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 and 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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ask the Home Server Guy

Ask the Home Server Guy

Today I’m starting a new segment called Ask the Home Server Guy where you ask the stupid questions and I pretend that I care and give you an answer. Oops. Did I say that out loud? :)

Seriously, send in your questions about anything and everything Windows Home Server related and I’ll do my best to answer them. Send your questions to Send your email here (note the spiffy new domain name).

Let’s get started…

Dear Home Sever Guy: I’m a bit confused as to what the iTunes application does on the HP MediaSmart Server. I mean, can you just leave your music on the shared storage and point iTunes there to sync. What am I missing?

Not exactly. You don’t point your iTunes library to your shared drive. Instead, the iTunes server (actually it’s called the Firefly Media Server project) runs on the WHS and you see the server as a shared device in iTunes running on each of your clients.


HP also distributes a piece of client software that periodically updates the shared folder with music you have added to your local iTunes. This way the whole family can share all of it’s music. Little 10 year old Madison can stream her father’s copy of Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight” and Mom can listen to 17 year old Connor’s “Shame On A N*gg*” by Wu-Tang Clan. See, everyone wins!

Home Sever Guy: Do you think building a custom WHS box is wiser than buying a pre-built system like the HP EX470?

The HP EX470 (or HP MediaSmart Server) is a great machine and it’s what I use as my main WHS. Buying a ready to run EX470 is definitely a lot easier than building a DIY box, but there are advantages to both. DIY machines can be cheaper as you can use an old machine that may already be collecting dust in your closet. Or you can start from scratch and build the $400 Windows Home Server. Bottom line is that if you have the cash and don’t have the time, I’d go pre-built and right now, the pre-built most people run is the HP EX470.

Dear Home Sever Guy: We have two Macs in our home and thought it [Windows Home Server] allowed for Macs to backup as well. Am I mistaken?

Currently there is no “connector” for a Mac. A connector the small little piece of software that runs on each client and provides for, among other things, automated backup. You can however use the shared drives from your Mac and possibly automate a backup to use them. This solution would be outside of the normal WHS backup procedure and you would loose the space saving "duplicate files" feature of the WHS backup.

That’s all for this installment of Ask the Home Server Guy. Be sure to send your questions to Send your email here.

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

Microsoft Social Bookmark on Microsoft Social


SilkRod said...

In ref to iTunes & HP MSS: So you're saying for any new music, I can just place it in the Share Music Folder and iTunes will automatically add it to its library? What if I place the new files on a client PC, will WHS automatically add it to its library?



Timur said...

I'm writing a msi to deliver a patch to an Add-in that is already on the machine. Since the dlls that I need to replace are loaded by in the console, the MSI renames the existing dlls and copies in the new ones. The msi returns 3010 which by all accounts is not a failure code, but the add-in manager sees this as an error and the install fails. Has anyone had an issue like this?

Thanks for your time.

Post a Comment