How to Build a Kick-Ass Windows Home Server

66

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Philips

This idea is adorable. Thank you for the credible tips. This application is to be applied.

synology plus models

avatar

ServerExperts

This is a very useful tutorial who want to run their windows based Home PCs as a Windows Web Hosting Server.

avatar

Philips

This is awesome. This blog is a big resource. Thank you for posting the information on how to build such windows home server.

dewalt laser level

avatar

CecilyLillie

This was a great way to get rid of many useless data. While sitting at home I've tried many ways to systematize and delete the unwanted information, but all was in vain. My husband, who offers apartments for rent in Dallas, recommended me this article and finally I was able to create a home server. I'm more than happy because my family has easily accommodated with its friendly interface and now we don't have the storage problems anymore.

avatar

sucktackular

as one commenter showed by demonstrating that his computer would not stay on, and kept turning off in shorter and shorter bursts, using thermal paste on the cpu is a step that you made the grave mistake of not including in this guide. pretty pathetic, guys.

avatar

kenkendall56

I received a message this morning that my Vail Windows Home Server installation is expiring in 9 hours.  I downloaded my activation keys from the website when I installed the OS and input the key but it is telling me it is expiring.  Any suggestions?

 

avatar

kwilkins9

Mine expired yesterday, so I requested a new key and reactivated.

avatar

hummer limo hir...

hey this is truly an amazing way to boast PC performance, thanks for sharing the tips... hummer limo hire sheffield

avatar

rolls royce hire

WOW, the post is really very amazing, the tips you shared will surely help my pc...rolls royce phantom hire nottingham

avatar

mgrace47

Thanks for the response to my earlier post. I followed a friend's suggestion and just bought an internet card for $25. Server connected immediately.

 Now my new problem:  constant unexpected power failures with the server. Everything worked fine for about two weeks. Microsoft did some updating and then the power failures started.  Don't know if the two events are connected.

Connections inside the machine seem tight, machine is cool and no funny smells. Machine runs well for about 20 mins and power goes off. Next time, the power goes out after 10 mins---and progressively shorter until I can't even turn on the machine with the power button.

 When I wait an hour or so, the machines starts and the power failure begins all over again.

 Any thoughts?

avatar

AntiMac

I think your problem is from windows server not being registered because I read in an article about windows 7 and they said that if you didn't register the CD key that the OS will shut down the computer after a certain amount of time and then half that time every time you turn it back on, its probably the case for all Windows OS's

avatar

mgrace47

I followed the instructions for building the WHS and the hardware appears to work perfectly. But my server will not connect to the internet, my router doesn't recognize the server and my home PC cannot find the server using the Windows connect software. Can anyone help me figure this out? Thanks

avatar

ratchet26

Hello, this is common with a clean install. It sounds like WHS didn't recognize your network adapter and install the appropriate drivers. Your WHS won't be able to go 'headless' (with no mouse, keyboard, or monitor) until you get this working. So make sure you have all these still connected and log in to the WHS. Go to System>Hardware[tab]>Device Manager. Check for any yellow question marks here. You'll probably see at least one for Other Devices.

I always install the latest chipset drivers first. You should download them from your motherboard manufacturers website. Get the network drivers here also, assuming you're using on-board ethernet, otherwise get them from your network cards website. Use drivers made for Server/Windows 2003 or XP. Put them on a USB key and run the chipset driver installation, followed by the network adapter drivers. Once you confirm internet connection you can shed all the gear from the server and go headless with it from here on out. You can manage WHS from the client PC's using the WHS Console for most things, and you can use Remote Desktop Connection for more advanced operations. Hope this helps.

avatar

Blade Runner

According to article guidelines assembled server with trial version of WHS. Did not attempt to install from USB jump drive. Installed OS burned to DVD-R from DVD-RW drive. Strangely, checksum number did not match listed value. Corrupt file error messages during installation OCZ2VU8002GK memory. Program installed w/o issues after switching to OCZ2P800R22GK memory. Installed wireless adapter WPN311 using support (Win2K?) drivers on CD. Latest updates and security patches installed w/o issues. Error message generated after wireless driver did not load after program update reboots. Server will be used for HD media streaming and file sharing.

