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EDIT: I moved this to Projects since it turned out to be more about building a WHS then the sale. Plus the sale is over (laster 48 hours I think).
If you're looking to go down the Windows Home Server road, this is a pretty good deal. It's runs quiet, has some extra plugins provided by HP and room to add more hard drives.
Saw this in my morning In-Box...incredibly tempting. It's a new unit...not refurb too, from a reputable e-tailer too!
If you don't have one it's such a good purchase. You could call me a fan-boy if you want, but it just works. Mine's always running, it never has problems, and it does backups, remote access, easy file sharing. And if you're using WM7 it has some nice features integrated in.
I don't have any Win7 systems...yet. I do have 2 laptops (Vista Ultimate 32, and Vista Home Prem 64) a desktop (WinXP Pro) and my PVR (Vista Ultimate 64). I'd hate to have to reload any of them from scratch.
I don't think you're being a fan-boy. You found something that just works. Now if you started touting how it was vastly superior to any and all competitors for any and every reason in any and every situation...that I might think was a fan-boy response. ;D
I do think it is superior for the common joe, but not because of features per se. But more because of how easy it is to use/setup and how reliable it is. It does work fine with XP and Vista, but the MediaCenter perks are only for Windows 7's version of MediaCenter, not MediaCenter 2005. I actually have mine integrated with XP and GBPVR.
PS You would only have to reload the XP systems from scratch (which is why I haven't taken the plunge yet either). But the Vista systems should upgrade. (Whether you want to upgrade or not is a different story though. )
I've been looking at WHS and the pre-builts for 6-8 months. When my wife and I replaced our laptops (to Vista) we lost the ability to reliably connect to my NAS (SimpleNAS from Triton Tech). I have a 320 gig HD in it, and have my wife's laptop set to back up to the NAS. We also shared files from the NAS. Her laptop lost all ability to connect to the NAS now, and I'm limping along (yes, I've researched and tried everything I can to restore full usability to no avail). Since my wife works from home totally on a telecommute type basis, all of her correspondence and files are important, so the backup is critical, and the solution I have set up currently, while it works...leaves quite a bit to be desired.
I'm not looking to upgrade any of the Vista Systems...they are working well for now. I 'may' upgrade' the XP Pro system, but it's mostly a backup system should worst case happen (it has before...probably will again), the odd person that my wife hires for some data entry, or family member that needs to come over for some research/internet download stuff.
I should add, that the backup that go to the NAS still seem to work, we just can't access it via any 'normal' means to pull/copy files back and forth. For some reason, the backup software has no problem doing it's copy/backup. My XP machine though has no problems with it at all. Sees it fine, copy to/from without a problem etc. I can also get to it's managment without any problems from any of the systems. (Vista or XP...doesn't matter). Only the Vista systems have trouble navigating to it (FTP, mapped drive, IP, etc...nothing gets to the NAS from Vista reliably).
I would say take the plunge. You can easily add the storage from the NAS to your WHS. (It's really easy to add and sutract extra hard drives - as long as it's not the primary OS drive.) You'll get an easy way to share files. The permissions (who gets to view/edit what) are easy to manage. You get remote access. But most important, when my wife's computer's main hard drive died (one drive with OS, documents, and 100GB+ of pics), it took me about 1-1.5 to fix. (That's means, open up computer, take out bad drive, put in new drive, reinstall everything just like she had it.) That's the best part. The piece of mind that I can rollback to anytime in the last 6 months (I set how long.) and get one file or restore my whole computer. It's great!!
Picked one up. Free 2 day shipping is nice. I almost pulled the trigger on an Acer unit last night ($350 normal price through Amazon)...but decided against it at the last moment. Figured I'd look for another week, and if something better didn't pop up, I'd get the Acer unit. The HP unit showed up this morning for $390. I like that HP likely has better customer service than Acer (I've experience with both companies in the past...HP has always been the less evil to deal with...Acer...well...it was very bad). Luckily, I don't think I'll need to much assistance unless there is a hardware problem in the first 90 days. My experience has been...if it works the first 3 months...it likely isn't going to have a hardware problem (for electronics at least).
I'll be removing any overtly HP stuff from it...that much I know (Twonky almost certainly is gone), and grabbing some sort of Virus prog for it (likely Avast! since they have a WHS specific install). LightsOut is a must have from what I've read...so, I'll be looking to pick it up too.
Just my two cents, but I wouldn't get rid of too much. If you don't need Twonky (It does work well for streaming.) then just uninstall the plugin and save the .msi file. It's not like your normal OS with crapware loaded on it. You're also going to want to update it to the latest Power Pack (3 I think). There are some nice plugins out there if you want some added functionality, but one you don't need is anti-virus. The only executables are the plugins. Your data is opened on your local computer and the server is never really an issue. If you feel you really want AV software then there is a ClamAV plugin that's free.
