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10 client limit on Vail


byronomo
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As a concept, I understand the decision to limit the number of clients in a product called Windows "Home" Server on several levels:

1)As recently as a few years ago, it was probably quite rare for "average" people to have more than 1 PC in the home, let alone >10.

2)I'm sure MS wants to price the product to appeal to home users and doesn't want to canabalize their business customer sales for bona fide server products.

3)I'm sure that whatever support Microsoft provides for WHS, isn't set up to handle issues that can become exponentially complex as the number of connected PCs increases.

 

That being said....by the same token, the way that we use PCs in the home has also changed a lot in the past few years, especially as it pertains to media. If you take a family of 4+, it is not inconceivable that there might be 4-5 dedicated PCs in the house. (Mom & Dad might have both desktops and laptops and the kids might have a computer to share, as an example). Now if you throw MEDIA PCs into the mix, the number of PCs can increase a lot. Part of Windows Home Server's marketing pitch is the ability to handle your media (which I think it does well). In a "perfect" setup (subject to change, of course, as new products are released), I like the idea of having a HTPC on each TV in the house. I'm not there yet, but a small part of my reason for not going forward is bumping up against this limit. It's not inconceivable for the typical family (as described above) to have 5+TVs around the house.

 

 

Is this 10-PC limit a "real" limitation or are there workarounds that allow you to run WHS at home easily/seamlessly with a total of more than 10 PCs?

 

It is my understanding that the Aurora product is not geared toward serving media, so that probably wouldn't get me to where I'd like to be.

 

Lastly, I realize that there isn't much "data" on Media PCs to be backed up when running WHS as intended, but I still find value in this because:

1)The backups have all of your configuration tweaks so that if a PC ever craps out (like one of mine did), you can easily restore it without dedicating a few hours to setting menu preferences, screen savers, font sizes, user accounts, etc.

2)If the PCs have tuners or access to networked tuners, it's great to have the recorded TV automatically moved to WHS so that you can access the content from any other Media PC in the network.

 

 

Any thoughts on this?

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What comes to mind here is archiving. Vail supports PC archiving which does not reduce the 10 PC backup limit. As for your HTCP, you can fine tune your configuration then do a backup to Vail, then remove the computer from the Dashboard and archive the HTPC. You won't get any reminder that it's been 5 days or more since the last time it did a backup, cool. then in the future you if you want to update the HTPC configuration or it gets hosed, you can unarchive it and do an update.

 

So for now you can just leave PC connected to Vail normally and then archive then as you reach your limit. You should also be allowed to turn off or extend backup notification on the PC's that are not updated as often.

 

John.

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What comes to mind here is archiving. Vail supports PC archiving which does not reduce the 10 PC backup limit. As for your HTCP, you can fine tune your configuration then do a backup to Vail, then remove the computer from the Dashboard and archive the HTPC. You won't get any reminder that it's been 5 days or more since the last time it did a backup, cool. then in the future you if you want to update the HTPC configuration or it gets hosed, you can unarchive it and do an update.

 

So for now you can just leave PC connected to Vail normally and then archive then as you reach your limit. You should also be allowed to turn off or extend backup notification on the PC's that are not updated as often.

 

John.

Thanks John....some follow-up:

While the PC is Archived, but removed from dashboard, will Recorded TV still be moved to WHS?

 

I like the archiving idea. You just have to program yourself to remember to remove 1 PC from the client list, and to add the 1 that you're tweaking the configuration on and then to reverse that after backing up your tweaks. Probably not to bad for the 11th machine, but if u have to do this for PCs #11-15, it might get a bit tedious.

 

 

Too bad MS doesn't create a new "category" of client with true HTPCs in mind---perhaps by limiting their backup size to some arbitrary number that is reasonable for what most would require on a dedicated networked HTPC. For example, I could get by with 100GB or less on my dedicated HTPCs when they networked w/ server storage. Just basically OS, a few pieces of software and settings.

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Another user posted about how they didn't like the restore process for WHS, so they opted to use Windows Backup instead to make images of their PCs. This approach could also be used with appliance-like PCs in the household like the HTPCs where all you want is to capture OS and configuration.

There are also tools out there like vLite that can be used to create custom Windows 7 installation media that will have all of your tweaks built into the installation.

 

I agree that it kinda sucks that the limit is as low as it is, but hopefully there's a workaround that will fit your needs...

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Agreed the limit is low but how many of us have 10 pc's? I like the idea that when I bring a computer into the house I can image it then work on it with out it hitting the limit as on WHS1.

 

Just a thought

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it make me think that since Windows 7 is not hardware dependent so if you create a custom uncomplicated HTPC image, you can blast that onto any PC in your network. I'm not sure how things will go as far as product keys, maybe it would help with a volume license, not sure, maybe just turn off Windows update so it can't phone home.

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it make me think that since Windows 7 is not hardware dependent so if you create a custom uncomplicated HTPC image, you can blast that onto any PC in your network. I'm not sure how things will go as far as product keys, maybe it would help with a volume license, not sure, maybe just turn off Windows update so it can't phone home.

 

 

Sysprep is a wonderful tool...

 

Yes. @diehard, you can build your image w/o using a key and then take your backup. Once you push it out to a piece of hardware, you can run sysprep to reseal the OS. At next startup, you'll be re-prompted to go through the initial setup wizard, new SIDs are generated, and you will be given the opportunity to enter in you new, retail, product key.

 

On that note, Paul Thurott mentioned in his netcast last month that Microsoft is planning on re-releasing the Windows 7 Family Pack sometime around Christmas. So, if you're really looking to push the envelope on WHS licenses, this will be a good way to do so.

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Agreed the limit is low but how many of us have 10 pc's?

Probably not many. But as stated out the outset, times are changing quickly. A few years ago, it would've been rare for a house to have more than 1. Given that vail will be launched in the future and will likely be the "current" version for several years, it just seems short-sighted of MS not to make provisions for >10PCs when accounting for HTPCs.

 

Now you typically have at least 1 for each adult + 1 for each kid over the age of 12-15ish. My point was that when you couple this with the rapid acceptance of HTPCs, it's not hard to imagine a house with 10 or more PCs. I have 6 flatscreen TVs and will ultimately stream my content to each + will likely add a couple more TVs down the road.

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Guest no-control

couple this with the rapid acceptance of HTPCs

 

 

I would heavily contest this point. I would also point out that a user with 6 HTPCs is even further off their radar. You are not their targeted user. WHS is still marketed and looked at for appliance deployment not enthusiast builders like us. And most certainly not uber enthusiasts like yourself.

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