More often than not Maximum PC 'How to Build' articles omit small yet important details. First, save about $20 buying Asus M4A78 Pro M/B from Newegg under their 'open box policy'. WHS (WinServer 2003) does not use support drivers (video, NIC etc.) on disk. Cables and I/O backplate will be missing. Second, there are issues between AMD CPUs and memory. Something to consider when buying an AMD M/B. Finally, it's not clear how to maintain a headless server from a computer with a different OS (WinXP, Win2K, Vista, Win7 etc.)

Agree w/IrLewis--provide MAKE and MODEL of the parts IN THE MAGAZINE article.

avatar

High_tech

I had been testing Windows Home Server using the 120 day eveluation version for about a month, when I decided it was definitely worth it, and worth building a new server.  I was using an old Dell Optiplex GX280 with a bunch of external USB drives, and had decided that since I was going to use this, I was going to build a suitable home for it.

I started with a cheap Asrock motherboard and a Pentium E5300 dual core CPU.  The two together cost only $125.  My only mistake was not checking to make sure the motherboard had GigaLAN, so I ended up having to spend another $25 for a GigaLAN card.  But the four on-board SATA connections made it suitable for the four 1.5TB WD drives I bought at a Black Friday sale for $95 each.  Dropping in four gig of DDR2 RAM for $70, and a 700W power supply for $80 brought the overall cost to about $680, since I already had a spare case to put it in. Not bad for a six terabyte server!

 So far, the operation has been flawless, with only one server hang, and that was caused by a power failure combined with a tempremental UPS.  I have six home computers that are now fully backed up automatically on a daily basis.  All the files stored on the server are backed up using the automatic folder duplication feature, which is a great idea - it beats the hell out of spending extra money for a RAID-enabled motherboard.

The only disappointment I have with it is actually nothing to do with WHS itself; rather it is with the printer manufacturers (HP in particular) for not producing printer drivers that will work under WHS.  It would be nice to move my two printers over to the server as well.

avatar

lrlewis

I built the WHS using the stated components, except, as mentioned, the gigabyte board for the asus.  I also threw in 4g of memory rather than the 2g in the article. But the processor was the AMD Athlon II.

Primary reason for building the WHS was specifically for streaming videos (bit-torrent collected) to my OLD crt tv, via a vista windows media center htpc (quad core) over a wired (not wireless) network.  The backup capability is a welcome secondary capability.

I think it's great.  Given the demise of the dvr, I bought a refurbed media center hp to use as an htpc several years ago (I only have over-the-air, no cable or satellite). 

You might consider an htpc instead of the WD device.  Yes, a bit more expensive, but much more flexible.  The WHS plays very nicely with windows media center, and the stream is glitch free.

Now if only Maximum PC would do an article on building an HTPC.

avatar

legacy2013

It is technically possible to due this but the time it takes to transcode the video is too long for it to actually be effective right now. There is a company called OnLive that is currently designing gaming software around this very concept, having thousands of amazing servers on the internet to play great games on crappy computers. Apparently they have a way of transcoding video in about 1ms but thats not possible for the public right now.

 

I am building a WHS server for my parents because they want to back up the computers in their house and store HD home videos on here. They are buying a device from WD that lets them stream the video to the TV. I was thinking about buying a quad-core processor to speed up the video transfers considering there will be alot of them.

thoughts?

I also pretty much reworked all the compnents and got a better price for better items. Shows how fast the market changes

avatar

dgourd

I was just wondering if it was possible, using this method, to build a kick ass server and connect some cheap laptops to it for doing intensive stuff (like playing crysis).  I was wondering if the network speed would be a limitation to the speed of games and hinder perforamnce.

avatar

legacy2013

sry did see this before check my comment above

avatar

apeck9

With all the talk about issues with the mobo you used [Asus M4a78 pro] not working with WHS, can you clear up the matter for us Norm?

Will the WHS work on this mobo or not? can you verify this with Asus? Microsoft WHS folks?

 I checked the  asus support here http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx?SLanguage=en-us

and it seemed there are updates to the bios and the microsoft forums seem to suggest its just having the windows 2003 server drivers or substituing them with the XP drivers will make WHS work with this mobo.

