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Windows 7: Freenas, Workgroups & Homegroups (oh my!)


02 Jul 2009   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64,
 
 
Freenas, Workgroups & Homegroups (oh my!)

First of all, a big "Thank you" to all who are here everyday to help.
I will try to be brief here and still explain the situation:

The players:
Living room - HTPC RC 7100
Home Office/Studio - Dual Boot XP/ RC7100
Freenas box as a mediaserver only
Wired Network

I originally had these all set up on a Workgroup type network which is to say I manually set up a workgroup above and beyond what windows recognizes initially. All working fine, playing well together, seeing each other, WMC working great in both rooms...

"...if it ain't broke, fix it until it is"

My music collection was in a bit of disarray so I decided to arrange the folders on my NAS and correct info and add missing info, etc, so I relocated all the folders that were not complete albums and opened up WMP in my office and pointed it toward my NAS folders for Music. Great! I now have all of my complete albums with the proper info, album art and the folders on the NAS have all been corrected. YES!

Close WMP, Open WMC (office machine). Everything is working fine!

So I think (the trouble with trouble is that 50% of the time it starts with "I Think..." and the other 50%, "I didn't think..."), I think I'll start fooling around with this Homegroup stuff and see what that has to offer... I didn't think it was gonna do that...

The Result: Nobody is playing well anymore! The two windows7 boxes were "fighting" for my media WMC in the living room wouldn't play my music, WMP hangs and will not restart without a reboot...(My wife's voice echoes in my head, "Wouldn't it be easier just to get a DVD player???")

I'll spare the rest of the details but here's where I am at now with it...

I left (got out of) the homegroup on both machines, I cleared the NAS folder from the Library in WMP on my Office machine and reestablished my WMC libraries on the HTPC in the LR. Made sure all of my PCs are on the same workgroup.

Only one machine or the other can access my NAS box. Whichever one boots up first gets the access. The other cannot and if I shut that first machine down, I have to reboot the second one to access the NAS box from it - Captain Chaos indeed.

Being reasonably sure I will have to reinstall both 7s to fully resolve this, I am looking for help and suggestions on this setup. I have never been a big user of WMP, like all set up with libraries and such, I had other software for my music before.
I would like to use WMP in my office to rip my music and retrieve album info and leave the HTPC for playing the Finished Products. I do not want to have to have the Office machine ON in order to access media in the LR (Shared libraries kinda defeats the purpose of having a NAS box), so it looks like Homegroups is out for me, unless I am missing something. Ironically, given the story I have just told you I do not want to have to have the PC in my office OFF in order to access my media either.

Ideas much appreciated.

Thank you


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Jul 2009   #2

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 
Wmp wmc

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gmemore View Post
First of all, a big "Thank you" to all who are here everyday to help.
I will try to be brief here and still explain the situation:

The players:
Living room - HTPC RC 7100
Home Office/Studio - Dual Boot XP/ RC7100
Freenas box as a mediaserver only
Wired Network

I originally had these all set up on a Workgroup type network which is to say I manually set up a workgroup above and beyond what windows recognizes initially. All working fine, playing well together, seeing each other, WMC working great in both rooms...

"...if it ain't broke, fix it until it is"

My music collection was in a bit of disarray so I decided to arrange the folders on my NAS and correct info and add missing info, etc, so I relocated all the folders that were not complete albums and opened up WMP in my office and pointed it toward my NAS folders for Music. Great! I now have all of my complete albums with the proper info, album art and the folders on the NAS have all been corrected. YES!

Close WMP, Open WMC (office machine). Everything is working fine!

So I think (the trouble with trouble is that 50% of the time it starts with "I Think..." and the other 50%, "I didn't think..."), I think I'll start fooling around with this Homegroup stuff and see what that has to offer... I didn't think it was gonna do that...

The Result: Nobody is playing well anymore! The two windows7 boxes were "fighting" for my media WMC in the living room wouldn't play my music, WMP hangs and will not restart without a reboot...(My wife's voice echoes in my head, "Wouldn't it be easier just to get a DVD player???")

I'll spare the rest of the details but here's where I am at now with it...

I left (got out of) the homegroup on both machines, I cleared the NAS folder from the Library in WMP on my Office machine and reestablished my WMC libraries on the HTPC in the LR. Made sure all of my PCs are on the same workgroup.

Only one machine or the other can access my NAS box. Whichever one boots up first gets the access. The other cannot and if I shut that first machine down, I have to reboot the second one to access the NAS box from it - Captain Chaos indeed.

Being reasonably sure I will have to reinstall both 7s to fully resolve this, I am looking for help and suggestions on this setup. I have never been a big user of WMP, like all set up with libraries and such, I had other software for my music before.
I would like to use WMP in my office to rip my music and retrieve album info and leave the HTPC for playing the Finished Products. I do not want to have to have the Office machine ON in order to access media in the LR (Shared libraries kinda defeats the purpose of having a NAS box), so it looks like Homegroups is out for me, unless I am missing something. Ironically, given the story I have just told you I do not want to have to have the PC in my office OFF in order to access my media either.

Ideas much appreciated.

Thank you
Ouch. OK so the music was on a pc and presumibly you were its owner. You moved the music to NAS you being pc\user\you. Once one person accesses the files they are LOCKED and the other pcs cant get to them for that reason. once you log off the other pc still thinks they are locked. till reboot and the opposite also happens. You might be able to work around it by killing WMP, WMC in task manager that would free the files for the other machine to use. I hope someone with much more WMP WMC experience knows a kludge or work around.

Let me investige and see whats out there

Ken
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jul 2009   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64,
 
 

Thank you, Ken...

