Windows Home Server Power Pack 2

From the Windows Home Server Team Blog:

“We are pleased to announce Windows Home Server Power Pack 2.  Power Pack 2 fixes known issues and adds new features to improve the Windows Home Server experience.  Enhancements include: Improvements to remote access configuration, enhanced functionality for computers running Windows Media Center, and content streaming support for Windows Media Center Extenders.  Power Pack 2 adds Italian language support on new home servers.

Power Pack 2 will be made available via Windows Update.  Users need to have Windows Home Server with Power Pack 1 already installed on their home server. Power Pack 2 will automatically install as part of Windows Update if Automatic Updates is enabled on the home server.  (How to turn on automatic updates.)  The English version release date is March 24th.  Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish is currently scheduled to be available before the end of April.”


Full details of the updates can be found here.


Windows Home Server – First update on the way

According to the WHS blog, the first post-RTM system update will be available via Windows Update next Tuesday, November 27th.

The blog says that “…the main benefit of the update is that it will improve the remote access experience for Windows Home Server users by providing them with a ‘trusted SSL certificate’ for their home servers. That means customers will be able to access their home server from outside the home more seamlessly, without any security warnings.”

Full details of the update are available on the Microsoft support web site here.

Windows Home Server RTM

Thanks to (and payment of course), I got my RTM copy of Windows Home Server yesterday and installed it last night.

I’m a happy bunny now that my RC copy won’t expire, and I can get access to all my music, photos, etc. anywhere in the world via my personal sub-domain.

This product is going to be HUGE, maybe not with the V1 we have now, but with the suggestions being posted to MS for future inclusion (media server with multiple TV cards feeding recorded TV to local PCs, etc), watch this space.

If only I could buy shares in Home Server…

Read all the features and FAQ

Good sites to visit on WHS are We Got Served and MSWHS

WebGuide from ASCII Express

I always hated the fact that, living outside of the USA (Ireland), I couldn’t use the MSN Remote Record service to remotely set my Media Centre PC at home to record certain programs.  ASCII Express have a product I stumbled upon called WebGuide4, which not only achieves what MSN Remote Record does, but will give me access to my pictures, music, videos, download recorded tv (dvr-ms files) and will let me stream recorded TV remotely to any device, PC, Windows Mobile device, etc.

I installed the demo, and after about 17 seconds of investigating it, got out my credit card and signed up.  One of the best $15 I ever spent!

Home Network update…

Well I finally moved the TeraStation, the UPS for it, and the Devolo LAN-over-powerline unit into the attic.  The response on the ground floor is a bit on the slow side, but once I start a program, after a few seconds delay, the streaming seems fine in Media Centre.

I’ve got a Netgear GS116 16-port Gb switch ready to go into the attic, but I’m still waiting on Cat 6 cable to arrive.  Once it does, I’ll hardwire the two PCs, the XBox and the IP phone upstairs into the switch – easily done by dropping cables through the roof through ducts.  I’m still not too sure how I’ll get cable runs into the downstairs rooms without major spousal objection.

Still, onward and downwards…

Buffalo TeraStation 2TB

I finally got my TeraStation last week, and it’s been sitting under a coffee table in the den since.  It’s not totally quiet, but my wife and kids haven’t complained yet, so I suppose that’s good.  I set it up with RAID 1 to give two 500GB shares on the network.  All my Recorded TV from my MCE2005 and Vista Ultimate (X64 build 5744) boxes are sync’d to one share on the NAS box using the free Microsoft SyncToy nightly.  All my pictures, videos and music are on the other share.

The best thing is that I now have about 300 hours of TV recorded without having to delete stuff I haven’t yet watched.  The worst thing is that I now have 300 hours of TV I haven’t watched…

There’s no noticeable network lag when watching recorded TV from the unit (all the DVR-MS files are recorded in High-quality – about 3GB/hour).

The web interface to the box is clean and straight-forward, although the help text popups could do with being re-translated into english, as it appears as if that was an afterthought.

If you’re short of disk space, I’d definitely recommend this unit.  Along with the 2.0TB unit (4x500GB), it’s also available in 0.6TB (4x160GB), 1.0TB (4x250GB), and 1.6TB (4x400GB) configurations.

Of Storage and (not-so) Live TV

I have four kids who love TV.  I have a wife who is fond of a soap or two and various documentaries.  Just over a year ago, we got our first Windows XP Media Center PC and put it in the sitting room, where it chugged along with it’s 320Mb of storage.  Twelve months later, we have a second MCE box in the den for the kids (650Mb of disk), and the sitting room box now has two external USB 2.0 disks, bringing the total storage on that box to (gets out calculator…) 780Mb.  It’s still not enough.

But what is it not enough for?

As the last year has passed, we have set more and more series to record, and watched less and less live TV.  I hadn’t noticed this until I realised recently that I hadn’t seen the news in a week!

The posting below announcing the WD 500Mb drives is nice, but I need lots of them!  I could use a HSAN (home storage area network).  We’re recording TV at a faster rate than we’re watching the stuff.  Last night, at about 11:30, I wasn’t quite ready to go to bed, and wanted to watch something about 30 minutes long, but all I could find were movies (all 2 hours and more), or tons of the kids stuff (Simpsons, Fillmore, etc.).  I ended up watching an episode of Father Ted (one of the best comedies ever).

So what am I saying?  I need loads more storage, and loads more time, or to be more selective in what I record?  No, I want to record everything I might watch.  And stuff I might never watch.  I reckon 4Tb should do for the time being.

Now, anyone have a solution?