Will audio play directly from Windows Home Server 2011? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am fairly confused on this subject and hope someone can clear this up for me.  I have a Dell Poweredge 1950 with a Soundblaster Live X-Fi soundcard installed.  I recently installed Windows HomeServer 2011 Premium prerelease (Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard build 7601).  I had to do this because the final copy of HomeServer 2011 would not load.  It keeps failing on install and giving me a message about disconnecting a USB, failing hard drive or bad CD ROM.  I have recently purchased a new DVD unit for it and will install it, but I highly doubt this is the problem.  I used an external DVD to install as an alternative, but that didn't work either.  Also, I burned another copy of the DVD, but that didn't help.  Anyways, that's not the issue.

    I can not get the sound to work.  I have tried every driver for SoundBlaster known to humanity.  I have also deleted all the SoundBlaster files and drivers and tried the standard audio device that comes with Server 2008.  No luck.  I keep getting that there are no audio devices installed.

    I had read that HomeServer is meant to be headless and that Microsoft disabled audio.  They want you to stream audio to another PC, laptop, etc.  Is this true?  If so, it won't work for me.  I have this server in a rack in that is connected to our whole house Nuvo sound system.  The idea was for this server to provide MP3s throughout the house hooked up to Nuvo.  It would be silly if I have to connect it to another PC to stream the music and then connect that to Nuvo.  I've been going through the house and trying to slim down all the electrical devices to reduce our footprint.

    So, the question is - will HomeServer 2011 serve as an audio device or is it disabled and need to be streamed?

    Thanks, Dan

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:02 AM

All replies

  • Windows Home Server is not designed for use as a desktop, and playing audio directly is a desktop operation.

    That said, it's possible to get it to play anyway, just not recommended and not supported in the "at own risk" sense. You would need drivers for your sound hardware, preferably for Windows Server 2008 R2 or failing that for Windows 7, and you will need to play the audio by logging in using directly attached keyboard and mouse. Alternatively, you can log in to the console session using Remote Desktop.

    Really, though, I'd use a low powered network media player to stream from your server.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:19 AM
  • On Wed, 21 Sep 2011 03:02:58 +0000, Dan Fine wrote:

    I had read that HomeServer is meant to be headless and that Microsoft disabled audio.

    WHS 2011, like Windows Server 2008 R2 upon which it is based, has the
    Windows Audio service set to manual by default. If you RDP to your WHS box,
    open Services from Administrative Tools, set the Windows Audio service to
    Automatic and then start the service, I think that you'll find your audio
    will work. Assuming of course that the drivers are installed and working

    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 8:40 AM
  • Thanks for both of your answers.  I checked Administrative Tools and the Windows Audio was set to Automatic.  There was another Windows Audio Endpoint which was started, but set to Manual.  I changed it to Automatic.

    My plan is to rebuild the server and load the latest version of WHS 2011.  I am burning the DVD now on a different computer, and have bought a new DVD for the PowerEdge and will install it.  I'm backing up my files.  I have also purchased a new soundcard for the server that states it is Windows 2008R2 compatible.  So, we'll see.

    It is quite easy for me to log in directly with keyboard and monitor and start the playlist.  If that doesn't work, I'll follow your recommendation and get a low powered network music player.  Any recommendations on a player?  I am new to this.


    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:35 PM
  • I have Roku Soundbridges (the original ones) all over the house. I like 'em, and they've been pretty bulletproof. I'm pretty sure Roku has something newer that's DLNA compatible, though. :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:59 PM
  • Great, Ken.  I'll take a look at them.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011 7:03 AM
  • Look at the range of products, not just Roku. I bought into Roku because I had a lot of iTunes audio, and the SoundBridge was the only device on the market that could stream from iTunes (and compatible) streaming servers.

    Now that DLNA is here to stay, there may well be something better.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, September 22, 2011 1:52 PM
  • Okay. The Logitech Squeezebox has may attention.
    Friday, September 23, 2011 1:57 AM
  • I am gettin prepped to go at this again.  I purchased a new DVD r/w for the server to make sure that's not the problem on the install.  Also, purchased a Soundwave PCIe sound card because it is supposed to be supported by Windows Server 2008.  And, I have purchased two Netgear MP101 network music players.  One I will hook up to the network to play the playlists from Windows Media Player coming from the Home Server.  The other one I am going to connect to my Netgear Duo NAS.  It can stream media, and I might as well use it to fill another channel on the Nuvo whole house audio system.  I am thinking about another MP101 for upstairs in the media room and hooking it up to the Pioneer stereo, so we can stream music to it.  It's got great speakers and would be fun to listen to it through that system.  Thanks again for your help.  I'll check back in after I get through some of this work.
    Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:14 AM
  • Good news.  I kicked that servers butt!!!  I put in the DVD r/w and the new sound card.  After loading the driver, the audio showed up.  But, I wasn't satisified.  So, I loaded a released version of Home Server 2011.  It went in just fine.  Now, I feel a lot better.  Also, my Netgear MS101 showed up.  I'll have to wait until tomorrow to play with it.  Thanks for your help.
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 7:33 AM
  • Hello Dan

    I have been following your thread to see if you get audio working while you log in through remote desktop. I have not been able too and am wondering about my Creative audio card. Audio works if I log in direct to the server but not through a remote connection. I have thought about a new sound card that has native support for 2008 r2 and trying that out.

