Archive for WHS

Client Connector Status of Windows 10 and Server Essentials 2012 R2

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The client connector to connect Windows 10 to Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 is currently being tested and is not yet available.

Once this updated connector is released, a link to download it manually will be posted. Doing a manual download is a known issue that is expected to be resolved in the October 2015 timeframe.

Over the years Microsoft has released a family of server platforms for the home and small business environments – including Small Business Server (SBS), Windows Home Server (WHS), and Server Essentials.

One of the key parts to these products is the “client connector” which is run from a client workstation to properly connect it to the server, include it in the dashboard, setup appropriate security, and, where appropriate, configure the workstation for daily backup.

In advance of the release of Windows 10, the Microsoft support team has released a blog post with a matrix identifying the availability and any restrictions for the client connector for each server platform, against each supported client operating system (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10).

Client Connector availability with Windows Home Server, Small Business Server and Windows Server Essentials for Supported Client OS

Reset WHS Backup Database

I still have several Microsoft Windows Home Servers (WHS) running in some customer offices. Had an issue where the backup database got corrupted, not allowing me to retrieve any backups. I tried many solutions, but none fixed the problem.

So, how do you wipe out the WHS backup database to essentially start clean?

What you will have found out is that there’s not an option for doing this from the WHS console. Yes, you “clean” the database, but that only removes backups older than your declared backup settings. And a “repair” does not do the trick.

So, I dusted off an old post (kudos to Jim Clarke) that will do exactly what we need – reset the current WHS backup database, and free up all the disk space previously used.

  • Use mstsc to login to the WHS Server
  • Open a command prompt (Start –> Run –> cmd)
    Type: net stop PDL
    Type: net stop whsbackup
  • Leave the command window open, as we will need it in a minute
  • Meanwhile, open up Windows Explorer and locate:
  • Delete the contents of that folder – but DO NOT delete the folder itself!
  • Now go back to the command prompt window
    Type: net start whsbackup
    Type net start PDL
  • Jim notes that after doing this you will need to go to each workstation and either reinstall the WHS Connector software or run the Discover.exe program.

And, in case you are wondering, PDL is Microsoft’s Persistent Drive Letter service!

.Net Updates will break client backups

Microsoft released today (May 13, 2014) a security update for the .Net Framework (KB2960358).

However, after applying this update, client backups on SBS 2011 Essentials, WHS 2011, Server Storage Essentials 2008, and 2012 Essentials will fail.

Microsoft has already released updates to fix this problem:

  • KB2934957 for Windows 2012 Essentials
  • KB2934950 for Windows 2011 Essentials, WHS 2011, WSSE 2008*
    * Please note, before applying this fix, there is a pre-requisite that the server has the appropriate Rollup 4 update applied.

WHS 2011 and UEFI GPT Partitions

Yes, this info is a year old, but I’m just getting around to having customers by Windows 8.1 computers Smile

One of my customers is using a Windows Home Server (WHS) 2011 system to backup his office computers. He just obtained a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop. I install the WHS connector, and attempt to backup the laptop, and it died sitting at 1%. I rebooted both the laptop and the server, with the same result. Both systems are current on patches.

Then I discover that there is a Microsoft hotfix for the WHS server that is required to properly backup computers with UEFI/GPT disk partitions.


There are plenty of web sites posting this information, but none fully address the process, which I will do. What the KB article does NOT tell you is that after installing the hotfix, the workstation will need to apply an update to the Launchpad before the backup will function properly.

Part 1 – from the WHS Server

  1. Login to the WHS system, and go to the Microsoft KB2781272 link and click on the button “Hotfix Download Available –>”
  2. You will be offered three versions of the hotfix. the first version listed is the most recent one.
  3. Select it, and fill in your email address. Microsoft will send you an email with a link to download the file
  4. Look for the email, download the file and move it over to a temp directory on the WHS server. I created a temp folder labeled “UEFI-Hotfix” under the Downloads folder.
  5. Double click on the file, which is a self-executing zip file, and it will expand out the contents to your temp directory. If you are not able to do so, right click on the file and look to see if the file has been “blocked”. If so click on the Block button.
  6. You will be prompted to select a folder to unzip the file. Use the “Browse” button and go to the temp folder you created.
  7. Locate the actual hotfix file (labeled Windows6.1-KB2781272-x64.msu, double click and install it.
  8. You will be prompted to reboot the server

Part 2 – from the Windows 8.1 computer

  1. From the computer in question, startup the WHS Launchpad. Note: you don’t need to sign in, just start it up.
  2. You should then see a task activity button indicating that an update to the LaunchPad is being installed.
  3. Once that is finished, you should be able to successfully create a backup.

