WHS v1

5

Introduction

After writing my two How To Articles on installing VMware Server on Both Windows Home Server Version 1 and Windows Home Server 2011 I had been thinking of exploring the other alternatives to free Virtualization appliances that is easier to install on your Home Computer. What finally prompted me to actually write this article when fellow moderator and collaborator Jim McCarthy here at UWHS asked me a good article I could recommend that would cover some of the different virtual appliances out there so he could get more familiar with it. Of course I did what I always do and ran for my Google Crystal Ball to research for such an article and was kind of disappointed in the offerings. One article I found was from Petri that was over 2 and half years old and the information on it was broad on what was out there in virtualization (which also included enterprise level appliances) but sparse on what they said about each appliance then just supplied the vendor’s URL. So being the professional perfectionist I am I sent Jim another e-mail back to him giving him what I felt in my 3 years of experience in the personal home virtualization front what would be good for him to try out, Minus the enterprise level stuff.

Who is this Article For?

This article is specifically aimed at the Home user environment for people who want to try other alternatives in their flavor of different Operating Systems other than and including Windows or even the hobbyist IT who wants to try different ways of bettering their existing environment without taking the chance of accidentally breaking it. The best thing about most of my suggestions is the appliance is free or the worst case scenario it has at least a 30 day evaluation before having to buy.

Suggested Virtual Appliances for the Home

We are going to start off with probably the top three free virtual appliances out in the virtualization technology market today…

VMware Player – This is what I have come to dub as “VMware Workstation Lite”. This was one of VMware’s first free Virtual appliances that was originally designed as sort of an “add-on” for VMware’s workstation appliance. So once a VM had been made it could be distributed to other users and “played” without having to buy another copy of VMware Workstation. However before version 3.0 you were limited to playing the VM’s that had been created by it’s big brother Workstation, Now you can create VM’s with it as well. VMware Player supports multiple Operating Systems Including Microsoft Windows (from Windows 3.1 all the way to Windows 7/2008 R2), Linux, Sun Solaris, Novell Netware, and others. Player also supports USB connectivity thru the Host operating system and now has limited support for Direct X Video Card emulation for the more video intensive applications. The appliance can be installed on either Windows (Windows 2000 and up) or Linux Based Operating Systems. It’s completely Free and you need to only register with VMware, The current version as of this writing is version 3.1.4 .

Oracle’s (Formally Sun’s) Virtual Box- This particular Virtual appliance has had a very interesting history. Virtual Box started out it’s life by a company called Innotek GmbH in 2007 before being subsequently purchased by Sun Microsystems the following year in 2008, and then ultimately by Oracle when they in turn brought out Sun Microsystems in 2010. On top of what the normal offerings in a free virtual appliance like VMware Player and Microsoft’s Virtual PC it also supports some of the technology that the enterprise level virtual appliance offers like snapshots of VM’s and connecting a physical disk to the Virtual Machine. Virtual Box supports a variety of host operating systems which include Microsoft Windows (Windows XP and Up), Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Open Solaris, and even the MAC OS X.This comes in 2 parts, One is the main download of the Virtual Box appliance and its expansion add-on. The expansion pack will allow the USB connectivity through the host operating system and RDP session from without the virtual environment. The appliance is free for all personal use but not for all business use. The current version as of this writing is version 4.1.2 .

Microsoft Virtual PC – There actually is 2 versions of Microsoft’s Virtual PC and that is Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and the new version which was designed to work with Microsoft’s Windows 7 line of operating systems (well, most of them at least). As everything  with Microsoft they originally brought the technology of the Virtual PC appliance when they acquired the company who made it by the name of Connectix in 2003. Virtual PC 2007 can be loaded on most version of Microsoft Windows (Ranging from Windows NT/98 to Windows Vista) host operating systems and support most  Microsoft Operating Systems as a guest (MS-DOS all the way to Vista). The newer Version has the ability in Windows XP mode to incorporate its devices with the Windows 7 host operating system. Both appliances are free to use with genuine copy’s of Windows and support USB pass through.

