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Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials


tinkererguy
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Had spotted other posts about tweaking a USB version of the Windows Home Server 2011 installer ISO

en_server_install_disc_windows_home_server_2011_x64_dvd_658487.iso

to see if I could make it work with a 120GB target drive. Had issues with USB and boot, making install from DVD easier (press any key to boot from CD/DVD is a handy thing, this option didn't come up on USB key version because of emulated disk type I used in UltraISO).

 

So I used UltraISO to edit the ISO file, adding the cfg.ini to the root of the ISO, explained here

http://hollis2lambert.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-install-windows-home-server-2011_16.html

but I still had to tweak it just a bit, because only the SystemPartitionSize value of 20480 would work for me

(which somehow comes out to be partitions with the hidden 100MB partition, then about 50GB of operating system installed on a 60GB partition for C:, and the leftover 20GB automatically going to the D: drive)

 

WHS2011 (Windows Home Server 2011)

cfg.ini contents below:

[WinPE]

InstallDisk=1

ConfigDisk=1

CheckReqs=0

SystemPartitionSize=20480

Processed=true

 

[initialConfiguration]

Language=en-US

Locale=en-US

Country=US

Keyboard=00000409

AcceptEula=true

AcceptOEMEula=true

ServerName=SERVER

PlainTextPassword=P@ssword

PasswordHint=Password

Settings=All

 

 

WSS "Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials"

Next stop, realizing I really want to be able to easily backup 25 PCs rather than just 10, so went with this version:

"Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials"

but then read that there's a lot of differences with the cfg.ini syntax for the root of the ISO:

en_server_install_disc_windows_storage_server_2008_r2_essentials_x64_dvd_658486.iso

explained here:

http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2011/04/how-to-install-windows-home-server-2011.html

 

I had numerous install failing issues, so I began to use VMs to save time over using a physical server: I'd test booting the VMs from the tweaked ISO files, that had various cfg.ini file contents.

 

In the end, decided I'm happy with it asking me questions (it's not like I plan to reinstall too often).

 

So I next played with the virtual machine disk size until I got down to as small as an 80GB drive (anything less, the installer failed early on). I then burned a physical DVD of the tweaked ISO, and all went well, no matter what drive size I'm installing to when I'm finally building my actual server.

 

Here's the exact contents of the entire cfg.ini that worked for me,

 

cfg.ini contents below:

[WinPE]

InstallSKU=SERVERHOMEPREMIUM

ConfigDisk=1

CheckReqs=0

SystemPartitionSize=20480

 

 

Here's the strange thing though.

 

The resulting install has both these folders:

C:\ServerFolders

D:\ServerFolders

and only the C:\ServerFolders directory has subdirectories.

 

I don't think there are ill effects to this, as I just use the Dashboards "Move the folders" wizard to move everything to large E: drive anyway, and perhaps I can then wipe away both of the empty folders:

C:\ServerFolders

D:\ServerFolders

Edited by tinkererguy
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Are you sure what you need is actually WSS, and not SBS? They're different products targetted at vastly different markets...

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Are you sure what you need is actually WSS, and not SBS? They're different products targetted at vastly different markets...

On my laptop, running each side by side, you can see the some of the differences in these 2 products:

WHS2011versusWHSSsplash.png

WHS2011versusWHSS.png

Edited by tinkererguy
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On my laptop, running each side by side, you can see the some of the differences in these 2 products:

 

 

 

 

Looks almost the same to me.

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Interested in Storage server. What have you seen that is different than 2011?

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From what I know, WSS support 25 PC backups and you can add the server to a Domain Controller, the rest is the same.

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From what I know, WSS support 25 PC backups and you can add the server to a Domain Controller, the rest is the same.

1) Yep, 25 PC backups is big advantage for WSS (versus 10 PC backups for WHS2011)

If your rig can handle the load (more backups for it to handle the computation of single instance storage at the start of each backup).

 

2) You can see the additional "Domain" portion of the Server settings near the bottom left of the right-most screenshot

The workgroup model works fine by default, so this option can be ignored

(although once installed, you cannot change the hostname of the WSS server, because of a certificate warning).