WHS 2011 and UEFI support

Microsoft released a hotfix (KB 2781272) earlier this year to add backup support for UEFI-based client computers that contain a GUID partition table (GPT) formatted disk. The hotfix addresses four issues that are defined in the KB post.

Please note that prior to installing this hot fix, it is necessary to remove those client computers that contain GPT-formatted disk from the WHS 2011 dashboard, and select ‘Do not archive backup’.


New HP Microserver Gen8 available!

Hurrah! HP has released their next generation of the HP Microserver, properly labeled as: HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8.

First, a quick look back …

HP MediaSmart Server / Data Vault Server

Nearly five years ago, HP released their HP MediaSmart Server for running Microsoft’s Windows Home Server solution. Although it was designed as a “home” solution, many of us immediately saw this as a great backup solution for small businesses. 

Sure enough, a year later, HP repackaged the MediaSmart Server, and sold it as the HP StorageWorks Data Vault Server. Nearly everyone of my customers has a MediaSmart/Data Vault server strictly for doing workstation backups.

All at a cost of less than $500!

image     image

HP MicroServer

Two and a half years ago, I purchased my first HP ProLiant MicroServer. I have one in my lab that I use for demos. It is currently running Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, 2012 Essentials and Windows 8. At every I.T. seminar or conference I have spoken at in the past two years, you get everyone’s attention when showing off the HP MicroServer.

I have the HP MicroServer installed at customer sites being used as a backup server (WHS 2011), as a member server running Windows Foundation/SharePoint, and as a development system for LOB web applications.

And now, presenting …

HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen 8

Last month HP released the next generation of the MicroServer – HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen 8. And it’s a beauty!

The improvements over the prior MicroServer includes: supports up to 16GB memory, up to 12TB (terabytes) of non-hot plug STA drives, HP iLO4 integrated with the gigabit NIC switch, add-on Raid 5, and easier internal access when adding memory.

It comes in two models: Intel Celeron G1610T (2 core, 2.3GHz, $449) or Intel Pentium G2020T (2 core, 2.5 Ghz, $529). Both models come standard with 2GB memory.


But don’t take my word for it. Read what my good friend and MVP partner,  Robert Pearman has to say about the new Gen8 MicroServer!

Let me know what you think of it!

HP MicroServer Graphics Driver for WHS 2011

From the FWIW dept: I recently installed WHS 2011 on HP MicroServer N36L hardware at a site. Customer wants to use it to display rotating family photos on an attached monitor. Two things were required:

  • Finding screen saver software to use
  • Installing the right graphics driver


The screen saver software was easy to resolve. I downloaded and installed the free version of gPhotoShow. It runs on WHSv1 (Windows server 2003), and WHS2011 (Windows Server 2008R2). I like it because you can have it randomize the photos to be displayed, and other tweaks.




The graphics driver was a bit more work. By default, installing WHS 2011 uses the standard VGA graphics driver.

If you go to HP’s support site, they direct you to ASPEED’s web site for downloading the graphics driver.



There’s no install file, just the driver (inf) files for each operating system. However, as I could not determine which specific model to install (AST1100, AST1160, etc.), I decided to try a different approach..

I then installed and ran the free HWiNFO64 utility (there is also a HWiNFO32 version as well).


It told me that I had an ATI/AMD Mobility Radeon HD 2400 graphics. How interesting! What’s nice about the HWiNFO64 utility is that by simply clicking on the graphic card link, it took me right to the AMD site to download the appropriate driver.


WHS Restore, 64 bit workstations and Realtek

I have Microsoft Windows Home Server (WHS) installed in the majority of my customers, both business and residential. WHS is great as a full image backup solution for these environments. Restoring a computer whose disk has crashed, or has been overrun with malware/viruses, is usually a piece of cake.

But there are certain steps required, especially if the workstation you are restoring is running a 64 bit version of Windows O/S (Win 7/64, Vista/64)


  • Windows WHS Restore Computer Wizard CD
    • Note: make sure you have the Computer Restore CD and not the Server Restore CD!
    • If you cannot find your CD, you can download the latest here, and burn it to a CD.
  • USB 2.0 Thumb Drive
    • I suggest having two thumb drives, one for the WHS Restore Folder, and one for the vendor-specific NIC card driver
  • Access to another workstation on the network that is also connected to the WHS server
  • Knowledge of the make/model of the installed NIC card on the workstation, and access to the NIC card vendor’s website.
    You can find out your NIC card device by accessing Device Manager.

