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My Perfect Home Server

Dec 5, 2011 9:40 AM, by Eric B. Rux

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I use an older computer for my Windows Home Server 2011, but have never liked the performance (or lack thereof). This month, I’ll share how I created my perfect Windows Home Server.

Start off by reading last month’s article and get an HP StorageWorks X310 Home Server. It’s still available as of this writing for just $349. I already had the big brother to this server, the X510, so that’s what I used.

I followed Alex's instructions and found them to be extremely well written. They explained everything that I needed to know. The only problem that I had was actually self-induced; I put the hard drive in the top slot instead of the bottom slot. Alex makes this crystal clear – but I missed that little tidbit. Home Server will install if the drive is in the top slot, but it will not boot to this drive.

It is important to mention that you can only use the USB drive for one installation. This is because the setup routine adds a line to the cfg.ini called “Processed=true” that essentially makes the setup routine ignore the cfg.ini file. If you want to use the USB drive for another installation, simply remove the “Processed=true” entry in the file.

Probably the most important thing to remember when installing Windows Home Server 2011 on a computer without a monitor is patience. The process can take some time, and it’s easy to want to “fiddle” with it. Just leave the server alone and let it finish (easier said that done).

Once WHS 2011 was installed, connect to the server via a web browser (http://HomeServer/connect) to finish the installation. Next, you need to update a driver: SiI 3531 64-bit Windows SATARAID5

Log into your server using Remote Desktop. Open Server Manager, expand Diagnostics, and click on Device Manager. The driver can be found here.

One thing that you’ll notice right away is that the blue lights on the front of the HP servers do not work with WHS 2011. I did some digging, and found an article on the We Got Served website. You’ll also need to update the AHCI driver. Search for "Intel RST." The name of the file was: iata_enu_10.8.0.1003.exe as of this writing. Note that this may change slightly over time as the driver is updated.

Before the driver updates, the blue drive lights were totally dark. Afterwards, the first drive light lit up. The three remaining drives are blinking at the moment – I’m not sure why, but I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

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