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Introduction to Windows Home Server “Vail” SDK

May 7th, 2010 No comments

Hi everyone! My name is Dileep and I am a Development lead with Windows Home Server team. It has been more than a week since we released the beta builds of the next version of Windows Home Server “Vail”, and we are very encouraged by the download and the feedback pouring in through connect. Thank you for everyone who is participating in the beta program! Alongside that, we thought this is the right time to start discussing some of the features of Vail and its extensibility with the community to get the excitement started for building great, cool and useful add-ins for the next version of Windows Home Server. The SDK is also available to download from Connect and if you already tried it out, you might have noticed that the extensibility options for Vail are pretty broad in comparison with first version of Windows Home Server. There are many ways one can extend Vail – by extending Dashboard (old Admin Console), Launchpad or by building a Provider. You can even build an addin which has both server and client components to it.  Vail SDK contains information about all these plus APIs for many other core features like Alerts framework, Storage (Server Folders & Hard Drives), Computers & Backup, Identity, Remote Access, Media Streaming and much more! The SDK also contains detailed documentation as to how you can build, package and deploy your add-ins to Vail Server and clients. All-in-all, you can see that we’ve tried to put up a much broader and more powerful SDK in place compared to the previous version.


There is a lot of information to digest in Vail and SDK in particular. Hence we are taking this opportunity to do a series of blog posts to talk about the various extensibility points of Vail in a much higher level than the actual SDK documentation. The idea is to give developers an overview of the capabilities of Vail SDK along with providing guidance as to how to go about building addins the right way so that the user experience or performance is not compromised. In the first of such posts, I am discussing the Vail ‘Dashboard’ and its extensibility vis-à-vis Home Server v1 here.


The Administration console in Home Server v1 has been renamed to ‘Dashboard’ to better reflect the information it provides. Just like the Admin console in v1, Dasbhboard still is the main user interface for administrative or management type of tasks on the Server. Dashboard is where you would go to monitor the health of the network, create user accounts, view backups, add shared folders, increase storage capacity, enable or disable media streaming etc. Dashboard is still not the place to put any day-to-day non-administrative tasks. I have posted a document on connect website (link is given below) which talks about the differences in the Dashboard UI compared to Home Server v1 Admin Console. In the document I talk about the new Dashboard layout, the new UI elements introduced, the three different kinds of tabs that one can build as well as plugging into the existing Microsoft tabs and wizards. I also cover the extensibility aspects of Home Server v1 Admin console which are no longer available in Vail.


You can download the complete document here.


(You will have to sign in to Microsoft Connect site.)


I hope I was able to give an adequate overview of the changes and new features in Windows Home Server ‘Vail’ Dashboard in the document, especially when compared to v1. Please remember that this document is meant as a high level overview of the extensibility points, and the low-level details of all of those extensibility APIs, documentation, samples and templates are available in the Vail SDK. We would love to hear your comments and feedback. Moreover we would love to get all of you started on writing cool addins for Vail. Please use Vail SDK Forum for discussing seeking assistance for the SDK. In subsequent posts, we’ll cover other topics such as Launchpad, building Providers, addin deployment, various object models etc. Happy coding!


Download Dashboard overview document


Download “Vail” SDK

Discuss about “Vail” SDK

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 – PP3 Beta Update

September 29th, 2009 No comments

Hey everyone,


 As some of you know, we have started blogging over on the Windows Team Blog back at the beginning of September with a new blog called the Windows Home Server Blog. So, if you haven’t already added this blog to your feed, please do. For the moment we are planning on blogging from both our TechNet Blog as well as our new blog. As part of our efforts to reach out to a larger audience and our strong alignment with Windows we felt that it was important that we start communicating our message from the Windows Team Blog. In the near future, we may make a complete move from our TechNet location to the Windows Team Blog. Stay tuned…


So, back to Power Pack 3. We wanted to update everyone on where we are with the beta of PP3 and talk about the steps we are taking in this beta to inusre a smooth transition in supporting our newest OS, Windows 7. to read more, please go check out this article: Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 update.


 Thanks again to all of our beta testers who are really running our PP3 beta and giving us some very valuable feedback. This is shaping up to be an amazing release for Windows Home Server.


Kevin Beares
Community Lead – WSSG

Windows Home Server – Windows 7 Release Candidate testers asked to revert to Windows Vista prior to upgrade

May 6th, 2009 No comments

Yesterday marked the availability of the Windows 7 Release Candidate.  On the Engineering Windows 7 Blog and Windows 7 Team Blog there were recent posts regarding this milestone.


