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Tiderfish

WHS still going strong!

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Tiderfish

Greetings fellow WHS fans! 

 

I have been using WHS v1 off and on since it was released. I simply love the way it backs up all my Windows machines and de-duplicates the files, to take up less space. It has defiantly saved my bacon several times when a computer randomly boot loops. It is also great for upgrading computers to SSD drives. Just pop in the new SSD, and run the X-files recovery disk, and away it goes!

 

Last year I saved an HP media smart server from the dump. I was using that until now, and was happy with it's performance. The drives, however were used and slowly filled with bad sectors. I am fighting that server to 'remove' its drives and let me install new ones. In the mean time, I setup a VMware guest to make sure my machines are getting backed up. 

 

The reason for the post however is I am wondering if anyone has figured out how to increase the client count limit from 10. I am known as a computer fixer to my friends and family, so when people are going to throw out their old computers or laptops, they ask if I want them first. It saves them a trip to the e-cycler, and I usually find a good use for the machine saving it from the dump entirely. 

 

Anyway, I have about 15 computers I would like to be able to back up, on the same WHS server. I have run two servers in the past, to accomplish this task, but it seems wasteful. Does anyone know a way to increase the amount of clients I can back up with a single WHS v1 server? I am not a business, I am a home user, and I recall that is why MS put the limit in the first place. To keep businesses from using this solution as a business solution. 

 

Any and all advise is appreciated. 

 

Thanks, and have a great day!

Matt|ttaM

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oj88

WHSv1 may still work, but I'm not sure you'd want it to in this time and age. I recently shuttered my WHS2011 because I ran into some issues:

 

1. With every release of Windows 10 updates, I've seen the gradual removal of the functional integration with WHS2011. Things like, the Connector agent on some clients would just one day stop connecting to the server. On the Dashboard, clients would show up as offline, even though they're not. I would imagine that WHSv1 would behave worse with Win10

2. On the Dashboard, backups would randomly disappear and show as "Unavailable"

3. The last time I tried to restore a Windows 10 PC from backup was last year, and it just wouldn't let me (I have forgotten the details but I had to forego the restore and instead, resorted to installing a clean copy of Win10)

4. WHSv1 and WHS2011 were based off Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2, respectively. Both are EoL/EoS legacy software and are considered inherently unsecure. Swiss cheese comes to mind.

 

Sadly, their glory days are over. Then again, YMMV.

 

Now, I'm not telling you to stop using it. Just laying down the issues you might have to tackle down the road. But if you must use it, consider these suggestions:

 

1. Instead of WHSv1, you can try moving up to WHS2011, which has a 25-device limit and notch better secured. The only drawback with WHS2011 is that it dropped Drive Extender. You'll need a 3rd party app to do that, like Division M's Drive Bender or StableBit's Drive Pool.

2. Or just use a more modern OS. In fact, Windows 10 already has Storage Spaces. All you need is a centralized backup solution. There are a few free software to choose from like Veeam or UrBackup. But unlike WHS, there's a bit of a learning curve to brave through.

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Jason

I’ve recently virtualized more than half of my home environment into a WS2019 box with Hyper-V. Converted my physical, power-hungry WSE12R2 furnace box that did client backups into a compact, whisper-quiet, cool-running virtual WSE12R2 instance and then some. Considered updating from WSE12R2 to WSE16 (2019E doesn’t have client backup anymore), but never had success doing an in-place server upgrade. Not interested in reinstalling and reconfiguring from scratch a server that I’ve tweaked since 2012.

Did evaluate the need for a physical file server at home if at all, but still use for IP cameras, Plex, client backups, local file storage and cloud backups.

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Tiderfish

Well thanks for the reply! I wasn't sure anyone read this forum anymore. 

 

I have not seen the issues you describe with WHS v1. I have no yet tried to restore a Win10 computer yet. I should probably do that before I rely too heavily on this. Especially one with UEFI bios... The only issue I have had connecting Win10 into WHS v1 was I needed to add the SMB client, in add / remove features. 

 

I have tried getting into the 2011 WHS release, but I can never stand it for too long. It is just not as versatile. If anything I would go to Server essentials on 2012, or 2016, but I have not given that a solid try yet. I don't know what its limitations are. It also reminds me more of work, with their sterile GUI. Windows 201x also has a much higher overhead for memory, cpu and HDD space, over 2003 SBS / WHS.

 

I am surprised no one figured out how to increase the max client count on WHS v1. Please note, I have 2 discrete license keys purchased when it was available. 

 

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Tiderfish
2 hours ago, Jason said:

I’ve recently virtualized more than half of my home environment into a WS2019 box with Hyper-V. Converted my physical, power-hungry WSE12R2 furnace box that did client backups into a compact, whisper-quiet, cool-running virtual WSE12R2 instance and then some. Considered updating from WSE12R2 to WSE16 (2019E doesn’t have client backup anymore), but never had success doing an in-place server upgrade. Not interested in reinstalling and reconfiguring from scratch a server that I’ve tweaked since 2012.

Did evaluate the need for a physical file server at home if at all, but still use for IP cameras, Plex, client backups, local file storage and cloud backups.

So are you saying 2016 is a better route for backups than 2019? 

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Jason

Yes.  Windows Server Essentials 2016 is the last to include the Client Computer Backup functionality.  It's been removed in 2019 Essentials.  Disappointing.  It's expected that 2019 will be the last Essentials server SKU and that it'll be discontinued.

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Tiderfish
6 minutes ago, Jason said:

Yes.  Windows Server Essentials 2016 is the last to include the Client Computer Backup functionality.  It's been removed in 2019 Essentials.  Disappointing.  It's expected that 2019 will be the last Essentials server SKU and that it'll be discontinued.

 

Well that is lame. Does 2016E have all the same features as before? The Data de-duplication, and the ability to do a bare metal restore are critical for me. Also does it have a 10 client limit? I assume it does not have the drive pooling like WHSv1 did. 

 

My plan was to build a 2016E server onto a Buffalo NAS device, that has 6 drives. However it does not have a RAID controller. It uses Microsoft soft raid or whatever they call it to tie all the drives together. So the drive pooling function would be ideal for this device. Sadly WHS v1 would not install because I could not find an F6 driver for the SATA controller on this board. 

 

Also I am not up on the acronyms, is WSE2016R2 Windows Server Essentials 2016 Release 2? 

 

Thanks Jason!

 

Matt|ttaM

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Jason

Correct. Windows Server Essentials 2016 still has client backup function as you’ve mentioned. It’s the last version that does.

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Tiderfish
3 hours ago, Jason said:

Correct. Windows Server Essentials 2016 still has client backup function as you’ve mentioned. It’s the last version that does.

 

 

Well thanks, do you know of any other forums that might have clues as to how to increase the client count of whs v1

 

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nrf

that might be considered verboten in a law-abiding forum

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