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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For people who have Windows Home Server and Media Center(s), the allure of recording direct to WHS from MCE/VMC has existed for the longest time. It is certainly doable and Richard Miller and Ian Dixon have posted excellent guides to do this.

http://thedigitallifestyle.com/cs/fo...howThread.aspx


However, even with folowing the guide to the T, Media Center still throws errors a lot of times because of the network access. The most often encountered errors are:


- "Disk Full..." when you have your Media Center to record to WHS, and you start it up and try to watch live TV. (Not a fault of the guide, WMC is quirky). This is because when you change the registry entries to point to WHS, it also changes the live TV buffer location to the server. And WHS is quirky about reporting free space (see below)

- Other times you may get errors saying "Not enough disk space..." when you try to record (or have a scheduled recording). This is very dependent on the size of your primary hard disk for the WHS O/S install as it partitions the disk into two, with a 20GB primary partition ( C: ) and the rest of the disk as D: (for data). WHS ALWAYS reports the size of D: as the amount of free space to clients.


Since TV recordings are pretty big (especially if you are recording HD), the total size of your TV recordings can very easily be much larger than the size of that D: as reported by WHS. In this case Media Center will throw an error saying "Not enough disk space..." and won't record. Very frustrating, as (in my case) my WHS is ~5TB, and I have more than enough space available.

Solution:

This works in Vista ONLY (as far as I know, since XP does not support symbolic links to my knowledge)


Instead of trying to point to WHS directly for live TV recording, we are going to use the symbolic links feature of Vista to create a link that will point to WHS, but use the LINK instead of a direct reference to WHS.


What is a symbolic link?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_symbolic_link

Quote:
An NTFS symbolic link (symlink) is a file-system object in the NTFS filesystem starting with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 that points to another file system object. The object being pointed to is called the target. Symbolic links should be transparent to users; the links appear as normal files or directories, and can be acted upon by the user or application in exactly the same manner. Symbolic links are designed to aid in migration and application compatibility with POSIX operating systems.


Unlike an NTFS junction point, a symbolic link can also point to a file or remote SMB network path. Additionally, the NTFS symbolic link implementation provide full support for cross-filesystem links. The NTFS symbolic link functionality enabling cross-host symbolic links requires that the remote system also support symbolic links, which effectively limits cross-host links to be between Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 hosts.

1. Follow the first part of the guide from Richard Miller and configure your WHS. This is very important and has to be done correctly for it to function.

Quote:
Settings for Windows Home Server

From WHS Console add a share folder call "Recorded TV" to WHS default shared folders.


1: In Run, type "gpedit.msc", then click OK .

Then go to Computer Configuration> Windows Settings> Security Settings> Local Policies> Security Options

Find the entry "Network access: Let Everyone permissions also apply to anonymous users", double click and set to "Enabled"


2: Then in the same location in gpedit.msc Computer Configuration> Windows Settings> Security Settings> Local Policies> Security Options. Find the entry "Shares that can be accrssed anonymously" double click and add the value "Recorded TV" at the end of the existing entries, then click OK.


3: Reboot WHS.


4: Log on then Log off DO NOT REBOOT WHS the Share Permissions and Security Permissions will be removed if you reboot, there is a batch file to fix the problem see below ).

2. Create a symbolic link on your Vista client.
Quote:
- Open a command prompt with Administrative access. (Usually if you are logged in as an administrator, just going to Start --> Run--> type in cmd, will do it)

- Go to C:\\Users\\Public (cd C:\\Users\\Public). This is VERY important. The symbolic link HAS to be created for the Public user (not the user under which your Media Center runs), otherwise it causes all sorts of issues.

- Type in the following.

mklink /d "Name of Link" "Location of TV Folder on Server"


Name of Link - is a name that you are going to use. For e.g. "TV" or "Recorded TV". It can be anything. If you use a name with spaces in it, you have to wrap it with double quotes.


Location of TV Folder on Server - This is the location of the folder on your WHS. If you followed the guide from Richard, this should be "\\\\Server\\Recorded TV". I recommend following the guide and keeping it that way, although you can certainly try and play with that if needed.


