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Beware of Advanced Format Hard Disks for Windows Home Server

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There have been unofficial reports, discussions, and concerns around advanced format hard drives and Windows Home Server, but now Microsoft has issued a KB article to address the issues in question. The advisory note KB2385637 discusses Advanced Format drives and their incompatibility with Windows Home Server v1.

Below is an excerpt from note KB2385637:

Below is the full article:

To improve the speed and storage efficiencies of hard disk drives, manufacturers are moving to a new technology known as “Advanced Format sector disk”. This technology requires the hard disk to be formatted and aligned in 4K sectors instead of the traditional 512 byte sectors that is currently used by most software. This article details the compatibility of these hard disk drives with Windows Home Server.

This article describes the two scenarios that can affect your installation of Windows Home Server. Some manufacturers provide alignment tools for their products; however these tools are not always compatible with the platform and technologies upon which Windows Home Server is built therefore we cannot provide support. You may consult hard disk manufacturers for their recommended solutions on adapting Advanced Format disks with various environments.

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NEW! HumuHumu Windows Home Server

While some manufacturers are letting go of their home server lines, others are coming onboard, such as the latest UK based HumuHumu Home Server powered by Windows Home Server 2011.

The new units will be available for sale in the U.K. starting June 20th priced at ¬£478.98, and while you have seen a variety of chassis from the home servers that are already on the market you haven‚??t seen anything like the HumuHumu.

The server casing (aluminium) come in 4 vibrant colors (Red, Blue, Black and Silver).


All the servers include:

  • Intel D525MW Motherboard (1.8Ghz Atom Dual Core CPU)
  • 4GB DDR3 Ram
  • Western Digital 2TB Energy Efficient Hard Disk (featuring advanced sector format)
  • Lian-Li 100% brushed Aluminium case
  • Ultra Silent 80 Plus Power Supply

Aside from looking cool this server will also make a lot of users happy because of the quick set up. Simply take it out of the box connect to your existing router and power on.

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Hands On Review: Tune In to Apple TV 2nd Generation

Apple gave us computers, gave us phones, and now its Apple TV time. When the concept of Apple TV first surfaced, it was a large belief that Apple TV will not be much more than a fad to this computer and phone mogul.

Unboxing

As with any Apple product it is really needless to say that the superb packaging of this device just makes the unwrapping that much sweeter.

The tiny, black and shiny, 0.6 pound unit no bigger than 3.9‚?? x 3.9,‚?? comes with its very own sleek and ultrathin Aluminum remote, power cord, and manual. All are cradled in the Apple iconic white box.

Hardware

Before we list what Apple TV has in terms of hardware, let us point out the one piece of hardware you will not find inside; a spinning hard drive. Apple took this out of the equation in order to optimally use the minimal space within the super small casing. But don‚??t be fooled about its power, with a custom A4 processor similar to that in the iPhone 4, iPad and newest iPod touch, Apple TV is kept cool even during rigorous usage.

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Add-in Update: Grid Junction 1.6

The time has come again for Kentdome LLC to release the next version of the popular power supply management (UPS) add-in for Windows Home Server.

Grid Junction is an easy to use Windows Home Server Add-in for managing an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) via the Windows Home Server Console. Grid Junction integrates seamlessly to issue power alerts and help protect Windows Home Server from power problems such as brownouts, or blackouts by safely powering down the Windows Home Server when battery levels reach a set threshold.

What‚??s new ?

The uninterruptible power supply management add-in for Windows Home Server is now in version 1.6, updating and running a thorough maintenance on the code, with additional UPS hardware support.

 

Screenshots

Protect your Windows Home Server!

Whenever your Windows Home Server suddenly looses power or otherwise halts or restarts without warning there‚??s a possibility that the Windows Home Server file system may have been in an inconsistent state at that time due to data writing or disk balancing activities. If you are unlucky, this can not only corrupt your file system requiring a reinstallation of the Windows Home Server Operating System but possibly destroy important data.

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Feature Comparison: WHS vs Vail vs Aurora

The following is a comparison of features of Windows Home Server v1, Windows Home Server "Vail", and "Aurora" Small Business Server.  WHS v1 is the current home server product that is supported by Microsoft.  WHS Vail and Aurora SBS are servers currently publically available as a Beta products. 

We have created this table to compare the capabilities of each of these server platforms.

  • WHS v1 was created for the home, small business, and combined home/small business environment.  It provided limited Media Center, file access, and Remote Access support. 
  • WHS Vail and Aurora SBS took those capabilities and focused on two separate user environments.  Both versions are based on the newer Windows Server 2008 technology, are easy to install, setup, and use, and have native support for the MAC. 
  • WHS Vail retains its support for the home, small business, and combined home/small business environment.  It has enhanced Media Center and Remote Web Access support in addition to having greater system capabilities.
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Synology to Release DiskStation DS712+ for SMB

In a recent announcement we learned that Synology America Corp announced the official launch of the successor to the network attached storage unit DS710 with the DiskStation DS712+ to their menu of already successful products.

