My Windows Home Server: The Unboxing

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In a house with 3 Windows laptops, 2 Mac laptops, 1 Windows Desktop and a lone Debian file server; time absorbed in home administration was getting out of hand.

The lone Debian file server runs on an old PC desktop. Last year in a weak moment in between jobs I decided to reconnect with my Unix side and re-commission the old Dell clunker into a file server. Load up internal hard drives and install. A week later, in the process of installing a new, yet massive 300Gb data drive I broke the file server and spent two days self-administering Unix just hoping the family's data was not in bit heaven.

Self-administration at home is OK when you have time and like fixing things. If time poor, don't do it.

And backups. In our house, I am the only person who backs up on anything like a regular basis.

Windows Home Server to the rescue!

Someone kindly sent me an email link to this little beastie, lovingly made in the cold land of of warm beer and Beatrix Potter: TranquilPC low power Windows Home Server appliances. The email arrived at a time where I had access to a credit card, and extracted me from the funk of indecision, otherwise known as procrastination, of 'build vs. buy' my Windows Home Server. Buy.

One HTML form later: and a 1Gb RAM + 1Tb Hard Disk is flying the reverse kangaroo route to Australia.



A rather heavy FedEx white box arrived at my desk at work. Hilirie Chan from our mail room delivers it, asks for my autograph.windowshomeserver 001
The wall plate sits over the top of the TranquilPC itself. All the cardboard goes into recycling.windowshomeserver 007
From left to right: 12v power out splitter cable (plug in to rear of TranquilPC into 4 external USB hard drives), Windows Home Server software, TranquilPC how-to in a neat early 1980s typeface and screws for the wall-mount.

Windows Home Server is pre-installed, so there is no waiting to turn this little beast on.
windowshomeserver 011
Size comparison with my Treo 750. The TranquilPC is weighty; or more descriptively: dense. Thankfully very small and quiet.windowshomeserver 012

LAN and power in connections are easy: the 4 extra USB ports will be used for plugging in external drives. The power out port, just next to the Power in make it easy to chain the external drives without buying a whole new powerstrip.


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You said this was going to be 'quiet as a mouse'. There are no mice in here!windowshomeserver 022


Within 5 minutes, the Windows Home Server is on and working on our network.

Next post: Backups and Firewalls

If you cannot wait for the next episode, read Paul Thurrott's comprehensive review:

Note: I've been an Unix/Solaris/Linux sys-admin since 1988. I now use MacOS X to get my vi/cron fix.

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