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anujpuri85

Windows Home Server with Windows 7

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anujpuri85

Here's my issue.

I have several external hard drives which have all my movie and music collections. I've been trying to figure out how to stream these to my ps3 or xbox 360.. or to my laptop through my wifi, maybe even when I'm travelling. I've tried various software, none of which work very well. Most of my movies are in .mp4 format, which causes another issue.

My thoughts were to install Windows Home Server 2011 in order to solve this problem. The issue is, I have windows 7 installed on my desktop, and I'd like to keep it in case I need it in the future. I've searched forums and what not, and it appears the best way is for me to buy a second hard drive for the windows home server install.

Will this work? Will windows home server allow me to stream my content? Also, will purchasing another hard drive allow me to install it? I created a partition of 250gb on my current hard drive to install it, however the install screen can't find it. It just shows the entire hard drive. So would getting a second hard drive solve that issue?

Also, I've heard that Windows Home Server turns all your hard drives into one combined hard drive. I have an issue with this because I sometimes unplug my external hard drives... when travelling or lending them to a friend. Would unplugging them from my desktop cause problems? Is there any way to keep the hard drives separate and now allow windows home server to combine everything, allowing me to remove and add the hard drives whenever I would like?

I also don't care to use the windows home server to back anything up. I have my own means of backing up my stuff. I don't need the home server for that. Is there a way to turn that feature off? Would that help keep the hard drives separate?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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jmwills

Home Server 2011 does not have the drive extender technology that will combine the drives into one pool. Version 1 does. Most of the users here have migrated to a RAID setup for their 2011 installations or either a combination of RAID and attached storage.

 

WHS 2011 is a perfect choice for streaming your media internally. Adding those external drives will cause them to be formatted before WHS can use them so you will need to have backups of the data before adding them to the server. The .mp4 format is not an issue as Win7 will play that format natively.

 

Your issue will be streaming the media over the internet (WAN) from your home. Depending on connection speeds, etc this could be problematic.

 

And...........welcome to the forums.

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anujpuri85

Thanks for your quick response. There's absolutely no way to attach an external without having to format it? I won't be using the home server to save data on the externals. It would be purely for read-only purposes on the windows home server in order to stream the content.

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anujpuri85

And also, let me ask you this:

I currently have 2 - 3 tb hard drives. One is a complete backup of the other. If I insert one of the externals into my desktop and install windows home server and let it format that, would I need to buy another 3tb hd to put in there as well? or will this be sufficient for me and then just connect my other 3tb to my laptop and transfer the data over to the server?

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jmwills

let me clarify, if you include those drives in what WHS calls "Server Folders" , i.e., the default location for Music, Video, etc then yes, WHS will want to format them. As just external drives, then probably not but you could add those drives to the Libraries location for each media type and workaround ti that way.

 

I would not waste a 3TB drive for a WHS install, rather get a smaller SSD drive and run the server OS from there. There are workarounds to install the OS on a drive as small as 60 gigs rather than the default 160 that WHS is looking for,

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Joe_Miner

-snip- I've searched forums and what not, and it appears the best way is for me to buy a second hard drive for the windows home server install.

Will this work?

Yes. WHS2011 is an operating system and when it installs you will lose everything currently on your boot disk so if you want to save your Windows 7 installation you will need to remove that boot disk and install another that WHS2011 can do its thing too.

 

Check the Forums and you will find lots of information on how to install WHS2011 as well as links to other sites and even videos.

 

Check here and here and for a basic bare metal guide check here – I’d suggest you look thru the videos by jpltim regard WHS 2011 and definitely check

for a detailed walk thru of every screen in WHS-2011

 

Will windows home server allow me to stream my content?

Yes. Check out the features here.

 

Also, will purchasing another hard drive allow me to install it?

Yes, the new hard drive will be your boot disk/system disk.

 

I created a partition of 250gb on my current hard drive to install it, however the install screen can't find it. It just shows the entire hard drive. So would getting a second hard drive solve that issue?

