HP MediaSmart EX495

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tfranklin

I do not know what caused problems for the original poster, but I had exactly the opposite experience.  I got the original Mediasmart server two years ago to handle Squeezecenter and serve up my large collection of FLAC audio files (which it has done very well) using Logitech Squeezeboxes connected to high-fidelity audio equipment.  But a week after I got home server, the main hard drive in my new PC blew up causing my heart to stop beating for a couple seconds until I realized that, yes, I had a backup... I hoped.  I got a replacement for the drive and the HP Mediasmart Home Server rebuilt the entire system without any fuss as fast as it could communicate over the network.  The automatic backups, which were more or less of a freebie to me, suddenly saved my bacon bigtime.  I avoided having to spend a horrible weekend devoted to recreating my system from scratch.  Yes, there are ways to build your own Windows Home Server for cheaper if you don't place a high value on your time -- likewise if you work professionally with Linux or are willing to make a hobby of it, you can set up all the functions of WHS, eventually.  Except that I was just buying this thing to listen to my music collection on my main living room audio setup and, without really trying, I had created an automatic backup for my main pc and my wife's main pc that just worked, and did so incredibly easily.  I booted off the HP "rescue" CD, clicked on a few icons, and a large C: drive with many hours of labor invested in it suddenly materialized on a bare drive.  As soon as the HP server finished, I rebooted my pc and it was as good as if the disk had never self-destructed.  Priceless.  If your system could not be recovered in that way, there is something else that you haven't figured out.  The flaming diatribe against the HP Home Server is unwarranted.  It is not for everyone, but the review, coming from the extreme techies who edit MaximumPC, provides this appliance-like server with a fair appraisal when it says "if you’re buying your first Home Server, no other solution on the
market comes close to matching the EX495’s performance, feature set,
and ease of use."  I would hate to see someone discouraged from getting one of these boxes because of false statements that it doesn't do one of the main things it is very good at.

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medic583

I loved my Mediasmart server... use syncback pro to ensure all my important photos/edits are backed up daily, and have it set up to backup my two desktops and laptop daily to the four hard drives in it.  What a dream come true...

But... after crashing my hard drive while trying to merge some partitions on a spare storage hard drive in my main computer I thought... no biggie... I'll restore the main drive from the HP Mediasmart server (ignoring the drive I tried to merge)... should be simple enough.

Lesson learned.... the backup software will not restore a computer... it does not compare with ghost or other image software... it is pretty much useless in the fact it just takes up storage space which you will not be able to use as a restore down the road (but you can access later to pull files out of).

HP dropped the bomb on this thing... cheaper and more effective options are out there with simple USB hard drives (or raid enclosures) and software that can back up daily.

What a tremendous waste of cash HP...  9 thumbs down until HP can get their software together to match the hardware... as it just misleads you into thinking it actually works.

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warlock

One thing you should be aware of if you plan to use it for backup is that it does not support RAID, but instead uses a feature called "Folder Duplication".  Same principle, just different.

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JohnP

 I had the original. It worked as advertised but frankly was not worth it once Win 7 came out. Since Win 7 can handle a bunch of raided disks, run media center, and streams well, I did not need  it for storage. Since disk drives are so cheap, it is trivial to stick in a drive to a BlacX ESATA cradle and just clone the drive. So that took care of backup (backup for me never worked well with the HP server- found it almost impossible to pull a folder when I needed it). Going online? Hell of a lot easier with Windows Live Space account or facebook or whatever.

 The final straw was to stop using my streaming boxes (PopCorn Hour, XBox360, and PS3) and just building inexpensive HTPCs. HTPC can do so much more than a streaming box, there is no comparison. Games, surf the web, HULU, Netflix streaming, all codecs, HD Audio, Blu-ray, the list goes on and on.

Seriously, why bother these days? And with USB 3.0 and JBOD (just a bunch of drives) just around the corner, you can add serious storage capacity and carry it around with you.

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Baer

I just bought one a few weeks ago. I added a second 1.5 Tb drive to it. I works just as advertised. I am using it as a terciary B U to back up all our computers and it does just that. It then goes to sleep and wakes up the next day to do its chores again. I have just started to explore what else I can use this for. So far I am very impressed. Even the software is well done and not full of the bloat that you usually get from H P.

It may be a little more expensive than building your own but it was so much easier to just take it our of the box and connect it. And that statement comes from someone that always builds all my own computers (for example, waiting to get ahold of an i9 as soon as I can :-) )

If you are in the market for a great home server get this one.

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