• Windows Home Server SDK now available

    For those who have been waiting for the necessary information to write Add-ins for Windows Home Server, the online documentation for the Windows Home Server SDK (Software Development Kit) is now available online.


  • Windows Home Server Toolkit v1 - The Nuts and Bolts

    As you've probably seen from Robert McLaws' blog post, there's a new Toolkit for Windows Home Server.  There are several components to this. Some run in the WHS Console as an Add-in, and others can be run locally on the client, or the server. 

    The Console Add-in gives you a new item under Settings, labeled Toolkit.  From there you have 4 available tabs. Remote, Storage, Backup and Support. 

    On the Server side of things.............

    The Remote tab gives you access to tools to help with troubleshooting and configuration of the Remote Access web site.


    Of particular interest is the Remote Access Website Configurations button.  Here you can adjust the Session timeout of a Remote Access connection.  The default value is 20 minutes for an idle connection.  This can also cause large downloads and uploads to fail.  You can change this value up to 24 hours.

    The Storage tab gives you access to diagnostics for server storage. And after you run the diagnostics, you can view the log.


    The Backup tab allows you to wipe out the backup database (yes, this deletes all backups).  This could help you recover from a problem that might require a full re-install to correct otherwise.


    And you can change threshold in number of days before WHS will start nagging you about a client not being backed up.  And very cool, it apparently can be set on a per computer basis!   So, if you have kids that are out of the house all week and their laptops are only home on Sunday, you can change their settings to accommodate their lifestyle.


    The Support tab gives you the ability to upload the Server logs to Microsoft to help them assist in troubleshooting issues.  You're given the CAB number to provide to MS so they know what file to look for.  Its basically a GUI presentation of the TalQ diagnostic tool from the beta days.  You can also get a Command Prompt window, directly from the WHS Console and view the Event and Tracing logs that are relevant to WHS.


    On the Client side of things............

    There are two ways to run the Windows Home Server Toolkit on a client PC or even on the Server if you're logged in via a local keyboard or RDP.  You can either run the basic EXE which will give you a dialog like the following:


    And then open a new Internet Explorer window with something like this:


    Or you can run the Toolkit in Advanced mode.  The documentation says to open a Command Prompt window and change to the Program Files\Windows Home Server\Toolkit directory and type in clienttroubleshooter.exe -a to run the utility in Advanced mode.  Unfortunately the filename is connectortroubleshooter.exe, but that's not a big deal.  Even easier??  Copy the Start Menu shortcut, add Advanced to the name and put the -a after the command line to run it.  When you launch it in Advanced mode, you'll see the following:


    Click on the Server menu bar item and you'll see Publish Server Add-in.  This automatically sends a copy of the relevant MSI file to the \\Server\Software\Add-ins folder, so you don't have to do it manually.

    Click the Run All Tests button and you'll see something like this:


    Now, you can see here, that everything went fine until it got to the Application compatibility check.  It seems that it doesn't like the name of one of my installed programs, but I couldn't find anything the indicated which one it was!

    And now for the good part.  Here's where you get it!!


    Now for the bad part.  According to the documentation, the Toolkit should install as a WHS Console Add-in, the same way all the other Add-ins are supposed to install (copy the MSI file to the \\Server\Software\Add-ins folder, then open the WHS Console, go to Settings, Add-ins, Available and install it.  I could not get it to install this way.  However, I finally just used Remote Desktop to access the server, navigated to the \\Server\Software\Add-ins folder and double clicked on the MSI file and it seems to have installed itself just fine.

  • Windows Home Server Add-ins | We Got Served

    This site has some of the newest and handiest Windows Home Server Add-ins available.  One I particularly like is the Program Launcher add-in.  Great for getting into Regedit, Command Prompt or just about any other program you need to run from the WHS console.


  • Download details: Windows Live OneCare Virus and Spyware Repair Tool

    Filed under:

    Brief Description

    Resolves the issue entitled "Contact Help Center - OneCare virus and spyware protection encountered a problem and cannot start". You MUST save this file to your computer and then run it. Do NOT select 'Run' from the download dialog.


    After an install or an upgrade of Windows Live OneCare, the antivirus and spyware component may not start properly. Users are shown a red action item entitled: "Urgent, Contact Help Center - OneCare virus and spyware protection encountered a problem and cannot start".
    This tool will attempt to repair the virus and spyware protection component of OneCare on this computer.


  • Windows Defender and Microsoft Forefront Client

    Filed under:

    Ok, its not earth shattering news, but Microsoft is now providing the latest version number of the definitions files for these to products on their web site.


