Windows Home Server Power Pack 1

 

Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 has been officially released and I just finished installing the update on my Windows Home Server. The update was straight-forward and quick, taking less than 30 minutes.

Even though WHS can do folder duplication to prevent hard disk failure, that doesn’t do much if he whole server goes down or files are corrupted (or an OS update goes terribly wrong) so I always have copies of the files elsewhere. Because of this I didn’t have to worry about backups. I also hadn’t installed the PP1 beta so there was no need to uninstall it or worry about any special considerations it might impose.

Power Pack 1 Upgrade

My configuration is: HP470 MediaSmart server with 3 additional 1GB drives, Windows Vista running under VMware on Mac OS X. I have additional Windows VMs but the were not used for the upgrade.

The upgrade process was straight-forward and also documented on Microsoft’s download page for the update. You can also wait until it goes out as an automatic update in August.

1. I uninstalled my existing add-ins. While not documented as necessary I figured this was the safest way. I’d check for updates before I re-installed and any problem add-ins would be easy to identify.

2. I had an update from HP waiting for me so I installed that first. I’m not sure if it matters whether or not it’s installed before PP1 but if automatic updates where enabled it would already be installed so I figured it was safer to do it first. It includes two new add-ins which I didn’t install yet. More on these latter.

3. I downloaded Power Pack 1 from Microsoft and followed their instructions to copy it to the server. When I tried to run it I received a permissions error. I had to go into the file properties and click the “Unblock” button. Execution was blocked because the file was copied from another computer.

4. After the update was installed the server did a nerve-rackingly long reboot. There is an option to postpone the reboot.

5. I then had to update the connector software on my Windows vm. I connected to the software share and ran WHSConnectorInstall.exe from the Home Server Connector Software directory. The installation wizard was very basic. Changes (from what I remember) include an option to wake the PC from sleep in order to do a backup along with an option to update the connector software automatically in the future.

Add-In From HP

The HP update provides two add-ins. The first is MacAfee Total Protection Service, a virus scanner. I installed this out of curiosity and soon uninstalled it. It requires registration for a 7-month trial, after which it’s a paid server. Since I didn’t want AV anyway I didn’t go through the registration process.

The second add-in is PVConnect, a media server add-in. I did install this although haven’t used it yet. It does seem like an ideal add-in for a Windows Home Server used to server audio and video.

Additional Tweaks

The big change is that PP1 fixes the data corruption bug but there are additional tweaks there too.

The most noticeable change is that now there’s an alert when there’s an add-in available but uninstalled. To clear the alert you either have to intall the add-in or check the box to ignore the alert as shown below:

Of course, deleting the add-in from the Add-In directory also works.

It’s only been about an hour, but so far everything seems fine. I don’t use remote access through the web server so I don’t know if anything has changed there.