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WHS as a HTPC RRS feed

  • Question

  • This will be lengthy sorry :-)

    I'm not new to whs, have a server I built out of an old Emachine, amd 3000+, 2 gb ram, gigabit nic. Works fine
    I also have a Custom pc AMD 4200+ , 2gb ram , 8800 gt gpu, gigabit nic , hooked up to my tv

    I have experimented with my whs and have installed Tversity, VLC, and WMP 11 all work fine , start with bootup as services.

    I am intending to build another WHS to replace the one I have, as well as replace the custom machine. All the custom does is play files my ps3 cant, like mkvs, run win rar to extract files, thats about it, I have it set to wake on lan and only turn it on for that. Lots of people here have said not to combine them but I'm really not seeing their logic because I already know every file converter, player I need will work.

    Specs of the WHS / HTPC

    4gb DDR3 1666 mhz
    AMD AM3 Board, Phenom2 940 quad, 5 Sata, 1 Esata, 1 Firewire, 1 HDMI, 1DVI, 1 VGA, AMD Radon 4200 GPU (built in) with 128 Sideport memory. 1 Blueray drive, Bunch of random HDDs from my current WHS, not important anyhow.

    Someone please tell me why I cant or shouldnt do this as a lot of people have said exactly that, I think people are over exaggerating the reasons not to?

     

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 4:40 PM

Answers

  • If you're comfortable with the downside risks, there's no reason I can think of not to go ahead.

    Downsides:
    • Use as a Home theater PC is not supported by Microsoft. Their recommended solution is a "two box" configuration, where your HTPC uses your home server as additional (network) storage.
    • Addition of software outside of the windows Home Server console is not supported.
    • Configuration of same dramatically complicates server recovery scenarios. This is your most serious risk. Windows Home Server as shipped requires almost no configuration, and the same is true of Windows Home Server add-ins. All of the customization you do for your added software will need to be re-configured in the event of a server reinstallation (whether due to corrupt OS or drive failure), and there is no safe mechanism for backing all of that customization up.
    • It's possible that future updates to this version of the product, or a future version of the product, will break functionality that you're getting today. Since you're using Windows Home Server in an unsupported way, Microsoft won't mind too much that that's the case, and there may be little help anyone can give you to get everything going again.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by James3kgt Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:38 PM
    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:35 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • If you're comfortable with the downside risks, there's no reason I can think of not to go ahead.

    Downsides:
    • Use as a Home theater PC is not supported by Microsoft. Their recommended solution is a "two box" configuration, where your HTPC uses your home server as additional (network) storage.
    • Addition of software outside of the windows Home Server console is not supported.
    • Configuration of same dramatically complicates server recovery scenarios. This is your most serious risk. Windows Home Server as shipped requires almost no configuration, and the same is true of Windows Home Server add-ins. All of the customization you do for your added software will need to be re-configured in the event of a server reinstallation (whether due to corrupt OS or drive failure), and there is no safe mechanism for backing all of that customization up.
    • It's possible that future updates to this version of the product, or a future version of the product, will break functionality that you're getting today. Since you're using Windows Home Server in an unsupported way, Microsoft won't mind too much that that's the case, and there may be little help anyone can give you to get everything going again.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by James3kgt Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:38 PM
    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:35 PM
    Moderator
  • Thx for input, I image bkup the whs off site anyhow thus preserving the os. And like MS would help me anyhow :P I mean , they did give me vista :-)
    Whoooohooo win 7 !
    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:40 PM
  • I quote myself: "... and there is no safe mechanism for backing all of that customization up." I don't say this to dissuade you from making the attempt, but I think you have an overly optimistic view of what might go wrong.

    Strictly speaking, backing up your system partition (the only way to capture all of your customization) isn't the problem. It's restoring it. Windows Home Server maintains a certain amount of volatile information on the system drive. That information changes whenever you tweak the storage pool (add/remove a drive, create/delete shares or users, etc.). Restoring an old backup of your system drive is a fairly reliable way to hose your server up to the point where you will need to do a server reinstallation anyway. So in a situation where you are replacing your system drive due to hardware failure, or you need to refresh the system image due to OS corruption, you will not be able to simply restore a backup. 


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 9:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Ahh yes, thinking about it a liitle more I see the Issue. Im most considered with the files, which I intend to Keep using my off site backup. The customization Im less worried about.
    Curiously , Is there a good way to perform a data migration from 1 whs to another, When I named mine (homeserver) all my pc's had issues with connector because of an ISP issue (fixed with an edit to the hosts file, but I also had a problem restoring a client computer from whs for the same reason ) . I will not make that mistake this time.

    Thanks for all the input.
    Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:11 AM
  • Ahh yes, thinking about it a liitle more I see the Issue. Im most considered with the files, which I intend to Keep using my off site backup. The customization Im less worried about.
    Curiously , Is there a good way to perform a data migration from 1 whs to another, When I named mine (homeserver) all my pc's had issues with connector because of an ISP issue (fixed with an edit to the hosts file, but I also had a problem restoring a client computer from whs for the same reason ) . I will not make that mistake this time.

    Thanks for all the input.

    The only supported method is to copy your data across the network.

    The unsupported method would be to disconnect a secondary drive from your old server and connect it to your new server, but do not add it to the storage pool.  Logon to the server desktop and copy everything you find on that drive in x:\DE\shares\[sharename] to \\localhost\[sharename] (where x is whatever drive letter is assigned to that drive)  NOTE:  Do not copy to D:\shares as that may mess up how the files are handled by Drive Extender.  Once the copy is complete, then add that drive to storage pool.  Keep doing that with each secondary drive.  NOTE:  Do not connect your old primary drive to your new server as it might confuse WHS since it will see 2 primary drives.
    Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:42 AM
    Moderator
  • Hey Kariya21,

    Unfortunately this is an older post, but i am running into a similar situation with transferring files from an additional hard drive into the drive pool. After/If i could transfer these files to my pool i would like to add this drive to the storage pool. I am new to the WHS and don't exactly know how to copy multiply folders to the pool. If you don't mind going into further detail on how this can be done, I would greatly appreciate it. 

    Just as additional detail, I built this computer with WHS with the intention of running it as a HTPC first and a server second. So my intentions of keeping the OS as WHS is dwindling. Would you suggest a Raid 10 in Windows 7 if WHS doesn't work out? 

    Thanks.

    Friday, February 11, 2011 4:13 AM