“We want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta.  We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on.”


In a prior post on the Windows Home Server Team Blog, Windows 7 and Windows Home Server, we recommended, “…before you update a PC to Windows 7, you should install the Connector software and backup your machine to your home server, so you have an image-based backup that you can return to for testing the upgrade scenario with future builds of Windows 7.”


The restore task is as simple as dropping the Home Computer Restore CD in the computer and walking through the wizard.  For detailed instructions, see the Restore home computer step by step.


Win7 backup


For Windows 7 testers (and anyone else who is interested), we have made it even easier for users to try Windows Home Server!  An evaluation version is available for download, as well as a kit that can be ordered for the cost of shipping and handling at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/eval.mspx.  Windows Home Server is also available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.


[Editors Note:  Since the original post, I came across a terrific example by Keith Elder titled, “Ready to Run Windows 7 RC? Upgrade Advisor and Home Server Help”  Check it out!]


– Steven

Running the Windows Home Server Console on a MAC

April 30th, 2009 No comments

One of the developers on the Windows Home Server team, Gautam, was goofing around on a Mac during his off hours and put together this awesome set of instructions and screenshots for running the Windows Home Server Console on a Mac. 

This article describes how to configure your Mac to be able to get the Home Server Console on it. You will need to Download and Install Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac.

If you already have it installed, you can skip to Configure it to Connect to your Windows Home Server Console

Download and Install Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac

1. On your Mac, go to the Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac website [microsoft.com].

2. Click on Download Remote Desktop Connection Client 2.

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3. On the bottom right side of the page, in the Details section, scroll all the way down.

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4. Click on your preferred language to start the download.

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5. Once the file downloads, the Remote Desktop Connection Wizard should open up. Step through the wizard.

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6. Eject the Remote Desktop Connection by right clicking on the icon on your desktop.

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7. Great! Now you are ready to configure the Remote Desktop Connection Client to connect to your Home Server.

Configure the Remote Desktop Connection Client 2 for Mac to connect to the Windows Home Server Console

1. Open Finder. Click Applications in left menu. Click Remote Desktop Connection.

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2. Type in the name of your Home Server.

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3. In the File menu, click on Save As. Save your file. It’s easiest to save it on the Desktop.

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4. Go back to the File menu and click on Edit Connection. Select the file you saved in the last step.

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5. In the Login tab type –

a. User name: Administrator

b. Password: Your home server password.

c. Domain: Name of your home server.

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6. In the Display tab, change the Colors to Millions.

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7. In the Applications tab, make sure Start only the following Windows-based application when you log in to the remote computer is checked and type the following for Application path and file name: C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\HomeServerConsole.exe /b

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8. In the Security tab, select Always connect, even if authentication fails.

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9. In the File menu, click on Save.

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10. Now, right click on your recently saved file, click Open With, click Other…, scroll down and select TextEdit. Click on Open.

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11. Change the number below DesktopHeight to 675 and number below DesktopWidth to 992.

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12. Save the file and close it.

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13. Now, click on the file you just saved to connect to the home server!
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14. If you are unable to connect try connecting using your IP address of the home server.
To find your home server’s IP address, log on to the console from another computer. Go to Settings, Remote Access, Router Details

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Open the file like in the above step and change the connection string to the IP address. For most of you it should be something like 192.XXX.X.XXX

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Windows Home Server MVPs – April 2009

The Windows Home Server team is excited to have 2 new MVPs added to our MVP family.  Please join me in welcoming our latest additions:



I look forward to their continued contributions to the Windows Home Server Community.


-Jonas

Windows Home Server Website Updated

March 25th, 2009 No comments

Possibly lost among the frenzy of the Power Pack 2 release, and the addition of Windows Home Server software to MSDN, was the update today of our very own product website. While clearly not a complete overhaul, we think it’s improved in a couple of key ways:

  • A simpler and more contemporary layout
  • Snappy scrolling graphics that feature direct links to popular pages on the site
  • Redesigned links to Free Eval and Demo pages
  • Added a few more Windows Home Server add-ins to our growing ‘featured list’ page. (Be sure to let us know if you want yours added too 😉

We encourage you to come check it out and let us know what you think. 

Here’s a quick link right to our top page:  www.microsoft.com/windowshomeserver, as well as a snapshot of what it now looks like. 

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Enjoy!

MP

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