Print 18 comment(s) - last by hellokeith.. on Jul 19 at 3:40 PM

PP3 adds support for numerous Windows 7 features

Microsoft has announced a new beta update for Windows Home Server called Power Pack 3 (PP3). PP3 has lots of features that will help users running computers with Windows 7 have a richer experience.

Among the Windows 7 additions in PP3 are full image based backups of Windows 7 computers. A post on the Windows Team Blog says that with the beta PP3 Action Center should no longer say that your files aren’t being backed up.

The new software also supports Windows 7 Libraries to allow users to access shared content like videos and images easier and allows Windows Media Player to access the content on the Home Server through libraries. PP3 also includes Windows Search 4 offering improved query search times, indexing times, and better reliability. Users are able to search and entire library for content even if the library files are stored on multiple locations around the network.

Windows Media Center is enhanced in PP3 with the ability to archive old TV shows that are recorded onto Windows Home Server is several different formats. The Windows Home Server Team says that it has no final release date for PP3 at this time. However, the ream is shooting for a release shortly before the general availability of Windows 7. One of the latest RTM builds of Windows 7 was leaked onto Torrents this week.

Windows Home Server users looking to try the PP3 beta will need to sign up to be a beta participant for the Windows Home Server program and will then be able to download the software.

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Add Windows Media Center
By MrDiSante on 7/17/2009 10:38:06 AM , Rating: 3
I love the UI and functionality of WMC, however the extenders are insufferably slow. On top of that, the only really good one is the 360, which isn't as loud as a jet engine (I have the 65 nano CPU version), but still loud enough to be annoying during movies.

This leaves me with having to build an HTPC. A decent one won't be cheap - you need passive cooling, a processor that can do 1080p with room to spare etc. So I have a $600 box standing there doing nothing but playing back media. I also have a $600 box in my closet standing there doing nothing but backups and serving media.

Finally, I have an enormous headache because of my network. Due to the fact that I'm not the only one living in the house, I can't run ethernet cables all over the place, so I have to use wireles. Due to the fact that I've had my network wireless for years, all of it is G and doesn't look like I'm going to be going to N for a while. So, I'm stuck either running cables when I need to play HD videos or having to put up with any other requests to my WHS be politely ignored until such time as the network congestion goes down a bit.

Here's a novel idea: why don't we merge the two. HTPCs need a good amount of processing power and not much else. WHSes need a lot of storage and not much else. Why don't we just merge the two, save about $400, a bunch of network congestion and some electricity?

RE: Add Windows Media Center
By PAPutzback on 7/17/2009 11:16:33 AM , Rating: 4
You should start hitting the HTPC forums. Try

Passive cooling isn't a necessity. You can get away with a 780G board, one of the cheapest amd procs and old parts for a htpc for less than 600.

I run six tuners thru my VMC box with a 2.0ghz tri core and the BD drive is the loudest thing on it even with several stock fans in it.

Cabling is an issue. I ran cat6 and gigabit hardware between media centers.

And my HTPC is also my server. The silverstone lc17 case has slots for 6 HDDs. I am running 2 750s, 1 1tb and 1 250gb for the os. Then with windows 7 homegroup and libraries I have the data shared out.

The only problems are with the format I store my movies files in isn't compatible with the extenders.

With the nvidia ion chipsets coming out you might as well just build htpcs for each tv. And they use about as much electricity as a CFL.

RE: Add Windows Media Center
By arazok on 7/17/2009 11:36:01 AM , Rating: 2
Look into the popcorn hour. I don’t have one yet, but I’ve read nothing but good things about it.

RE: Add Windows Media Center
By djc208 on 7/17/2009 12:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
Try SageTV. Their HD extenders are very capable, small, perfectly silent, and are supposed to be able to support wi-fi in the future. The HD-200 was recently updated to support BD file structure so you can play BD disks ripped to a HDD, and offers a stand-alone mode so you don't need their software running on the PC to access your media.

However other than the interface not being as slick as WMC, their software is MUCH more flexable and powerful than WMC. With the HD-200 at each viewing site you need very little power to record and host your media, perfect for a WHS system. They even offer a WHS version of their software, and if SageTV software doesn't something there's probably an add-on somewhere that does.

RE: Add Windows Media Center
By hellokeith on 7/19/2009 3:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
SageTV is the most full-featured, flexible, extendable, cross-platform, stable, with huge community-support HTPC software & hardware out there.

RE: Add Windows Media Center
By peterSK on 7/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: Add Windows Media Center
By simas on 7/17/2009 3:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
"Here's a novel idea: why don't we merge the two. HTPCs need a good amount of processing power and not much else. WHSes need a lot of storage and not much else."