I am no expert, though, and you built the system showing the WHS software installed... so what is the deal?

I appreciate you responding Norm, since folks may be building systems this weekend using black friday and cyber monday deals. As the online editor I assume you read the post regarding your articles. Thanks

avatar

lrlewis

In my previous post, I blamed the ASUS motherboard.  I too, like Drummer31779, had stability issues when using the Asus.  In fact, it was memory.

As Maximum PC's MAGAZINE description did not really specify WHICH model of memory, I bought Corsair Dominator CM2X1024-8500C5D, 1066MHz, 2.20v ver 1.2, thinking that "higher performance" would be "better".  I'm sure it is IF the motherboard will post so you can set the appropriate memory parameters (like voltage).  Without the post, and no beeps to id problem, I blamed the board.  Like Drummer31779, ASUS support stated that WHS OS was NOT supported.

Becoming frustrated with several "mute" M4A78 PRO's, I then bought a Gigabyte MA785G-UD3H board.  This too would not post, but at least it gave the appropriate beep codes for "bad memory" (highly recommend doing an internet search and buying a case speaker so you can hear the beep codes - found mine for $0.99 + 1st class mail shipping - bought 4 as I'll put them in every pc).  With THAT info, I bought Corsair Twin2x4096-6400C5, 800MHz, which posted and booted right up (given WHS had already been installed).

As an academic exercise, I then tried the memory with the ASUS M4A78 PRO - it too posted and booted.

A major drawback of the Gigabyte MA785G-UD3H is that, even though it CLAIMS it can boot from an external usb device, I never could get it to.  With the ASUS, THAT was NEVER a problem - external usb boots always worked.  On the other hand, the Gigabyte has dual bios chips - I stayed with it just for that reason, having become frustrated with an ASUS flash, then no post.  I had an old dvd drive I threw in on the Gigabyte "just in case" - if nothing else, saves space in my parts bin.

The only device not working with the Gigabyte is their firewire port - can't seem to find a driver (but I haven't looked all that hard) as it's not really a requirement.

Bottom line:

  1. If you are having problems with the mobo, try some "stock" memory.  Unfortunately, it is a Catch 22 - not being able to post so as to set the memory variables.  My Asus WHS worked for a week with the Dominator memory and default bios settings, then suddenly stopped and would not even post.  Lesson learned - if it posts, set the memory parameters IMMEDIATELY.
  2. For Maximum PC - IN THE MAGAZINE, provide make and MODEL of the parts used; links would be even better.  Some of us don't want to wait for the net article, which DOES contain links to the specific parts (those are appreciated).
avatar

drummer31779

I too have been having major issues since I've built my server. First I had to manually install the drivers from the M/B disc via the hardware device manager. I got it to work for about a week. The I came downstairs one morning to "Boot Block Compatible Version .066" Bad Bios Checksum. Starting BIOS Recovery. Then it was looking for a disc or something. I pulled the CMOS battery, reinstalled, and restarted. I worked for a little bit, then got the Blue Screen of Death. One time was for "Bad Pool Header". Another time was for "irql_not_less_or_equal". I tried booting with the M/B disc as well as downloaded the Initial BIOS and most current revision and the computer just hangs. So now it won't even POST or go to the BIOS or anything. I explained all this to ASUS and the reply I got was "This motherboard is NOT compatible with WINDOWS HOME SERVER", Recommed using XP/VISTA/7.

 Sooo, I ask you Maximum PC, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Why would this magazine publish an article knowing people would probably go out and purchase this, if they didn't do their home work and find out that the M/B is not compatible with the OS????????

avatar

snicke

How much power does it consume? Very important for many people if it is supposed to be on 24/7.

avatar

ChaOConnor

How is the hunt for drivers coming?  I'm having a hard time making all my devices work in WHS.  The ASUS CD says it's not supported.  Does anyone have links to working drivers?  Thanks!

avatar

lrlewis

I had been interested in getting a NAS, but decided, once I'd read the magazine article, to go this route instead.  I am impressed with WHS's capabilities.

