AGAIN Do not use Advanced Format disks in WHS v1

After our warning the other day about using advanced format hard drives in version 1 of Windows Home Server, Microsoft have also published a Knowledge Base article explaining the problem.

The article (KB2385637) explains that if you are using one of these drives in Windows Home Server v1 for either Server Backup, the Storage Pool or System Disk then you will experience performance degradation even if using the manufacturers provided alignment tool.

Microsoft’s Recommendation is:

Do not use Advanced Format disks in your Windows Home Server v1.

Although these disks will work in Vail, version1 users should take note of Microsoft’s guidance:

It is important to note that some hard disk manufacturers are releasing Advanced Format drives in the same base models as traditional 512 byte sector drives. Because of this, it is critical that you make sure that the drive you are purchasing is not an Advanced Format drive if you are running Windows Home Server v1. Before you purchase a disk drive, review the product specifications or visit the manufacturers Web site to ensure that the drive is compatible with Windows Home Server. Be aware that Advanced Format drives are not always clearly identified on the retail packaging.

KB2385637 is available to view here.


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Learn More About Aurora

Microsoft’s official Small Business Server blog has published some interesting resources on Windows Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora” to enable you to get a “hands on” with the product.

  • First up is a product overview guide which provides an overview of the benefits of a server-based small business solution and introduces Windows Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora” and Windows Small Business Server “7”. The guide describes the new and enhanced features of Windows Small Business Server, presents scenario walkthroughs to highlight several of the new capabilities, and provides references to additional resources, including detailed installation instructions for the pre-release software.
  • Next is the Aurora click-thru demo which is an interactive click by click end- to-end demonstration of Aurora from initial configuration to client join, RWA and more drive by Microsoft Showcase technology.

The Aurora click-thru demo is also available on the Microsoft Partner Network, where you can also view it through the Microsoft DemoShowcase if you are a member.

  • Finally a Aurora demo video showing Aurora in action including voice over in this 20 minute overview.


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Windows Home Server Themes

The German language "Bjoerns Windows Blog" have posted 2 themes for Windows Home Server users. One for Aurora and the other for Vail.

The background images contained within the theme matches the design of the two servers plus the window color and the sound scheme can also be changed.

You just download and run either of the self-extracting files and the setup is done automatically.

The Windows 7 design for Aurora can be downloaded here.

Aurora Theme

The Windows 7 design for Vail can be downloaded here.

Vail Theme

More details (in German) are available from here.


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Advanced Format Drives Plus WHS – A Match NOT Made in Heaven

We mentioned the other day a post by PricklyTech on how to add an advanced format drive to your Windows Home Server storage pool. But what he hadn’t considered was the performance of the drive, since one reader was only getting 40 Mb/s on his advanced format drive.

So the writer tested his newly added Western Digital WD20EARS drive and found also that the its performance was slow, with testing not being able to complete and the drive totally disappearing from the disk management console.

Conclusion – Although advanced format drives are fine in Vail DO NOT use them in Windows Home Server v1.

More here.


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Is My Movies the Ultimate Add-In?

Home System Integration asks the question "Is My Movies the Windows Home Server and Media Centers Ultimate add-in?"

My Movies HSI

It possibly could be. The sites Senior Editor Tom Abell (a.k.a. Billy) had this to say:

…if you are running a Windows OS centric home, you have a Windows Home Server, and want to have the richest movie management / watching experience for your HDTV I’ve found so far in the Windows Media Center / Windows Home Server world… My Movies is it!

You can read their My Movies article here.


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The Home Server Show Podcast Episode 103


Episode 103 of "The Home Server Show" podcast has all the latest on the Preview version of WHS codename "Vail".

The guys have lots of tips this week to get your beta copy of Vail up and running, which you can find here.


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Top of the Range WHS Offer

Fancy a top of the range Windows Home Server on the cheap?

If so, then Tranquil PC are offering the SQA-5H-3000 at £100 off (from when it was first released) plus a FREE pre-paid 18 month subscription to their offsite backup, sync and VPN service called HomeServerSync valued at over £200. PLUS if you want the unit "ready to go" then you can ask for the unit to be pre-set, ready for immediate use for just 99p – That’s less than two dollars!


The SQA-5H-3000 Home Server comes pre-fitted with 2GB of RAM and a low energy, quiet Samsung 2TB HDD plus a 3 year warranty for £499 plus VAT.

For the chance to get this lowest cost, multi-drive, multi CPU, SQA-5H-3000 Home Server at this price with these offers, then head over here for the details.


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