3 Things I Hate About Windows Home Server

Generally speaking, I am very impressed with the Windows Home Server software in general, and my HP MediaSmart Server in particular.  Unlike every other backup solution I have ever tried, it works.  I love having shared space for media.  I love having a mapped network drive for stuff I want to store on the network.  In other words, it just works, with a lovely combination of simplicity and flexibility.

Most of the time.

There are three things about my home server that drive me stark raving mad.

Slow, Unresponsive Console

Number one, by far, is that the Windows Home Server Console, the control panel for the software, is so slow it makes it impossible to do anything.  Every time I try to use it, I see virtual glaciers flying by my desktop window.

It’s bad enough that it takes a minute or two to connect to the server, but that is bearable.  What’s not bearable is to try and click something and have absolutely nothing happen for minutes at a time.  The only other experience I can compare it to is when you’re trying to slog around a recently drained fish pond, with mud up to your knees.  Anyone who has ever drained ponds knows that getting around down there is slow going.

For example, it took me 5 minutes just to check an “Ignore this issue.”  That is beyond insane.  It’s to the point now that I’d rather not use my server to its fullest than to fight a losing battle with the console.  The home server is such a key and potentially useful part of your home network, that fast and reliable should be job one.  Even if it costs more.

Too Many Home Network Health Warnings

In theory, it’s great that the software notifies you when there is a potential problem with one of the network computers.  In practice, however, this feature comes across like Windows User Account Control on meth.  The sheer magnitude of the warnings combined with the slower than freeze-dried molasses console creates gridlock.  Grid. Freaking. Lock.

I ended up taking a number of lesser computers off the network, just so I could go on living my life.

Blank

Backup Failures

Of course, this only happens with my computer, which has the most important stuff on it, but over half of my backups fail, because for some inexplicable reason, “The computer failed to take a snapshot of the volume for backup.”  No shit Sherlock.  A Google search confirms that others are having this problem, but no solution was evident.

hp_mediasmartserver

Is There a Solution?

I’m not sure.  I could buy one of the newer servers, which have more memory, and cross my fingers.  Nah.  I could make my own server out of an extra computer, but I’d lose all the stuff on my current server.  I could soldier on, and just take it.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, but this is driving me nuts.

3 responses to “3 Things I Hate About Windows Home Server

  1. Build your own is definitely the way to go. Core 2 should be the minimum CPU. No reason to lose your existing data though. A renstall of the WHS OS can be done safely without data loss, so I'd make a drive to drive copy from the current box and then a new WHS install. While you are at it you can move up to a 1TB boot drive and get a much bigger 'landing' area for the shared file system. Use something like Acronis. While you are at it move your workstation to Win 7. They play very nicely together.

  2. Kent, Remote Desktop in and check your Task manager. Make sure there is nothing eating up system resources (spoolsv.exe is particularly bad).Second, If you are going to get a newer machine, move the hard drives from the current one over (I'm not sure if you can actually get all the hard drives out). WHS should boot u; fine.Third, there are Add-ons that will allow you to backup and restore the actual backup database. I'm sure you could use this to move machines as a plan BFourth, tweet @wegotserved. Andrew Terry runs a dedicated WHS blog (www.wegotserved.com). I'm sure he can help you or point you to someone who can. it would be shame for such a great product to go to waste…Roberto.PS. Love the blog. I'm a long time reader.

  3. do a re-innstall if you have such slow console reactions. The only slow part is the loading as you said. Everything else should be normal speed.