    I need to get my server (WHS 2011) to allow this so when I am setting out at a fire pit in my backyard I can control what music plays on my outdoor Bose speakers. With WHS version 1 this worked perfectly through a laptop but with 2011 it does not. I may have to go back to Ver. 1 if I can not get this working.

    Also does the Netgear equipment allow you to stream to your Pioneer while logged on remotely as this may also help me? I do this presently through a NAD amp to power my Bose Speakers outside (saves a lot of walking).


    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:33 PM
  • If you have a laptop wouldn't it be playing the music stored on the server, rather than the server playing the music? What do you have your outdoor Bose speakers plugged in to?

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 1:16 PM
  • What I think you want to do, using Windows Home Server 2011 and your laptop:

    • Obtain a fully DLNA complaint client device. This will be a network media player of some sort, including a game console, many amplifiers, televisions, etc.
    • Use it as the audio source for your outdoor speakers.
    • Use your laptop as a DLNA controller (or your DLNA compatible phone with controller support, or your tablet with the same, etc.) to tell your server to "play to" the device above.
    • Voilà! Music! :)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 6:47 PM
  • Ken and Dale


    I do have my Bose Speakers connected to My old NAD Amp which is not DLNA capable. In WHS 1 this would allow me control outside by the fire pit of the Servers music when logged in remotely with a lap top. It actually worked good but may not be as secure as it should be if I lived in a city.


    I know I could spend money for a DLNA amplifier and then be able to do this with WHS 2011.  There are a lot of them available and they have a Zone 2 ability to separate outputs. What I am hoping for is some one that can help me get this working with out spending the money.  If needed I might think about a device such as the Netgear media device or a new sound card if that may help that Dan had mentioned in his post. His Pioneer in his media room is basically doing the same thing as I need and is cheaper that buying the 700.00 to 800.00 Home Theater Amplifiers I am looking at. If I really had the money to buy one a new Receiver that may be the way to go.

    It seems to me there should be a way to control audio out of my server while remotely connected. I just do not have the knowledge to find a way to turn it back on. Microsoft turned it off so it seems there may be a way to turn it back on.



    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:13 PM
  • Paul -

    Home Server 2011

    I have tried your suggestion above but it returns the following message:

    "Windows could not start the Windows Audio Service on local computer.

    Error 1079. The account specified for the service is different from the account specified for other services running in the same process."


    I have a video streaming application running a Microsoft Lifecam Studio. Windows reports the device is operating correctly - both the audio and video. The streaming software reports that it can not start streaming without audio input device. I do not intend to stream audio - just need it present to allow the application to start streaming video. The application operates correctly in all other modes (ftp images, etc..)

    What do you suggest?


    George Wheelock

    • Edited by scnet Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:23 PM
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:22 PM
  • There are ways to get audio out of your server, in all likelihood. It's going to depend on hardware and drivers, and in the end we can point you in a general direction, but probably not give you turn by turn directions.

    My argument for not making the attempt, and (I believe) Microsoft's reason for leaving sound disabled in Windows Home Server, is that the UX when playing media directly on your server is fairly poor. You can get a better experience in any number of ways. My preference is for simple devices in every room, rather than trying to get my server to do something it's not designed for, but with whole house audio wiring you would probably be better off using one such DLNA capable device driving Zone 2 on your amp. Then you can use anything that's capable of acting as a DLNA controller to tell your server to "play to" that device. "Anything" could include a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, etc.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 10:38 PM
  • Here http://www.ftaprofessionals.tv/pc-support/14187-help-audio-remote-desktop-connection.html I found this


    "Go to Start and type GPedit.msc into the box and then follow the steps below:
    1 Computer configuration
    2 Administrative templates
    3 Windows components
    4 Remote desktop services
    5 Remote desktop session
    6 Devices and resources redirection
    7 Edit/turn onWhen audio is connected remotely, I belive it will be disconnected locally."

    It is workd for me

    • Proposed as answer by fasthair Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:25 PM
    Thursday, February 23, 2012 5:58 PM