New to Home Server... can you give me some feedback on my server build RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Over the past few months I have been working on setting up my media server in my home with different extenders.  It has been a process of trial and error and I realize now I should have done a lot more research before diving in.  I have a diverse network in my home both wired and wireless with different extenders through out.  I bought a Gateway LX6200 for my main media center.  I have also been using it as my server with vista and a lot of third party aps to make it work.  I think what I really need to do is set up a machine as a dedicated home server.  However, I don’t want to lose all the functions of the LX6200, IE web browsing, HDMI out video play back and the other computer functions for downloading movies and converting them. 

    So for the sake of not pissing the wife off and buying more computer hardware I thought I would try to set up a home server on an old Sony Viao that I had laying around.   Here are the specs:

    Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHZ, 704 MB Ram, 60 gig hard drive.  External 1TB USB 2.0 HD

    So my questions are this:

    1. Will a lap top work for a dedicated server, any issues? I will not be moving it.

    2. Is USB 2.0 fast enough to stream movies? I would be adding more USB externals as they are needed.

    3.  Can I install windows home server on the 60 gig internal hard drive?   IF no, how big should I go for the internal drive?

    4. Is there anything to gain with taking the memory up to 1 gig of ram (that is as high as I can go?)

    Any other comments or input would be greatly appreciated.  My buddy that works at Microsoft gifted me the software and I should have it today...

    Thanks Doug




    Friday, January 23, 2009 5:36 PM

All replies

  • Doug,

    Firstly, welcome.

    Initially, have a read through the WHS Documentation, available here, or here. However, WHS will not install on your existing drive, itneeds a minimum of 80GB and some of those are 'touch and go'.

    Using a laptop certainly is possible, but bear in mind that none of the components in a laptop are designed for 24x7 running - certainly not the hard drive.

    Also, all hardware should be Server 2003 compatible, (WHS is based on S2003), for hitch-free operation. XP drivers can be used at a pinch, but it is a last resort.

    USB is fast enough to stream movies, but even though the documentation says USB drives can be used for storage, there have been numerous problems over the life of WHS which have been laid at USB drives, plus only one drive can be attached to one drive controller.

    The memory requirements are more important than the processor, 1gig is useable, but the majority of people have found 2 gig is the one for glitch-free operation.


    Good luck,





    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Friday, January 23, 2009 6:08 PM
  • Colin thanks for all the info.  I have printed it off and wil study up further.  Does the same hold true for fire wire?  IE the issues with problems and one drive being attached?

    This may be covered in the documentation.  If I was to use my gateway lx 6200, as the home server, does home server support web browsing, downloading, using the DVD drives to rip dvd's and so on?   

    Thanks in advance. 


    Friday, January 23, 2009 6:59 PM
  • FYI on ram.

    My home built machine is bare bones.  p3 1.0ghz and 512mb ram.  I have been running this way fir almost 2 years with no issues.



    Friday, January 23, 2009 7:05 PM
  • Doug,

    No, firewire is fine. It uses less resources than USB in general and integrates better. eSATA is better though!

    Note that the comment regarding 512mb being fine. yes, a server will operate, but to do multiple tasks (including streaming) then you will have problems.

    While the server has IE etc installed and so has the capability to do web browsing etc, it is highly deprecated. No server should be used like that, plus the only supported way of accessing your server is through the Connector/Shared Folders. Note that WHS itself modifies multiple underlaying server 2003 functions and it is very easy to break unless you know exactly what you are doing and why. This is why retail units don't have any way of installing/using a keyboard etc.

    Ripping DVD's is possible, there is at least one Add-In which provides this function and it's easy enouh to use a Client and rip directly to a Shared Folder.



    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Friday, January 23, 2009 7:16 PM
  • Laptops are thermally challenged. Server operating systems stress hardware more than desktop operating systems. The combination is asking for trouble. For purposes of testing WHS, I see no issues with trying it out on a laptop (assuming you can get everything working), but I would advise strongly against it as a production system.

    I don't like USB for storage, to be honest. It wasn't designed as a storage bus. Firewire is better, eSATA, external SAS, and external SCSI are all better yet.

    The WHS specifications say that the minimum RAM is 512 MB. As a rule of thumb, you want double whatever Microsoft recommends if you want decent eprformance across a range of scenarios. That said, WHS makes pretty light demands on your hardware. If you don't install a lot of additional stuff, 512 is likely to be perfectly adequate even for the long term.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, January 24, 2009 1:23 AM