Originally Posted by Aryn Ravenlocke
This quote is from another thread about a different topic, and I did not want to hijack someone else's question.
This is one topic I have been kicking around ever since I decided to go with a dedicated server for the household. I'll be running Windows 8.1, mostly out of shear convenience. My issue is that the server will also be running Media Browser 3 and need to be accessible for streaming to devices. This means it needs to be an online machine. What is going to be my best approach to minimizing/eliminating bloatware and then keeping the system from collapsing in on itself without me resetting the server a minimum of weekly for Windows' Update Tuesday?
I would assume that once the OS is loaded, Chrome is loaded, FlexRAID is loaded, MB3, and PowerChute are loaded, and I've updated MB3, that I wouldn't really have any overriding need to continue updating constantly outside of the MB3 updates. I've always been a stickler about keeping everything updated on my PCs though, so I'm a bit on the leery side about taking this approach. Any thoughts or suggestions?
You can tackle the problem a few ways...
First and foremost, the biggest hurdle for most people is the will power to resist the urge to tinker with it once you have it working. Opinions vary on the subject, but coming from an IT background, for me you really shouldn't have much (if any) interaction with your server once it is up and configured, outside of the things it is meant to server. (ie you should be able to access files on a file server, mail on a mail server etc) Part of the stability of servers comes from not using them for anything other than their stated purpose.
Other people think that it's just another PC and if they want to use it to surf the web and play games on then bygod, they'll do it and anything else they want on it. That's fine, but there is a trade off in stability/reliability.
But back to your specific case, it sounds to me like completely blocking your server from internet access won't be feasible. MB3 is going to want to connect to the internet to get metadata, and as you pointed out it'll need the occasional update. Conceivably you could use a 3rd party metadata program like MCM on a different computer to handle metadata, but that still leaves you with the need to update MB3, so I'd just stick with keeping the internet "on" for that computer.
When getting everything configured initially I try to get everything as up to date as possible. After that, I turn automatic updates off, and disable the service. (I've encountered a few occasions where it decides to turn itself back on again) That approach works for me as I make sure any PCs that aren't receiving updates are otherwise locked down as to not be a significant risk for infection. (ie no internet browsing, no torrent or usenet downloads, no email clients, really, nothing other than guide updates on my WMC machine) If you're uneasy about ignoring updates all together, I'd suggest setting Windows Update to "Download Updates and let e choose what to install" as that will still give you the option to install updates, but it will be at your leisure instead of when MS dictates. Most importantly that still gives you control over when the server reboots. There are few things computer related that annoy me more than finding a computer I use has rebooted automatically to install updates, without me knowing about it.
Aslo I understand the desire to install chrome in order to make it easier to download and install everything you need to get going. Once everything is setup and configured, I'd uninstall it. It just makes it to convenient to "just look up this one thing real quick" and the next thing you know you've got 5 tabs open and who knows what trying to creep into your computer.