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Testing WHS on a temporary setup RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi, I've been planning on installing WHS on a temporary setup with an older AMD athlon 64 for now.
    I know that I'll most likely have to reinstall WHS after replacing the parts as no drivers will be the same, however, I've read many topics on various forums saying that people are having trouble reinstalling whs without loosing data in the pool.
    What would you recommend, installing it now, or wait wait a few months until I can buy my new rig?
    I'm planning on using a 250 GB SATA as system disk and 2x400 GB IDE as storage and keep the TB-disks in my other pcs for a while...
    • Changed type kariya21Moderator Thursday, November 26, 2009 3:49 PM not a technical question
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 9:34 AM

All replies

  • The trial version is now only valid 30 days (keys for 120 days are no longer available). So testing is ok, but relying on the data stored on that machine will not make you happy.
    Trouble with server reinstall happens often, if the hardware is using SATA disks connected to controllers, which are configured as native SATA controllers, while they don't have problems in IDE mode.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 12:03 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for your reply.
    I have 120 day disks at home which I've never used, will they still work for 120 days or are all trials reduced to 30 days now? Can I still use my disks?

    With controllers, does that include the built in controllers on the motherboard or only PCI-controllers? I'm planning on using my old ECS Elitegroup C51GM-M with built in sata controllers just to try if whs will do what I want. (I've been using various linux distros for a while but am now considering actually giving ms a chance again after what I've seen with win7 so far)
    I have built a few other computers lately with the Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD3P LK board, and they work great, might get one of those or similar to this server too (even if I doubt I'll ever use the 2 PCIex16 slots on a headless server...)

    Btw, is whs 32 or 64 bit? Haven't decided how much ram I'll install yet...

    Thanks!
    Stefan from Sweden
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 12:30 PM
  • Your 120 day trial disk (with product key) will still work for 120 days.

    SATA: There is no in box support for SATA controllers running in SATA, RAID, or AHCI modes in Windows Home Server. This is because Windows Home Server's OS is actually Windows Server 2003 R2, which is a "sealed" installation package. If you configure your controller as legacy IDE (name may vary, but the intent will be pretty obvious) Windows Home Server will use the in-box IDE driver and all will be well. If you use an advanced mode, then because your system disk is a SATA disk you will need drivers to make it visible to setup. You will have to provide these drivers twice: once near the beginning of setup, at the initial hardware detection screen (the prompts are fairly self-explanatory), and then again just after the reboot into text-mode setup, at the "Press F6" prompt. You will need to supply the drivers on a floppy disk in order for them to be found at the "Press F6" prompt.

    Windows Home Server is 32 bit, and will use a maximum of 4 GB of RAM.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 2:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Ok, that's fair enough. Installing drivers shouldn't be any problem, but I'll most likely try to use something else and not a floppy. not even sure I have a drive left. (had a pile of 3.5" and 5.25" but they ended up in the bin about a month ago)

    However, stepping back a bit to the part of trouble reinstalling whs if I decide to use a better motherboard, will there be any extra trouble reinstalling whs if I've been using sata than if using legacy IDE? I mean, I guess I'll need the drivers anyway?
    Or do you suggest I get the motherboard I'm planning to use before I get started so that I don't have to worry about reinstalling?

    (Btw, Should probably mention, been playing with computers since back in the win 3.11 age, so I'm not afraid to try anything but I don't like the idea of loosing data)
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 3:00 PM
  • Ok, that's fair enough. Installing drivers shouldn't be any problem, but I'll most likely try to use something else and not a floppy. not even sure I have a drive left. (had a pile of 3.5" and 5.25" but they ended up in the bin about a month ago)

    Floppy disks are the only way you'll get it to work.  Keep in mind that during that portion of the install process, you are, in essence, installing Windows Server 2003 SBS, a 6-year-old OS that knows nothing of SATA drives, USB flash drives, etc.

    However, stepping back a bit to the part of trouble reinstalling whs if I decide to use a better motherboard, will there be any extra trouble reinstalling whs if I've been using sata than if using legacy IDE? I mean, I guess I'll need the drivers anyway?