HTPC, processing server, back office server all have their role and function in the home network.

back office server is redundant storage of my media , my backups, central administration point for common programs like antivirus defence, etc. I want low cost, very low power consumption from this and do not care about appearance, power ,etc. this is always on machine that is not connected to any screen and simply plugged into the network. Once Windows Home Server (which is actually Windows 2003 in that current iteration) is on, it stays on - for days, months at the time unless i need to so some maintenance.

Media processing server (that hosts your TV tuners ,etc) has to be farely powerful to give you functions like time shifting, fast channel switching ,etc. For me this is my gaming workstation with plenty of ram, last CPU I bought, fast graphics. I only use it when I want to game or do something that requires power (video transcoding) and thus do not care as much about power consumption

HTPC has to be quiet , pretty and as simple to use as possible (preferably with remote). for me it is PS3 that is served by the free program called PS3 media server running from Windows Home Server that is DLNA compliant and does everything I want from a media server (streaming, transcoding and streaming on the fly, easy configuration , integration into online data sources ,etc).

Asking for machine that has plenty of storage (=big size), power (energy consumptions and noise), and design is possible but would cost you a lot more than distributed solution.

RE: Add Windows Media Center
By CSMR on 7/18/2009 3:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
"I've had my network wireless for years, all of it is G... So, I'm stuck either running cables when I need to play HD videos or having to put up with any other requests to my WHS be politely ignored..."
I prefer to run cables. High-bitrate video will tax a wireless system. If you're compressing the videos yourself it's definitely feasible with negligible quality loss over blu ray. But why not just put the WHS box near the HTPC and run a cable?

"Why don't we just merge the two"
I think in some ways this makes sense but:
-it would take a lot of software development and result in a more complex system
-The hardware costs are not $600 for each, maybe $400.
-This is a new market and more competition will bring costs down. E.g. recent availability of good MiniITX motherboards and cases.
-You only need so much performance for a good HTPC/WHS box and so costs/size/power consumption will come down. When Intel does a die shrink in a few months for example.

WHS User since the Beata
By operaghost on 7/17/2009 10:57:40 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, talk about a FUD believer.....

I have used WHS since the beta and other than a flaky router denying me remote access (fixed with a FW update) I have not had any problems.

I backup all my home PCs and serve up media to my TiVo Series 3 and Xbox360 without issues. My WHS has four hard drives with multiple TB of storage. I have had a hard drive fail and replaced it without losing any data.

I look forward to installing PP3 when it comes out.


RE: WHS User since the Beata
By JonB on 7/17/2009 11:37:39 AM , Rating: 2
I'm also a happy WHS user. My son's computer (he lives a few miles away) needed a new, larger HD so he brought it over here, let WHS perform a C: backup, then put swapped drives. He booted from the Recovery CD and, when done, it was a flawless new install, no updates, no glitches. I'm sure there might be faster ways to do that, but certainly not easier. Plus, he still has a full (though dated, now) backup on my WHS.

I will upgrade to Windows 7 (at least my XP machine) and will upgrade to WHS PP3. It just gets better. I think I drank the Microsoft Kool-Aid.

RE: WHS User since the Beata
By Hare on 7/19/2009 2:31:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there might be faster ways to do that, but certainly not easier.

1. Attach new larger HD
2. Run disc clone utility* from Windows
3. Remove old drive and boot

*Acronis makes a good product and cloning can be done with the demo version.

RE: WHS User since the Beata
By simas on 7/17/2009 3:17:22 PM , Rating: 2
Also a happy Windows Home Server (WHS) user - a great idea that was long overdue. from disk duplication based redundancy to block based automatic backup of items on my network it does exactly what it is expected to do.

Can we please get a 64-bit WHS
By sxr7171 on 7/18/2009 12:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
Please? It's about time.

RE: Can we please get a 64-bit WHS
By kkwst2 on 7/18/2009 6:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
Why? They have a 64 bit client now, right?

What makes you need a 64 bit version of WHS? Just curious. I've not had a reason to wish for it.

By Jeff7181 on 7/18/2009 4:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
However, the ream is shooting for a release shortly before the general availability of Windows 7.

WHS fiasco
By ochentay4 on 7/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: WHS fiasco
By Smilin on 7/17/2009 3:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
What are you babbling about?

It had one bug that only applied to certain users under certain circumstances and it did not affect the core function (backup) of the server.

Other than that it's been a great product. It doesn't really get any more patches than any other server OS.

As for the beta ... well you want the product to be improved don't you? That takes development and results in a beta. You are under no obligation to install the beta.

RE: WHS fiasco
By dark matter on 7/18/2009 1:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
exactly, especially as window 7 itself is still in beta.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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