Archive for March, 2012

16
Mar
12

Installing Windows Home Server 2011 on an SSD

While I personally see absolutelly no reason to have WHS around, there seems to be a lot of people who do. One of those, a relative, called me the other day because his box was so slow that was almost unresponsive.

I tracked down the problem to a faulty HDD, so I told him to go buy a new one and we would set up the machine from the beginning. Although my instructions were clear, instead of buying a SATA disk, he went ahead and bought a 120 GB SSD, because and I quote “They are faster”.

At this point I have a confession to make. I never intended to make a fresh install. I was hoping I could clone the old disk (it was not completely bust) onto the new one and save me from a lot of work. I have used this tactic before, but only from smaller to larger disks. I knew there were ways to clone on a smaller disk, so I thought to give it a go.

After I had successfully cloned the old disk on the SSD, I put it back on the server, and – as you might have expected – it refused to boot. The message I was seeing was something about a device that was not found and it prompted me to repair the installation from the Windows CD. I was never able to do that mind you. The reason?

For some reason, Microsoft has decided that you need at least 160GB in order to installl WHS.

That’s right. For a 10-12 GB installation, your HDD needs to be at least 160 GB. Well done Microsoft! As you probably guessed, there are a lot of people with the same problem and thankfully there is a solution.

Windows Home Server (as other versions of Windows) can be installed unattended with the use of a special text file called answer file. Sean Daniel has written an excellent post on how to do that and I can testify that following his post, I was able to install WHS on a smaller disk.

Although Sean is talking about a specific piece of hardware, I assure you this method works perfectly. Make sure that the drive you want to install to is formatted!

05
Mar
12

Windows 8 CP: Activation and DotNet 3.5

Image

When Windows 8 Developer Preview came out, I downloaded and installed them on a spare PC to check them out. Appart from getting a genral feel of the new Metro UI and fooling around, there was not much else to do, so I quickly set that PC aside and went back to my everyday life.

A few days ago though, Consuper Preview came out. Big news, right? So naturally, I downloaded the iso from here, brought back that spare PC and installed. I was expecting to see some changes and changes I did see.

First of all, it looks more like an operating system compared to DP (oh come on, I can’t be the only one who smiled right now) which looked like a demo of an OS. Web Store is now functional, with a good deal of apps to try out, but most importantly you now have solitaire available! That’s right. You don’t have proper Windows, unless you can play a game of solitaire.

I do not plan to go into much detail about Windows 8 themselves. Over the last few days, there has been a ton of reviews, presentations and posts about them, so whatever it might have been that I wanted to say, it has probably already been said. However, one thing that stuck into my mind the first time (with Developer Preview) and did not change, was that Windows 8 would be great for a tablet, or something with a touch screen in general, but I don’t think I could get used to this style of working on a daily basis. 

Anyway, I have a couple of tips for you, hoping to save you some time and frustration.

1) Install Microsoft Dot Net 3.5 (or 2.0)

One of the first things I had to do, was to install Mouse Without Borders, a nice little program straight out of the Microsoft Garage, that allows you to control many PCs with the same keyboard/mouse. Unfortunatelly, MWB requires DotNet 2.0, while Windows 8 come with version 4.0. For some reason, unknown to me and although there was nothing wrong with my internet connection, I could not seem to be able to download DotNet. Searching for a solution, I came across this post. What worked, was not the procedure describesd in the post, but what a comenter suggested. Open an elevated command prompt and type:

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx3 /all /source:YourWindowsCDPath\sources\sxs. HTH

You are good to go.

2) Activate Windows

Make sure your date and time are set correctly, otherwise you will never activate your copy. Simple, but I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what was going on, before I thought of checking the time.

 




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