A new two-bay model ships with a dual-core, 1.8GHz processor and 1GB DDR3 memory designed for small businesses, and with Synology DX510 expansion it offers a unique solution by scaling up a compact 2-bay NAS server into a 7-bay, providing up to 21TB of storage capacity. Some of its main features include iSCSI and VM server support, Windows ADS, LDAP and much more.

Synology DS712+

Hardware

  • CPU Frequency : 1.8GHz
  • Floating Point
  • Memory : DDR3 1GB
  • Internal HDD/SSD : 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA(II) X 2 (Hard drive not included)
  • Max Internal Capacity : 6TB (2X 3TB HDD) (Capacity may vary by RAID types) (See All Supported HDD)
  • Hot Swappable HDD
  • External HDD Interface : USB 2.0 Port X 3, eSATA Port X 1
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Hands-On: Sony Internet TV NSZ-GT1 Review

Sony’s Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player aims to seamlessly integrate Web browsing with a more traditional television experience. Google TV is a software and hardware platform for set-top boxes and HDTVs based on the Android operating system. Google TV is a whole new and revolutionary way to think about TV because it combines your current TV programming and the Internet.

This review is both of the Sony Internet TV NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player hardware and the Google TV software.

Unpacking

When you open up the retail box you will find the Sony Internet TV NSZ – GT1 set-top box, QWERTY remote control, the power supply (external power brick), user manual, one HDMI cable and a double IR transmitter/blaster, one for your DVR box, one for your receiver.




   

First Impressions

The set top box is mostly shiny white with a black reflective top. On the front panel there is a power on/off button on the left corner, followed by the optical disc slot-loading drive (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray).

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VidaBox RackClientv3 Extender offers multi-zone Streaming of Blu-ray

vidabox

VidaBox announced a new rack mountable Blu-Ray media extender which streams high definition content including music, movies, photos and videos to TVs over the network. The VidaBox RackClient v3 is a rack-mountable Media Center Extender which supports 1080p high definition, multi-zone streaming of Blu-Ray and up to 7.1 sound with HDMI 1.3 connectivity.

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Technical specs reveal that the RackClientV3 is powered by an AMD Dual Core 2.7GHz or better, 2GB DDR2 Memory and 80GB stock HDD with special order RAID configuration options. (I assume the graphics are built into the motherboard but no video specification details are given at this point.)
Rear connectivity options include Gigabit LAN (1000 Mbps), 3x HDMI, VGA, 6x USB 2.0, eSATA, Optical SPDIF and analog 7.1 audio.  The unit measures a standard 19” rack width and 3.5” height (2U). 

For PVR fans there is an optional TV Tuner available supporting NTSC, PAL, SECAM or DVB-T (up to 2 tuners fit).

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Hands On: Kinect for Xbox 360 Review

It was a matter of time before all three of the major game consoles released some form of motion controls. Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 got rid of remotes and buttons that others still use, and employed body gestures and voice commands.

Microsoft first presented Kinect to the world as Project Natal at the E3 convention in 2009. Since then, Microsoft’s sensor peripheral has been named as “Kinect” and positioned as the next phase of Xbox 360’s evolution. Kinect is billed as a means for users to interact with their consoles and play games without using a physical controller, using natural gestures, voice commands and face recognition.

Read on past the break for our in-depth review of this ambitious apparatus, will it transform gaming? Or, more importantly, does it even work?

Unboxing

Microsoft’s Kinect packaging reveals a purple interior under its flap. The Kinect Adventures game is included with your purchase of the sensor. Behind the sensor, the box contains pamphlets, a USB extension cable, and an AC adapter for using Kinect with older Xbox 360 models.

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CollageIt for Mac Giveaway and Review

We all make time to take funny, quirky and memorable photos with our cellphones, party cameras, professional looking all cool when traveling cameras, but then what?... we typically store all these images onto an external hard drive or network storage device, perhaps upload a few onto facebook and flickr but ultimately we frequently forget about them. We suggest enjoying those memories daily and what better way to do that then to take pleasure in your photos multiple at a time.

Collage

Per wikipedia:  A collage (From the French: coller, to glue) is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. A collage may include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.

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Add-in Update: Remote Alert 1.5

We are happy to announce that we‚??ve released an updated version of the Remote Alert Windows Home Server Add-in.¬†Remote Alert version 1.5 provides real time remote access notification, additional security layers and remote access activity logging.

