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My Home Server & Eval Questions RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have just setup my home Server and I was using a Server 2003 Domain system and I personally love this much more.

    I want to go over my experiance and get your comments:

    I have a 2.00 Ghz P4 on an FIC Motherboard with 512 MB RAM... It is in a Generic Case from Newegg... 200GB Maxtor E-IDE inside the box. I have a DLINK Gigabit NIC installed as well. One Generic DVD-ROM drive and that is it. My local network is on a Gigabit router as well...

    My original network used this machine as a Windows 2003 Server Domain Controller and all of our PCs were Domain member clients and I had shared directories on this server as well as a DNS server. My Linksys WRT54G router would send the first DNS to the clients as the IP of the server and Cox Cable's DNS servers as the second two via the Router's DHCP. All when great... with that network...

    I wiped the server & installed Home Server on it... Ran fine I used the XP driver for my DLINK 1000 NIC and it is fine.

    PROBLEM: No DNS... the Connector software could not see the server... (But could via IP). Darn. I flipped my WRT54G Router to default and still could not browse for the server (unless use IP). So I set my DNS in the router to point to the Home Server and it worked! I could see my server now! But NO INTERNET. Frick...

    Clearly my original setup worked great and Home Server apparently expects the router to run the LOCAL DNS. Not here... Oddly enough, when I set the DNS to the router via DHCP only, it works... and YES, I set the DHCP to give 1. My Server IP, 2. Cox DNS IP, 3. Cox DNS IP and still no internet.

    Here is what worked and I do not know why. reset my router again. DEFAULT... Went to the DHCP settings and let the DNS DHCP as 0.0.0.0 for all three... I then Added the IP of my Home Server into the WINS blank (Router DHPC WINS Section) and BAMN! All working... (By the way, I set a static IP on the WHS server when I did this)

    SOMEONE TELL ME WHY PLEASE and someone please write a LOCAL DNS Add-In for WHS. AND is the what I should be doing? The Netbios thing never seemed to work... Nothing did UNTIL the WINS server deal.

    Next issue:

    Now I want to use the remote web to get to my server... the autoconfig failed for the WRT54G and I enabled Upnp. I came here and did a little tweaking and now my site works in the outside world only if you go here: https://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is my public IP). http:// does not work... Turns out COX Cable blocks outgoing port 80. But 443 is OK. Honestly, that is fine... Instead of using M$'s domain thingy in the WHS settings area, I when to my own domain and pointed a subdomain to https://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx and that works great for me. I know if my Cox IP changes through another system I got going, so worse case, my IP changes and I can find it.

    Question: is this the best way?

    Lastly, my Server says that it will expire on 7/15/08 so I have time, but I heard that some people's whs killed early, is that true? I plan on buying the OEM full, but I need to save the $$$...

    Couple of more questions:

    1. My MP3's exst on the WHS server.. What is the best way to use iTunes (For playback only...)? Via a network drive or synch'ing the drives with my local Music folder.

    2. Anyone know when Power Pack 1 comes out? It has features that I want in my WHS.

    3. Anyone notice a real difference bewteen WHS on a gigbit switch vs. a standard 10/100? I compare the transfer rate to my old DNS/Server 2003 DC Domain and the transfer rate is not as good, but fine. I am runnign on a Gigbit network switch with gigabit card NICs.

    4. Windows Updates... When you run them from the WHS console settings area, they do not catch the Drivers & optional updates you would get via the web... Does that concern anyone? They had optinal updates including .NET updates... and I ran them all.

    5. Last One: If you have two hard drives (200 GB a piece) in WHS and they were setup to equal 400Gigs and one died how do you restore it to another computer? That drive does not work when you add a USB adapter and plug it into another PC.
    Sunday, January 20, 2008 4:28 AM

Answers

  • OK-

    I just got my Full Version of WHS in the mail... I am doing a full re-install and maybe I mucked up some settings... I will let you knwo what happens once I am done.
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 12:42 PM

All replies

  • I'll try and answer some of your questions....

     

    Lastly, my Server says that it will expire on 7/15/08 so I have time, but I heard that some people's whs killed early, is that true? I plan on buying the OEM full, but I need to save the $$$... - there was a bug that incorrectly reported the date, but it shouldnt be anything to worry about.

     

    One thing you should be aware of though is that in order to upgrade from the trial to the full version you need to perform a server reinstallation. All of your data will be safe, but you will need to recreate all of your users account, re-permission any shared folders and reinstall any add-ins or additional software. So my advice if you are planning on upgrading in the near future is to not do too much customising!

