Troubleshoot Connection Issues with WHS

If you’re experiencing slow connections or none at all to your Windows Home Server, a good way to help diagnose issues is with the Windows Home Server Toolkit. Today we take a look at the toolkit and see how it can help you get your connections back.

Windows Home Server Toolkit Install

The WHS Toolkit is an easy to use utility that will help you find out what is going wrong if computers aren’t connecting to your home server. Simply download and install the toolkit on any of the machines on your network that aren’t connecting properly.

 

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For this example we installed the toolkit on a Windows 7 machine and after installation you’ll see it listed in the Start menu. The first thing we need to do is publish the add-in over to the Home Server.

 

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After it’s copied over you’ll receive the following message stating that it needs to be installed on the Home Server.

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Open up the Home Server Console and click on Add-ins then the Available tab on the right then Install.

 

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You’ll receive a message indicating the installation was successful and that WHS Console will close.

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WHS Console closes and you’ll see an error that connectivity has been lost… that is normal just click Ok.

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Using Connector Troubleshooter

Now you can use the toolkit to help troubleshoot network issues. Go to Start \ All Programs \ Windows Home Server Toolkit then launch the Connector Troubleshooter.

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The troubleshooter gathers data and tries to help diagnose connection problems. It doesn’t make changes to any settings on your computer, but does help detect issues and find solutions.

 

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After it’s complete you’ll get a report that opens in your browser and points out any issues it found. It might point you to a driver or software that needs to be installed, a Knowledgebase article, Windows Updates…etc.

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There might be times when you’re asked to send these logs to tech support, copy the logs to the server, or control other options. You can do so from the WHS Console under Home server support tools.

 

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For example here we copied over the log files to the server.

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Advanced mode

While the method above is easy and should help most people who need it, you can also run it in Advanced Mode. This allows you to see the tests that the troubleshooter performs and can give you a better idea of any potential problems. To run it in Advanced Mode go to Start \ Run type cmd into the search box and hit Enter.

 

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Now in the Command Prompt type in the following…

cd /d “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Home Server\Toolkit”

Then at the next prompt type in…

ConnectorTroubleshooter.exe – a

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The troubleshooter opens in Advanced Mode…click Run All Tests, enter in the server password, then get detailed information on each test that’s been performed.

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This can be used to help solve connection problems and for sending error reports to tech support. You’ll need to install the toolkit on each machine that you’re tying to troubleshoot and it runs on XP SP2 and higher. If you’re having problems connecting to your home server, this toolkit can come in very handy for beginners and advanced user alike.

Download Windows Home Server Toolkit 1.1 32-bit

Download Windows Home Server Toolkit 1.1 64-bit

Configure your PC to backup to WHS

One of the cool features of Windows Home Server is being able to set backups of the other computers on your network to the server. Today we take a look at the process of configuring a computer on your network to be backed up automatically to WHS.

Backup to WHS

To backup a computer your network, open the Windows Home Server Console and select Computers & Backup. Right-click the computer to backup and select Configure Backup.

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The Backup Configuration Wizard kicks off…

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Wait while the Configuration Wizard collects information…

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Choose the disks you want to backup…notice you can also choose external drives if you wish to back them up. Note that the disk needs to be formatted as NTFS, if it’s not then it won’t be displayed in the list.

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Now choose the folders you want to exclude from the backup. The grayed out locations are automatically excluded but you may want to remove them from the exclude list. If you want to exclude other folders click on the Add button.

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Now go through and select the folders to exclude from the backup. To reduce the size of your backups, you might exclude large media files and unimportant documents, pictures…etc. Make sure you don’t exclude your most important documents, pictures, and other data.

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After you’re done excluding folders from the backup, click Next to continue.

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Then you’ll have the Congratulations screen showing a summary of the backup size, the time of day backups will occur, and the backup frequency which is daily.

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After the backup process completes you’ll be able to see if a computer has been backed up or not in WHS Console.

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If you want to change the time of day backups occur, click on Settings in WHS Console then Backup. Under Backup Time you can change the start and end time to what fits your schedule.

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To view a backup just right-click on the computer and select View Backups.

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It opens the View Backups window where you can verify and manage your computer’s backups.

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Conclusion

This will get you started with backups and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your computer’s data is being backed up to the server. The process is relatively simple and the main thing is to make sure the backups aren’t needlessly large with unnecessary files (such as large multimedia files). There’s a lot more administration you can do with backups, and we’ll be taking a detailed look at managing them in future posts…so stay tuned. Remember that you can download a free 30 day trial of Windows Home Server, so if you have an extra machine you can dedicate to being a server, you might want to check it out.

Download the 30 Day Trial of Windows Home Server