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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,


I'm preparing to invest some money in a media center.


My first idea is to do the obvious: a Win7 media center and a separate WHS hidden somewhere.


Then I thought, why invest in both? could I just use Win7 or just WHS?


I understand the basic differences between the 2 OS but was wondering if I could use win7 MCE OR WHS.

1. WHS lacks the MCE front end. Is there any plug-in/add-on that would make WHS looks like MCE?

2. could Win7 behave like WHS?

and here is a odd 3rd option:

What if I install win7 MCE and WHS in a VMWare virtual machine.

with a quad-core CPU and enough RAM I don't think it should be a problem.

The idea would be to obviously save some money!


WHS would be used mostly for:

media streaming to MCE

Time Machine backup

itunes server

later this year I plan to buy:

An extender for the 1st floor

tuner/software to split cable TV over the main MCE and the extender


Any thoughts?


Cheers
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hatbrox /forum/post/18281170


1. WHS lacks the MCE front end. Is there any plug-in/add-on that would make WHS looks like MCE?

WHS licensing doesn't allow running with a monitor.

Quote:
2. could Win7 behave like WHS?

Depends on what your goals are. If you are just looking for storage, yes. If you want drive extenders, client backups, remote access, etc then no. At least not out of the box with a single piece of software.

Quote:
What if I install win7 MCE and WHS in a VMWare virtual machine.

Video performance of 7MC in a VM would likely preclude it running in a VM. You can run WHS inside of a VM running on 7 but it's likely not supported nor recommended.


WHS requires relatively little CPU horsepower or memory. Older commodity machines can usually easily handle the task. Many of the servers such as HP MediaSmart or Intel SS4200-E have a 1.6-2GHz CPU and a gig of memory out of the box. I think you'll go with a lot less headache with a dedicated machine. At least that's what my .02 are worth and is exactly what I ordered last weekend for my own setup.
 

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I setup 2008R2 server as my server/desktop and use win7 as my HTPC. I couldn't stand WHS and had headache after headache.


It's really not needed as you can store everything on your HTPC and not have to worry about it. I didn't see anything on your first post that win7 can't do
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdru /forum/post/18281837


WHS licensing doesn't allow running with a monitor.

.

I hope I can still put a monitor, else I don't see how I can even install it!!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hatbrox /forum/post/18283985


I hope I can still put a monitor, else I don't see how I can even install it!!!

I might stand corrected that licensing may allow the monitor. I thought there was one, but I don't have access to the EULA right now so maybe it's not there.


You can run it with a monitor attached, but WHS was designed to run headless (without monitor/keyboard). Many WHS-dedicated boxes do not even have standard monitor ports. All management is done remotely from client PCs or remote desktop.
 

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Also WHS is a stripped version of 2003SBS and they purposly designed it so it isn't used as a standard pc. You can use it with a monitor but be very careful if you're trying to install anything other than addins. Programs can completely messup a WHS
 

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While WHS s designed to be run without a monitor and only add ins it you can plug a monitor into it and run any program that supports server 2003. I have dozens of programs installed form my HA software to itunes.


That being said it is not a media center pc, it is a server. do yourself a favor and build a whs and then buy a prebuilt win7mce. I have a large whs in a norco 4020 case, an aspire revo 3610 and a homebuilt pc based on a zotac board. The revo is a little over 300 bucks and plays blu ray rips off the server perfectly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by potts.mike /forum/post/18285011


While WHS s designed to be run without a monitor and only add ins it you can plug a monitor into it and run any program that supports server 2003. I have dozens of programs installed form my HA software to itunes.


That being said it is not a media center pc, it is a server. do yourself a favor and build a whs and then buy a prebuilt win7mce. I have a large whs in a norco 4020 case, an aspire revo 3610 and a homebuilt pc based on a zotac board. The revo is a little over 300 bucks and plays blu ray rips off the server perfectly.

+1


I have my WHS plugged in to a monitor, and it works just fine. You may have some trouble finding Server 2003 drivers for newer video cards, but to be fair, it isn't intended for anything beyond basic IGPs.


WHS is really not meant to be used as anything besides a home server. You probably could use it as a HTPC, but it's almost certainly more trouble than it's worth. If you want to go the one-box route, make it a Win7 box. The new library feature in Win7 is nearly as good as WHS's drive pooling, and FlexRAID (which works on any version of Windows) is vastly superior to WHS duplication.


The best thing to do it separate out your frontend and backend. But if you can't do that, it's easier to make a server out of Win7 than it is to make a HTPC out of WHS.
 

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Here is my setup and perspective:


I have 2 HTPC both running Win 7 32bit with Media Browser and TMT 3 (using plugin). I also have WHS running on a separate machine (old Core 2 with 2gb ram and 3TB of storage and growing) in my office feeding over gigabit to my HTPCs. My HTPC is used for movies, music, pictures and gaming (on the big screen but less of a priority). My WHS is used for backing up all PCs (2 netbooks, 3 PCs and 2 HTPCs), storing all of my pictures, music and pictures where ALL pcs have mount points to the server (changed the Document Folder, Music Folder. etc. to point to my server) as a centralized place for everything (including plain documents).