     

    2. Anyone know when Power Pack 1 comes out? It has features that I want in my WHS. - there is no exact release date for PP1 yet, its currently scheduled for around the mid year point. Keep watching the forums for updates.

     

    4. Windows Updates... When you run them from the WHS console settings area, they do not catch the Drivers & optional updates you would get via the web... Does that concern anyone? They had optinal updates including .NET updates... and I ran them all. - Personally no - if its not a critical update for my WHS, and my WHS is working fine, then I am not concerned. I could always RDP to the WHS and run the updates from there if I really wanted to.

     

    5. Last One: If you have two hard drives (200 GB a piece) in WHS and they were setup to equal 400Gigs and one died how do you restore it to another computer? That drive does not work when you add a USB adapter and plug it into another PC. - Im a little unsure of your question - you have two drives, I assume they are added to the WHS storage pool? If one dies how do you restore it to another computer? Well, if the drive dies, its dead. Could you clarify what you actually mean?

     

    Andrew


     

     

     

     

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 9:42 AM
    Moderator
  • My HD Question was this... If you have 2 HDs in your WHS and the folders are set to mirror... What if the HD with the WHS Server OS crashes and you have teh secondary HD with the duplicated folders on it? How do you retrieve that data?

    Lastly, my biggest concern is the DNS/WINS issue... If someone can help me with that... I would be very happy.
    Sunday, January 20, 2008 11:33 AM
  • Well the easiest way is to replace the sytem disk and perform a server reinstall - the data will be fine.

     

    As for your DNS/WINS issue, I havent had that problem so hopefully someone else who has had it and resolved it will answer.

     

    Andrew

     

     

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 1:29 PM
    Moderator
  • The answer to your first question, why did the DNS settings you eventually wound up with work, is probably this: when you cleared the DNS settings (set the DNS servers to 0.0.0.0 in the DHCP section of your router) you effectively told your router to pass along whatever settings it got from your ISP (since your router is obtaining it's WAN IP via DHCP) to it's DHCP clients. So your Cox DNS servers are getting passed along. When you set the WINS server IP you were setting up NetBIOS resolution. WHS is built on Windows Server 2003, so it's capable of acting as a browse master, and default settings mean that it probably will win any elections. You don't really have a WINS server set up, though, so while your configuration may work, it's not really "right". Smile This is all only a guess; I have a different network configuration than you, so I can't really work through all the options.

    The best way to play back MP3's through iTunes is to install Firefly Media Server. Firefly is a DAAP-compliant streaming server, so it will look like just another iTunes library on your network. And other digital media receivers which can consume iTunes streamin will also be able to stream off your server, so it will stream your music through your house.

    For Windows Updates, Microsoft recommends against installing optional updates on Windows Home Server. They aren't intended for use on WHS, and while some are harmless (drivers are probably safe) others can cause a variety of problems, like the Terminal Services Client V 6.0 which can interfere with remote desktop and console connections to or through the server.

    For your last question, I'm not clear what you're really asking. If a drive fails (physically or electronically) any data on it is lost, so of course it doesn't work when you connect it to another PC.
    Sunday, January 20, 2008 3:01 PM
    Moderator
  • Let me dust off my MCP hat off here, and put it on (it's been so long since I studied for this stuff...)

     

    PROBLEM: No DNS... the Connector software could not see the server... (But could via IP). Darn. I flipped my WRT54G Router to default and still could not browse for the server (unless use IP). So I set my DNS in the router to point to the Home Server and it worked! I could see my server now! But NO INTERNET. Frick...

     

    Did you unjoin the clients before reinstalling?  The only reason you "need" DNS on Win2k+ is for Active Directory - since AD expects certain records in DNS in order to function properly, it could've gotten fussy about not being able to resolve  the directory service or even contact the DNS server itself (WHS does not install DNS server by default).  The latter (no internet but server lookup) is expected - no DNS server running on the IP it was told, so you couldn't resolve (you had internet, just no name lookups) and the AD client decided that it should resort to NBT-type handling of lookup records because it couldn't find any AD records.

     

    Clearly my original setup worked great and Home Server apparently expects the router to run the LOCAL DNS. Not here... Oddly enough, when I set the DNS to the router via DHCP only, it works... and YES, I set the DHCP to give 1. My Server IP, 2. Cox DNS IP, 3. Cox DNS IP and still no internet.