    No more trouble installing than you'll have the first time using SATA drives.  As you said, you will need the drivers again (plus a floppy drive and floppy disk).

    Or do you suggest I get the motherboard I'm planning to use before I get started so that I don't have to worry about reinstalling?

    My opinion:  If you are only testing at this point, use whatever hardware you have available (especially if you are using the free eval since you haven't spent any money on it).  Just note that older hardware will run slower and/or be less reliable (which means don't store any truly valuable data on only your test server; besides you should have a backup of that type of data off-site anyway).  Or, what I would do, is install it in a VM (assuming you have a workstation that is capable of running 2 OSes simultaneously).  Why buy new hardware to test something out that you may decide isn't for you?

    (Btw, Should probably mention, been playing with computers since back in the win 3.11 age, so I'm not afraid to try anything but I don't like the idea of loosing data)
    You won't lose data from a Server Reinstallation anyway.  It wipes only the OS partition, nothing else.
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 3:48 PM
    Moderator
  • The trial version is now only valid 30 days (keys for 120 days are no longer available). So testing is ok, but relying on the data stored on that machine will not make you happy.
    Trouble with server reinstall happens often, if the hardware is using SATA disks connected to controllers, which are configured as native SATA controllers, while they don't have problems in IDE mode.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    I have recently started a trial based on the 120 day offer. It is still shown as such here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=e3694b69-93f6-4267-b881-55ce0648c784

    Not allowing that the 30 period to extend to the full 120 is going to cause me real problems and I would like to see the publicity changed do that others may not be deceived. I have tried the advertised route to extend to 120 days but end up chasing myself in a circle.

    Hoping I can find some satisfactory way forward
    Saturday, November 28, 2009 7:32 PM
  • I have recently started a trial based on the 120 day offer. It is still shown as such here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=e3694b69-93f6-4267-b881-55ce0648c784

    Not allowing that the 30 period to extend to the full 120 is going to cause me real problems and I would like to see the publicity changed do that others may not be deceived. I have tried the advertised route to extend to 120 days but end up chasing myself in a circle.

    Hoping I can find some satisfactory way forward
    I sent an email to someone on the WHS team earlier this morning after someone else noticed that and posted it here, so I would expect the site to be updated some time in the near future.
    Saturday, November 28, 2009 7:50 PM
    Moderator
  • I have now installed whs on my system, and it seems to be working. I reinstalled it all again as it stopped the first time as I removed the disc before everything was installed and whoever programmed the installation forgot to give the user the option to reinsert the disc. however, now, I have troubles with booting, as I need to have the disc inserted to load the bootmgr (or whatever it's named in whs) or the system will not start up at all. What's the easiest way to correct this? the installation dvd only give the options new install or reinstall. no repair... :/ What's the easiest way to fix the mbr on whs?
    Saturday, November 28, 2009 8:27 PM
  • @kariya21 Thanks

    I am also a bit concerned about why the extended trial has been withdrawn. Does WHS have a sound future? - I believe I have seen reference elsewhere that the current (Win Server 2003) version is not likely to be updated to a newer generation. If that is true how much useful life can be expected or put another way, should I spend my money?

    David
    Saturday, November 28, 2009 11:01 PM
  • Hi David,
    an inplace update from the current Windows Home Server (32 Bit) to a future version (64 Bit) within the same box will technically not be possible (none of Microsofts server or client operating systems supported such upgrade from 32 to 64 Bit in the past).
    If a server reinstall with a future version on the same box will be supported, which keeps the data intact, seems to be also difficult to answer from current knowledge. Especially, since this would have to be covered by the OEMs - and those prefer to sell new boxes - I would not bet on this.
    So we will have to wait, what happens in the future.
    Is the current Windows Home Server still a usefull investment? If you want/need the features, yes. It gives you some more security now, and the price of these systems is fine for what they offer in my opinion. And when the next version of WHS is issued, is still not known, but for sure will still take a while.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, November 30, 2009 9:32 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Olaf
    Thanks for your comments
    I appreciate the points about changing architectures; my concern was more whether there would EVER be a new version at all.
    Nevertheless, after a few days on trial I have now answered my own question. I have been sufficiently imressed. My trial server on a dedicated machine with 3 Win7 clients is running very nicely so I have ordered my DVD (which by the way seems not to be widely available)

