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94 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed...Updated Dec 2009
I've just purchased this having installed the free 120 day evaluation version which is available directly from Microsoft. In that time, it's dropped £30 in price!!

This is a server operating system based on MS Server 2003, which I have installed on my daughter's old AMD Athlon 1800+ desktop which became surplus on the arrival of a new laptop last birthday. I've...
Published on 24 Dec. 2008 by S. J. Loveridge

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars This is ONLY Power Pack 1
Check the small print - as this version is `only' the original Power Pack 1 with the Drive Extender Bug - you MUST update both this install and the Connector software before switching on Folder Duplication - same goes for a 64 bit client install - in other words much easier to buy the newer version with Power Pack 3
Published on 30 Dec. 2010 by Shopper


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94 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed...Updated Dec 2009, 24 Dec. 2008
By 
S. J. Loveridge "Steve" (Taunton, England) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
I've just purchased this having installed the free 120 day evaluation version which is available directly from Microsoft. In that time, it's dropped £30 in price!!

This is a server operating system based on MS Server 2003, which I have installed on my daughter's old AMD Athlon 1800+ desktop which became surplus on the arrival of a new laptop last birthday. I've not had any experience of servers before and the installation process was a doddle - you put the CD in the drive of your spare computer, plug it into a wired network socket on your router and away it goes to become your new Home Server. Once it's finished, every other computer on your network needs to install Home Server client software..and hey presto, you're up and running.

OK, but what does it do?? I'm not sure I've even scratched the surface yet, but this is what mine does...

I've installed Samsung Laser and HP Inkjet printers on it and it acts as print server for any computer in the house. (XP drivers seem to work fine for basic printers, but from reading forums I don't think scanners etc will work).

This means that you never have to plug a laptop into a printer again, just sit working wirelessly on your laptop on the sofa, click print in the usual way..and the print spools out of the printer connected to the Home Server.

All of our music, files and photographs are in folders on the Home Server which are shared and available to me, my wife and daughter with varying degrees of security and access (e.g. I have full control, whereas my daughter can only look at the photographs (not delete or change), but she can write new music to the Home Server when she rips new CDs.

This means that, no matter which computer you log onto, all of your files are available to you.

The Home Server backs itself up and also backs up each client computer.

This means that, using the supplied rescue disk you should be able to restore any computer or data if you have a serious problem.

Each computer has a new notification icon on the Windows toolbar which changes colour if anything needs attention. This means that, for example, I get a warning if my daughter's virus software finds a problem, or is out-of-date.

The Home Server can be enabled to provide a web-site and address, as well as remote access, so that you can log onto your home network from any internet enabled computer, anywhere in the world and download from / upload files to your Home Server (provided it's turned on) and even print out a document on a printer at home from anywhere in the world if you really want to!). Note - we have relatively slow broadband where we live so this is fairly slow for large files, but it's a good trick.

A few things you need to consider...

Disc Storage Space - there's no point in building a server unless it can handle all the data you need, so I installed 2 x 500GB HDDs in my Home Server. This gives me about a TB of storage in theory, but I've got full back up turned on, so this really provides 500GB of fully backed up storage (WHS automatically copies all data across both drives, so if one fails, the data isn't lost).

Energy Usage - a PC turned on all the time will burn a lot of electricity (especially if you use an ond one like mine) - and get quite warm, so I've stripped out everything it doesn't need (Sound card, fancy graphics card, floppy disc drive, DVD burner) and added a big fan to keep it cool. I've also changed the network card for one fitted with Wake on LAN (WOL) which means that, if a piece of software called Lights Out is installed, the Home Server will go to sleep if no clients are active on the network and then wake up automatically when it detects an active client.

This brings me onto one final point - read the "We Got Served" forum - this is excellent for all aspects of WHS...and gives you details of loads of Add Ons (such as Lights Out) most of which are free to download for installation.

I've also installed Firefly Media server on my Home Server. This provides a central "point" for iTunes to access its music from - so no more messing around with the frustrating business of libraries etc. All of our computers can now access all of our music through iTunes- with no input from me at all now!

You can probably tell that i'm impressed with this - yes, there are a few glitches and it took me a while to get my head around the difference between the Home Server desktop and the Home Server Console, but I'm no computer expert by any stretch of the imagination..so if I can do it, so can anyone else with a bit of patience.

Recommended

UPDATE - 10 Dec 2009

Well, it's been nearly a year since I left my last feedback and I'm really pleased that people found it useful (and thanks for the nice comments too!) and I thought some long term feedback might be useful

Over the past year my home built WHS has given me NO TROUBLE whatsoever. I've installed Avast Anti Virus for WHS on it and that works fine - especially if you install Avast Home Edition on the clients - they all "talk together".

