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  #1  
Old 11-09-2009
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Default Windows Home Server Project

Being a big fan of SATA drives for storage and the ability to just unplug a drive and connect it up to another machine to access data is a nice plus and works very well. I had my main rig all setup with a few to many drives for my liking and began to notice slowdowns during boot ups and a few other issues, like drives going down. So I began to rethink how I want everything setup.

What I wanted was a way to store large amounts of data, have easy access to it and the ability to have some sort of protection against failures.

I did not wish to setup another large Raid 5 setup, I did not have the number of same size drives to do this with, but Raid 5 is a very nice way to go. In fact I have a Buffalo 1TB TeraStation configured to Raid 5 running and with its small size and ease of use it works very well for what I use it for and that is programs that I have purchased like the full TechNet subscription and many others.

http://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-HD-H1-.../dp/B0007MHF1I



Back when Windows Home Server first came out I purchased the software and setup a nice WHS, this worked very well for a long time but I needed the case for another project and ended up tearing it down.

Here is my first WHS.
The case is a like this one or QPack
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811144162



And the server itself was an old AMD 4200+ Dual Core setup with 4x 750gb WD hard drives.


This was a very nice WHS, low power usage and plenty of storage.


This is what you get when you purchase the OEM version of Windows Home Server


Full Windows Home Server products that you can buy are very nice also, I really like this HP WHS.
http://www.hp.com/united-states/camp...asmart-server/


So I decided to look around the bench area and see what I could do with parts I had on hand. I wanted something powerful so I could use it for other things besides the WHS, I like to use my machine for crunching also.
http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/

Plus I want the ability to run just about any program on this machine should I decide to do so.

I had several choices for CPUs QX9650, QX9770 and a few AMD CPUs. The QXs would be nice for crunching but run hot and use a lot of power, plus my last EVGA 790i Ultra motherboard died so I was out of a socket 775 MB. I happen to have a AMD 955BE that has a locked multi I received months ago and its pretty much a reject but would work very well for this.

So its the 955BE and a Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P beater board that I have abused many times under extreme cold. Plus I like the energy saver utilities that Gigabyte offers with its motherboards.





Ram I am going to use is OCZ Reapers that is a I7 kit nut only using 2 sticks. This will be replaced when I get a cheaper set of Ram.
The video card I had laying around was a PNY GeForce 210 which will only be needed to get the server up and running. The WHS will be running headless, that is no display or keyboard/mouse, just the box.
PSU is a Cooler Maser 1200 watt big boy, its my spare PSU and that will be replaced when I pick up a smaller PSU as its way over kill LOL 




I also had an old desktop case laying around that I will use for this, not sure what the brand is but you will see pictures of it later on.

So off with the build and installing WHS



I decided to not use the big pile of HDs you saw in that one picture so I could have a few spares laying around.
So its setup on one 250gb WD IDE drive for the system drive.
One big 1.5TB and another 750gb HD for a total of 2.27TB of storage.



As I have plenty of SATA ports available I can add a bunch more HDs whenever needed.

So now for the completed system.






And the desktop with the rig crunching
I used a small over clock on the system for 3.5ghz which you will see in a sec



Windows Home Server has the connector software for managing the server, but I also like to be able to get in and do just about anything and as the machine will be headless I used a program called Radmin to remote in and take control of the server.

This is what Radmin shows me on my main rig. With this I can do just about anything with the server. See it looks just like the desktop on the server when a LCD and keyboard/mouse is used.



So final tweaking is still needed but over all its running very well. Power output drops to about ~40watts CPU on idea to ~63watts CPU on full crunching. Total power usage is a bit high for my liking at ~200watts total use on full crunch and ~110watts on idle. I would like to get this lower and will most likely drop the CPU back to default setting for over clock. Full crunching uses 100% CPU usage on all 4 cores so it gets a work out crunching.



So far I am very happy with performance and the amount of storage I have available and as you can see I am at 14% usage right now, I still have a bunch to move over but I have plenty of head room left.

You can use just about any hardware for a WHS to make it smaller and use less power so mine is a bit extreme LOL 
So if you have an old machine that you are not using laying around or a bunch of spare parts, a WHS can be setup and away you go. It does not require a powerful CPU or a big beefy system for one to work well.

With the WHS file system and the use of hard drives as JOBOD or Just a Bunch Of Disks, you can use any HD you have on hand to plug into the WHS and should the system fail any of the HDs can be pulled out and plugged into another computer to have access to the files that the WHS stored there. It also uses Folder Duplication which spreads the files around from HD to HD so no file is in just one place.