If you’re willing to make the new hard drive your boot drive/system drive.

 

Also, I've heard that Windows Home Server turns all your hard drives into one combined hard drive.

You’re thinking of WHS-V1 which is impossible to find anymore in retail stores. The newer WHS-2011 does not do that.

 

I have an issue with this because I sometimes unplug my external hard drives... when travelling or lending them to a friend. Would unplugging them from my desktop cause problems?

No. If I understand your intent correctly.

 

Is there any way to keep the hard drives separate and now allow windows home server to combine everything, allowing me to remove and add the hard drives whenever I would like?

Yes. Again if I understand your intent correctly.

 

I also don't care to use the windows home server to back anything up. I have my own means of backing up my stuff. I don't need the home server for that. Is there a way to turn that feature off?

You do not have to turn it off – It is a feature you would have to turn on.

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ikon

anujpuri85, are you retiring your Win7, so you will only normally be running WHS2011? Do you just want to keep Win7 around, 'just in case'? Or are you trying to run WHS2011 and Win7 at the same time?

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anujpuri85

jmwills and joe_miner, I appreciate your answers. They have helped me a lot.

 

One question for jmwills: You stated that, "As just external drives, then probably not but you could add those drives to the Libraries location for each media type and workaround ti that way." What exactly do you mean with that/ how exactly would I do that? and this would allow me to share those files (stream) without having to format the drives?

 

ikon, I'd like to run them at the same time if possible. I use the Adobe suite quite often and I also do some video converting, which I use windows 7 for. I primarily want windows home server in order to stream my videos.

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jmwills

Starting with Vista, Microsoft introduced a feature named "Libraries" which was a replacement for the old "My Music" , "My Pictures", etc. If you go to Explorer you will see the Libraries and when you right click the location and go to properties, you can then alter the default location, add locations, etc.

 

You would add the locations of the external drives or their embedded folders to be added to Library location(s)

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Joe_Miner

ikon, I'd like to run them at the same time if possible. I use the Adobe suite quite often and I also do some video converting, which I use windows 7 for. I primarily want windows home server in order to stream my videos.

 

OK, That changes things. Windows 7 and WHS-2011 are both operating systems – they will not run at the same time (you should get that info also from the Video’s I linked you to earlier) -- unless you run one or both in Virtual Machines. The problem is – if you run WHS-2011 in a VM you are not going to have easy access to your USB ports which is what I assume you’re plugging your external drives into. (eSATA ports work OK though!) There are workarounds for the USB port issues -- but it gets interesting.........

 

Check the Forums on Virtualization. Oracle Virtual Box running on top of WHS-2011 with Win7 as a VM may be your best shot – check the show-notes for Podcast 180 (and listen to the Podcast) for info on VB. VB is actually relatively easy to set up and has been discussed multiple times in podcasts. Again, there’s several good discussions in the Forums about VB as well as other VM platforms. Check here for instructions on how to set up WHS-2011 in Oracle Virtual Box and a very interesting write-up by Jim. You could follow Jim’s instructions to set-up WHS-2011 on your Win7 machine right now and test it out (i.e. copy a few video’s over to a Virtual Hard Drive and stream them out) to see if it would do the things you want – then decide what you next step is from there. There is an Oracle add-in that may give you some USB functionality – maybe enough for your needs -- when I tried it -- it seemed slower. Personally, I like VB – the only issue I had with it was if you had Windows update set to automatically and your host OS (Win7 in this case) does an automatic update the VM in VB doesn’t end gracefully (which screwed me over a few times when I was trying to run VM's 24/7 in VB). There’s a technique outlined in Podcast 180 that addresses that issue – that’s why I think you should check out that Podcast in particular.

 

(Another possibility is that you may be able to load your Adobe Suite and video converting programs into WHS-2011 and run them from it’s desktop. That’s something I’ve never tried but other’s may have and can chime in.)

Edited by Joe_Miner

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