The magazine's instructions were easy to follow and everything went together well.  My only COMPLAINT is the Asus M4A78 Pro motherboard.  As another poster commented, Newegg's purchaser comments show this board has a lot of problems.  I've waiting for my THIRD board:

1st worked, except for the on-board lan.  Wouldn't work.  When I tried to upgrade to the latest bios, using the bios's own ASUS EZ Flash 2 program, the program reported success, but the board would not post.  No boot screen, no beeps, nothing.  RMA'd.

2nd worked, but again, no lan.  I did get the lan to connect to my router by enabling the "Check Atheros LAN cable" bios option.  I did find drivers that worked on the motherboard's cd, even if ASUS does not say they support WHS (WHS itself able to find the appropriate drivers by using device manager).  In fact, ASUS customer support specifically told me this board does NOT support WHS.  With the driver installed, lan communications functional.  Left the system on for 2 days, then shut it down.  A day later, when I booted, or attempted to boot, the board would not post.  Again, no boot screen, no beeps.  Nothing.  RMA'd.

Hopefully, 3rd time will be the charm.  With a HEADLESS server, having the board boot up EVERY time CRITICAL.  No chance to see boot errors when running headless.

In summary, the magazine's instructions are easy to follow, and the build is easy.  But using this motherboard, I now have a bit of practice installing motherboards, cpu's, and heatsinks again and again.

avatar

spentnickles

I just installed 4 1.5TB WDGreen HDD's, full, complete from the ground up reinstall, not from a backup...  WHS does activate, but I didn't have any problems doing so.  Maybe if you change the MoBo but not with changing out all the drives and reinstalling everything from scratch...

avatar

cigars n scotch

Disclaimer*:  Novice computer "building" knowledge, I know enough to be dangerous but do not keep up-to-date on what all of the technology means so any and all true help is much appreciated.

 I am looking to build this home server in order for it to be my media center because I watch most of my movies streaming through my Xbox 360 and I also need a place to keep a backup of my laptop (which is my main PC.  I don't use a desktop anymore).  While trying to piece together the parts list and reading quite a few reviews on this mobo on Newegg I'm not 100% sold on this one.  It seems that quite a few people have had trouble just getting it to boot (requiring them to flash the bios) among some other issues.  Can anyone recommend a similiar mobo comparable to this one?  Andwould you recommend I buy a combo deal with mobo + processor?

 This box will be used only as a server and I will be storing all of my music, movies, pictures, and backups on the drives.  My end goal is to just stream everything through my Xbox 360.

 Second question I have is what is the difference when referring to RAM (PC2 4200, 5300, 6400 etc.)?  What would be commended?

 I tried to log into the forums to ask this but am having username/pw issues for some reason.

 Thanks for any help you provide.

 

avatar

apeck9

what  RAM is best to use since the one used in the article is dicontinued everywhere online?

other builders seem to be having ram issues in the other posts

they used [from zooming in on the picture]

CORSAIR
XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C3 - Retail

  • Cas Latency: 3
  • Timing: 3-4-3-9
  • Voltage: 2.2V
  • Heat Spreader: Yes
  • Features: EPP (Enhanced Performance Profiles)
    SLI certified
  • Recommend Use: High Performance or Gaming Memory
  • Parts: Lifetime
  • Labor: Lifetime
  • Model #: TWIN2X2048-6400C3
  • Item #: N82E16820145035
  • Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

 

avatar

bbotzong

I started with WHS before it was commercially released as a Beta tester and progressed over the years from the initial public release, the Power Packs 1 and 2 and am now beta testing the Power Pack 3.

The idea of WHS is just great. I have seven PCs hooked into it and backups are routine and unmonitored. It does nag you a bit if one gets missed (which you can turn off, but that would defeat the purpose). I have a medium-grade processor and 2 terabytes of data among about six drives.