The last Virtual appliance I am going to talk about is for the serious hobbyist IT that wants to do more with their virtual machines than the Free versions have to offer and that is of course is VMware Workstation…

VMware Workstation – VMware workstation has been one of VMware’s flagship desktop virtual appliances since the early 2000’s and is still one of the premier virtual technology in todays virtual market. Workstation has all the features that all the previously mentioned free appliances has plus the addition of team virtual networking, running multiple Virtual machines at once, recording your virtual machines, and much more. Workstations supports the following guest Operating Systems which  Include Microsoft Windows (from Windows 3.1 all the way to Windows 7/2008 R2), Linux, Sun Solaris, Novell Netware, and others. This appliance can be installed on either Microsoft Windows (Windows 2000 and up) or Linux Based Operating Systems. Workstation also comes with VMware Player as an additional add on. It is free to try for 30 days (after you register for an evaluation license) and is approximately  $189 for a permanent license. Again, I would only consider making the move to VMware workstation when you have gotten of what you can due with the basic functionality of Virtualization. The current Version as of this writing is 7.1.4 .

In all for starting out I would most likely use either VMware Player or Virtual Box. Both are very easy to install and use for the first time Virtual User.

Guest Operating Systems Legality

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain the the legal licenses and genuine copies of any operating system that is used for the Virtual Machine on the Virtual Appliance. Yes, even if the OS is not being installed on a physical machine the same legal rights do apply.

sql1

sql41

Introduction

Back when I originally started using SQL Server 2008 R2 Express with Management Tools it had been on my Windows Home Server Version 1 before I decided to make the move to Windows Home Server 2011. Since I don’t think Window Home Server Version 1 is not going to disappear anytime soon and a lot of people use different applications that require a Database and Management Tools that I would do a how to article for Windows Home Server Version 1  as well. As you can see in the Prerequisites there are some variations from doing the installation on Windows Home Server 2011 including certain hotfixes being installed and insuring all current Microsoft Updates are up to date as well, However it will still do the same job as Windows Newer Line of Server Operating Systems.

Prerequisites

- A Windows Home Server Version 1 with at least a Intel Dual Core or AMD equivalent and 2GB’s of system Memory.

- Download Microsoft Windows Installer 4.5 for Windows Server 2003.

- Download the 32 bit installer of the SQL 2008 R2 Express with Management Tools. (The software is free but you will most likely have to register with a Windows Live account).

- Insure that Your Home Server Version 1 has all current updates from both Windows and Microsoft Update

- A Separate Drive (Internal and not External) that is NOT APART OF THE DE (DRIVE EXTENDER) POOL.

- Remote Desktop or Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor.

Before You Start

Do a backup of your system drive before you begin the installation just in case the install does not go as planned and the registry somehow gets damaged.

Disclaimer

The How to information is intended as a guide or helping resource to those who are trying to install SQL 2008 R2 Express with Management Tools on their Windows Home Server Version 1. There is no 100% guarantee that this will install correctly the 1st time installing this application on your home server and there is the slight chance of registry damage to your home server Operating System. I assume no responsibility for any consequences of the install and the user will assume the full risk of any adverse effects of a bad installation.

Installation Instructions

1) Power down your Windows Home Server

2) Install a Secondary Hard Drive (internally and not externally), Once completed power on your Home Server.

3) Once your Home Server has booted up login either via Remote Desktop or Console.

4)  Upon successful login right click on “My Computer”, and click on “Manage”.

Note 1 – You will not be adding this drive into the DE (Drive Extender) Pool.

V25A_thumb1

5) If this is a new drive your home server will automatically start the “Initialize” Disk Box as seen below, click “Cancel” (We will not be converting the Disk to “Dynamic”).

sql11

Magic Wake On LAN, an add-in that adds wake on lan capabilities to your home server and network, was updated to version 1.2.715.1. Read on for details!

settings-mainwakeup-timersweb-interface

Back in December, we told us about the initial release of this add-in. Here is what we said about the add-in back then:

Magic WOL is a clientless WOL solution for WHS V1. Utilizing the latest AJAX technology for seamless website interaction, Magic WOL is the easiest solution for waking up computers for RDP. Not only is it accessible from the WHS console and the remote website, but it easily allows you to manage devices in your network that are not connected to WHS.

