This entry consists of two parts.  You can read Part Two here – The Windows Home Server Box Upgrade.

I know I write and talk a lot about the Windows Home Server (WHS) software from Microsoft. What can I say it works well and fills a need that most homes with multiple PC’s need – a good backup plan.  Believe me I have been there with hard drive failures. That is not the time to discover that you have no backup plan – ask my wife :-)

So since the release of WHS to the public I have been running a WHS in my home that was configured like this:

  • AMD Sempron 1.6GHZ Processor
  • 2GB Memory
  • 160GB Internal Hard Drive
  • 1GB Ethernet LAN Card
  • CD/DVD Writer Disc Drive
  • 3 External USB Hard Drives of various sizes

WHS is a headless box so no monitor, keyboard or mouse is necessary once the OS is installed. You can get fancy with a script I believe to do an unattended installation but I just grab a spare monitor, keyboard and mouse to do an installation.  I have only had to do that once since I installed WHS initially and that was for the initial install of WHS couple of years ago.

The specs above make for a great WHS.  You do not need a lot of speed for the system to carry out its primary duties of backing up your PC’s and storing files in a central location.

However, being the tweaker I am I saw an opportunity thanks to Woot a few days ago when they advertised a refurbished Acer Aspire M1201 to upgrade my WHS machine. For the price I guess I could have put one together for less but I am a fan of getting things now and ready to go.

This new WHS box has the following specs:

  • Athlon X2 2.6GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 3GB DDR2 800
  • 320GB Internal Hard Drive
  • 16x DVD+/-RW/-RAM Dual Layer Drive
  • 5.25” External Available Bay
  • 14-in-1 SMC/xD, SD/MMC, CF I/II/MD, MS/MS Pro Card Reader
  • 9 USB Ports(4 on the back; 4 on top; 1 on the front)

So thank to the great shipping from Woot – $5 and got it in 3 days – I had the new box and was ready to go for the hardware upgrade.