 

3) email notification

Notice also the right-most screenshot shows, near the bottom "Set up alert email notification" is not shown in WHS (must be an effort to not confuse the average user). But this functionality is available by clicking on the Red alert button, explained here:

http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowshomeserver2011/email-notifications-overview-2.aspx

 

4) media sharing

Finally, I dug around a bit on both VMs, and noticed that all of the remote access goodies and media sharing (and all the other dialogues in there) are identical in both products.

 

So in the end, I cannot see any significant drawback to going with WSS over WHS2011, other than cost or licensing and support concerns that come along with choosing the TechNet/MSDN version, and making sure I name my machine correctly from the start (comment #2 above). Come to think of it, the Newegg WHSv1 shrink wrap was actually an OEM copy as well. Hmmm.

 

Well, I know I'll likely be going with WSS (Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials) on the new system I'm building.

 

Hopefully a table or diagram will come out of Microsoft someday, showing these slight differences at a glance, although given WSS's target audience is the OEM partner, not so sure we'll ever get such a thing.

Edited by tinkererguy
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1) Yep, 25 PC backups is big advantage for WSS (versus 10 PC backups for WHS2011)

If your rig can handle the load (more backups for it to handle the computation of single instance storage at the start of each backup).

 

2) You can see the additional "Domain" portion of the Server settings near the bottom left of the right-most screenshot

The workgroup model works fine by default, so this option can be ignored (although once installed, you cannot change the hostname of the WSS server, because of a certificate warning).

 

3) email notification

Notice also the right-most screenshot shows, near the bottom "Set up alert email notification" is not shown in WHS (must be an effort to not confuse the average user). But this functionality is available by clicking on the Red alert button, explained here:

http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowshomeserver2011/email-notifications-overview-2.aspx

 

4) media sharing

Finally, I dug around a bit on both VMs, and noticed that all of the remote access goodies and media sharing (and all the other dialogues in there) are identical in both products.

 

So in the end, I cannot see any significant drawback to going with WSS over WHS2011. I know I'll be going with WSS (Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials) on my new system I'm building.

 

Hopefully a table or diagram will come out of Microsoft someday, showing these slight differences at a glance, although given WSS's target audience is the OEM partner, not so sure we'll ever get such a thing.

 

Does it even do media streaming via the website?

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1) Yep, 25 PC backups is big advantage for WSS (versus 10 PC backups for WHS2011)

If your rig can handle the load (more backups for it to handle the computation of single instance storage at the start of each backup).

 

2) You can see the additional "Domain" portion of the Server settings near the bottom left of the right-most screenshot

The workgroup model works fine by default, so this option can be ignored

(although once installed, you cannot change the hostname of the WSS server, because of a certificate warning).

 

3) email notification

Notice also the right-most screenshot shows, near the bottom "Set up alert email notification" is not shown in WHS (must be an effort to not confuse the average user). But this functionality is available by clicking on the Red alert button, explained here:

http://onlinehelp.mi...overview-2.aspx

 

4) media sharing

Finally, I dug around a bit on both VMs, and noticed that all of the remote access goodies and media sharing (and all the other dialogues in there) are identical in both products.

 

So in the end, I cannot see any significant drawback to going with WSS over WHS2011, other than cost or licensing and support concerns that come along with choosing the TechNet/MSDN version, and making sure I name my machine correctly from the start (comment #2 above). Come to think of it, the Newegg WHSv1 shrink wrap was actually an OEM copy as well. Hmmm.

 

Well, I know I'll likely be going with WSS (Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials) on the new system I'm building.

 

Hopefully a table or diagram will come out of Microsoft someday, showing these slight differences at a glance, although given WSS's target audience is the OEM partner, not so sure we'll ever get such a thing.

 

 

Thanks for the summary. I have no needs for more than 10 backups or the domain so I guess I will stay with WHS2011 or SBSE. Did you look at SBSE? I haven't had a chance to do a comparison analysis. My understanding is SBSE also allows 25 users and domains. Not sure if other differences exist. There must be if they didn't, then it would be the same as WSS. Maybe SBSE doesn't have the streaming features?

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Does it even do media streaming via the website?

 

I haven't tried (yet), good question!

 

I found this Microsoft site tonight:

Windows® Small Business Server 2011 Essentials vs. Windows® Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

https://partner.microsoft.com/us/40162758

 

So now all we need is a comparison of all 3, with a little more detail about media streaming, etc:

Windows Home Server 2011 vs. Windows Windows® Small Business Server 2011 Essentials vs. Windows® Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

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