    • Click Start –> Run –> and type in: mmc devmgmt.msc
    • Click Device Manager, then drill down Network adapters

Process (Summary):

  • Download the WHS Home Server Drivers for Restore to a USB thumb drive from a  working computer
  • If workstation is running Win 7/64 or Vista/64, download appropriate 32-bit NIC driver from vendor site onto a USB thumb drive
  • Replace hard drive in the computer, if required
  • Boot from the WHS Restore CD
  • At the Detect Hardware screen, load in drivers from USB stick
  • Follow the prompts to restore the computer

Process (Details):

Download Restore Folder to USB thumb drive:

  • From another workstation, right click on the WHS icon on the lower right of the task bar, then click Windows Home Server Console.
  • Click on Computers & Backup, locate the computer to be restored, right click on it and then click View Backups.
  • Select the backup you want to restore from, and click Open from the ‘Restore or View Files from:’ section.
  • Now copy or drag the entire contents of the folder named Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore to your USB thumb drive.
  • We will call this USB Thumb Drive #1.

Obtain 32-bit NIC card drivers:

  • Question: if I’m restoring a 64-bit workstation, why do I need to download a 32-bit driver for the NIC card.
  • Answer: The WHS Restore CD itself is running in 32-bit mode. The 64-bit driver stored within the Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore folder is the 64 bit driver, and won’t work when doing the restore process.


  • In my case, the workstation that needs to be restore has a Realtek PCIe Gigabit Family Controller network card installed.
  • Go to the Realtek website, click on Downloads
  • Click on Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller Series Drivers from the Quick Links section on the right.
  • Locate and download the WinXP/Win Server 2003 Driver to your computer. I created a folder called Realtek Drivers for this purpose.
  • Unzip the download file and copy it to a second USB thumb drive.
  • We will call this USB Thumb Drive #2.

Perform the WHS Restore:

Boot from WHS Restore CD:

  • Boot up the computer using the WHS Restore CD.
  • You will be prompted to select the appropriate memory configuration.
  • It will take a few minutes for the Restore CD to load and run.
  • You will eventually be asked to confirm time format and keyboard.
  • Click Continue.

Detect Hardware:

  • Now we come to the all-important Detect Hardware screen.
  • Click Details.
  • Plug in USB Thumb Drive #1 into the computer, click Install Drivers and then click Scan.
  • Once that is completed, repeat the process with USB Thumb Drive #2.
  • Once drivers have been installed click OK.

Proceed with Restore:

  • At this point, we should be ready to rock-n-rill.
  • You will get the Welcome to the Restore Computer wizard.
  • You will be prompted for the WHS server password.
  • You will confirm which computer you are restoring, and which backup to use.
  • If restoring because of virus or malware, you will want to select a backup dated prior to the infection.

Good luck!

Here’s a link to another web site showing the step-by-step screenshots of restoring a computer using WHS:

Windows Server Essential 2012 Beta

Yes, the public beta for Windows Server Essential 2012 is now available for download here!

Beta released on July 11, 2012

Windows Server Essential (WSE) 2012 is the the follow on product to the  Small Business Server (SBS) Essentials 2011 product. Some features of this release includes:

  • Based on Windows Server 2012
  • Supports up to 25 users and 50 devices
  • Complete system backup of the server and up to 25 workstations with bare metal restore
  • Supports disk volumes larger than 2 Terabytes (TB)
  • Offers the new Storage Spaces technology supporting disk drives of various sizes
  • Health monitoring of Windows 7/8 and Mac OS X 10.5 and greater
  • Supports all of the 3rd party add-ins developed for SBS 2011 Essentials and Windows Home Server 2011
  • Enhanced Remote Web Access
  • Update Windows Phone App
  • Full image backup for 25 workstations
  • And more!

For more information, benefits, FAQ and datasheet, please visit:

Microsoft has not indicated how long the beta is scheduled to run, but I would suggest submitting any issues or bugs in a timely (quick) manner.

Tampa Bay SBS User Group Meeting

The monthly meeting of the Tampa Bay SBS Usergroup (TBSBSUG) takes place tonight (Thursday July 12th). We will gather early for dinner at the Winghouse on 4th street in St Petersburg, followed by our meeting that starts at 6:30pm.


This is an important meeting, given the announcements this week on the upcoming releases of Windows Server 2012, and it’s impact on those who have been selling and supporting the Small business Server product.

We are honored that Kevin Beares (Microsoft) will be speaking with us to get our feedback and to discuss some of the misconceptions surrounding this week’s announcements.

For more information, please contact Rayanne, the TBSBSUG lead.