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Managing pictures/videos/music. Not solved by WHS RRS feed

  • Question

  • Whilst WHS provides a framework to backup computers, and providing shares and duplication, it doesn't solve (along with home PC's) the logistical problems of how to manage photos, videos and music.

    I read this thread http://social.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/a01ad931-2b9e-438e-bf46-421373b7c864/ on shares best practice which has a similar debate about managing photo imports and then how to share them between everyone but doesnt reach a conclusion.

    As well users being able to view all photos from explorer by going to \\server\photos they can also view them on XBOX 360 using the share. This is fine and great.

    However, when each PC imports photos onto their computer you somehow need to manage how this gets to the photos share. I would think its risky to enable all users write access to the one and only central respository of photos in your household due to the fact that somebody could inadvertantly delete the entire lot - and correct me if I'm wrong but duplication wont help you in that situation! (will it?)

    So giving every user write access to that share is risky IMO. There are just so many holes it.

    The only solution I can think of is to manually copy the imported photos into the photos share - this again is rubbish because it means that all photos are in random directory names rather than indexed properly by year/month/day order for example. And if somebody forgets and they get a new PC etc. But I guess in that case you could copy all stuff off (manual process again) into each appropriate share.

    I guess I could use SyncToy but any photos deleted from the local PC would be deleted from the photos share!!! Not ideal.

    If anyone has any solutions on how to manage this sort of thing, that would be appreciated. Setting up a nightly back to copy all files from each PC's MyPictures folder to the WHS photo share would be the solution, but can this be done on WHS?

    Sorry for the long post!

    Andy

    Friday, March 19, 2010 12:43 PM

Answers

  • Andy:


    SyncToy has three optional ways of synchronizing folders; Synchronize , Echo , and Contribute . Look in its help file for definitions of what the program does for each of these. The Contribute method will not allow deletions on one side of the sync pair, which may be what you are looking for.


    You could install SyncToy on each client and set up a scheduled task on the clients to run during the middle of the night and "contribute" its files to the server. This still does not solve the problem of users being able to delete files if they have write permission, but maybe there's a way to have the scheduled task run with credentials of an administrative user who does have write permissions.


    Not exactly what you're looking for, but it may get you started.


    • Marked as answer by Soft Techy Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:32 PM
    Friday, March 19, 2010 1:45 PM

All replies

  • Andy:


    SyncToy has three optional ways of synchronizing folders; Synchronize , Echo , and Contribute . Look in its help file for definitions of what the program does for each of these. The Contribute method will not allow deletions on one side of the sync pair, which may be what you are looking for.


    You could install SyncToy on each client and set up a scheduled task on the clients to run during the middle of the night and "contribute" its files to the server. This still does not solve the problem of users being able to delete files if they have write permission, but maybe there's a way to have the scheduled task run with credentials of an administrative user who does have write permissions.


    Not exactly what you're looking for, but it may get you started.


    • Marked as answer by Soft Techy Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:32 PM
    Friday, March 19, 2010 1:45 PM
  • This question isn't really a "Windows Home Server question" per se, at least not as I see it. The real question here is "how do I manage, centralize, etc. my 'x' across multiple PCs and users?" (Choose your own value for 'x'... :) ) Windows Home Server is a great place to store this stuff, but it doesn't have any tools to manage it.

    Personally, for photos I use Adobe Lightroom for Digital Asset Management (DAM). It provides workflow and management features that are essential to me. It's not network-friendly, however (it uses SQLite as the database engine). This blog post describes more or less what I do (though it wasn't written by me) to use a catalog on more than one computer. You'll see that it's not a shared solution; a catalog is never in use in more than one location at a time.

    I haven't found a good DAM tool that supports network/shared storage and access that's affordable (for a part-time pro, never mind a home user). Though there are plenty of other tools out there, the ones that do what you (and many other people) want are generally pretty expensive.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, March 19, 2010 3:17 PM
    Moderator
  • SyncToy works great in contribute mode to send new or updated files to the WHS shares. My kids know how to copy their digital photos into their own computer and then once a week or so I run synctoy to send them into their user share on the whs. works for me.
    Friday, March 19, 2010 10:16 PM
  • Thanks for the comments guys.

    I think Sync Toy is the way forward as Craig and Mark have mentioned.

    I had the same idea Craig as you, create an admin account that has the privilege to copy to the WHS photos/videos/music shares and run synctoy in contribute mode.

    This is the best solution I can think of.

    I want the various windows media players to monitor each of the shares, so that people can view the complete collection of music/videos/pics from any PC, but my next issue is how can I manage the music ripping process.

    I notice that WMP has a separate rip music location which is great because this can be a location local to the PC, and then synctoy can copy this to the WHS music share!

    Whilst I have engineered a solution, and ok its not that difficult to do admittedly, I still think that Windows Home Server should have the ability to manage this sort of thing for you in this day and age where everything is digital and people are losing data due to hard disk failure on a regular basis. I guess some people make do with USB backup drives, but not me!

    Cheers guys

    Andy

     

    Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:32 PM
  • Again, I don't know if this really provides the answer that you're looking for, but I use JungleDisk to back up all my WHS photos so that, if something goes wrong there's a backup copy. JD also has a great sync function that keeps a copy in the cloud AND allows similar functionality as the Contribute.
    Saturday, July 10, 2010 5:41 AM
  • Hi

    You are asking for some SW package to implement a work flow. As Ken indicates this might not come cheaply, if at all. 

    For photos I solved the problem by mandating that all photos going to the server will first be loaded onto the local PC using Windows Live Photo Gallery. This free tool does a good job of providing standardized directory names, allows tagging, adding to the Directory name, adding categories and some basic editing. Once the originator is satisfied with the load, then the files get merged onto the WHS Share by me. So partly manual, but it should be as that allows some QA to occur before it goes on the server. The default WHS shares are readonly for everyone but me.

     

    For copying, merging, updating directories in general I sue only RichCopy, it is far superior in speed than anything else I have been able to find. It can do multiple concurrent transfers, etc. It can also be driving from the command line lending itself to use via Scheduled Tasks for transparent background use.

    One benefit of Live Photo Gallery is that the data you add becomes part of the file, there is no central db to copy, update, share. It does take a while for a PC's Photo Gallery to catch up initially on 20-25k photos but once done it is fairly prompt in dealing with additions.

    Both tool are available free from Microsoft sites.

     

    Gerrit

    Friday, July 16, 2010 7:25 PM