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  • Windows Home Server Power Pack 2 Features and Links


    Dave
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    Windows Home Server users have been given an early Spring gift with the release of PP2. Code name Snoqualmie has been the buzz since CES2009 and it’s finally here. Well, it will be available on March 24th, 2009.

    So what is all the buzz about? Did you happen to see that green button in the screen shot above? The Media Center addition is nice but that’s not the buzz! Read on to see what is.

    The new enhancements that get my attention are taking place behind the scenes with Remote Access, Home Computer Backup, Home Server Backup, and in the Shared Folders. Here are some of the release notes from the WHS Team:

    What's new in Power Pack 2 for Windows Home Server?

    Power Pack 2 for Windows Home Server updates Windows Home Server with the following new features and fixes:

    Windows Media Center Connector

    • Computers running Windows Media® Center can now view recorded TV content that is stored on your home server by using the recorded TV gallery.

    • Windows Media Center music, photos, videos, and recorded TV libraries are automatically updated to include the Music, Photos, Videos, and Recorded TV shared folders on your home server.

    • Media Center Extenders that are connected to a computer running Windows Media Center can now access content on your home server without using the guest account.

    • You can control the shared folders on your home server that Media Center Extenders can access by using the Windows Home Server Console. To do this, on the console, click Settings, and then click Windows Media Center.

    Media Sharing

    • Support for MP4 audio and video files is added.

    • Content that is stored on your home server and that is shared via Windows Media Connect, including files with extensions .mp4, .m4v, .m4b and .m4a, now appears in the music or video library with title, artist, composer, album, and genre metadata.

    Remote Access

    • The Remote Access Settings page is redesigned to make it easier to use.

    • A Web-hosted diagnostic service is used to more accurately test whether remote connectivity is available from outside the home network.

    • There are new and improved initial configuration and repair wizards.

    • There is better troubleshooting guidance for common home networking issues that can prevent Remote Access from working properly.

    Home Computer Backup

    • When you restore files and folders from a Home Computer Backup, the process may stop when it is 79% to 81% percent complete. This update helps prevent this issue.

    Home Server Backup

    • This update prevents you from unintentionally overwriting newer versions of the Windows Home Server Connector files. This could potentially happen if you restore files and folders from a Home Server Backup to the Software shared folder on your home server.

    Server Storage and Shared Folders

    • It is now easier to copy large files or folders from a home computer running the Windows Vista® operating system to a shared folder on your home server. Previously, the file size was limited by the free space on the primary hard drive of your home server. With this update, the file size is limited to the free space on the target hard drives that are connected to your home server.

    • The number of notification messages about files that are stored in shared folders is reduced. Previously, these notifications may have caused high CPU utilization on your home server for applications that access these files. After this update is installed, applications such as the software for the Microsoft® Zune® digital media player no longer consume excessive processor resources.

    You will receive notification via your WHS console when the update is ready. I would check around 10 A.M. PST on March 24th. The computers attached to your server will also need an update to the connector software and that should happen automatically.

    Read on for more info on PP2 and Screen Shots!

    Remote Access

     

    · The Remote Access Settings page is redesigned to make it easier to use.

    · A Web-hosted diagnostic service is used to more accurately test if remote connectivity is available from outside the home network.

    · New and improved initial configuration and repair wizards, as well as better troubleshooting guidance for common home networking issues that can prevent Remote Access from working properly.

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    Windows Home Server Console - Remote access settings

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    Windows Home Server Console – Configuring remote access

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    Windows Home Server Console – Troubleshooting guidance

    Media Sharing & Windows Media Center

    When the Windows Home Server Connector software is installed or updated on a Windows Media Center computer, the next time a user starts Windows Media Center they will be prompted to install the Windows Media Center Connector.

    · Windows Media Center computers will automatically have access to content stored in shared folders on the home server. Music, Photos, Videos, and Recorded TV folders are enabled by default.

    · Windows Media Center Extenders can access and stream multimedia content stored on the home server. Access permission can be granted on an individual folder basis.

    · Windows Home Server now supports streaming MP4 files, a popular format for high quality multimedia, to Xbox 360 and other devices that support the MP4 format. Metadata such as title, artist, composer, album, and genre now appears in the music or video library.

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    clip_image008

    Windows Media Center – Windows Media Center Connector installation reminder

    You will receive notification via your WHS console when the update is ready. I would check around 10 A.M. PST on March 24th. The computers attached to your server will also need an update to the connector software and that should happen automatically. If your computer is not upgraded automatically you can try the following steps:

    1. On your home computer, browse to the Software\Home Server Connector Software shared folder on your home server. To do this, open Windows Explorer, and then, in the Address bar, type \\<Your_server_name>\Software\Home Server Connector Software.

    2. Run WHSConnectorInstall.exe.

    Stay tuned for more PP2 information and fun stuff. Thanks WHS Team and great job!

    If you would like to read more about PP2, click here for the documentation. The WHS Team Blog has a great post and screen shots as well.

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    I have WHS bundled on an HP MediaSmart Server, when will I get the update? Do I have to wait for HP to issue an update?
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