As an e.g. your link command will look like this:


mklink /d "Recorded TV" "\\\\Server\\Recorded TV"


- Hit enter. Your symbolic link should be created now.

3. Settings for Vista .


On Vista Run, "regedit".


1 Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Service\\Recording


Set the following registry entries.


Set "WatchedFolders" to "C:\\Users\\Public\\Recorded TV\\" (no double quotes)

Set "RecordPath" to "C:\\Users\\Public\\Recorded TV\\" (no double quotes)

Set "LastRecordPathSet" to "C:\\Users\\Public\\Recorded TV\\" (no double quotes)


Reboot the Vista machine.


If everything was done as it should be, you are all set.
Your Vista Media Center will happily record to WHS direct and never report any space issues. An additional benefit is that since WMC "thinks" it is accessing a local resource, there's a very very slight blip (instead of a couple seconds) when you hit the record button while playing live TV.


Another added benefit to this is that since the available space to WMC for recording never changes, it should never delete any recordings automatically (which it does, if you start running out of space), if your Media Center recording settings are set to "Keep until space needed" (which is the default btw).

Why does WMC not have space issues with this method? - Your Media Center thinks it's recording to C:\\Users\\Public\\Recorded TV (as an e.g.) but it'a a link to WHS, so the total space reported to Media Center is always the FULL available space for recording on your local machine (since it never actually records locally, so the size doesn't change
).

Caveats:


- I do not recommend recording live to a server (WHS or anything else) unless you are on a hard wired connection. Wireless just doesn't cut it.


Enjoy. Lemme know if you run into issues with trying this out. As a precaution, please try this without moving all your recordings to the new folder on WHS. Once you have it setup, you can certainly move them. We don't want recordings to get deleted accidently.
 

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Excellent post. I had no idea that this feature existed in Vista! Right now I just have a .bat file moving my recorded tv to my WHS once a week because of all the recording issues I was having. I'll give this a try! Just not sure if my network connection can handle 4 HD streams going to my WHS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Damn..Once I got all my shows copied (about 500GB), the good ol "Quota" kicked in, and Media Center created a new recordpath on the local disk to record a show. So, I guess the total size of your recordings somehow does have an effect on your record location (and the amount of free space reported to WMC).


Once I changed the quota to higher than the total size of the recordings, all is well again. I guess I could just bump the quota to like 10TB or something. Anyone know if there's a limit to the Quota value in the registry?
 

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Do you have problems when you try to stop a recording? My media center always freezes up when I try to stop a recording to my WHS box.
 

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Better is kind of an oxymoron here. Trying to record directly to a network share isn't a good idea at all IMHO. With hard drives as cheap as they are, there is little reason in my mind not to record locally and setup a move script to run (hourly or nightly).


Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 /forum/post/12157518


Better is kind of an oxymoron here. Trying to record directly to a network share isn't a good idea at all IMHO. With hard drives as cheap as they are, there is little reason in my mind not to record locally and setup a move script to run (hourly or nightly).


Chris

Agreed about the "oxymoron", I probably should have said "another". My bad.


As far as recording to a NAS, and recording direct vs moving files is concerned, if your network can handle it (even hard wired 100mbps will do for 1-2 HD streams) it makes more sense to record direct as it is more efficient. You are sending a stream over at ~20mbps or so, instead of trying to copy 7-10GB at once. The network and your NAS should hardly blip, while recording 1-2 streams. At 4 or more streams, you may have to consider some optimizations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/12156167


Damn..Once I got all my shows copied (about 500GB), the good ol "Quota" kicked in, and Media Center created a new recordpath on the local disk to record a show. So, I guess the total size of your recordings somehow does have an effect on your record location (and the amount of free space reported to WMC).


Once I changed the quota to higher than the total size of the recordings, all is well again. I guess I could just bump the quota to like 10TB or something. Anyone know if there's a limit to the Quota value in the registry?

Figured out the issue. It was a specific problem with that particular media center.


The method works beautifully as such. No errors in Vista MC recording to WHS live. My symbolic link points to a share on WHS that has about 450GB of recordings on it, and the "size" that WHS reports to clients (in my case) is 55GB, because that's what my O/S drive in WHS is (after the 20GB system partition).
 