Features:
*Clientless integration, only need server installation.
*IP Helpers and ARP finders that keep your PCs info accurate when WHS doesn’t.
*Edit, Delete, and Add new computers to the add-in.
*Automatic Updates for all future releases.

On Thursday we told you about an update, and now there is another one.

Magic WOL Version 1.2.715.1 is the first version with computer scheduling, which allows you to configure computers both inside and outside of WHS client pool to wake up at a specified time, daily or one time only.  This release also includes the updates and patches from the recent maintenance release (version 1.1).

This add-in costs $7 and comes with a 30 day trial for evaluation purposes. Jim uses this add-in frequently to wake his home desktop from the office and the road, and if you are looking for a WOL solution, He recommends it from personal experience. He uses it from his Android phone and his work computer and since it deploys a website for sending the magic packet, it can be used by a multitude of devices.

What are you waiting for? If you haven’t tried this yet for your v1 box, give it a whirl!

[button link="http://maplegrovepartners.com/addins.aspx" color="red"]Magic WOL From Maplegrove Partners[/button]

[button link="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake_on_lan" color="red" window="yes"]Wake On LAN On Wikipedia[/button]

Magic Wake On LAN, an add-in that adds wake on lan capabilities to your home server and network, was updated to version 1.1.714.2.  Read on for details!

Maplegrove

Back in December, Andrew told us about the initial release of this add-in.  Here is what Andrew told us about the add-in back then:

Magic WOL is a clientless WOL solution for WHS V1. Utilizing the latest AJAX technology for seamless website interaction, Magic WOL is the easiest solution for waking up computers for RDP. Not only is it accessible from the WHS console and the remote website, but it easily allows you to manage devices in your network that are not connected to WHS.

Features:
*Clientless integration, only need server installation.
*IP Helpers and ARP finders that keep your PCs info accurate when WHS doesn’t.
*Edit, Delete, and Add new computers to the add-in.
*Automatic Updates for all future releases.

Today, I woke up to find that the automatic upgrade function had downloaded a new update and it was ready to install, so of course I updated the application.  The latest version fixes bugs.

I recently caught up with Jim from electrongoo, the company that developed Snoop De Dupe, and have some information on that add-in.  Read on for details!

snoop-de-dupe

Here is how electrongoo describes Snoop-De-Dupe:

Keep your server’s storage space optimized! Snoop-de-dupe will automatically scan your server storage and display duplicate files in an easy-to-view layout directly within the server’s user Console. Once snoop-de-dupe locates duplicate files then you can respond to them as you choose. You can delete the duplicate files, ignore/keep the duplicate files, or replace the duplicate files with a hard-link (available in WHS/SBS 2011 only). You will be in command of your server storage space like never before!

Product features:

  • Supports Windows Home Server
  • Automatic, real-time continuous file de-duplication scanning
  • 160-bit SHA-1 de-duplication hash for optimum results
  • Windows Home Server Console integration
  • Pause and Resume operation at any time for maximum efficiency of your server
  • Select any folders of your choosing on your server for de-duplication scanning
  • Simple, easy-to-view heads-up status display to monitor progress
  • Easy to navigate list of duplications for: deleting, linking, or ignoring duplicate files
  • Quick-launch feature allows for viewing contents of duplicate files
  • 15 day free trial available

And now the interview.

Tell us about your firm.

We’ve actually been around for over a year. We have five add-ons currently shipping for the WHS/SBS community: TimeTravelerWHS, Integrity Checker (WHS + SBS), and Snoop-de-dupe (WHS + SBS). Our company name is electrongoo (www.electrongoo.com) although we have not advertised the company behind the products; generally we let the product take focus on itself. Our average engineer has over 12 years of industry experience.

