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Windows 7: Windows Home Server grows as your needs grow

03 Nov 2009   #1

Windows Home Server grows as your needs grow

If you look back at posts from several weeks ago, I wrote about the Top 10 Reasons to use Windows Home Server. Since then, I have been explaining each bullet in more detail including backup and restore , installing your home server , and connecting to friends and family through Windows Home Serverís Remote Access. Today, I will tell you a little more about item number 5 on the list - Windows Home Serverís Drive Extender and how it can provide an unlimited amount of space for your large collection of recorded Family Guy episodes or the thousands or pictures that are sitting unprotected on your PC.

With Windows Home Server, storage space grows as your needs and digital possessions grow. Thanks to Windows Home Server Drive Extender , you are able to add internal or external hard drives of any size so which will create an unlimited amount of storage space for your HD movies, pictures, or huge collection of Family Guy episodes. Users will no longer have worry about disk drive letters (C:, D:, E:, etc. etc.) as they add more hard drives to their home server, since Windows Home Server treats the disk space as a large pool of available space. Windows Home Server also monitors the health of each hard drive that is added. The lights on the outside of the server will turn Red if a drive is failing, Purple if there's a drive but it's not configured and Blue if it's configured and healthy.

*Screen shot of a Windows Home Server with over 3TB of space

In a recent satisfaction survey completed by Windows Home Server users, we found that 54% of people using the English version of Windows Home Server have 4 or more hard drives connected to their server! Some more fun facts about how people today are getting the most out of their Windows Home Serverís Drive Extender include:

  • The largest number of hard drives currently attached to a home server is 30, there are lots and lots of people with more than 10 hard drives attached to their home servers
  • The largest amount of available disk space that we have seen (so far) is: 36.603516 terabytes
  • The largest amount of used disk space that we have seen (so far) is: 24.093750 terabytes

*Fans in a home-built Windows Home Server that are being used to cool 13 hard drives.

Windows Home Server Drive Extender provides the reliability benefits of RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) without the complexity. Windows Home Server supports reliability by duplicating designated shared folders Ė so important data (e.g. your Photos, Music, etc.) will be stored on separate hard drives helping to provide protection against hard drive failure.  Folder Duplication is configurable on a per shared folder basis, so a given shared folder can have multiple copies, with each one being stored on a separate hard drive.

How is it different from RAID solutions?

  • Any hard drive, any time. You are not restricted to simply adding more hard drives of the same type and size. When you want to grow your home server storage, you just buy whatever hard drive you like and add it.
  • Internal and external hard drives can be used to grow your storage. No space in your home server case? No problem, plug in one or more USB 2.0 or FireWire hard drives.
  • Hard drive removal, as explained above. With time, it will be important to remove the older smaller hard drives and put in new larger hard drives so you can store more stuff.
To see how easy it is to add and remove a hard drive first hand, take a look at the screen cast below:




My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

WHS is a terrific product. It totally got me out of the home domain admin business, and has already saved my bacon by being able to quickly rebuild my laptop after it suffered a fatal HDD failure. Highly recommended...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Excellent product. As stated above, Saved my behind when my laptop HDD failed. Also saved when I was tweaking and shot myself in the foot. I have been running it since it was first released, I have absolutely no complaints and heaps of compliments.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Nov 2009   #4

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Win7 N 32-bit, WHS

I installed WHS on one of my machines (64bit AMD X3) and it seems to work, somehow: it downloads all fixes automatically, deigns to become part of my workgroup (TechTrak) BUT I've tried in vain to get an XP SP3 machine in the same workgroup to connect to it!

I've been through every setting on the XP machine several times, ditto for the BiPac 7404VGO-M router the PCs are connected to (with fixed IPs)...

What annoys me also, to mention it in passing, is that the WHS Connector Disk software seems to insist on installing Internet Connection Sharing behind the scenes, without as much as a by-your-leave. Perhaps that is at the root of my problem? At any rate, it bothers me to see both the XP machine and the router constantly appearing to exchange a stream of packets, at least judging by the lit icons in the taskbar...

How can I get rid of ICS on the machine? Is it a required part of WHS?

Any hints gratefully received.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Home Server grows as your needs grow

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