Help! - Single PC for storage/PVR/squeezebox/orb etc - can WHS do what I need? RRS feed

  • Question

  •  Hi all,

    This is probably a really dumb question - and perhaps this is the wrong place for it - but perhaps someone could clear it up for me (or point me in the right direction)...! 

    I want to have a single PC sitting quietly in a cupboard under the telly that will enable me to backup/share all my media and document files from multiple computers. I also want to be able to securely access document files across the web in case I'm away on business without my laptop and have forgotten that vital piece of paper (yes, I'm afraid it happens...).

    I want everything stored on mirrored drives.

    I also want to be able to run (for example) a PVR, Orb and SlimServer (for Squeezebox) on the same machine, since it will be the only one in the house that's always on. That means that the hardware setup will include a couple of TV tuner cards, IR remote and a decent video card so that live broadcast video can be recorded and shown on either a projector or the TV, or accessed using Orb.

    And when I synchronise my iPod using iTunes on my laptop I want the network folder as part of the media library, but I don't want a copy of it on my laptop.

    Is WHS the right way to go for me? If not, any ideas?

    Many thanks (and apologies if this is a laughably dumb question!).

    Friday, November 21, 2008 10:37 AM

All replies

  • Jim,

    Welcome. Firstly,there is quite a lot of info both here, and here, which can answer the majority of points but essentially, all except being a recorder device is covered quite well by WHS.
    The consensus both on this forum and other WHS related ones, is that WHS just isn't the way to go. One of the reasons being, WHS is based on Server 2003, so there are few cards that will have the correct drivers. Also, the likelihood of conflicts with internal operations, plus the fact that WHS is designed to be run without a KVM all mitigate against the idea.
    There is a number of possibilities though, including using another machine to do the recording, which once completed, are transferred to the WHS for distribution around your network. There are Add-Ins, (small additional programs - usually free,) which can accomplish this automatically for you.
    Another thought would be, having this in a computer in a cupboard would also be a negative, as the combined processes could require a more powerful system with the consequent cooling requirements.

    Good Luck,


    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Friday, November 21, 2008 3:42 PM
  • What you are describing is primarily a Home Theater PC, because you're looking for excellent media handling capabilities, tuners, etc. These are not things that Windows Home Server excels at, but things that Vista Media Center is quite good at. Vista will not make it easy to get all your home computers backed up, however, and it won't make accessing your files from afar any easier than it is today.

    Windows Home Server will allow you access from afar to files stored on your server, and it will back up your PCs. But it doesn't have the media handling capabilities you're looking for.

    Overall, the recommended configuration is a "two box" configuration, with Media Center doing what it does best, and using Windows Home Server as additional storage.

    One thing, however. When you say you "want the network folder as part of the media library" you are likely to find this impossible in any reasonable way. This has nothing to do with Windows Home Server; the pain is entirely because of the way iTunes works. You could install something on your server which would "stream" music to iTunes (or iTunes compatible devices like those from Roku), but that music wouldn't be part of your library on other computers.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, November 21, 2008 3:52 PM
  • Hi,

    I don't think it's a dumb question, I think it's something a lot of us want.
    WHS won't do what you want out of the box, it would require some extra's, but I think you can get pretty close to what you want, the only thing that bothers me is 'quietly' as in noiseless, I think that's the thing that will be the hardest to realise.

    Here's how I build it: WHS on 'bare metal' running VMWare Server 2 with Vista Ultimate as client. I've hooked up USB tuners to it for the recording. I don't run Orb, Slimserver or iTunes, but that could be run in the Vista VM I think as it would on a 'real' Vista.

    The only thing is I run my WHS headless, it is not used as a client machine, not even the Vista install. I use other Machines with Vista at my TV's which require tuners because Live-TV cannot be streamed to anything else than extenders.

    My answer is pretty simple and more of a conceptual description, in 'real life' building it will be a lot harder! Depending on your experience with computers you should decide if your up for the challange ;)



    Media Center Plug-ins: http://www.mcesoft.nl
    Friday, November 21, 2008 3:56 PM