Also, as suggested by one of the guys who commented on the original review, I have used WHS for streaming music and video to a PS3 (and tried it with a mate's XBox360), Squeezeboxes and also to laptops via Window Media Centre (there is a "fix" to WMC available from Microsoft to allow ripped DVD's to be played in a DVD library if you wish - which looks quite smart)..and it all works fine.

The only thing that I can think of that would be a "nice to have", would be have some form of Outlook email server included in WHS, so that my wife and I could have a shared Inbox as well as private Inboxes..but I think there are other ways round that..I'll just keep tinkering. (anyone have any thoughts please?

After a year of trouble free running - now Highly Recommended.

As a result, I've upped my rating from four to five stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted, 25 Aug. 2009
By 
R. Taylor "Richard" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
This does everything that I wanted it to do, and I am really pleased with it. What I wasn't prepared for, despite getting the evaluation copy first, is that new motherboards with SATA designed for PC's, and this don't particularly mix too well. To cut a long story short, I finshed up running this under VMWare as I could not get the install to run on my hardware, even to the first stage (Lots of Google searches and forum searches later). So, choose your hardware with extreme care. If the hardware has no Win2003 server drivers then expect problems. Now it is up and running I have no complaints. I have used the recovery feature twice (purely for testing rather than in anger) using both XP and Windows 7RC. It is so much easier, simpler and much faster than having to do a base O/S restore and then reload all the Apps and data back. I am sure there are other products out there that will do this too, but the simplicity of this is great, especially coupled with all the file-sharing functions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product, 31 Oct. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
Delivered very quickly and the set up was a breeze. Very little computer knowledge is required, however your server needs to have a wired connection to you router, it does not support wireless connnection, the rest of your pc's can be wireless though. Easy to use and you can grow into it, plus I strem all my media onto my playstaion, laptop and pc with no extra add in's or programs.
Would definatly recommend this over an external hard drive as you can access your files any were in the world as long as you have an Internet connection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT, 25 Nov. 2010
By 
David Sillence (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
Hi,

First why read this review. I have been using windows homeserver ever since it came out over 1.5 years ago.

I have 5 computers at home and it was a pain always having to do monthly backups on them all, Windows homeserver solved this problem in an absolute simple manner. Install the connector software on each home computer, a backup plan is created (Daily, weekly and monthly backup) and after that when the computer is turned on again it completes a backup in the background needing no input from myself its done automatically, The initial backup will be the longest.

You will have the ability to share documents and files with all your family and friends (You have 10 user accounts at your disposal) whilst at home or any where else as the software allows remote access ie connecting via the internet to your server, all you need is an internet connection. Great for when you are on holiday and want to save your pictures at home straight away or for allowing the kids to have a place to put school work or if working on a project with another person.

Another great feature using what are called addins (small programs that enhance the servers use) is to build your own photo website and host it from your server meaning you do not have to pay a company to host your site. Or any other number of sites you wish to create. Using an addin called Whiist for example, this is so easy to do its beyond belief and they can be accessible by everyone or you can lock the sites down to only authorized users of your server.

The first release of Homeserver was not as refined as it is now and was a bit cumbersome. Now that Power Pack 1 has been deployed you have a much more robust and easier to use system that has nailed out a lot of the bugs and it now allows you to backup all the files on the server to an external drive and have the peace of mind knowing you can have off site backups of the files on your server but not backups of the home computer backups.

One of the great things about the home server is its upgrade ability. Should you need more space for files with a few clicks of the mouse you can tell the server that you are going to be removing a hard drive and then after you replace the hard drive for a bigger one it asks you if you want to add it to the pool of drives to increase your storage space Simplicity at its best.

I have had to recover my sons computer a few times now with the restore CD supplied with homeserver and it is simply a matter of placing the CD in the drive turn his computer on and enter the homeserver password then select which computer and what backup you want to restore to. It is not as quick as an image restore with say ghost but it will do the job in a few hours and the computer is ready to go again.

In all I believe this is the best peace of software Microsoft have released to home users, Its easy to use, Its easy to upgrade, its easy to customize to your needs. It gives absolute piece of mind when it comes to having a way of backing up and ensuring I never lose my music files and home movies and pictures. This is an definite 5 star product.

