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Home Server Project 2010 – The Beginning

windows-logoWhat to do with old computer hardware? Give it to a sibling? Sell it? What about creating a home server? That sounds like the most interesting option which was why I decided to explore the possibilities of a home server.

I already have an HP MediaVault 2020 as a NAS. It does its job serving files and streaming media, but what if I wanted something a bit more robust or maybe just another NAS? That’s what I am exploring.

Stripping Down The Hardware

The first step was to strip out the extraneous hardwareI had installed into my Shuttle ST20G5. A NAS or home server has no need for a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT video card or Creative Audigy 2 sound card. I even took out the floppy and optical drives since I wanted to install via USB storage.

Next, I dove into the BIOS menu and disabled the onboard sound and any other controller I wasn’t going to use.

The Windows Home Server V2 “Vail” Beta

The first operating system I looked into was Windows Home Server. I wanted to try this OS because we’re primarily a Microsoft environment here. I was looking to see how to obtain the WHS and stumbled across the WHS V2 “Vail” beta. I downloaded the 4 GB image and tried to install it on the ST20G5, but no matter what I did, the hard drive would not appear.

I tried the exact same version of the drivers I used to install Windows 7 x64 on the machine, but it did not work. I posted on the WHS Community Server for an explanation.

The Windows Home Server V1 Evaluation

Since WHS V2 beta wasn’t going to play nice, I decided to give WHS V1 a shot. I downloaded the 850MB image and was able to install it without a fuss. I’d post some impressions about it, but it’s still installing.

What about Linux?

I thought about using Linux based Amahi or FreeNAS, but I didn’t want to get into potential driver related issues. I just wanted to try something that worked out of the box. I’m not ruling those out completely, but it’s not something I have the time for right now.

Stay tuned for more on this little side project.

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