Features

  • Real time logon activity status (successful / failed) alerts
  • Real time network activity traffic monitor
  • Real time connected session and resources overview
  • Remote access activity history overview (basic client info: IP address & browser type)
  • IP Security for IP address or entire network range blacklisting
  • Powerful brute-force protection (cannot be fooled via proxies & suspends remote access but does not kill any legit sessions)
  • Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack and ARP poisoning detection
  • Remote access availability scheduler (i.e. suspend remote access during nighttime, does not affect HP Webshare or additional websites)
  • Smart IIS Web logs parser
  • Build-in self-checking update notification

What‚??s new in 1.5?

This is mainly a maintenance release so for those of you who already use it this will fix minor GUI and charting issues, as well as issues with multiple network adapters. The add-in is still free, so for those out there that don‚??t use it currently, it can be downloaded here or directly via Add-in Central.

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How to: Sync Mobile Devices With WHS Outlook

In this week’s spotlight post, Mike Craven of ‚??The Office Maven‚??, takes us on a detailed walkthrough of the mobile devices’ synchronization feature found in WHS Outlook.

Without further ado,‚?¶here’s Mike!

I get lots of support requests asking how to sync your Outlook data (in WHS Outlook) with your mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.). Well, I’ve found that the easiest way to do this, when using WHS Outlook, is to setup a free Windows Live Hotmail account and install the free Outlook Hotmail Connector application/add-in into the copy of Microsoft Outlook (2010 or 2007) that is installed directly on your WHS.

The Outlook Hotmail Connector works great with WHS Outlook allowing you to access your Windows Live Hotmail account’s email, contacts, and calendars directly within in Microsoft Outlook. Also, since Windows Live Hotmail supports Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), you can easily sync your Windows Live Hotmail account with your mobile devices making it so that any changes your make to your Windows Live Hotmail account

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Hands-On: Windows Server Code Name "Aurora" Review

Windows Server Code Name Aurora 
Microsoft put it best when they advertised the Small Business Server with a slogan, “On the Job 24/7. Just like you.” Aurora “represents a significant departure from our traditional fully on-premise model,” Kevin Kean, general manager of Windows Home and Small Business Servers, wrote in an Aug. 16 posting on The Official SBS Blog. “Aurora extends the ease of use of our traditional SBS products while simultaneously being a great platform for small businesses wanting to combine traditional and cloud computing.” Aurora’s features include advanced backup and file-restoration features, with automatic daily backups of PCs on a network; the server, along with the computers and documents connected to it, can also be accessed from common Web browsers.

Just so that there is no confusion, Aurora is targeting the SOHO (Small Office Home Office), Small Business with less than 25 employees, what Vail does for home users. For a small business that does not have the resources for a full-blown IT department and storage facilities, Aurora is the perfect solution. Aurora shares a common code base with that of Windows Home Server Vail so simplicity of guided installation and configuration wizards and easy integration with cloud services are the staples of this product. Since Aurora is targeted at small business customers rather than consumers it offers a number of additional features for small business over Vail, and logically it omits the more consumer oriented features that come with Vail. For example, Active Directory support and the upcoming cloud application support for Aurora are the main reasons a small business would want to go this route.

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Add-in Update: AWIECO Wake on LAN v0.3, Now with Launchpad Support

AWIECO Wake On LAN

AWIECO released an updated version of their Wake On LAN add-in for Windows Home Server code name Vail and Windows Server Aurora. The updated version of the AWIECO Wake On LAN software provides integration into the Launchpad.

Version 0.3 of the beta was released today, and extends the Launchpad which means that there is no need to access the Windows Home Server Dashboard, any user can wake PCs on the network, not just Administrators.

AWIECO Wake on LAN AWIECO Wake on LAN AWIECO Wake on LAN

The AWIECO WakeOnLAN add-in for Windows Home Server "Vail" Refresh and Small Business Server “Aurora“ is a free and useful add-in, which has the ability to turn on a computer remotely. It enables the Server to start up every computer attached to your network. The gadget on the WHS or SBS web-interface shows a list of all available and connected computers within your network and provides the possibility to start them up from any location inside your network or via internet, by just one mouse click. You can add further computer to your network manually by entering the MAC address or even delete them. The add-in automatically recognizes, if a computer is already turned on or if it is booting up.

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Add-in Update: AWIECO Wake on LAN v0.3, Now with Dashboard Support

AWIECO Wake On LAN

AWIECO released an updated version of their Wake On LAN add-in for Windows Home Server code name Vail and Windows Server Aurora. The updated version of the AWIECO Wake On LAN software provides integration into the Launchpad.