What is Snoop De Dupe for those who have never tried it before? Key features, capabilities, etc.

Snoop-de-dupe is an add-in for Windows Home Server (WHS/SBS 2011 support to be released soon). The add-in alerts you to duplicate files. You can simply log into the Console at any time and view the current list of duplicate files. You have the option to ignore, delete, or create a hard-link (WHS/SBS 2011 only). Snoop-de-dupe allows you to re-cycle used space on your hard drive by reclaiming space from duplicate photos, music, documents (or any file for that matter). Invariably, duplicate files can be a problem most people are not even aware of. In a home/family environment where multiple people are copying data to a server, you typically find a lot of duplicate files within the different user folders.

Who is the target audience for Snoop De Dupe?

The home user, small business, and IT consultant.

Why does a WHS user need to use it?

Duplicate files can waste valuable hard disk space. Knowing where duplicate files exist is the first step in re-claiming the wasted space. Also, consider backup/protection solutions. Unless your backup solution has a de-duping feature then every backup operation wastes more storage space and process time than it needs to. If you’re using an online-backup service then you’re probably paying for that extra space too.

What are the key draws that you think will excite potential users about this application?

Automatic real-time monitoring of file duplicates (I recommend installing and configuring the add-in then open the Console to the snoop-de-dupe add-in tab and create some duplicate files on the server. Maybe I’m just a nerd … but it’s pretty cool when the duplicate list displays the updates immediately in real-time).

Ease of install and use.

Just saying the name, “snoop-de-dupe” … rolls off the tongue! Open-mouthed smile

What was the inspiration for Snoop De Dupe? Can you tell me why you set out to deliver the application?

The hard drive on my home server was getting close to capacity. When I was cleaning up my home server storage and noticed a huge amount of space (GB’s!) wasted due to duplicate music and photos. I thought, “Hey, there must be a better way to stay on time of this!” This add-in works great for my needs. I simply log into the Console at my discretion and view the duplicate files which have been copied to my server since the last time I viewed them. Easy!

How is your application differentiated from the competition?

Snoop-de-dupe locates duplicate files in real-time; there is one other add-in which will search for duplicate files but you must log-in, configure a job, and let it run

WHS/SBS 2011 will allow you to replace a duplicate file with a hard-link thus keeping the file available in its current location but freeing the wasted hard drive space

Better price

We’ve got a much cooler product name Open-mouthed smile

What are your plans for future development? Are there any features that you plan to add in future releases?

We’re finalizing support for WHS/SBS 2011 now (should be available very soon).

Scheduling (some users would rather not watch duplicate files in real-time). Although the current version of the product allows you to pause/resume scanning at any time; this is a manual process that we’d like to automate with a scheduling feature.

Integration with the health meter. Real-time updates to notify of duplicate files.

I recently caught up with Jim from ElectronGoo, the firm that developed Integrity Checker, Snoop De Dupe, and Time Traveller WHS.  Read on for details!

electrongoo

First, here is how ElectronGoo describes themselves:

electrongoo [/i-lek-tron-goo/] is a software technology company, located in Nevada, founded by well versed professionals dedicated to creating the best in-class applications. We’re a small Microsoft BizSpark startup focusing on multiple platforms: Windows Home Server, Small Business Server, Windows Mobile, Apple iPhone, and Android; as well as all the cool fragments which adheres these disparate platforms.
The company drives toward a united, focused, solution while also allowing our engineering talent to tackle independent research ideas which, many times, derive into a product of their own!
Our engineers have an average of 12+ years’ experience in the industry: best-in-breed and here to make a mark.

We told you a little about Integrity Checker here.  As a refresher, here is how ElectronGoo describes the product:

In this digital age, data originates from many paths and numerous devices. With your server at the heart of your data, it’s necessary for you to guarantee integrity. Integrity Checker runs on your Windows Server; quietly, efficiently, and automatically watching for new data. As data is detected, Integrity Checker automatically generates hash-stamps to guarantee the integrity of your data.
Integrity Checker supports Windows Home Server, Windows Home Server 2011, and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials.