There are two or three things that bug me. First, they built it on Windows Business Server 2003 and I've not seen any upgrade to 2008 come yet, nor does it appear they will do that upgrade. They really really really lock down your WHS for security which means you have to add trusted sites for almost any website you visit. Again, I somewhat agree with making this pretty tough to get around for novice users, but it's somewhat annoying when, for example, trying to troubleshoot DSL problems with my vendor. Third, for some reason, they partition only 20 Gigs to the C drive and then take all the rest of the drive space and make that the start of the data partition. I wanted to put SQLServer on my WHS machine because it's a server, it's connected to the internet, and it has lots of storage. I tell you, SQLServer ate through all of the empty space on the drive and then caused problems with backups because the drive had no room. My print queue went down and it took me forever to uninstall SQLServer. I tried my best to reinstall it on one of the D drives, but it (so far) has been impossible). Something glitched and I'm in no-install hell until I get it figured out. To make matters worse, they won't let you expand the C partition (at least through normal means), they won't let you do a roll-back (ala XP or Vista) where you can revert to a previous (pre-SQL in my case) setup. And, if you want to replace drives, you can mark any drive EXCEPT THE FIRST D PARTITION as 'don't use' and it will carefully move all of your data off that drive so you can do a swap. I upgraded from two 500 gig drives to two 1,000 gig drives with absolutely no problem. Just make sure your main drive never gets old because, so far, I can't figure out how to move data off that first partition. It SHOULD BE part of the WHS capabilities. I shouldn't have to image drives and restore complete drives. Plus, I'm very afraid to use a partition manager on there because WHS completely fills up that first D partition.

Enough on that. I do appreciate the suggestions on the add-ins. Last time I checked, there weren't many. The several you mention seem to be great additions. I've always thought the way you logged in and transferred files was pretty lame, but that's not why I purchased WHS.

One more thing... I use Carbonite to backup my WHS to the cloud. I store all our documents, videos, pictures, etc. and having an automatic off-site backup is somewhat reassuring. Carbonite, however, just cannot keep up.  It's never been current and there are files that have been on there for three years it hasn't gotten to yet. Not making me feel 100% secure, but most of my important data is already backuped on DVD and stored off-site (family pictures, etc). I have asked Carbonite to give me a better level of service, but they haven't heard me yet. They are very reasonably priced, but if you can't get current, betteer hope you don't crash-and-burn.

Altogether, nice article, guys! Thanks. MaximumPC is still a destination for me, both in print and on the web!!

avatar

smeeIT

I LOVE it... WHS is absolutely amazing. You can do so much with it.

The add-in recommendations are great guys!

A couple weeks ago my Dad gave me some money and said he wanted a new network and NAS setup.

I did my research and bought the following: 

ASUS AT3GC-I w/Intel Atom 1.60GHz

GMA950 (onboard)

1GB 667MHz Crucial

Mini ITX case w/250W PSU

2X Samsung 1TB HDs

I chose Atom because of low power consumption and the fact that I won't be streaming any video or anything.

It's great because now  we have all our pictures (that go back at least 20 years) on the network were everybody can access them.

I'll be settup up Windows media player to stream music to any of the computers as well.

Backups are awesome.

 

So in the end. THanks so much for this guide!

~Smee

avatar

glee

I apologize in advance if this is a basic question... I like the idea of having a Windows Home Windows server so I won't have to turn on my computer, connect my USB external hard drive and boot up PS3 Server every time I want to watch a movie/episode on my PS3/TV. However, I'm not too fond of the size of the tower.... can I have a similar spec on MicroATX? I will mainly use it to play mrk, rmvb, avi, ISO (dvdrip) movies on PS3 using PS3 Server as I mentioned earlier. I like Acer easystore's form factor but it just doesn't seem powerful enough with its atom CPU and video. Thanks.

avatar

swessie

Glee, my WHS is mATX, system board and case, works great.  No need for giant case.

avatar

manofskill

You could defiantly use a MicroATX sized motherboard and still get all the same functionality.  And you are right, a more powerful CPU will help you watch HD content.

avatar

JohnP

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/

Pretty much the definitive site for WHS. It's from an HP perspective (which is a lot smaller than this tower) but answers a lot of basic concepts for WHS.

avatar

spentnickles

I have been running WHS since the Beta release and have to say that I'm quite happy with it.  I have played with freeNAS and some other Linux Server Distro's and have to say that they are nice, but WHS is much better for my non-tech savvy family members.  I currently run user profiles, back up all the machines (9) on my network and it integrates (now with SP2) seemlessly with my PS3, X360, Vista MCE, Windows 7, and my networked Yamaha Receiver...  I own Windows Server 2003 and 2008 (Dreamspark - from when I was working on my BSIT) but haven't even gotten around to installing them to play with because WHS does what I need it to do...