Users can be setup for anyone using the WHS such as other family members and each can have permissions set to control what they can do. It also allows you to run your own website and has many features for that or even a FPT server for sharing files. WHS has a ton of add-ons that you can add to the system for just about whatever you need to do.
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Old 11-09-2009
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Sry if i missed it but do you have to load WHS software on the machine that wants access to the server or is it built into all windows operating systems by mapping drives?
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Old 11-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal-EL View Post
Sry if i missed it but do you have to load WHS software on the machine that wants access to the server or is it built into all windows operating systems by mapping drives?
WHS comes with a Connector Disk that installs software on each machine that you want to have WHS backup.

You only need to install it on one machine tho., this gives you access to the WHS software on the server. What this does is allow you to create users, give permissions and generally manage the server it self.

What other machines you install connector on can then be configured to backed up on the WHS. So all your machines in the network can be backed up on WHS.

In case of a machine failure you insert the WHS Restore disk on that machine, it then goes to the WHS and finds the back up and reloads it.

After the connector software is installed you will see this Shared Folder on your desktop, it points to the WHS and allows you to transfer filies just like you would on anything thing else.

You could also bring up the same Shared Folder Icon through your Map Network Drive.

So to answer your question. You only need to install the connector software on one rig that will admin the server, and on the machines that you want to be backed up.

If you dont care about any backups and you run a program like I use "Radmin" then you dont need to install the connector software on any machine. The software is not very big and is pretty simple to use so its no biggie.
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Shared Folders.JPG  
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Old 11-09-2009
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i have to say tho., setting one up is not with out it problems and if you have not ever run a server before its best to study up a bit.

After I got everything up and running I then had to enable Port Forwarding on my Router so it could make the Website go live and the Shared Folders work.

Next problem was Radmin. You install Radmin server on the WHS and create a user in that. You only really want 1 person to have access to Radmin for security reasons. So who ever is the Admin gets this.

Next you install the Viewer on your main rig. and all should be good.

Well not for me LOL... I spent hours going back and forth with the Router and Fire Walls on my main rig and just could not get it to connect, drove me nuts.

Finally I decided to check the Fire Wall on the WHS and add Radmin and then bingo all was good. Only took me all afternoon to figure this out HAHA
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Old 11-09-2009
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So other cool stuff that WHS can do is stream Music or Video out to where you want it to go.

I have seen some setups that use a Windows Media Center Machine as the Main rig for home enternament setup. Using a wireless setup with a XBOX 360 as the interface Media Center shows a list of Movies on the WHS right on your Big Screen TV, you select what you want to watch and WHS streams it right to your Media Center.

That is far beyond me at this time tho HAHA.

But I do put Movies and Music on the WHS and simply play them from there. No more keeping all that stuff on my main rig.
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Old 11-09-2009
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So what about remote access from outside your network?
Say I wanted to listen your Buckeye's "Inglebert Humperdink's" classics or the original version of Bethovans Quincheto? Could I remote in from Hawaii?
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Old 11-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal-EL View Post
So what about remote access from outside your network?
Say I wanted to listen your Buckeye's "Inglebert Humperdink's" classics or the original version of Bethovans Quincheto? Could I remote in from Hawaii?
Yes
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Old 11-09-2009
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All in all, very nice setup Bill, I have only one question..

955, 1200W PSU OCZ reapers, and you put a 210 in it? Why not 2x 295s lol


By the way, most of the stuff WHS does can be done in regular windows except the backup (unless you use acronis, or that TB software that I may be purchasing depending on how this eBay auction ends up) or the user interface you get with WHS. A simple concurrent sessions hack, lets me RDP into my HTPC without disrupting the logged on user, and administer the HTPC as I see fit, installing IIS would let me do this from the internet as well, but I do not really need that function. Although my HTPC is no longer with me (left it for my sister and her kids) so I should probably install IIS on it.
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Old 11-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye View Post
Yes
Well? Whats my password? I wanna watch some black and white t.v. shows man!
I know you got some episodes of marks brothers,
J/K, thx for the info Bill, I haven't had a chance to play WHS but the family keeps asking for all our media to be centralized and available. Another project to add to the long list
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Old 11-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal-el View Post
so what about remote access from outside your network?
Say i wanted to listen your buckeye's "inglebert humperdink's" classics or the original version of bethovans quincheto? Could i remote in from hawaii?
lmao
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