Features at a glance …

  • Supports Windows Home Server (original and 2011)
  • Supports Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
  • 160-bit SHA-1 hash stamping for optimum integrity
  • Automatic, real-time continuous integrity generation
  • Run an integrity scan any time you choose
  • Compare checksums of large downloads quickly and efficiently
  • Includes PC Client (Windows XP, Vista, 7) for easy checksum comparison on all your PC’s
  • User selectable Shares
  • Easy to navigate Server add-in runs directly in the Server Console or Dashboard
  • User-configurable file detection: real-time, scheduled, or manual mode
  • Integrity scan results integrated with Windows Clipboard for easy data review
  • Multiple types of integrity scans: full system scan, folder scan, and individual file scan

The developer for WHS Phone has updated the beta release to version 1.24 and has fixed some bugs.  Development on a pretty useful add-in for WHS version 1 continues.  Read on for more details!

WHS-Phone

WHS Phone for Android is bringing the WHS Phone application to Android.  WHS Phone has been released to work with Windows Phone 7, as Tim has written about before.  You can connect to your v1 server to stream music, download files, see client backup status, stream photos and more.  I’ve been beta testing the version that works with Android for about a week and a half now and have to say that I like it a lot!  The developer intends to bring the same functionality that is in the Windows Phone 7 version to Android. 

Impressions

It is easy to connect to my v1 home server from my Droid 2 handset.  I’ve been able to download PDF files, check up on backup status of my clients, and evaluate remaining disk space on connected drives.  Unfortunately for me, all my music is in MP4 files and the Android application will only stream MP3 and 3GP files.  So no music streaming for me!  Hopefully, support for MP4 music files can be added over time.  In addition, the application does not support video streaming, although the developer promises to work on adding that over time.  All in all, having quick and dirty access to files stored on my home server from my handset is convenient. 

Screenshots

Here are a few screenshots of the beta.  Understand that these may change as the application is finalized, but it gives you a good feel for the UI and layout.

connection

Folders

Playlist

Photos

If you’d like to check out this beta, cruise on over to WHS Phone Android Beta Forum, register with the forum board, and post that you’d like to test the beta.  The folks running that forum will get you squared away in no time.  Give it a shot!

I’ll bring you more details as the beta progresses.

[button link="http://www.whsphone.com/" window="yes"]WHS Phone Website[/button]

Alex Kuretz at MediaSmartServer.Net has released an update to his popular Remote Notification add-in.  The new version is 1.5 and introduces some new functionality.  The full version will cost $15USD and the Lite version, with the same feature set as the current 1.0.0.47 release, remains free of charge.  A 30 day trial period will allow you to assess the value of the extra features in your implementation before you buy, and a secured licensing model ensures the safety of your personal information used for licensing.

Remote Notification

What Is Remote Notification?

Remote Notification is an add-in that allows the home server to forward alerts and error messages to predetermined email or SMS texting address.  This is particularly handy if you are providing remote administration for a home server.  I’ve personally run this application for about two years and recommend it as required for new installations.  It is very convenient to have the server tell you when there are issues.

Features

Here’s what Alex has to say about features:

Remote Notification lets you proactively monitor your Home Server in the following ways:

  • Receive your Home Server health alerts in your email inbox
  • Receive your Home Server health alerts on your mobile phone¹
  • Control the health alerts that are sent based upon severity level
  • Control the health alerts that are sent with custom text filters
  • Control when health alerts are sent with Notification Schedules (Do Not Disturb)
  • Send the alerts to as many recipients as you want
  • Easy setup of your email settings with SMTP Presets
  • Be confident that your server is functioning properly with Daily Reports via email
  • Monitor your Home Server health alerts via RSS Feed
  • View your Home Server’s health alert history for alerts you may have missed

¹ Requires that your mobile provider offers an SMS Gateway. Regular text messaging fees will apply based upon your service provider and plan.

