This simple guide was started as I had been talking to a fellow MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) Philip Churchill whose area of expertise is Windows Home Server and in the discussions we thought that Windows Home Server (WHS) was not used as much as it should be by many home users.
To be honest I always thought that Windows Home Server was a niche market for those users who are very tech savvy, yes that would be me but I would never have got around to installing WHS anyhow unless nudged into giving it a test.
The more I thought about this application the more it came to be that I realised that Windows Home Server has a place in the modern home to control backups of multiple PCs, as many homes these days have more than one PC, plus with the added fact that backups are crucial in this information age.
I have lost count of the amount of times on web forums that PC users post a help question asking how they can recover their important pictures and files, so the option of a Home Server to do this automatically for not only one PC but however many you have in your home network becomes a real viable option.
Benefits of Windows Home Server I can see are:
- You can centralise all your PCs backups in one area.
- You can stream your files (music, video), share documents and files, so this becomes a bit of a hub of your home network.
- You can remotely access your Home Server from anywhere with an internet connection (also via a Windows Mobile 7 phone).
- Once setup you don’t need to have a monitor, keyboard or mouse plugged in, which if you have a small form factor PC can be hidden away neatly, but do make sure that the area is well ventilated to stop the PC from overheating.
I must warn you that the install is a bit like installing Windows XP and not a quick one, so devote at least 2-3hrs to installing WHS and installing the drivers as well as setting up the accounts for the various users and PCs in the network. I do hope that the next version of Windows Home Server as in codename “vail” (Windows Home Server 2011) is more like installing Windows 7 which is fairly quick.
While you can buy off the shelf Windows Home Server machines as in the ASUS TS Mini and ACER Aspire AH340 and these will be great for many users who have not previously build their own PC, for those that are confident in building their own PC then this guide I hope should help them use an old or spare PC as a Windows Home Server.
This is the donor PC (hardware specs of it are in the Getting Started guide doc below).
I have typed up a step by step guide of the install of Windows Home Server V1 that I have done and hope that it helps in the install and setup of Windows Home Server, they are in Adobe PDF format and if you do not have Acrobat Reader then download HERE
Just click the icons below to download.
Getting Started Connector Install Account Creation Backup
This concludes my initial basic guide to setting up a Windows Home Server V1 PC from a spare desktop, I may add updates as in installing a new hard Drive to a WHS PC or adding Add-ons to the software next as well as when the next version of Windows Home Server (Vail) is released a new guide for that version also.
I hope this simple guide helps you to setup a Windows Home Server V1 PC that allows you to backup all your networked PCs.
Some essential websites for information on Windows Home Server