I got served by the Windows Home Server

Media Smart Home ServerWith our lives relying more and more on digital media, and Char’s initial forays into the land of Freelance Editing, it’s time to get serious about back-up, restore, and all of the other PC things that most folks take for granted. I’ve read some really great reviews about the HP MediaSmart Home Server, so when I finally found one for a great price on eBay, I jumped at it and bought it.

I set it up and configured it tonight, and while I’ve only scratched the surface, I’m really happy so far.

The good:

I configured a back-up, and amazingly in about 10 minutes it had made a complete back-up of my laptop. My 160gig laptop drive is about 50% full, and the home server created a 40gig back-up of it.

I added a second 500gig hard drive. With the machine on, I pulled out the tray, put the drive in the case, and pushed it back in the tray. I went to the server console, clicked a couple of buttons, and now I have a terrabyte of hard drive space on my Home Server.

I’ve backed up the main PC in the house too, and I’ve still got over 900 gigs of space left.

The Home Server has ridiculously great integration with Media Center.

The add-ins for this are amazing. There’s an FTP server, a web server, mail server, a really cool photo sharing service (which comes built in), some great integration with iTunes, and the ability to add PHP and mySQL to the home server.

The bad:

I had to enter the software’s key when I set it up. This should have been pre-configured. The instructions on the screen told me to look at my install CD’s case for the key. I looked around, and nope, no serial number. What the heck? The serial number was on the bottom of the actual server itself. That sucked.

At one point in the initial install, I was getting an error that I couldn’t continue. I rebooted the server twice, and clicked on the link a couple of times. It wasn’t until I noticed the red Home Server icon in my system tray that I discovered I hadn’t completed a step in the setup. Once that was done, all was well.

It IS a little louder than I’d like. It’s very quiet, but you do know that it’s there.

I want to upgrade the RAM at some point, but according to We Got Served, I’ll have to literally take the machine apart to get to the RAM. Suckathon.

4 thoughts on “I got served by the Windows Home Server”

  1. Wait a minute! Were you comparing putting a drive in a desktop to the one I did to my laptop? I was wondering what company would be so cavalier as to only use two screws to get at an internal laptop hard drive… cause those things don’t need a lot of screws to hold things down. It’s not like you pick up and move them around.

    Let me know when you swap the 160GB in your laptop for something bigger… bet ya its more than 2 screws and 5 minutes you spend.

    Does the HP Home server backup over WiFi? Because that was the biggest thing I didn’t like about solutions when we were looking. We either had to plug in a USB cable to a drive, or an ethernet cable – meaning I had to remember periodically to tether them in. And quite frankly after the first few times, I could see myself forgetting or putting it off.

    But then Apple release Time Capsule and I sold my Aiport, and two LaCie drives I had, & got the 1TB model and now have a wireless N hub that also is backup.

    The best part is the wireless backup – its seamless and running all the time. And I never forget to do them. Hourly, weekly and monthly backups without even thinking about it.

  2. Yeah, my bad, laptop vs desktop (bet it’s still easier with a PC though).

    The Home Server does backups over WiFi (the Home Server itself needs to be hard lined into the network, but satelite PC’s can be wireless). I did one wireless backup last night flawlessly in 10 minutes.

  3. After backups became wireless, the next biggest hurdle we need to get over is wireless power!

    What I like about that backup you have is that it compresses it quite nicely in size. The initial backup I did took quite a bit more time and I did it over ethernet because 110GB across G speed WiFi is quite slow. But now all the incremental backups are easy schmeasy. They just happen every hour, in the the thin air.

    Are you going to serve your sites now with that feature? Pretty cool.

  4. I’m only going to serve one site off of the Home Server (garsideweb.com). We’ll keep our photos there in a bunch of photo albums, and I’ll use it for an FTP server for client work (like when I need to do something for Info-Tech but don’t want to keep it on my me), but I don’t want to hog all of my bandwidth, so I’ll probably keep it relatively “off the grid” overall.

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