Definately will be getting up to PP3 for it. You say they don't have a ton of crapware on them? That will be a first for me to see...not doubting you...just I've never seen a non-crapware infested system from any manufacturer. I really don't see me needing Twonky for anything, and from what I've read, it is a resource hog. AV...I like having it there...preferably a lightweight resource wise install. Avast! for WHS will also monitor the connected systems, I've had trouble in the past with some systems updating and others not. I know I'll like having remote access to files (particularly from work, if it's not blocked).
I've never messed with Remote Desktop before...so that will be new (and exciting) for me. Ultimately, if it automates the backup of my wife's computer well, and gives us the ability to share files again (without using email/usb drives) I'll be satisfied...anything more than that will just add to my happiness. Being able to expand drivespace pretty much at will, will be awesome also.
Miller...what WHS system hardware are you running on? Sounds like you have an HP unit also.
The deal is that WHS is different than other OSes. If they install other addins then it usually some for some sort of functionality and the added perk is everything is very easy to install/uninstall. So remove what you don't use, but I wouldn't erase the addins. They might come in handy later.
For remote access, it's just a secure website (with your private domain name) so I doubt it's blocked unless work uses a whitelist for sites that are permissible. The browser will need to be IE (or Maxthon) though. Firefox doesn't give you the remote access features (just directory browsing of your shared folders). I use a Maxthon2 for access. It has the remote access plugins built in. It's portable so it doesn't need to be installed and I can use it from my flashdrive.
The backup and sharing is very nice. The backup I don't even think about. It's just there. My main hard drive dies last week and my new one should be arriving today. I'm very excited about how painless I think the procedure will be.
My system is not an HP. (I've just read a lot about them.) I turned my old desktop into our WHS. It's a P4, 2.8 GHz with either 512 or 1GB or RAM. I have 4TB of space (1 1TB and 2 1.5TB drives). I couldn't be happier with it.
One other thought for you. I actually don't work with date files on the server. I have my wife work with all her files (pictures, docs, etc) on her computer and then I have them backed up to her User folder every hour with a Sync program. I find that to be less confusing for her. She just works with things like she's always been used to and if we need to get to something remotely it's there.
I do the same thing with my GBPVR drive. I have one drive on my main machine with all my GBPVR recordings. It is not backed up by the server because I didn't want to keep copies of each and every show on my server for 6 months. So I have that drive set to ignore by the server. But then I run a daily backup of that drive to my Recordings folder on my server so that they are also backed up and servable. (I use SyncBack for all of this.)
One other thing I like about the remote access is that Microsoft provides the website for you and automatically redirects things so you don't have to apply (and pay extra for) a static IP address from your ISP. This way your server is always available. Just make sure you have a strong password for it.
Here's the list of plugins I use: WHSClamAV, Add-In Central, Disk Management, Client PC Information, Grid Junction, SMART drive monitor, P80, Remote Alert, Toolkit, Whiist, Customizer, and WHSBDBB.
Some good sites are:
The remote access sounds just too easy...luded out chimp easy even.
I'd be curious to know how the restore goes...if you wouldn't mind in a free moment.
I probably have enough parts laying around to have built a WHS server, but they would have been sorely mismatched...and likely power hogs. Nothing would have supported the newer SATA drive either.
I don't think my wife will need hourly syncs. I do have SyncBack SE also...decent enough program. Except when a backup fails for whatever reason, and my wife shuts it down to get rid of any notifications. I'll probably set up the server to back up her laptop, my laptop, and the PVR. There really isn't anything of consequence on my XP machine. On the PVR I'll have it ignore the 1TB recordings drive.
I'm fortunate, I have a static IP, I host my wife's (and my own + several friends/family) email. I also host several static websites. But the redirection from MS is a nice addition and one less thing I have to fully administer. Most of my passwords are 15 characters long...usually with some convoluted meaning.
I'll look at those add-ins tonight from home...I've seen some of those names in passing (some more often than others). Thanks for the discussion to this point. I've always said...there's too much to computers for any one person to know. Better to know who/where to get better info, than to try to know everything yourself.
I can let you know if you want. But in the past when I've done this (4-5 times) it's gone off super-smooth. The last time I was upgrading my wife's primary hard drive for a bigger one and it was no problem even with a different size drive. Basically you install the new drive, boot from the Restore CD, type in the Server password, and then select what you want to restore. Come back later and you're ready to go. I did update my network with a 10/100/1000 switch though to speed things along.
My old motherboard only had 2 SATA ports on it. But when those were used I bought a pci SATA expansion board from NewEgg for like $30 and it works fine.
If you have any other questions let me know.
I think the newest MB I have spare...doesn't even have a PCI slot on it.
So it's either REALLY old or pretty new??
definately former...rather than latter there. ISA slots FTL
Wow, that is old.
In other news, the backup last night is taking longer than expected. I started late and halfway through the process (when no drive shows up as available) I realized that I hadn't formatted the drive yet. WHS lets you do this as part of the restore process, but it took 1-2 hours to format the drive. So I went to bed and didn't get to the restore until this morning. We'll see how it went when I get home from work.
UPS says the server should be delivered today. Hope I'll have time to get preliminary configuring done. Found out last night I have a couple computers I have to work on remotely which will cut into what time I'll have after work.
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