Licensing

For this release, new features were added that require the purchase of a license to use.  The differences between the lite and registered versions are summarized here:

Lite Mode Registered
Supports Email and SMS Recipients
Unlimited Recipients
Daily Email Reports
RSS Feed of Active Notifications
Notification Schedules (Do No Disturb)
Exclude Filters

The daily report is very useful. It’s divided into a summary section, which gives an overview of the server  and any active notifications, and a detailed section.  The detailed section shows the detail of any active warning notifications as well as detail about each client’s backup and health status.  Finally, a roster of installed add-in’s, including version information, is provided.  At a glance, you can see everything that has been installed on the server.  Remote Notification sends out this report each day after the conclusion of the backup window.  The RSS feed shows details of any active notifications.  If you use RSS on your PC or smartphone, this could be an interesting way to see any active server notifications.  Exclude Filters allow you to set up exclusions to what notifications are forwarded based on keywords and is a handy way to minimize the number of unwanted notifications.  The Do Not Disturb setting ensures that messages are not sent out during set times of the day, handy if you sleep in the same room with your phone.  If you enable this feature, the application will not send notifications until outside the blackout window.  No more text messages at 3:30am waking you up!

Online Documentation

For this release, Alex put together a very comprehensive online documentation repository.  You can see it at http://www.remotenotification.com/documentation/.  This ensures that you always have access to the latest documentation and help files, and allows the developer to provide very detailed tutorials.  I hope to see more of this type of online documentation in other commercial add-in releases.

Installation

Installation is like any other add-in:

  1. Download the add-in here;
  2. Save to the Software\Add-ins folder on your home server;
  3. Log onto your WHS console;
  4. Select Settings;
  5. Select Add-ins;
  6. Click on  the Available tab;
  7. Click on the Install button under Remote Notification.

If you are currently running Remote Notification 1.0.0.47, uninstall before installing this version.  Alex has implemented a migration feature which should import the settings that you are currently using in 1.0.0.47 to make it easier to upgrade.  Simply click on Remote Notification Settings on the Remote Notification tab in the console and follow the prompts to migrate settings.

Configuration

Alex documents the following steps to use when configuring Remote Notification in his Quick Start Guide:

Follow these steps and you’ll be up and running in minutes.

  1. Install Remote Notification
  2. Configure your SMTP Settings
  3. Add an Email Recipient to get notifications in your email
  4. Add an SMS Recipient to get notifications on your mobile phone
  5. Add a Report Recipient to get Daily Reports in your email

Highly detailed tutorials are available for each step required to configure and use Remote Notification.

Screenshots

SMTP settings page:

SMTP Settings
SMTP Settings

Add email recipients:

Email Recipients
Email Recipients
Recipient Detail
Recipient Detail
Test Email
Test Email

Adding SMS and Report recipients works the same way, but instead of choosing Email in Recipient Type, choose SMS or Report.

Impressions

I was part of the beta testing team for this application, and had a front-row seat to watch this add-in progress.  (Full Disclosure Alert: I received a full license at no charge in return for my testing efforts.)  As such, I’ve had plenty of time to use the new version.  The daily report of server status is very useful; at a glance, I know my uptime, remaining OS partition space, the status and date/time of the last backup of each machine on my network and a complete inventory of loaded add-in’s, including versions.  If I  were managing several servers remotely, that report alone would be worth the cost!  In addition, the RSS feed is convenient, and I also value being able to load extra recipients into the texting/email notification function.  My wife appreciates the Do Not Disturb window; no more waking her up in the middle of the night with SMS messages from the server.  I’ve been very happy with the new features and recommend that you use the 30 day trial to see if you agree that the extra features are worth it.

More Information

[button link="http://www.remotenotification.com/download/" window="yes"]Remote Notification Add-in Download[/button]

[button link="http://www.remotenotification.com/" window="yes"]Remote Notification Website[/button]

[button link="http://www.remotenotification.com/documentation/" window="yes"]Remote Notification Documentation[/button]

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