"

    This depends a bit on how you're getting your email.  You mention Thunderbird, but it supports a couple of different ways to access your email.  Typically this would be via IMAP or POP.  With IMAP your email stays on the server that you get it form...if this is the case, you just need to set up Thunderbird on each laptop to get your email via IMAP and each should see basically the same inbox, when you delete something in one, it gets deleted in the other, etc.  For connecting to the same email account from multiple computers, most people would recommend this if it's an option.

    If you're using POP to get your email, it downloads each message to your computer from the server and does not necessarily leave it on the server (there are settings to control this, it gets a bit complicated).  If that's the case, you might want to look into an online syncing solution such as Live Mesh (mesh.live.com).  This way you could sync the data file(s) that are being downloaded to each computer so it seems as if your email programs on each computer are looking at the same data.  This is a bit complex and might not be worth the pain...if at all possible, try an IMAP solution.

    2.  "use quicken form anywhere"

    I think this might be a great place to try something like Live Mesh.  If I remember correctly, Quicken data files don't play well with being stored in a network location and accessed by multiple computers, but I don't think you'd have the same issue if you just sync'd the file between two computers.

    To do this, you would make sure your quicken data file is on one of your laptops, add the folder that it's in to your live mesh, add that live mesh folder to the second computer and make sure quicken on both computers is pointing to the local copy of the quicken data file.

    I think this is similar to what you were trying to do with GoodSync...I'm not too familiar with GoodSync, but the benefit of Live Mesh is that it syncs folders over the internet with "the cloud" if you will.  This means that as long as your computer with Live Mesh on it is connected to the internet, it will sync its folders with your other Live Mesh computer and your live mesh online desktop.  I wouldn't install Live Mesh on your home server, just the two laptops.  Although some people have done this successfully, I don't think it's necessary for what you want to do.

    3.  "have it (quicken, email, everything?) backed up"

    I think this is where you'll get the most value from WHS.  As long as your laptops are connected to your network and powered on, they'll be backed up to your home server.  The entire computer is backed up, so you don't need to worry about backing up quicken, email, etc separately.  When you're away from home with a laptop, obviously that won't back up, but you can back it up as soon as you get home, and if you're syncing your most important stuff with Live Mesh, you'll have that second copy created as long as you're connected to the internet...there's very little chance of losing much important data when you're backing up to WHS and using Live Mesh for more regular syncing.

    4.  "make sure my apps are synced with all three machines"

    Now, this one is a bit confusing.  Apps = Applications = Programs.  I don't know if there's an easy way to do this...I think it's a bit more common to install all of the programs you want on each of your computers and than sync the data and documents between those computers.  If that's the case, syncing your data is a bit easier.  As I've mentioned, your computers are getting backed up, so for the stuff you don't need very often, it's taken care of.  For small documents that you use regularly, it might be a good idea to add them to your live mesh.  For larger things, or things that you only need at home, it might be easiest to store them in a shared directory on your home server.  That way they're always there for you at home, and if you want to you can download them from your WHS website when you're away.

    Also, you say all 3 computers...at least as far as your programs go, you probably don't need to install any of them on your WHS.  Your WHS is for storing and sharing data, it won't support running desktop applications on it nearly as well and most people avoid doing this all-together.

    Well...this got to be a pretty big post.  Hopefully you can get some useful information out of it.  I apologize if the advice I'm offering isn't useful for your situation or if I misunderstood what you are looking for.
    • Edited by Z-Ice Thursday, February 25, 2010 9:04 PM "there" does not equal "they're"
    Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:59 PM
  • Windows Home Server is not mean to be Windows Server 200x. Sounds like if you need Exchange-style emails, application deployment, sharing data ala Sharepoint ... get Server 200x.
    Friday, February 26, 2010 1:48 AM
  • I want to thank everyone for all your help.  I think I thought that I could just log into my server and run all the important software there.  This works but is entirely too slow.  I am working on different remedies and when I find one that works for me I will let you know.  I have modified my POP email to leave the messages on the email provider for 1 day after I retrieve them.  This allows my server to get all the emails and which ever laptop I am using still has a chance to get them.  I have to clean up the server every couple of days but that's not too bad.  Again thanks for all your help.
    • Marked as answer by oldsalt001 Friday, March 5, 2010 11:40 PM
    Friday, March 5, 2010 11:37 PM