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Why can't you RDP into your WHS machine? RRS feed

  • Question

  • When one logs in remotely to WHS there is something missing from the Computers tab - your WHS machine!  Why can't you RDP into your WHS?  I end up having to log into one of my clients and then RDPing into the WHS machine.

    And yes, there is a need for this - not everything can be done from the Console.  I run SageTV for WHS and there are multiple reasons why I might want to get access to this PC.  Like checking to make sure that my AutoCompression or Commercial Skipping software is working properly and/or changing things like settings for the SageTV web host, etc.

    Monday, January 12, 2009 5:40 PM

Answers

  • By design, all normal interaction with your server should be achievable through the Windows Home Server console application. If Sage TV for Windows Home Server requires you to access your server through remote desktop for any normal admin function, then I question their claims of compatibility.

    As for Remote Desktop access to your server through the Remote Access web site, the lack is also by design. There is an add-in that allows you desktop access to your server through the console (I see someone has already posted about this add-in), and that would allow you desktop access through the console as hosted on the Remote Access web site, but to be honest desktop access to your server in general is unsupported.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 12, 2009 6:13 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Have you tried the "To Desktop" add-in. When you access the console you are using RDP however the console is blocking you from seeing anything else. The "To Desktop" add-in allows you to minimize the console so you can see the desktop of your WHS.

    In any case, you should be able to RDP to your homeserver as well. Perhaps you have a firewall blocking the connection?

    Monday, January 12, 2009 5:51 PM
  • By design, all normal interaction with your server should be achievable through the Windows Home Server console application. If Sage TV for Windows Home Server requires you to access your server through remote desktop for any normal admin function, then I question their claims of compatibility.

    As for Remote Desktop access to your server through the Remote Access web site, the lack is also by design. There is an add-in that allows you desktop access to your server through the console (I see someone has already posted about this add-in), and that would allow you desktop access through the console as hosted on the Remote Access web site, but to be honest desktop access to your server in general is unsupported.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 12, 2009 6:13 PM
    Moderator
  • Better yet, if you own a HP MediaSmart server like I do you can order a VGA cable for it. They are custom made so they are a little bit pricy at $75. Just visit this forum post for more information: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1290&hilit=vga+cable

    If you are handy with a soldering iron and have a RadioShack nearby your house you could also build your own. There is quite a bit of information posted on mediasmartserver.net. Here is a starting point: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=622&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    Having a cable hooking up the mediasmart server is definately unsupported but it will allow you to hook a monitor up to the machine. Ultimately, if you ever decide to re-purpose your homeserver and put another OS on it you will need a VGA hookup.
    Monday, January 12, 2009 6:23 PM
  • My WHS box is self-built, an Asus P5Q mobo in an Asus 300 case with an E8400CPU 2GB of RAM and (currently) 5 hard drives with 5.3TB of storage.  It has 4 TV tuners, 3 of them hooked up to cable boxes and one OTA tuner that is controlled by SageTV.  I definitely do have a monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked up to my WHS machine via a KVM switch.  But I also want to be able to RDP into this machine when I am not at home.

    Ken - are you saying that even using RDP into my server on my LAN is unsupported?  But then again I am running the OEM version of WHS so I assume that everything I am doing is unsupported. 

    But I don't understand how you could install the OS without having a KVM connection, especially since WHS doesn't seem good at automatically installing NIC drivers - I had to manually install these for this system and you would think that the NIC drivers on an Asus Mobo are pretty standard. 

    How would I install drivers for my TV tuner devices without being able to access a UI other than Console?  How would I install firewire drivers to tune channels on my cable boxes or use an IR device like the USB-UIRT if WHS didn't automatically install?  If a WHS box is to be used as anything other than a straight file server then you would need RDP or KVM access.  Without it could you even transfer files from one Shared area to another without having to go to a client and back?

    SageTV does allow you to do most of the configuration using its clients but there are a few things that require you to be running the UI on the server and there are some add-ins for Sage that will require you to make changes to files in your Program Files folder.  Some of the installation is basically just copying files into folders that are created off of the C:\Program Files\SageTV folder.

    I will try the "To Desktop" add-in.

    Monday, January 12, 2009 7:29 PM
  • If you point 3389 to your whs in your router you and anyone else who knows/figures out the admin password can rdp to it from afar.

    Still......


    Grey
    Monday, January 12, 2009 7:31 PM
    Moderator

  • I think you're going a little bit off topic Wayne9. :)  As Ken mentioned, the design of WHS doesn't necessarily need remote desktop - especially if you stay in the confines of the WHS environment.

    The inflexibility is not without reason.  The group producing WHS simply doesn't have the resources to devote to trying to make sure everyone's hardware needs and configurations are guaranteed to work.

    For your needs you need to present them to the developers of SageTV.  I know nothing of SageTV for WHS, but I'm surprised they're WHS addin doesn't do everything you mentioned as far as checking up on it.

    FWIW, you can remote desktop to your WHS from any RDP capable computer that can connect to your WHS computer.