    Look on the right side for Definition Updates.

  • Wake-On-LAN Add-in for Windows Home Server

    One of the great things about Windows Home Server is it can act as a "proxy server", giving you access to any Remote Desktop capable machine on your LAN. 

    One of the pain in the butt things about it is, if you set your PC's to go to Standby, they're inaccessible.

    How to overcome this limitation?  A fellow Microsoft MVP, Evangelos Hadjichristodoulou, has written an Add-in for Windows Home Server that will send the "magic packet" to wake up a sleeping machine.  Of course, the PC must support Wake-on-LAN and this feature must be enabled in the BIOS of the PC, as well.


    A reboot of the Windows Home Server machine may be required after you copy the files to C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server on the Windows Home Server PC.


  • Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes

    A number of years ago I had the pleasure to meet a great guy, John Eddy.  At the time, he worked for Microsoft and was involved with the MVP program. 

    I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank John for something he's doing, that turns out to be near and dear to my heart.  John is participating in Nordstrom's "Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes" campaign, this year.  John has elected to participate in the 8K race portion.  The "Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes" campaign has one primary purpose. It helps to raise money to fund the research necessary to cure Juvenile (Type 1) Diabetes and help educate a wide variety of people about this disease.  This disease affects an estimated 800,000 people in the U.S. alone! People with Type 1 diabetes are "insulin dependent". Their own immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.  Insulin is used by the body to process glucose (what all those carbohydrates you eat turn into, also known as "blood sugar") to fuel the body. Type 1 diabetes can strike at any age. Its called Juvenile Diabetes, because it usually shows up in childhood, but there have been new patients diagnosed as late as 40 years old.

    Now, why is this near and dear to my heart?  My youngest son, Geoffrey, is a Type 1 diabetic.  He was diagnosed 5 years ago, at the age of 10.  He will live with daily testing of his blood sugar levels (6 times a day, or more) and daily insulin injections.  He will soon be on an insulin pump, which will reduce the number of injections he must take, but the rest of it goes on and on...... Without a cure, this will continue for the rest of his life. 

    What can be done?  Simple, help John and others raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  The JDRF (you may have seen their TV ads with Mary Tyler Moore) exists to help fund research into a cure for this disease, as well as providing information for health care providers, reasearchers, families and patients about Type 1 diabetes.

    How can you help?  Easy as can be.  Go to http://www.beatthebridge.org/goto/johneddy and sign up as a sponsor for John.  Help him help the JDRF raise the money to help find a cure for this disease!

    Why is John doing this?  See his April 23rd blog entry at http://www.jaydeflix.com

    Where can you find more information about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes and what you can do to help find a cure?  Visit the JDRF's web site at http://www.jdrf.org.

    Thanks in advance, to all of you who decide to help John, my son and others afflicted with this lifelong disease!

    Best regards,
    Doug Knox

  • Tab templates for Windows Home Server Console

    One of the features of Windows Home Server is the ability to extend the Windows Home Server (WHS) Console by adding more tabs to it.  These can be added by OEM's, developers or even end-users with some coding experience, to allow the WHS Console to do more than it already does.

    The Windows Home Server SDK can be viewed on the MSDN web site, at:


    Note, this is a beta version and is not yet complete.  All code samples are written in C#.   Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that there are any downloads available for it, the documentation is all online. If someone does find a legitimate download link, please let me know.

    Two "Tab" templates, one in C# and one in VB.NET. have been put together by Ken Warren, and avid enthusiast of Windows Home Server.  He is one of the most prolific, and helpful posters on the Windows Home Server Forums.  Ken's Tab templates can be found at http://whssource.com.

    Visual Studio 2005 is required for development. If you don't have it, you can download the Express editions of Visual C# or VB.NET from Microsoft.


  • www.dougknox.com - May be down for Comcast users

    Resolved:  As of 2:12 AM EDT: For me, at least.  This may be a fix that needs to propogate through Comcast's network, but for now, I can access my web site and my e-mail serves.

    My web site, www.dougknox.com, may be inaccessible for some Comcast users. My hosting provider, www.pair.com reports that they are receiving a number of complaints that sites hosted by pair.com are not accessible by Comcast High Speed Internet customers.  They say it doesn't appear to be their fault and are working with Comcast to resolve the issue.