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I had a similar problem with the Quota kicking-in and stopping all new recordings. The way around it is to delete the entry for Quota in the registry (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVe rsion\\Media Center\\Service\\Recording\\Quota) and then change the DiskLimit entry (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVe rsion\\Media Center\\Settings\\VideoSettings\\DiskLimit) to a suitably large number (i.e. 5497558138880 which corresponds to 5TB).


This is also done without the symbolic link to the server but rather with the same registry hack that Richard Miller outlined (change the RecordPath to \\\\server\\Recorded TV after providing Anonymous login permissions) except I don't record to a WHS share. Instead I have a hardware raid array on the WHS (not WHS shared) that I use for recording and archiving. The performance is substantially better than recording to the WHS share drive and there is no need to load the .bat file since the permission settings for the anonymous user and shares to be accessed anonymously aren't deleted after a server reboot.


In fact, using the symbolic link for "Recorded TV" in the public folder is rather tricky if you've already set-up VMC to record to the C-drive. The mklink command will not allow you to create a folder named "Recorded TV" if it already exists and deleting that folder ain't easy. I could only do it after setting-up VMC to record to second drive which freed the C:\\Users\\Public\\Recorded TV to be deleted. Also, the performance, in my case, was much slower with the symbolic link and lead to the VMC interface freezing whenever a recording started.


I haven't gotten this to work on an XP MCE box, but I'm trying that next. So far, XP MCE is very particular about having DiskLimit values that match the physical drive, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Vista.
 

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I tried this with no success on 2 diff machines, Ultimate and home premium. In both cases, I had to restore the system, as I was getting Application Failures. I have not even been able to see the shows already in the Recorded TV folder on the server on either machine's VMC, though I can see the folder (and its contents) in explore on both.


Does it matter if it's named recorded TV or not? I have it named Recorded TV on the WHS, but when I did the Mklink, I named it as "Server TV" since I already had a recorded TV folder there. It showed fine and when I clicked on it in explore on the client PCs, i saw the files, so I assume that wasnt my issue.


Baffled, frustrated, exhausted, ... help?
 

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I followed the instructiions from Kapone but now Media Center will start a recording but it will never stop recording, I will have to reset the Pc. Does anyone have an idea what the problem might be here?
 

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I have successfully implemented this on my Vista MC with TV Pack, with one issue remaining: Recordings made to the WHS show up with thumbnails in Recorded TV, but as soon as that folder (shared folder on the WHS) is accessed from a different computer, the next time I look in "Recorded TV" from Vista MC, the thumbnails are gone:




Those recordings in the above screenshot which still have thumbnails are stored locally, the ones with missing thumbnails are on the WHS.

Viewed in Windows Explorer, there are always thumbnails.


What could be causing this?
 

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I don't remember when it starts behaving this way. But I remember that it didn't do this in the past.


This 'Symbolic link' worked well for me for awhile and now Vista MCE reports 'not enough space for recording' although I have about 2TB of available space in WHS.


I wonder whether this is related with WHS 2008 November update or not. After that update, Vista client see that the free space in WHS is the real available space not the free space in system disk. If I map a network drive from WHS to Vista, I will see that the icon of the network drive is red and it shows some like '2TB bytes availabe of 564GB total space'.


Anyone has the similiar issue?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dailowai /forum/post/12157250


Do you have problems when you try to stop a recording? My media center always freezes up when I try to stop a recording to my WHS box.

Did anyone every solve this problem?

I've got exactly the same problem regardless of weather I use the direct or symbolic link method.


Thanks, Neeto
 

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Thanks for the info /politby.


That will definitely help when finally released.

Where can I download the RC from?


Do you know if it is possible to have more than one "Recorded TV" share on the WHS with this new service pack?

The reason being is that I record directly to the WHS from multiple PCs and you can't have all the PCs recording into the same directory as their "temporary" record buffers clash.


Thanks Neeto.
 

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I suppose you just broke the NDA rules posting about it?


Any ETA on the actual release date?


Thanks, Neeto
 
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