Tuesday 16 August 2011

Build Your Own Windows Home Server


Think of a home dedicated server
as your ultimate backup solution for movies, music, data, and photos. 
With most of our day spent online, data hoarding is an unconscious
habit. Learn how to setup and build your own windows server.  As we all
know, digital media comes with the dangers of wear, tear and crash.

A Windows Home Server is not only a backup failsafe but can also
become an interface to stream your content over your small home network.
The how and why is covered by this tutorial.

The Best Things about Windows Home Server

  • Easy backups – Easy data redundancy through backups
    for 10 Windows PCs can be configured. WHS syncs one copy of each file
    disregarding the number of copies in multiple computers. Data backup can
    be made selective for individual drives or specific folders.

  • Shared access – Create user accounts and give shared access to your friends and family over the network.

  • Remote access – Remote access the WHS over a network address using the in-built Console Connector client software.

  • Stream to any device -The Windows Media Connect
    UPnP server software allows any compatible digital media receiver (like
    the Xbox 360, PS3, or Windows Media Player 11) stream movies and music
    off the home network.

  • Extend and expand – Add or replace storage devices
    seamlessly as WHS automatically formats new storage devices and treats
    all drives as a single unified storage space.

  • The Hardware - The Maximum PC tutorial recommends
    building your own as it will be more customized and you can also
    scavenge parts from old computers. Here’s the hardware list.

Total Cost: $860

Building your Home Server:

Step 1: Prep the case


The Antec 200 is a budget case with six 3.5-inch drive bays and easy
expandability with an external easy-swap SATA bay and an adjustable fan
speed switch.

2. Install the parts


Installing the components is about care and alignment. It should be
done on static free surface. The tutorial details the steps from fixing
the CPU on the motherboard to inserting the RAM modules and finally
mounting the drives.  If you’ve never built a computer before, check
out our beginner’s guide.

3. Wire and connect


With all the components in place, the attachment of the SATA data and power cables
comes next. Wiring is all done with the plugging in the other
components to the motherboard connectors and the chassis outlets.  If
you choose to self host for your small business setting up a server to
keep your Microsoft products integrated properly is key.

4. Install Software

Windows Home Server can be installed using an external optical drive
or a bootable Flash Drive. The installation is simple and user friendly.
The basic installation is followed by networking the other PCs. The
networking also involves setting up the WHS Connector password on client
PCs. This is the time to install all the latest updates and patches for


The Settings console is where most of WHM management takes place.
Configuring the WHS settings involves scheduling backups, setting up
user accounts, deciding on the shared folders for media streaming,
checking out the Disk Management features and installing and managing
third-party add-ins. Here are 5 essential add-ins available which make WHS do a whole lot more.

5. Accessing Your Server

A server is typically not stand alone. There are four ways to remote access and manage your server.

  1. Manage it from the Console software

  2. Browse shared folders from Windows Explorer by typing in the network URL.

  3. Using the domain for remote access.

  4. Using Remote Desktop in the client PC to access WHS’s desktop.

6. Tweaking for Maximum Performance


Optimize the performance by tweaking settings for speed, automatic
syncing, handling video formats and other enhancements. A home built
server based backup solution can be designed around your needs. As this
tutorial shows, it is not too difficult. Alternative home server options
like HP MediaSmart
LX195 and Acer easyStore H340 are also worth a look. But all home
server options provide one common denominator – peace of mind.