Stuff to pimp your Windows Home Server

Hacking Windows Home Server is a blog dedicated to Microsoft's WHS technology. Brought to you by Donavon West, Microsoft MVP and author of LiveGadgets.net and donavon.com I'll also discuss the Hewlett-Packard HP MediaSmart Server EX470, EX475, EX485, EX487, the T7-HSA Tranquil Harmony Home Server and any other new Home Server hardware platforms that arise. You can also call this hacking or hackz. In any case I will show you some cool things to make your Microsoft Windows Home Server even sweeter.

A blog devoted to getting the most out of your
Windows Home Server by Microsoft MVP Donavon West.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Windows Home Server Blogs Gadget

Download the GadgetBlogging about Windows Home Server has become a big part of my life, but as owner of LiveGadgets.net, I make my living writing gadgets. I wanted to somehow combine my love for Windows Home Server with my craft as a gadget developer.

For the past few months I've been kicking around some ideas for a series of Windows Home Server gadgets. My first is a headline ticker gadget called Home Server Blogs. It scrolls news headlines on your desktop just like on the bottom of your television screen (think CNN or MSNBC). It's a handy little tool if you already own a Windows Home Server or even if you are just thinking about one. When sitting on the Sidebar it looks like this:

image 

OK, it's hard to tell in the static picture above, but take my word for it; the headlines *do* scroll across the gadget. smile_regular

The gadget features news headlines from the Microsoft's Windows Home Server Team Blog as well as these major industry Microsoft MVP blogs: Terry Walsh's We Got Served, Philip Churchill's MS Windows Home Server and of course my Home Server Hacks.

Before I release the gadget to the general public, I wanted to give Home Server Hacks readers a change to try out this beta version first. So if you want to keep up on what's happening in the world of Windows Home Server, get the Windows Home Server Blogs gadget beta today!

Installation Instructions

  1. If you have the gadget already installed, uninstall it. To do so, right click on the gadget (in the window that displays all of your installed gadgets) and select "Uninstall".
    image
  2. Click on the "Install Gadget" link in the upper left of this article.
  3. You will see a security warning such as this. Click Save.
    image
  4. Open Windows Explorer to the location where you download the file.
  5. Double-click on the file WHSBlogs.gadget to install on your Windows Vista Sidebar and you will receive another security warning (and possible one more if you haven't disabled UAC - gotta love Vista).
    image
  6. Finally click "Install" to add the gadget to your Sidebar.

Other Features

If you click on the Windows Home Server "orb"and have the Windows Home Server Connector software installed, a popup menu will appear, It contains a menu of shortcuts to common client tasks like: opening the Windows Home Server Console,  Backup Now and opening common shared folders.

image

Drag the gadget onto the desktop and it will resize to a narrower and wider shape better suited for long scrolling headlines. What I like to do is move the gadget near the top of the screen, right click and select "Always on Top". This way the gadget will display a nice wide view. Because the gadget is not that tall, it should not obscure to much (except maybe the Windows title bar even with maximized applications).

image

Click on the little wrench next to the gadget  to launch the Settings dialog. There you can decide which blogs to display and which ones not to display.

image 

Conclusion

Try out the gadget for yourself and please post any comments or suggestion here. And check back in to Home Server Hacks from time to time. I have more gadgets in the works.

Fin. Why not comment on what you've just read or even Digg It!

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12 comments:

Mark said...

Donovan:

I like it already!

Initially I didn't think I'd like the scrolling view on the desktop (vs. the sidebar), however, I've learned to ignore it on the 22" external monitor I connect to my Tablet PC.

That being said, here are some suggestions (inevitable, I guess).

1. An option to turn off the scrolling for those who find it distracting.

2. I love the idea of being able to click on the Home Server logo and the "Shared" folders come up. Can you take it one step further? I have several folders I use all the time on my WHS and on my Tablet that I copy back and forth. What about an option to add frequently used folders to the list? E.g., HPSERVER\users\mark\xxx and TABLETPC\mark\documents\xxx ?

BTW, the feed is truly useful. Without it, I wouldn't have seen the HP MediaSmart deal on NewEgg that includes a free router and 500GB Drive! I'll be telling friends to jump on it! (I'm tempted to get it just because it's such a great deal, but I've been waiting for 1TB internal SATA drives to come down in price so as to add one to the HP MediaSmart serve I already have...

Anyway, I very much enjoy your Home Server Hacks Blog (I upgraded memory on my WHS server to 2GB per your recommendation and description) and enjoy following your comments.)

Keep up the good work!

Bubbly said...

Donovan
I think it's a great addition.

Maybe the possibility to have each blog scroll on a different line

All the best

Christoph said...

Donovan,

would be great if you could add the other home server websites like mswhs.com or www.home-server-blog.de as well.

Donavon West said...

Could someone with Vista x64 and PP1 please confirm if you see the WHS popup menu when you click on the logo button. Specifically, does the Backup Now and Console menu items appear and work correctly.

Thx, Donavon

Grant said...

Donovan,

I have vista ultimate 64bit and an EX470, I have done the processor and ram upgrade. Actually I put a Corsair 2GB PC6400 800Mhz XMS in it and it works fine. (only ram I had left over from a recent build) Anyway, to reply to your comment I do not know what a PP1 is. I would be willing to try and help you out on this one. Also I have heard that you can hook up a printer to the EX470 and share it but I am not sure how. If you could shed some light on either subject let me know. Thanks, Grant

james said...

great gadget.. thanks.
however, i am unable to see WHS shares etc. i'm using vista x64 with whs console connector installed and working (except for back ups) i only get a purchase whs, learn how to build and about link!
pls advise what to do.
james.
australia

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Michael said...

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Nick said...

Hi, You guys seem to be lovers of the WHS perhaps you could give ma a little help please? I am looking to get a WHS to run a access database which i currently use on Windows Server Exchange 2003. Do you think it might work on WHS or is it strictly a folder sharing option.

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