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Sould I persevere with Windows HS 12 Essentials?


Edward
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Been running WHS11 for ages just fine on a N36L. Had some spare time and a spare drive so installed WHS12E.

 

Install took ages but got there, updated and all that good stuff.

 

However unlike WHS11 the software is far too complicated - it was meant to be the other way around!

 

I just want something simple to start with and then build from there. But it seems that I have to tackle all the DNS, Domain, Active Dir. etc. stuff just so I can use the software. I can't even get Connector on a client machine working as there appears to be some permission problem.

 

I can't even open a share (e.g. all of C drive) as a test and see that on my other machines. 

 

I had imagined doing the basic install, adding my data drives, enabling DrivePool and then going headless and tinkering via RDP.  I can't even get RDP working (as the device is not seen on the client machione).

 

So should I just blow the install away, persevere (is there a simple WHS12E walk-through somewhere?), revert back to WHS11 or, perhaps, use Win8.1 as a server?

 

Last week I did a clean install on a different MicroServer (using Win7) and that was easy peasy.

 

E

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I hope you have a backup of your WHS2011 OS install. If you're not familiar with Microsoft Domains and Domain Controllers, Domain Accounts, Group Policy, etc. you may find it fairly daunting. You may want to go back the WHS2011.

 

Domains have many advantages, but some people find them too much, too fast.

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Hi ikon

 

Yep, I still have the WHS11 OS drive. That is the beauty of the microserver - max 20 seconds to pop out an old drive and pop in a new drive.

 

It is daunting, but I do like learning. Ideally I could have WHS12E setup so that it 'just works' and then learn things as I go along. I don't give up too easily. :)

 

But what do you think of the idea of using Win8.1 (or perhaps Win7 which I'm very familar with) as a 'home server)?

 

Cheers ikon, and personal thanks to you - always giving great advice and on the ball. B)

 

Ed

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For me, the issue with using a Desktop OS as my home server is the lack of a robust client backup feature that has BMR. WHS, both v1 and 2011, have it and so does WSE2012, both regular and R2. I really wouldn't want to do without that capability.

 

If you really do like to learn then I think you should proceed with WSE2012 and ask questions in the forums. There are plenty of people here who have MS Domain experience, a number of them who do it professionally. There are, of course, many tutorials on the Internet as well.

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thx ikon and awraynor,

 

I need to re-think my strategy. I had hoped that I could connect my clients as some sort of 'guest' to the WS2012E without having to have every client migrate to the new domain. For one I would get murdered by some of my family if I insisted on them having to go through such a radical step.  For another I'm not clear what happens to clients that are not supported (e.g. iPads where I often remote desktop to the existing WHS11.  Or an HTPC which is essentially headless).

 

What I probably will do now is to revert to what I had before and then set up WS2012E in a virtual box and also a client (perhaps win8.1) in another virtual box and play around with that gaining experience and knowledge.  Perhaps make the jump later on?

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You can connect clients as 'guests' by skipping domain join, but personally I don't care much for that method.  Migrating a computer to the WS2012E domain isn't usually all that bad, as part of the migrating it can actually take your existing profile and make that the domain profile on that computer, so you shouldn't have to move any files around then or lose any settings either.  An iPad shouldn't change at all, just keep demoting into the server if you want, though the credentials that you use might change (depending on what you currently use).  HTPC's are a bit tricky, I have been able to set mine up to auto-login (I have 2 that are connected to WS2012E as domain members), but it took a couple tries and some fiddling around to make it work.  The best method I found is with a tool available from sysinternals (and I can't seem to paste the link for some reason, search for sysinternals auto-login, it's located in TechNet now.

 

One caveat, joining a domain requires the professional version of Windows (Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8/8.1 Pro), other versions I think can connect to the server (never actually tried myself), but won't be members of the domain.

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Thanks Andne

 

I'm rapidly running out of the spare time I had so, for now, can't do much more testing/tweaking/etc. But some quick responses if I may?

How does one connect without doing the domain join? I'm not even seeing the server as shares on client machines (I enabled, for testing purposes, a full share fro all of C: drive and it is not 'seen' on other clients).

 

Regarding autologin, I use netplwiz to have a user login automatically and then populate startup folder with anything I need (for my HTPC it is JRiver Media Centre). However I will try sysinternals as it may have greater functionality.

 

From memory all the OS' on the clients are at Pro or better level (main machine is at Win7 Ultimate).

 

thanks again

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I've not actually skipped domain join myself, but I know there are a few posts on here about how to do it.  Sounds like your clients aren't passing the correct authentication credentials (or any maybe?) to the server, so it's not allowing access to any of its file shares.  That's part of why I keep my computers on the domain, then it's easier to get all the credentials to line up.  I think unlike WHS, you have to save credentials for the server on the client computer even if the username and password are the same due to how a domain operates.  Someone may want to correct me on that though, I don't specifically remember.

 

The sysinternals tool uses the same mechanism as netplwiz, however netplwiz is different on a domain-joined machine, so sysinternal's tool provides a way to get at the same settings.  I think it also enables an encrypted password instead of the clear-text password that some other methods have.

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There are several robust options for BMR that do not involve Windows Home Server or Windows Server essentials  2012 or the like.   

 

These can be the basis of a using a  desktop OS as  a home server.  

 

Jim Collison mentioned Acronis software in the latest Podcast on cloud storage solutions -  this is what I use.  Schoondoggy and others have looked at Paragon software.

 

I have tested the windows 8  "system image backup" feature and it also works.  

 

We have a plethora of options -   it all depends on what your goals and what your needs are.  

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