I have used WHS for over a year and and it is FAR more friendly then running Win 2003/2008 server - and I am in the IT profession. Its easy to setup, easy to maintain, stable and high performing for what it does. There are no issues with installing software as long as you keep to the golden rules (install on the C: drive but take notice to the storage limitation OR install to a non storage pooled drive). What you have to keep in mind is server software though has all the fundamentals of a desktop it lacks some of the niceties that desktops have. I do NOT recommend using server OS as your primary HTPC or even desktop. 99% of software and hardware do work but I guarantee it will only be a matter of time where you hit the 1%.


I have evaluated putting my WHS in a VM - it works but is VERY slow as WHS is I/O intensive and that is the biggest drawback of a VM. I have also evaluated running Win 7 in a VM but of course you lose all advance features of DirectX which thus you can not play a movie - net net is that VM is not a viable solution for dealing with HD video.



Sooo.. do you need a separate storage server - depends - in most ATX cases you fit 4 - 6 drives that up to 12TB of storage... So its not a storage discussion... its more of a features / need discussion..


Do you need centralized storage for other machines to feed from?

Do you need a way to backup your machine?

Do you want to be able to open up your server to the outside world (nice little feature)?

Do you want to pool storage?

Do you need basic level of redudancy?


If yes then WHS is great.. if not just build a HTPC with Win 7 MC with either external storage array or with enough internal space for a enough drives
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/18285338


I have used WHS for over a year and and it is FAR more friendly then running Win 2003/2008 server - and I am in the IT profession. Its easy to setup, easy to maintain, stable and high performing for what it does. There are no issues with installing software as long as you keep to the golden rules (install on the C: drive but take notice to the storage limitation OR install to a non storage pooled drive). What you have to keep in mind is server software though has all the fundamentals of a desktop it lacks some of the niceties that desktops have. I do NOT recommend using server OS as your primary HTPC or even desktop. 99% of software and hardware do work but I guarantee it will only be a matter of time where you hit the 1%.

I haven't had a single problem on my 3 2008R2 machines. I think they fixed that 1% problem when R2 cameout as everything is almost identical to win7 just more stable and more available features. The only thing missing is win7. I believe 2008R2 is a better solution to a desktop as it seems to run programs better and more efficiently. I know that at my school (OSU) many of our computers all around campus run 2008R2 server also all professors RDP to their 2008R2 server when giving their lectures. I think most people don't use server software because it's more expensive and is designed for corporations.


Anyways sorry for kinda going offtopic. I'd suggest just going with a win7 HTPC using an ATX case if you have the space. Then you can add enough drives and not have to worry. Once you have the HTPC running and if you start running into problems you could convert it to a server and build a HTPC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/18285338


Here is my setup and perspective:


I have 2 HTPC both running Win 7 32bit with Media Browser and TMT 3 (using plugin). I also have WHS running on a separate machine (old Core 2 with 2gb ram and 3TB of storage and growing) in my office feeding over gigabit to my HTPCs. My HTPC is used for movies, music, pictures and gaming (on the big screen but less of a priority). My WHS is used for backing up all PCs (2 netbooks, 3 PCs and 2 HTPCs), storing all of my pictures, music and pictures where ALL pcs have mount points to the server (changed the Document Folder, Music Folder. etc. to point to my server) as a centralized place for everything (including plain documents).


I have used WHS for over a year and and it is FAR more friendly then running Win 2003/2008 server - and I am in the IT profession. Its easy to setup, easy to maintain, stable and high performing for what it does. There are no issues with installing software as long as you keep to the golden rules (install on the C: drive but take notice to the storage limitation OR install to a non storage pooled drive). What you have to keep in mind is server software though has all the fundamentals of a desktop it lacks some of the niceties that desktops have. I do NOT recommend using server OS as your primary HTPC or even desktop. 99% of software and hardware do work but I guarantee it will only be a matter of time where you hit the 1%.


I have evaluated putting my WHS in a VM - it works but is VERY slow as WHS is I/O intensive and that is the biggest drawback of a VM. I have also evaluated running Win 7 in a VM but of course you lose all advance features of DirectX which thus you can not play a movie - net net is that VM is not a viable solution for dealing with HD video.



Sooo.. do you need a separate storage server - depends - in most ATX cases you fit 4 - 6 drives that up to 12TB of storage... So its not a storage discussion... its more of a features / need discussion..


Do you need centralized storage for other machines to feed from?

Do you need a way to backup your machine?

Do you want to be able to open up your server to the outside world (nice little feature)?

Do you want to pool storage?

Do you need basic level of redudancy?


If yes then WHS is great.. if not just build a HTPC with Win 7 MC with either external storage array or with enough internal space for a enough drives

Thanks very much for your valuable input.

I have just downloaded the 1-month demo version of WHs and will install it in a VM. but from you said, I will most certainly keep my initial design of having 2 separate machines.


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hatbrox /forum/post/18286215


Thanks very much for your valuable input.

I have just downloaded the 1-month demo version of WHs and will install it in a VM. but from you said, I will most certainly keep my initial design of having 2 separate machines.


Thanks again.

WHS is a better option vs. Windows Server 2008 r2... I also work in IT. For what you want to do, whs "works." Not much to it... you can get into installing addons, but there is not a huge need.


My only suggestion would be not to trust duplication 100%... have a backup of your files... and ensure you can restore a backup of your machines (you will always be able to get to the data, just make sure you can restore bare bones).
 
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