Windows 8 Home Server Guide

34

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

aerogamer

I was actually considering purchasing WHS 2011, but this may be a valid solution. Win Server 2012 Essentials is out of my price range. Are there any compelling reasons to use Win8 instead of WHS 2011/What are the Pros & Cons to each?

avatar

Steveo

Listen to the exhaustive test done on the BYOB tech podcast. Win 8 sucks as a server. Better off staying with WHS 2011 or the more expensive essentionals 2012 for $425, ouch. Super slow and buggy,sorry folks.

avatar

SwiftyJc

Will the Windows 8 Server be able to host websites as does WHS1 & 2?

avatar

tferrill

Windows 8 includes IIS (Internet Information Services), which is Microsoft's web server. So yes, it can host web pages.

avatar

SwiftyJc

Great, thanks.
SwiftyJc

avatar

veryoldgamer

Tim,
Nice article. Informative.

A quick tip: Use Windows key + X to bring up the file explorer.

I can't ever recall using Windows key keyboard shortcuts as much as I am using them with Windows 8. The windows key by itself is getting a work out as is Windows + D, W + 1,2,3.... corresponding to the pinned icons on my toolbar, list goes on and on. From desktop, windows key + I gets you to control panel quickly

Really appreciate your work on this article

avatar

tferrill

Agreed. Navigation can be much more efficient using the keyboard.

avatar

GavinFarrington...

Win + X
Win + I
Win + E

These are my three most common keystrokes in Win8. Only Win + E is a holdover from Win7 - the others are new for me.

avatar

GavinFarrington...

If I boot to the Win8 installer from a USB key, will it see storage spaces? What if I put a system image there?

If I have 6 USB drives in a storage space and one of them fails, how do I physically identify the failed device?

avatar

tferrill

You won't be able to use Storage spaces as a boot drive. Was that your question?

Sadly, I didn't test any of my drives to physical failure. :)

Each drive in your storage pool can be individually named, and should. Indicate when a drive is removed or experiences hardware failure.

avatar

GavinFarrington...

I wouldn't expect to be able to boot from a pool. What I'd like to know is, if I put a system image made with Windows Backup on a pool, can I access that system image from the Windows Installer environment?

i.e.
1) Boot from USB key with Windows 8 installer on it.
2) Access system restore tools to do a bare-metal restore.
3) Browse to system image stored on storage pool.
4) Restore.

Is step 3 possible, or are pools only functional in a full-running Windows environment?

avatar

tferrill

Gotcha. I'm going to say no with a couple of caveats.Storage Pools will only be available from within Windows 8 but I'm told they are portable, meaning you could potentially take the two (or more) drives to another machine and access the data. Also, you could always share the backup volume or folder on the network and hit it that way

avatar

GavinFarrington...

So it turns out this is a bit of a moot point. Windows 8 doesn't have a native system-imaging backup system. I suppose it still applies though if you want to put an Acronis image there.

Edited: Sorry, I guess it actually does. Microsoft appears to be forking their backup solutions, though. The system that is new to Windows 8 only backs up user files. If you dig through the control panel, however, you'll find the old system called "Windows 7 File Recovery." This option is easiest to find if you use the classic control panel style. It will open backups created with Windows 7, and still includes the "create system image" option. The way they are separated though, makes one think maybe they're deprecating that utility?

avatar

tferrill

Covered that on page 3. :)

avatar

jlh304

So is this disk pool the same tech used in WHS drive extender, that they took out of other versions of WHS?

avatar

tferrill

Same concept, different tech. I doubt you would be able to do a direct upgrade.

avatar

russgrad

I didn't see it mentioned in the article, but should you go with standard 8 or the Professional version?

I have two 64 bit Win7 PC's, should I go with the 64 bit version, or with a 32 bit version?

Thanks

avatar

satrain18

Go with 64 bit. You'll thank me when you use more than 4GB of RAM.

avatar

tferrill

As far as I know,standard is just fine.

avatar

usmckozmo

This is the *only* reason I am buying windows 8. I'm sticking it on my old system in my basement with 16TB of hard drive space that I will physically touch maybe once every few months. It will be a backup repository for all the computers in my house, torrent dl/server, FTP server, and a media server for all the TVs/computers. Should work out nicely.

avatar

nlriehl87

The drive extender feature is nice and it creates a decent disk array setup for a basic media server but I think with what you are wanting to setup you might be better off going the Linux route.

With Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS (Or any other modern Linux distro) you can easily setup Logical Volume Management (LVM) from the installer and create a large array of disks to act as one 16TB volume, just like storage spaces.

FTP and Samba(Windows File Sharing) can be easily setup as well with the help of the Ubuntu Help Site which is huge and has great howto articles.

For bittorrent you can setup the Transmission bittorrent Client to act as a background service and just throw your torrent files into a directory. Transmission will read your torrents automatically them and download your files.

Finally for the media server aspect you can setup MiniDLNA to allow the server to broadcast to any device supporting the DLNA standard.

Linux Server Pros
1) Command Line*
2) Low OS overhead vs Windows 8
3) Software RAID that actually works well
4) Fully supported for server operations (Ubuntu Server)
5) LVM allows multiple disks to function as 1 volume
6) LVM allows new disks to be added to the volume
7a) Samba provides full Windows File Sharing compatibility
7b) NetaTalk provides Apple File Sharing compatibility
8) Huge community of helpful and experienced users
9) Huge library of mature and reliable software
10) No Metro Interface
11) Costs $0.00

Linux Server Cons
1) Command Line*
2) Steep learning curve from Windows 7
3) No Start Menu

Windows 8 Pros
1) GUI Interface*
2) Storage Spaces allows multiple disks to act as one volume
3) Storage Spaces allows new disks to be added to the volume
4) Huge community of helpful and experienced users
5) Huge library of mature and reliable software

Windows 8 Cons
1) GUI Interface*
2) High OS Overhead vs a Linux Server
3) Steep learning curve from Windows 7
4) Not Supported for Server use
(MS recommends Server 2012 Essentials for Home Servers)
5a) NFS File Services availible but no longer supported by MS
5b) Apple File Services not availible
6a) Metro Interface
6b) No Start Menu
7) Costs Money

* - Command line vs. GUI is a personal preference. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Disclaimer: Obviously these are not all the pros and cons for both products, but they are the ones that IMO are most important. It is obvious that I personally prefer the Linux system but in the end you should use what you feel most comfortable with.

I hope in my ridiculously long comment I provided you with enough information to see whether or not you are willing to take a look at Linux for your home server.

Linux Server Resources
LVM: http://goo.gl/M1BqI
FTP: http://goo.gl/ieayp
Samba: http://goo.gl/Dr3gn
torrent: http://goo.gl/1Ddbg
MiniDLNA: http://goo.gl/fr4Bh

avatar

usmckozmo

Thanks man, great info!

avatar

TsunamiZ

damn, in windows 8, is there no way to make that window text and icons white on black?

avatar

DoctorX

but ... how do you use it as a backup server? without that, you dont have a home server.... sorry

avatar

davelray

Read the whole article. Hint: The answer is on the third page.

avatar

DoctorX

i did read it and apparently you didnt... i am talking about all my pcs having a central backup like i have with 2011... dont make yourself look dumb.

avatar

davelray

Hey Doc, instead of looking like an ass.... err too late for that, you already do now, learn what a backup server is. Just because it doesn't have the features or is set up the way YOU like it, does not make it any less a backup server. Nor does it make it any less similar to a home server. The writer of the article was showing you how you can come pretty close to having what WHS provided. Is it perfect? No and no one ever said it would be. But it is what it is and you, as usual, come off as a complete tool.

avatar

jgottberg

I'm sure the first thing he saw was "Windows 8" and dismissed it as crap.

avatar

DoctorX

it is... but that is besides the point. Page 3 is not a substitute for a real centralized backup.

avatar

kixofmyg0t

SHHHH! Let him look stupid.

avatar

DoctorX

no.. you are by not reading... a server has CENTRALIZED backup, not workstation like this POS.

avatar

GavinFarrington...

Oh, here he comes again! Everyone look busy!

/ whistle /

avatar

DoctorX

trying reading next time and stop looking stupid.

avatar

jgottberg

LOL!! ?!?

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.