  • Windows Home Server CTP - Build 1371 released to the public

    Windows Home Server CTP (Build 1371) has been released to the general public beta community!  If you're not on the beta, apply here:


    You will need a spare machine with at least a 1 Gig CPU, 512 Meg of RAM and a minimum 80 Gig hard disk (preferably larger and more than one disk) to run the beta.


    In the CTP release, build 1371, you're offered the opporunity during installation to give your server a unique name.  In Beta 2, you were stuck with "SERVER". This could be changed by using Remote Desktop to connect to the server, but now you can change the default name during installation/setup.


    There are some improvments and changes.  Some of the most notable changes are visible when you first open the WHS Console.  Now there is a Status bar at the bottom. it shows the status of the "balancing" that WHS does to distribute your data across multiple disks, and it will show you if someone is logged on via Remote Access.  And in the Computers & Backups tab, there is now an option to Remove Computer.  This could be useful if you sell or give away one of your PC's, or one of your kids goes off to school and takes their laptop with them.  Since Windows Home Server will soon warn you about that computer not being backed up, its nice to be able to remove it.

    Everything else in the main part of the Console looks pretty much the same.  But, there are some new things under Settings.  In the Passwords section, you can now set the "complexity" requirement. 


    The options are:

         1) Any password, even a single character (but not blank)
         2) A minimum of 5 characters, with no special characters required
         3) 7 or more characters, with complexity (Upper and lower case, with at least 1 number and/or special character).

    However, these requirements really only apply to Shared Folders, from inside your LAN.  For Remote Access, each user must have a complex password.

    Remote Access

    Under the Remote Access settings, you can turn the Remote Access web sites, on or off, making them inaccessible to the outside world whenever you wish.  There is also a new feature, that allows you to configure a domain name for your Windows Home Server, so you can access it more easily from the Internet, particularly if you have a dynamic IP address that can change unexpectedly.  For now, the primary domain is livenode.com.  Your Home Server address would be something like jonesfamily.livenode.com.  It is expected that when Windows Home Server is commercially available, the primary domain will change to homeserver.com.

    Another feature is Router Configuration.  If you have a UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) router, Windows Home Server can attempt to automatically configure it to allow for Remote Access.  This means you don't have to be a geek to set it up.  Click the button and away it goes!

    You can now specify whether you see the "banner" page, with the picture of the guy at the beach and the logon button, or go straight to the logon page. And you can change the title text of the banner page to something other than Windows Home Server.


    Another new addition is Add-ins.  This section will allow OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturers) and developers to create additional tabs for the Windows Home Server Console.  This opens up possibilities for the OEM's to install 3rd party software such as photo processing, digital media tools and others.  It could also be used to expose some more of the information about the Windows Home Server, and allow users to do more with out having to use Remote Desktop to get into the Windows Home Server machine.

    Other than that, its pretty much the same.  The Connector software is still easy to setup and the Windows Home Server is still very easy to configure.  And it does what its supposed to do.  Allow you to Share and Store your photos, videos and files, and Protect the data on all your home computers.  After all, that's the slogan for Windows Home Server, "Share, Store and Protect"!


  • Next Version of Media Center - Participation Survery

    Filed under:

    Posted by Jessica Zahn, one of the Program Managers for Media Center at Microsoft at:



    Hey folks -

    We're now accepting applications to be beta testers for the next release of Media Center!


    A couple of notes: I don't accept bribes, nor can I make promises that particular people will be chosen. We only have so many spots, and we need a diverse group of testers from across the US and from supported countries. You'll only be contacted if you're chosen, and we will choose people by May 31.

    Also, the survey is deliberately broad; it would probably be a mistake to assume everything we're asking about is going to end up in the next version, whenever that is. :-)

    I can probably answer general questions about the beta process if you have any.

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.


    Visit the Connect Web site, at the link above, fill out the Survey and cross your fingers!

  • Windows Home Server Blogs

    Some of you might be interested in reading the blogs from the Product Team and some of the specific developers for Windows Home Server.

    Main Windows Home Server Blog: http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/

    Kynan Antos' Blog: http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/

    Charlie Kindel's Blog: http://www.kindel.com/blogs/charlie

    Hope you find them informative and entertaining.  The personal blogs aren't dedicated just to Windows Home Server.  You actually get some sense of the person behind the blog, too!

  • HP MediaSmart Server - Windows Home Server

    There is some prelimary information on HP's implementation of the Windows Home Server platform available on HP's web site.



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  • Rebuilding New Orleans After Katrina

    Someone sent me a more realistic plan for FEMA to rebuild New Orleans. 


    For complete description of materials and how to build it please refer to Genesis Chapter 5:14-16