While I love open-source and Linux, WHS has a few bells and whistles that i have come to love...  I have my server set up as network drives (Mapped out as X, T, U, V, W (Music, Software, Documents, Videos, Pictures)).  With the My Movies addin (from this article) I am reconfiguring my movies folder (was using TVersity and/or the regular Windows interface).  I have about 400 movies re-ripped (thank you AnyDVD and HANDBRAKE) to MP4 to stream anywhere in my house (wireless and gig-wired).  My SilverStone, C2Duo, 4gb, 4TB home build (around $900 shipped (living in Germany) with case) works amazingly well...  I'm not sure I like the fact that I have to put each movie in its own folder, but I guess that comes with the territory - I like the interface of My Movies...

I'm not a big supporter of Windows (I HATE VISTA!!! ESPECIALLY UAC) but I have to say this is one thing Microsoft got right.  I have been testing the Win7RC (and Beta's) and am looking forward to a more seemless integration of files over the network...  I haven't played around with Ubuntu on the PS3 to see if that works with my WHS yet - maybe I'll try that this weekend...

Anyone evening thinking of picking up WHS should download the trial and test it out on older hardware - trust me, it brings a certain peace of mind to know that ALL of your computers are backed up; especially if you have more than one...and especially if you have kids that like to "mess" with their computers...

avatar

bbotzong

I've had some issues with the restore process in the past (one as recent as this weekend). There should be a way for you to test the restore process before you need it on each individual machine. As I was hunting drivers yesterday, I finally noticed that the WHS folks are now building a RESTORE DRIVER directory where you can copy your dirvers to a memory stick so you don't have to hunt them down. I could NOT, however, get around a problem connecting to the WHS machine for the restore process. I'm not sure it it was a Windows 7 issue, a connectivity issue, or what. It kept saying it couldn't find the server. I finally hooked up my laptop and watched the DHCP table while connecting and figured out it wasn't loading my LAN drivers correctly. I finally found them, put them on a memory stick, loaded the drivers and finally got to the WHS login page. BUT, once I entered the password, all I can get is an error message saying it was having problems communicating with the WHS machine. I'm trying a work-around now, but I wish there were a way to 100% positively ASSURE connectivity and restore capability BEFORE you need it!!

avatar

manofskill

Hi everyone,

I built a NAS several months ago from consumer grade parts and have been loving it.  It has 3TB of hard disk space which I organized into a RAID 5 array which works beautifully.  Even though I'm trying to sell mine, I would recommend this concept for people who like to have easy access to massive amounts of data.  I have used mine mostly for video files which take up plenty of space.

Here are the hardware stats:

Motherboard - ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX
CPU - AMD Sempron 2.2GHz AM2 45W Single-Core 
RAM - 2x CORSAIR 1GB 240-Pin SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) 
Hard Drives - 6x 500GB
Video Card - ASUS EN7600GS GeForce 7600GS 512MB 128-bit
Power Supply - OCZ GameXStream 700W 
Case - Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower 
Operating System - FreeNAS     Installed on a 1GB USB flash drive

FreeNAS makes everything super simple and offers plenty of free support.  I would recomend it over WHS anyday.  Everything is administered through a web gui from anywhere in the world.  It's a beautiful thing :) 

Any one else out there using FreeNAS? 

avatar

thirdspaced

FreeNAS isn't bad.  I ran it prior to WHS.  I have used WHS for about 2 yrs now.  It does so much more than a NAS.  You have a machine die and you can have it back up within an hour - just the way it was last backup.  WHS is the best backup solution I have used to date and on top of that it is a great hub for all your media

avatar

manofskill

I hear ya.  I like the rsync feature from FreeNAS over WHS.

avatar

chriscowles

While I recognize that energy savings is not a consideration in this design, would you mind posting the power stats, if known?

Thanks.

avatar

TedTechy

I've got three PCs in the house...one on Vista HP SP2 and two running Win 7 RC.  The upgrade for the Vista box is on order, as is the final release for the other PCs.