     

    WHS does not expect anything, except to be given a valid IP record (IP Subnet Default gateway) and DNS lookup record (for Windows Update, NTP lookup, and if you have it setup, xxx.homeserver.com record update).  As I said before, DNS isn't running by default, so putting your server as the default DNS lookup is unneeded and is causing further confusion on your part.

     

    Here is what worked and I do not know why. reset my router again. DEFAULT... Went to the DHCP settings and let the DNS DHCP as 0.0.0.0 for all three... I then Added the IP of my Home Server into the WINS blank (Router DHPC WINS Section) and BAMN! All working... (By the way, I set a static IP on the WHS server when I did this)

    Did you install WINS?  That's not running on the server either, unless you install it.  When you add a WINS record into your DHCP server, it defaults the node type to 0x8 (Hybrid) (you used to need to do that manually on WinNT 4.0 server).  That's Peer -> Broadcast, meaning first it'll try to contact the WINS server (peer), and failing that, it'll send a NetBIOS broadcast query (broadcast) to resolve NBT names.

     

    SOMEONE TELL ME WHY PLEASE and someone please write a LOCAL DNS Add-In for WHS. AND is the what I should be doing? The Netbios thing never seemed to work... Nothing did UNTIL the WINS server deal.

     

    There is no need for local DNS, because 1) WHS isn't running AD and 2) WHS doesn't install DNS or WINS server by default.  The purpose for DNS server under most Win2k/2k3 install is for AD only, and as for WINS, it's mostly to prevent broadcast flooding and unneeded browser master elections when you have multiple NBT clients on your network.

     

    Now let me put my network admin hat and look at the same issue.

     

    My original network used this machine as a Windows 2003 Server Domain Controller and all of our PCs were Domain member clients and I had shared directories on this server as well as a DNS server. My Linksys WRT54G router would send the first DNS to the clients as the IP of the server and Cox Cable's DNS servers as the second two via the Router's DHCP. All when great... with that network...

     

    Yeah, you'd need to have DNS on your server for a domain-joined client, since it's the only place it can resolve _msdcs and the SRV record needed to actually get AD working in the first place.

     

    PROBLEM: No DNS... the Connector software could not see the server... (But could via IP). Darn. I flipped my WRT54G Router to default and still could not browse for the server (unless use IP). So I set my DNS in the router to point to the Home Server and it worked! I could see my server now! But NO INTERNET. Frick...

    The connector software was trying to look for <yourserver>.<yourinternalnetworkdomain>, and since the only DNS server that was running that zone was no longer in service, it failed miserably.  When you defaulted your router, it pointed the DNS to itself (WRT54Gs run their own forwarding DNS server), and when it got the IP/DNS info from Cox, it decided to ask them where <yourserver>.<yourinternalnetworkdomain> was, and of course Cox's DNS server is going to be like, "WTF are you and why are you asking me where that is".  Then when you told your router to use a DNS server IP where one wasn't running, the client just gave up and said "I guess Active Domain isn't around, let me fall back to NetBIOS-type handling of names".

     

    When you join a AD-capable client, it remembers which domain it was joined, since that's the only way it's going to know which zone to ask the AD records.  So when you reinstalled your server, the records went poof but the client was still asking where it was to places that doesn't know what to do with it.

     

    Personally, I think MS did a horrid job at how they implemented AD/DNS.  There's too many gotchas to look out for, and when the client is taken out of it's network, it acts like a schizofrenic.  That's what caused your client(s) to behave the way it did.  There is/was nothing wrong with how WHS is handling itself, the issue was a PEBKAC.

     

    -- Starfox

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 5:44 PM
  • So  I suppose that if I 1.reset my router 2.removed all PCs rom the domain and back to workgroup 3. Installed a new WHS I would have been fine? Now it could be that my router has not been reset yet.

    Because my laptops had been removed from the Domain Controller and returned to a "WORKGROUP" machine before I tried to install the connector software which did not work and started this whole process.

     RealityBytes wrote:

    Personally, I think MS did a horrid job at how they implemented AD/DNS.  There's too many gotchas to look out for, and when the client is taken out of it's network, it acts like a schizofrenic.  That's what caused your client(s) to behave the way it did.  There is/was nothing wrong with how WHS is handling itself, the issue was a PEBKAC.

     

    -- Starfox



    I appeciate your help. That seems to make sense. I welcome anyone elses opinions on this. Perhaps the fact that my machines were previously domain client machines... That makes some sense. So what to do? Remove the WINS?

