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.