To clarify, the Music was always on the NAS - It seems that when I opened up WMP for the first time that is when the files became locked.

As it stands now when both PCs are up only one is going to even show the NAS in explorer. I was able to access the NAS from either or both before I "fixed" it LOL

BTW the Nas is Set up like this currently:

Drive 0 is Movies
Drive 1 is music, photos and videos ( cartoons and such)

I never tried to access the same file or folder or even drive from both machines at once, but Icould at least read the contents of the NAS from both machines without all of this shutdown1/reboot the other before.

I can see locking the file or even the folder, but this seems to have locked the entire NAS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


02 Jul 2009   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64,
 
 
Solution, well except for Homegroup part

OK, so I happened across Digger's Lament about the Homegroup's lacking functionality from May, and He talked about having to reboot the Router after some changes... That and Ken's Post about locked files got me to thinkin' - I had rebooted everything but the router. DOH!

...so I rebooted everything methodically and Voila!

For the Record,after total Reboot

Office PC was up, NAS box was accessible in Explorer. Fired up the HTPC, NAS was also fully accessible from explorer there, opened WMC, Music, Picked an album - everything playing fine. -check

While album playing in HTPC WMC:

1) Back to office PC, still have full access to NAS in explorer - check
2) Open WMC in office PC, Music Library shows up, choose different album, Play - good! - check
3) bold move - open same album playing in living room - Plays! (Not quite bold enough to try same song- will take for granted for now that that file is locked) - check
4) close WMC on Office PC, Open WMP - library shows up and is fully accesible - check
5) Rebooted Office PC rerun tests 1-4 all is well, everybody's getting along just fine

Methinks the Homegroup is a bad neighborhood when using a NAS as your Media Source. I know Homegroups are for Windows 7 only, perhaps HG just gets confused when the actual files for two Windows 7 boxes are located in the same place... kinda like sharing with yourself - mutually exclusive.

Thank you for the help, Ken ...and Digger

Bruce
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2009   #5

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 

I am going to have to re-read this situation again, and again, to understand it comphrehensively.

The thing is in my experience with network attached storage, everytime you connect, the drive has to spinup, and scan the index. i know and seen all of this while using my usb network hub (only allows 1 connection to 1 drive at a time tho). and the index speed thru the network is of course around 2-3MB/sec. So on a 1TB drive, this can take a few minutes, and if you have 2 pcs accessing that drive at same time, thats cutting the 2-3 MB/sec in half to each machine, and should be the cause of the delay hangup. Atleast this is what flashes in my mind. I havent gotten to use any NAS specifically on the network, just thru the network usb hub. Am wondering if this is an issue due to the indexer as well. I havent fired up my network usb hub in quite some time to play around with it more (bad power plug). I didnt like the idea of only having one user on each device at one time, but that may prove to be more feasable and practical. Jury still out.

I've just about given up on Homegroup myself, no real practical use for it on my network. I want and need more control of it to utilize it more.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2009   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64,
 
 

Quote:
The thing is in my experience with network attached storage, everytime you connect, the drive has to spinup, and scan the index. i know and seen all of this while using my usb network hub (only allows 1 connection to 1 drive at a time tho). and the index speed thru the network is of course around 2-3MB/sec. So on a 1TB drive, this can take a few minutes, and if you have 2 pcs accessing that drive at same time, thats cutting the 2-3 MB/sec in half to each machine, and should be the cause of the delay hangup. Atleast this is what flashes in my mind. I havent gotten to use any NAS specifically on the network, just thru the network usb hub. Am wondering if this is an issue due to the indexer as well. I havent fired up my network usb hub in quite some time to play around with it more (bad power plug). I didnt like the idea of only having one user on each device at one time, but that may prove to be more feasable and practical. Jury still out.
I am Using Freenas on my wired network w/2 - 500 Gig drives, no Raid. I have them setup to spindown after 20 min. of inactivity and my response times, even from sleeping are nearly instantaneous, like maybe 2 sec. to spin up the drive called. I have an additional xp machine that I only fire up for backups - my network is still a work in progress, as I will build another new machine soon to replace my Office/studio, an old P4 "PressHOT" processor. Then I will do a little bit more elaborate server/backup setup when I get my copies of the final Windows 7...

After reading your thorough report on HG (which I wish I had read before this fiasco) I can see no practical reason for me to use HG given my setup. Media ratings and permissions aside (the kids are almost grown), the streaming options and features might be nice, but HG does not like my having a non windows7 based server smack in the middle of my network holding all of my media files...

As for the freezing - what happened was this - once I had the 3 main players in my network up and running with a homegroup setup, Machine 1's WMP would be in a constant state of "updating media files" and that blocked machine2 from accessing my server - the files would show up, but I couldn't play them on machine2 either in WMP or WMC (machine 1 and 2 are swappable, that is, first come first "served" so no one computer owned my files - whichever machine I booted first behaved as machine 1 and the other as machine 2). If I closed WMP, I could not reopen it without a reboot.
Once I left the Homegroup setup the behavior continued even after rebooting all 3 machines several times. Additionally at this point, the NAS would only be "seen" in that first booted machine in explorer. It did not exist in machine 2.

Once I did the hard reboot of everything including my router and modem, all of the goofy parameters that the HG had flung into the mix were erased from the cache and all went back to behaving properly,i.e. my NAS became a fileserver again and I had complete control of and access to it from either and/or both machines at the same time. WMP stopped "Updating" and could be closed and reopened again. The clouds parted and the choir began to sing in the radiant glow of a well behaved network...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Freenas, Workgroups & Homegroups (oh my!)




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