    One thing: You talk about M$ and talk about how you feel they did a bad job with AD/DNS and then you call me an Idiot with the PEBKAC comment... (For those who do not know, it means: (P)roblem (E)xists (B)etween (K)eyboard (A)nd (C)hair))

    Real Nice.
    Sunday, January 20, 2008 8:23 PM
  •  

    Regarding your comment "Personally, I think MS did a horrid job at how they implemented AD/DNS." - I think you need to remember that the "target" audience for WHS is home users who up to now havent really had a sharing or backup capability, and probably have no real IT knowledge, and not those who are already running Windows 2003 domains and AD at home.

     

    As a result of this, not too many of that target audience are going to experience those problems.

     

    That being said, things can always be made better :-)

     

    Andrew

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 8:32 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    So  I suppose that if I 1.reset my router 2.removed all PCs rom the domain and back to workgroup 3. Installed a new WHS I would have been fine? Now it could be that my router has not been reset yet.

     

    Pretty much, yes.  The main causes for "lack of Internet" is:

     

    1. Physical Cable issue (or wireless issues)

    2. IP issues (asking for DHCP where none exists, wrong IP address, wrong subnet mask)

    3. Default GW issue (no/wrong gateway address, not inside subnet)

    4. DNS issues (no/wrong DNS server address)

     

    Assuming that you did install DNS server and WINS server on the WHS, we can add another cause:

     

    5. DNS server issue (no zone setup, incorrect forward/reverse zones, no/wrong forwader)

     

    Since the client was talking to things, we can pretty much rule out 1-3, so that leaves issue 4 or 5.  As stated in my previous post, the reason you need DNS on a Win2k+ server is for AD only.  Since you reformatted your AD/DNS master server, your issues were caused by remenants of your previous network setup.  You still had your primary DNS server pointed at the "old" server which isn't existing anymore before resetting the router, and assuming you did install DNS on WHS, then you had to create (and update) both a forward and reverse zone manually (remember, no AD-integrated magic here), and most likely didn't have a forwarder or still had the . zone so when client asked for www.microsoft.com, your WHS decided it couldn't authoratively anwer the query (NXDOMAIN).  Hence my stance that the issue was PEBKAC (aka operator error), WHS was working properly and it doesn't need local DNS to be run on anything.  If I wanted to call you an idiot, I would've labeled it a 10T issue, which I'm sure you know which id I'm referring to.

     

    My gripe with AD/DNS is how MS decided to implement it.  DHCP and DNS is like oil and water, you have to try real hard to get them to work together, and the mix doesn't last for too long.  Now AD comes and tries to glue it together, sure it can work nicely once everything is properly set up, but take away the AD magic (aka AD-integrated DNS update) and everything falls apart and leaves a mess.  I can set up a Linux or Unix server without "requiring" that it runs a DNS server with integrated anything, the worst I'd have to do is either set up a record so that server.example.org is pointing to a certain IP address if the app needs it, or if it's internal and I have only a few clients, I could easily set up a HOSTS record to do the same and it'll work happily without requiring an internal DNS server.  And if I don't need/care for a fqdn, I could easily hardcode the IP, and it'll work just peachy.

     

    Also, I think WRT54G has it's own DNSMasq-type thing if you still insist on having your own internal domain.  I know DD-WRT does have it, but I've found it more of a nuisance than anything.  NBT does a fine job resolving NetBIOS names to internal IP, and using domain suffixes might look nice, but in the end causes more traffic than it's worth (since instead of doing one lookup, it subsequently appends each suffix and tries to look it up).  And in the end, that's exactly where you ended up.  Your clients are pointed to either the WRT54G or Cox's DNS server for lookup, and it does unqualified host lookup via NBT, the only superfluous thing being the WINS server.

     

    -- Starfox

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 10:58 PM
  • What I have done since:

    Made sure my PCs are not domain PCs... (Set to Workgroup)... so NO AD

    My WHS has no DNS or WINS installed as well.

    Reset the WRT54g to default and /release/renewed the PCs...

    Result: I cannot connect to my WHS server anymore. As before... There are no traces of an AD domain anymore and WRT54g is maintaining my DHCP and set to DEFAULT with a Cox Modem.

    No connectivity.

    Added my server to the WINS in th erouter agin, Release/renew... all is well again...

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 11:24 PM
  • OK-

    I just got my Full Version of WHS in the mail... I am doing a full re-install and maybe I mucked up some settings... I will let you knwo what happens once I am done.
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 12:42 PM