So, this article is really timely for me.  Maximum PC articles tend to be that way. :)

I've got some spare hardware sitting here and I think I am going to give the WHS Beta 3 a try.

avatar

JohnP

 Y'know, with Win7 Ultimate, I found that I really did not need a server any more. I just took my HTPC (always on), added a couple more hard drives and I was done. My main computer backs up to the HTPC every night. As long as media player is running on my HTPC, I can stream anything that will play to my Xbox 360 and PS3. Remote access is easy with Home Group. The final kicker is to just clone my extra drives once a month for offsite backup using my BlacX ESATA drive port, something I could never do with my server.

 

avatar

robio376

Ummm, Don't you want to put some thermal paste on that CPU before installing that fan?

avatar

dmonkyking

He's most likely using the thermal pad on the stock cooler

avatar

krom

Guys you went into great detail on the physical build but glossed over the actuall software install.  For instance you didn't even mention if this Asus mobo supports WHS or Server 2003 natively.  Looking at Asus' website there's no mention of that.  I have the Asus M3A78-EM and it didn't support WHS out of the box.  It was a bit of a PITA getting LAN drivers, etc. working.  I mean if you are going to show a picture of where to instert the stick of RAM you should go into some detail on how to get the software to recognize your hardware.   

Other than that though very nice article.  

avatar

Fixedu

I have used WHS for the past year with a home built box, mostly scrounged from spare parts. I used an old case, DVD ROM drive, 80 GB drive for the OS, spare Antec power supply that was not powerful enough for my SLI setup, and AMD Athlon 64 X2 proc, but did upgrade to a board with gigabyte ethernet for faster transfers, and two new 1.5 GB HDD. Less than $300 all told. Ony real problem I experienced over the last year was WHS not playing nice with the UnPnP with several Linksys routers, but I think that is more an issue with the routers. Manually setting port forwarding works so I can access the server over the web. Get some spare parts, an OEM WHS nad have fun!

I've upped my standards, now up yours!

avatar

lien_meat

Windows certainly has it's place, but I try to avoid it whenever the word server is involved.  Seriously though, any linux distro, with webmin, and fuppes or ushare(UPNP multimedia streaming servers like tversity or the like), and you have more than equal capability for free.  I have a screenless (it broke) celeron M laptop that I'm using as a small NAS box, web server, media server combo, running ubuntu jaunty server, and I have had it running straight for 4 months now with NO reboots, and the software upgrades are completely automatic (you can choose if you want it that way or not).  With webmin, backups are trivial too. It's just dead simple.  It really can't be easier, and after this article, I'm sure the software I've described on linux gives you a better home server...

Familiarity is the only real argument for going with Windows as a home server...just don't spend that much money without trying out a solution that I'm sure MANY others would also recommend.
### I'm an idiot, and I approve this message ###

avatar

willsmith

There are two big benefits to going the WHS route over a Linux server. (I used to run a Debian server at home for file storage, email consolidation, and media sharing, but replaced that machine with a WHS box, so I'm familiar with both.)

Backups on the WHS box are idiot-proof and happen at the block level. That means that that files that are on multiple machines are only backed up once, and is a good thing.

The ability to add and remove drives at will is possible on a Linux machine, but it's definitely not this easy. 

avatar

isamu49

I don't think you should make a blanket generalizations without having tried the product.  For instance, did you know that the backups are block level so you can have multiple point in time backups without keeping multiple full copies of the backup and that the software can automatically dedupe identical files across different systems?

avatar

lien_meat

It wasn't fair to assume any given linux distro could do everything WHS could do without using it.
I do know about that feature, and it is nice. Can we not pretend that it's unique to windows though?
Lvm2 that is set up automatically with ubuntu-server can do point-in-time snapshotting.
And as far as deduping identical files, it's called rsync, or any of the hundreds of backup utilities that use rsync on linux.
Windows does backups really well.  So does linux.
For goodness sakes, linux is and enterprise-level OS to you know.  When it comes to servers, it really is a great solution.  Windows can be too, but I honestly don't think windows on a server is worth the money...that's just my opinion though.
Use it a bit and you might find out how that windows isn't the only good choice as far as OS's go.  I did, I've been very happy ever since.
### I'm an idiot, and I approve this message ###

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.