    Anyhow, I wrote the "To Desktop" add in (I've since changed my user ID from my middle name to my first name).  Eventually I'll get around to polishing it. :P  One issue people have commented on is that they can't get the console software to go to full screen again.  To fix this either log out of the WHS computer (using the log off option on the start menu), and log back in, or reboot the WHS machine.  (I've been wanting to remove the exit full screen option).

    Monday, January 12, 2009 8:00 PM
  • Chris, resetting the console will have the same effect, I think.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 12, 2009 8:53 PM
    Moderator
  • SageTV was not expressly written for WHS - the app is available for Windows, Apple,Linux and WHS and they really didn't add that much to make it fit into the WHS modus operandi.  There is a tab in the console that allows you to start and stop the SageTV service but that is about it.

    But one of the benefits of Sage is that it is very open and there are tons of add-ins that have been written that don't even consider that some of the users may want to do all of their configuration via the WHS Console since the number of people running the WHS version is relatively small compared to those using other OSes.  These add-ins include things like installing alternative User Interfaces, a Web front end, a mobile web front end, an add-in to allow automatic commercial skipping, an add-into automatically transcode your file to other video formats (i.e. iPhone, PSP, Divx, etc.) and an add-in to extend your recording of sports games if they go longer than expected.  SageTV also works best if you format your hard drives into 64K allocation blocks which requires access to the Disk Management snapin on the server.

    I happen to think that it is fantastic that you can use your WHS box to do things other than just act as a backup machine, web portal and file server.  Acting as a media server makes lots of sense and there is speculation that MS may move in this direction in the future, especially if they want to push devices like the Xbox360 to act as clients which would require a server.  If WHS is "THE MS server for your home" then shouldn't it be able to fulfill all of your media needs, including streaming Live TV?

    For these, and various other reasons, I couldn't even contemplate running my WHS system without a full terminal either a KVM at the server or via RDP.  And since I need access to the WHS PC it is nice to use the WHS web portal as the single entry point to your home LAN.  Therefore it would be nice if the Computers listed on your home page included the full RDP access to the WHS machine.

    Sorry for getting somewhat off-topic.  I guess that I am a somewhat happy user of WHS (argghh - file conflicts!) and I want to use my WHS box for more purposes.  IMHO this is something that should be encouraged but this may require access to more than just the WHS console.
    Monday, January 12, 2009 9:03 PM
  • Using your server for purposes not envisioned by Microsoft is encouraged, Wayne. However, doing so is also unsupported, and it offers the incautious WHS user a great opportunity to create severe issues on his server. I tend to take a very conservative stance on this, as I would rather see people enjoying their server for what it is, rather than feeling vaguely dissappointed because of what it isn't, or because they tried something that caused issues with the server.

    At this time, using your home server as a home theater PC is not part of the Windows Home Server design. If it were, I would expect a flavor of the Media Center interface for interactive use, and possibly no console. That you can use it that way even if Microsoft didn't intend it is great, and (I think) a tribute to the flexibility of the product. But the product isn't designed to support that use; your need for remote desktop access is really an excellent demonstration of that, IMO.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 12, 2009 10:01 PM
    Moderator
  • I respect your opinion Ken but I guess I am a bit more of a tinkerer and I would always want RDP access to my WHS box.  I have only been using SageTV for WHS for 2 weeks but I have been using WHS since the beta in Feb 2007 - and I have wanted to have RDP access ever since I first started using WHS.

    I guess it is like your car - there may be no reason to ever open your hood but if you are a certain type of person who just can't resist looking under the hood and doing stuff themself!

    One question - how do you copy a file from,  your TVShows share to your Video share without using RDP or an attached KVM?  I just opened both shares in my console which opens up a windows explorer session on your client in \\server\TVShows and \\server\Videos.  Transferring the file from one share to another seems to be going from server to client and back to server if I look at how long it takes and the network utilization of my client - it takes a long time to move a 20GB HD movie this way.  Wouldn't be easier to log into your server and do the copy as a server-server copy?  Or is there some way of doing this with the Console that I am missing?

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 2:23 AM
  • Don't get me wrong, tinkering is why there are cool add-ins like whiist and BDBB. Tinkering is how I figured out how to connect a drive in the console with a drive in Windows Disk Management. (On my own hardware only; I never followed through like Sam Wood did with his add-in.) Tinkering is also unsupported, and potentially dangerous to your data.

    As for copying files around, I use Windows Home Server as additional (network, protected by duplication) storage for my HTPC. I don't use Sage. If I needed to copy from share to share the easy way (the "WHS way", as it were) is to do it from a client PC, though. It does take a long time, and you're correct that it's a two-way transfer. WHS isn't going to do everything well in this release, I'm afraid. :)

    And just because I hammer on the point that "Remote Desktop is an unsupported access method" don't let that dissuade you from using your server the way you see fit. Just understand that if something goes wrong, it could conceivably go extremely wrong, and you're giving up a lot of the safety net that WHS provides.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 2:49 AM
    Moderator