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Connecting a PC to Windows Home Server 2011 in 10 easy steps

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For those of you who’ve downloaded the Release Candidate for the new Windows Home Server 2011 (formally known as “Home Server Vail”), we’ve decided to put up some short & sweet instructions on how to connect a home computer to a Windows Home Server.

windows home serverIf you just happened to stumble on this site and have no idea what a Windows Home Server (WHS) is, let me briefly explain:  First of all, don’t let the “Server” in the name scare you into thinking this is something that only your family tech guy can put together.  No, Windows Home Server has evolved into a simple to use, yet powerful solution for your Home Entertainment needs and even reaching out into the rest of the Connected Home.  Not only acting as a central storage location for all of your media (movies, music, video, photos, and even your documents), the Windows media server will stream that content to any computer in the home as well as giving you the ability to access and stream remotely to a tablet or smartphone (or any computer actually).  Beyond that, WHS 2011 will also automatically back up every computer in your home so that you have the peace of mind that your data is always protected.  Needless to say, Windows Home Server is a solid product and I believe that WHS still stands as a central feature in the Connected Home of the future!

If you haven’t tried it yet, you certainly should and you can even evaluate the software without buying any new hardware by following this tutorial on How to build a WHS 2011 in a virtual environment. Go check it out and catch up!

Now…for the rest of you:

1.  Open up a web browser on the computer you want to connect to your Windows Home Server 2011 and go to this address:  http://yourservername/connect

2.  Once there, click on “Download software for (Your OS)”

windows media connect

3. Save the file when prompted and then launch it.

home server vail

Wait for it…wait for it…

home system integration

4.  Click Next

windows media server

5.  And Next again

windows server 2008

6.  Enter the password you used in the installation of your WHS 2011.

whs

7.  Enter a description

mediasmart server

8.  Decide whether you want your server to wake each computer on your LAN (Local Area Network) when it’s time to back them up.  (I would select yes, they can go back to sleep!)  ;)

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9.  Decide if you would like to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program.  I do for Beta software so that any feedback can be used to fix issues.

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Wait for it…

10. and then click Finish

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Voila!  Your computer is now officially connected to your Windows Home Server!  Now you will be able to stream from your home media server to your PC from within Windows Media Center or any other DLNA supporting device!

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Go ahead and sign in with your WHS password created when you built the server and you’ll be taken directly to the Dashboard where our steps in configuring your new Windows Home Server 2011 will continue in a future article:

Home Entertainment

Take some time and get to know the layout, this is YOUR Microsoft Home Server and the better you know the lay of the land..the easier this will all be.

If you happen to be new at all of this, don’t stress about it!  This stuff is not difficult and Microsoft has done well at creating a product that the average consumer will be able to work with.  Just like with any new piece of hardware or software, there is a learning curve, but I can say that this learning curve will be definitely worth it when you have the Home Entertainment set up of your dreams!

Please do not hesitate to leave a comment if you’ve got questions about any of this.  We will help you through it!

Tom

About the Author

Tom AbellPut simply, Tom loves technology! Having been involved in the IT world since leaving the US Navy Submarine Force in 1992, Tom has moved his way up to the top as an IT Systems Engineering. But having spent some time in the Home Automation industry early in his career, he’s never been able to shake his love for creating integrated Home Technology environments and has been running HTPCs and Windows Home Servers for years. With 17 years of IT Systems Engineering experience, Tom's recent OIF 08-09 deployment has rekindled his love for the Connected Home Industry and hence, the website. We hope you like the site, please share it with your friends and follow us on your favorite Social Networks! Read more about Tom on the "About Us" page.View all posts by Tom Abell

  1. Tripp
    Tripp03-26-2011

    What about extenders? would they get media from the server, or the Win7 wmc machine that it connects too? If the extenders have to go through the win7 machine, can the files still be on the server, so that the files are on the server's raid setup, the Win7 machines can get them from the server, and extenders get them from the server via the win7? Does that all sound right?

  2. TraceyM
    TraceyM07-11-2011

    Hi Tom-
    A bit off subject….I can resolve my WHS 2011 box via ip address but not via the server name, any ideas. I don't want to add a host entry. My home router is my central point for DHCP, DNS, etc. Machines are Win7 on home network…..

  3. Tom Abell
    Tom Abell07-21-2011

    Hey Tracey, forgive the delay, somehow this question was missed! Anyways, have you checked on your router to see if your WHS 2011 is listed in the DNS entries on it? You may also want to just put the router IP address in the WINS section of the IP4 properties for the NIC on the Windows Home Server, just in case your router is also running WINS. This will force it to register. Let me know if this helps! Sorry again for the delay, Tom

  4. João Rodrigues
    João Rodrigues01-19-2012

    Boa noite, Instalei o WHS 2011 e tentei instalar o connector mas o computador não reconhece o link :s
    Diz que não consegui estabelecer ligação.

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Setup & Integration of Home Technology: Home Theater - Home Server - HTPC - Home Networks