    Regards
    David

    Edit to add:
    Re DVD - not only in short supply but it will come only at the Power Pack 1 level of integration!
    • Edited by David A Tucker Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:31 AM DVD info
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:51 AM
  • Update re my previous comment about the trial period

    I downloaded and installed my trial ISO on 26 November.
    When installed the Server desktop shows Evaluation copy Build 3790 (Service Pack 2)
    However,  Console Resources shows
     Windows Home Server with Power Pack 3
     Evaluation Copy, Expires  22/05/2010
     and the Version information shows everything at 6.0.2423.0
    This is as yet not activated.

    So, this leaves me REALLY unsure about the trial period: 30,120 or even 177 days?

    David
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:27 AM
  • Hi David,
    since there are no longer trial keys are given out, only the trial without activation works, which lasts only up to 30 days without reinstallation. (If you still have an unused trial key, you should still be able to use this for extending the trial period.
    Sure it is not that beautiful, that you get shown different values in different interfaces, but I don't think that fixing such trial only related bugs are high in the priority of the developers.

    About the availibility of WHS DVDs, there are two reasons for a not so wide range: WHS is thought as an OEM only product, so there are no shiny software boxes in the market and not every shop wants to provide system builder or OEM products.
    Also with Power Pack 3 a media refresh is expected, which includes this Power Pack already. So there is a time overlap in the retail channel between recalling the old disks and delivering the new, in which the availability is reduced.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 1:22 PM
    Moderator
  • I have now installed whs on my system, and it seems to be working. I reinstalled it all again as it stopped the first time as I removed the disc before everything was installed and whoever programmed the installation forgot to give the user the option to reinsert the disc. however, now, I have troubles with booting, as I need to have the disc inserted to load the bootmgr (or whatever it's named in whs) or the system will not start up at all. What's the easiest way to correct this? the installation dvd only give the options new install or reinstall. no repair... :/ What's the easiest way to fix the mbr on whs?

    Just a short update on this. The reason whs didn't boot properly in my case without leaving the CD in the drive was simply because whs used wrong drive as the system drive. I wanted to use my sata drive as system drive, but obviously the installer put whs on my old PATA instead. Changing the boot order in bios fixed the issue.
    So, the next question is, is there any easy way to move the system to my other drive? or is a complete reinstall without my pata hooked up during install my best move here?
    Sunday, December 6, 2009 3:27 PM
  • Hi,
    cloning a WHS drive does not work well, since the drive ID is part of the configuration to determine, which volumes belong to the storage pool. With improper cloning drive D: (the "mother" of the DATA volumes) will go missing in the console.
    Some people managed to do this by cloning all information of the source drive including the physical drives characteristics, but a fresh install would be the more reliable way.
    Best greeetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Sunday, December 6, 2009 10:46 PM
    Moderator
  • Ok, thanks, I assumed that would be the problem. However, I have been wondering if there was any part of the installation where I would have been able to select which drive I would prefer to use as my system drive. Is there such an option? In my case, my master PATA-drive will drive 0 so I assume that as long as that drive is connected whs will install the PATA drive as my system drive.
    However, this is only a temporary setup to check if I like the idea of whs or if I should use some other server software. I will have to reinstall it all again if I decide to keep whs, as I'll replace my mother board. (the one I have now has been running 24/7 since 2006 and is getting somewhat unstable)
    Monday, December 7, 2009 7:00 AM
  • No, there is no way to select your system drive during setup: Windows Home Server will use the first drive it "sees" which is of sufficient size.

    On motherboards with both PATA and SATA controllers, by default the first drive is usually a PATA drive if there's one connected. Some motherboards will allow you to change the order in the BIOS, which should allow you to change which drive is used.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, December 7, 2009 2:52 PM
    Moderator