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WHS 2011 - Login Scripts, Hardware & Profile Q's RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi.

    I am looking to finally upgrade my Windows Server 2003.  I use it in my home for myself and family.  I have 5 clients all running Windows 7.

    I am a HUGE fan of drive mappings and the use of login scripts.  I have a different script for myself, my wife and child. 

    My current server has 5 HD's at 2TB's each... subdivided into several partitions, each with it's own drive letter, each for a specific storage purpose.

    For example, one partition (share) is for software storage, another for educational items, another for pictures, etc.  Plus, each user has a home directory where we have our individual Outlook PST files.  This way i can go from machine to machine and always have my outlook 2010 information (just have to close the client on another machine first).  This is huge for us... being able to move from bedroom to living room and still having Outlook. 

    So...

    I have a few quick questions i'm hoping can be answered.

    First:  Can i put/keep security on each individual partition/share?  For example, I and my wife would have full access to the software drive but my child is read only (no deleting daddy's stuff).  :)  

    Second:  Can i keep the individual partitions with drive letters?

    Third:  Can i use a TXT or BAT based login script which will map the drives upon logging into the various workstations?

    Fourth:  Will my drives/partitions/data migrate from Windows 2003 to Windows Home Sever 2011... or will i need to find a way to back up everything as the drives will all be wiped?

    Fifth:  I do have 2 network printers.  Can i use these when moving to WHS 2011 as network printers?

    Lastly:  Can i take my current hardware used for my Server 2003 and install Windows Home Server 2011?  I have an Intel D975xbx2 mainboard, Q6700 Quad Core processor, Ram, Video card, etc... and logs of 2TB Sata HD"s.

    I consider myself a novice even though i use Server 2003.  I know enough to set up user accounts, a little bit of group policy, setting up security, basic login scripts, backing up, etc. 

    I really want to move away from Server 2003 as it's older now and still 32 bit and take better advantage of my Win 7 Pro 64bit machines.  So, if i can use my existing hardware, migrate my data, maintain security, maintain drive letters/drive mappings and utilize a login script... that would be totally awesome!

    I'm sorry for the newby questions.  I have been looking around but i'm finding the "search" feature difficult in that it's not returning the results i am looking for.  I've also done some googling and seems that WHS 2011 is still too new to find a lot of hits.

    Thanks again!

    Terster

    Friday, July 29, 2011 4:12 AM

All replies

  • In general, the short answer is "yes". :)

    Managing your data with lots of partitions isn't the way Windows Home Server wants to do it; it wants a relatively small number of large partitions (up to 2 TB per partition) which will each contain one or more shares. But you can use your current disks, and your current data, with the exception that:

    • Your system disk will be wiped. All data on it today will be lost.
    • You will find it easier to use the built-in shares where they make sense, but you will be giving up a certain amount of control to do so.
    • Configuring network printers is not a feature of Windows Home Server. Since it's based on Windows Server 2008 R2, it can be done, but there is no functionality in the server dashboard to make it easier, so you will wind up having to figure it out on your own, pretty much.

    One final note: storage of an Outlook Personal Folders file (.pst) is, per Microsoft, not supported on network drives. This is not a limitation of Windows Home Server, or Windows Server in general, it's a limitation of Outlook and the way .pst files are accessed. Doing so will, some day, result in corruption of the file.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Proposed as answer by Ken Warren Friday, July 29, 2011 12:22 PM
    Friday, July 29, 2011 4:29 AM
  • You might be better off using a mail server on your server (I use hMailServer) and picking up from the central store using an iMap client on each of your individual computers. Of course this is not supported as there is no facility to manage it via the Dashboard - I have had no problem on either WHS1 nor WHS2011 for a number of years.

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Friday, July 29, 2011 11:06 AM
  • My workstations are connected to my home domain.

     

    If i move to WHS 2011... and use the Connector sorftware on each workstation... will it take these machines off of the domain or will i have the ability to log into either my server 2003 domain or the home group for WHS 2011?

     

    I'm actually considering building a new box for WHS 2011 and doing a clean install vs. installing over the original 2003 drive/partition.

     

    I don't want to lose any profiling on the local machines where i have to set up each desktop as if the profile is new.