Version 0.3 of the beta was released today, and extends the Launchpad which means that there is no need to access the Windows Home Server Dashboard, any user can wake PCs on the network, not just Administrators.

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The AWIECO WakeOnLAN add-in for Windows Home Server "Vail" Refresh and Small Business Server “Aurora“ is a free and useful add-in, which has the ability to turn on a computer remotely. It enables the Server to start up every computer attached to your network. The gadget on the WHS or SBS web-interface shows a list of all available and connected computers within your network and provides the possibility to start them up from any location inside your network or via internet, by just one mouse click. You can add further computer to your network manually by entering the MAC address or even delete them. The add-in automatically recognizes, if a computer is already turned on or if it is booting up.

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Hands-On: HomeServerSync for Windows Home Server

In this hands-on newsreel, we will focus on the newly released HomeServerSync add-in for Windows Home Server brought to us by Tranquil PC. 

Features

  • 100GB of online backup storage with additional storage available if needed.
  • Multi PC synchronization system to protect data and shared files and folders access
  • Provision of a unique private network which allows full access to the Windows Home Server Console and Shared Folders from anywhere in the world, via the Internet (VPN)

What is HomeServerSync and how does it work?

The add-in and service by Tranquil PC makes it easy for users to backup the Windows Home Server to the Tranquil PC offsite Data Center. In the event of a disaster  users could gain access to their online backups from anywhere in the world via an Internet connection. Users can then choose to restore files from the Data Center back to the Home Server, or a web connected PC with relative ease.

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Add-in Update: WHS Trigger 1.0.6 Beta

An updated beta version of WHS Trigger has been released. WHS Trigger integrates the Task Scheduler into the Windows Home Server Console to administrate and monitor scheduled tasks.

The WHS Trigger WHS add-in allows you to schedule your very own tasks such as to automate WHS Backup tasks or cleanup/housekeeping jobs like the Disk Defragmenter to run at the time that is most convenient for you.

WHS Trigger allows you to schedule tasks to run daily, weekly, monthly, or at certain times (such as system startup). The notification engine gives users notifications of running tasks or failed tasks by analyzing the task return code.

Features

  • Notifies when a scheduled task is running (yellow alert)
  • Notifies on scheduled task error (red alert)
  • Add a new scheduled task wizard directly via the Console
  • Manage scheduled tasks: Add/Edit/Delete/Run
  • View scheduled task logs

Screenshots

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Heads-Up

WHS Trigger is currently in beta and is primarily geared towards the more experienced Windows Home Server user.

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New Add-in: AWIECO RemoteLauncher for SBS Aurora and Windows Home Server Vail

awieco

AWIECO, famous for delivering the worlds first add-in for Windows Home Server “Vail” has upped the ante and released another NEW add-in for Small Business Server “Aurora” and Windows Home Server “Vail” called AWIECO RemoteLauncher.

The Austrian based company specializes in software solutions for Windows Home Server and Small Business Server:

AWIECO provides software solutions for Windows Home Server and Small Business Server. We offer these solutions to private users as well as to companies. Our main focus is to develop high-quality and innovative software products which will expand the functionalities of your Server and make it more attractive to Home and Small Business. Further projects are already in the planning and developing phase.

Two months ago the company released AWIECO WakeOnLan, which is a free add-in that enables the home server to start every computer attached to the network. Today the company followed suit and released AWIECO RemoteLauncher

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Interview: Barry Renz, Shedding Light on Portable Solar Power Systems

Home Server Land is dedicated to bringing to light and introducing innovative products, cool ideas, and latest news and updates on the connected home. This time around we thought it would be interesting to learn about the energy savings, and emergency preparedness with solar power.

Thanks to Barry Renz, owner of Powerenz, Inc., a company that designs and assembles portable solar power systems for military use, adventure, and environmentally conscious, we are fortunate to introduce our readers to the benefits and uses of this revolutionary product.

Interview

Could you take a brief minute to introduce yourself and talk about your company and its products?

My name is Barry Renz, and I represent Powerenz, Inc., a small technical company with shops in Georgia and Indiana. We design and assemble portable solar power systems for applications ranging from military to adventure to environmental consciousness. Our systems are easy to carry and perfect when you need a portable off-grid power system. For every imaginable situation, and even some that haven't yet occurred to us, we can build and customize a power system to nearly anyone's exact specifications, including:

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Windows Home Server 2011 Extends its Reach to 19 Languages

We were all excited to learn that Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Small Business Essentials 2011 will be coming out next month to online retailers, but it‚??s just as interesting to learn that there will be many more users (hopefully) since the WHS platform will be in 19 languages.

Windows Home Server 2011 and SBS 2011 Essentials will be released in 19 languages including:

  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)
  • Chinese (Hong Kong)
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

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