Dave
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill product, easy to use, 16 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
I've had a Win2003 server running at home since 2003, and I've been planning to add extra disc, RAID etc etc, but never got round to it. I had an ancient Dell server chassis lying around, an Intel Atom processor card (10W - 4Core 1Ghz processor) so I took the plunge.
Plugged in a PCI-SATA card and a brace of 1TB drives, 30 minutes later I could see my photos on the web, my workstations were being backed up automatically, and the Mains power meter says 20W - as opposed to the 150W the old server was taking. I've installed Sql Server 2008 R2 as well, I can run a Database-driven web site while watching HD video...
It does nothing that a decent server admin couldnt do, but all I did was plug in the CD - nice one Microsoft.
Oh and I can listen to my music on the XBox (if you turn up the volume to drown the fan noise)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin, 13 April 2011
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
I have been running this product as a 30 day free trial from Microsoft for a couple of weeks and am very impressed. I am an ex server engineer and used to run Novell 6.5 at home only because it was free. I have now ordered a working copy as I intend to run this as my home server.

The biggest complaint server engineers have with people is not making backups, this software does it automatically, even switching the PC or Laptop on to do it at night so your data is always safe. You can also make a boot disk (floppy or CD) so if you have a drive failure on your PC just replace the drive, boot of the CD or floppy and automatically the latest 'image' of your disk will be copied down to your PC. No software to reload, when its finished you simply reboot the PC without the CD or floppy and off you go. I works well as a media server but to use a Media Extender you have to have Media Centre on a PC and that has to be running as well to make the connection. That aside I have all my photo's, music and videos copied down and it works a treat connected to my TV and HiFi via a Linksys DMA2100.

There will be a new version coming out soon but the problem is that it is based on Windows Server 2008 which is a 64 bit operating system so you will have to buy a new PC (neither version will not work on a Laptop by the way). The current version is based on Windows Server 2003 and will run on any 486 based machine with 512kb of memory (more if you install any third party addons) or above. This makes it an ideal product if you have an old PC laying around that works providing it has a network card. I bought a cheap SATA card and installed it into a PCI slot then bought a couple of 1TB drives at £58 each. The controller is RAID so it copies the contents of one drive to the other so all your data is safe if one drive fails. You will only still see 1tb of disk but apart from fire, flood or being nicked your data is totally safe.

If your happy with Windows this will be no problem to work out and easy to set it up, you don't even need a manual but the 'Help' facility is vey good and obviously aimed at none server people. Once it's up and running you don't need a keyboard, mouse or screen it just sits in the corner out the way, mines down in the basement.

If you do have an old PC laying around my tip is download the 30 day (full) version from the Microsoft website and give it a try, your be back to buy a copy within a couple of weeks and wonder how you coped without it. Oh yes if your kids have either a PS2/3 or an Xbox try connecting that in as well so you can watch stuff on your TV, it's brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for sharing data in the home, 4 Jan. 2011
By 
R. Heap "Rob Heap" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
I have bought this and installed it on an old PC nothing special in spec but with a couple of additional HDD's for backup so the data in the key folders (photo's, music, video, files) can be on more than one HDD so that if a drive fails the data is still safe.

I have 1 PC desktop, 2x PC laptops which connect to it and backup regularly, I haven't had to restore any of them yet. I also share files with my Mac which also works fine (using SMB if you are interested)

Yesterday the primary OS HDD failed, nothing to do with the software just a hardware failure, and the restore was as easy as it should be. I simply added a new primary HDD, reinstalled the OS (using the restore option) which then reinstalled the software, recovered the data from the other 2 HDD's and setup the shares. All I had to do manually was add hardware drivers for the machine I was using, recreate the user accounts and re-add the PC's for remote backup.

The only thing that would get this a 5 star rating would be if I could backup my Mac to it as well as my PC's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Every home should have one, 10 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
I installed one for a small business and have now purchased 3 more for business and home installations.

Smart technology - greta for backup and remote working. It allowed my client towork on his office PC from home and print the results when he was unable to get to the office due to the roads being blocked by snow.

Very good value for money
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5.0 out of 5 stars Windows XP home server 2003, 17 Oct. 2009
By 
I. T. Stingemore (Kent "uk") - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
I used the trial version of this and loved it. It was so easy to set up, you don't have to be an it expert to get it working. It backs up all our home computers automaticaly, it tells you if something is wrong unlike the later server packages which throw the computers off the network.Fanally great value for money at the Amzon price.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This is ONLY Power Pack 1, 30 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Windows Home Server URP1 Win32 English 1pk DSP OEI CD/DVD 10 Clt (This OEM software is intended for system builders only) (DVD-ROM)
Check the small print - as this version is `only' the original Power Pack 1 with the Drive Extender Bug - you MUST update both this install and the Connector software before switching on Folder Duplication - same goes for a 64 bit client install - in other words much easier to buy the newer version with Power Pack 3
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