     

    So agian... if i build a new machine, install WHS 2011... then turn off Server 2003, then install the Connector software on each workstation and connnect to the WHS 2011... can i later turn off WHS 2011 machine, turn on the Server 2003 machine and log in with my existing workstions?

    THanks again for the help.

    Terster

    Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:09 AM
  • HI,

     

    Thanks for the info.

    I understand MS doesn't support having a PST on a network drive... but i don't know of any alternatives. 

    I routinely log in on my livingroom desktop but then later log into my bedroom laptop.  Maintaining separate PST's is just too difficult and inefficient. 

    Any thoughts to an alternative?

    Thanks again.

    T

    Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:11 AM
  • HI,

     

    Thanks for the info.

    I understand MS doesn't support having a PST on a network drive... but i don't know of any alternatives. 

    I routinely log in on my livingroom desktop but then later log into my bedroom laptop.  Maintaining separate PST's is just too difficult and inefficient. 

    Any thoughts to an alternative?

    Thanks again.

    T

    See post above regarding iMap. Alternatively you can, if you are prepared for the cost, install Exchange on your server.

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:23 AM
  • My workstations are connected to my home domain.

    If i move to WHS 2011... and use the Connector sorftware on each workstation... will it take these machines off of the domain or will i have the ability to log into either my server 2003 domain or the home group for WHS 2011?

    I'm actually considering building a new box for WHS 2011 and doing a clean install vs. installing over the original 2003 drive/partition.

    I don't want to lose any profiling on the local machines where i have to set up each desktop as if the profile is new.

    So agian... if i build a new machine, install WHS 2011... then turn off Server 2003, then install the Connector software on each workstation and connnect to the WHS 2011... can i later turn off WHS 2011 machine, turn on the Server 2003 machine and log in with my existing workstions?

    THanks again for the help.

    Terster

    So you are talking about Windows Server 2003, which you are using as a domain controller, not WHS1? If so, that is much more than you need for a small home network. WHS2011 should be able to do what you need - removing the connector software would return you to your initial state.

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Sunday, July 31, 2011 3:34 AM
  • Leave the machines in the domain, and install the connector on them. Nothing will change, nothing will break. (Don't try to join your server to your domain, however.) If you're planning to shut down your DC permanently, remove the clients from the domain before you do so.

    Don't set up a homegroup unless you're already using one, as homegroup security on shares will override specific user access you might set.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, July 31, 2011 4:45 AM
  • One final note: storage of an Outlook Personal Folders file (.pst) is, per Microsoft, not supported on network drives. This is not a limitation of Windows Home Server, or Windows Server in general, it's a limitation of Outlook and the way .pst files are accessed. Doing so will, some day, result in corruption of the file.

     

    I'll echo what Ken says here. There are lots of ways for .pst files to go south when locataed on a network share.

    Have you considered moving your email accounts to the cloud as an alternative (and better) way to gain universal access across your devices?  My family uses Windows Live Hotmail for our "back-end" system.  Our email, calendars, and contacts sync automatically between all of our desktop and mobile devices--(iPhone, Windows Phone, Zune HD, etc.).  For families, a Live mail account is like having your own personal Exchange server.

    There used to be limitations with this approach, but Hotmail now supports Exchange Activesync and has great support for mobile devices, including calendar sync.  We use Outlook 2010 as our email client on the desktop, and in Outlook 2010 Windows Live accounts are now treated as first class citizens; i.e., you can make your Live account your sole, primary email account in Outlook. 

    Of course, Hotmail also supplies the traditional Web-based mail interface, and it is improving all the time, particularly if you are on a modern browser like IE9.  But, there is no requirement to use the Web interface if you have a compatible (and more functional) client such as Outlook or Windows Live Mail.

    If you are put off by the idea of having an email account with an @hotmail.com domain, you can instead use Microsoft's @live.com domain, or even set up a Live account use a custom domain, if you own one.

    G

     


    Monday, August 1, 2011 12:12 AM
  • There are definitely advantages to what Gary is suggesting, but potentially some issues as well. As far as I know the scenario he is describing requires the use of Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector, and in my experience can be buggy. A Google search for Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector problems would give you a taste of it. Your mileage may vary. A lot of people don't have any problems with it, but those who do have a bad time of it.

    I used to prefer an email client too, but migrated to using only webmail (GMail) several years ago and haven't missed the client at all. Wasn't very hard to push all my old mail up to the server, either.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 4:41 PM