Let your Mac talk to WHS

OK you have all your PC files backed up to Windows Home Server, but you have your poor Mac sitting in the corner patiently waiting to talk with WHS, which off course is not supported. Using the tutorial from the Multimedia-PCs website it is now possible to have your Mac backing up to your Home Server even though the connector software is for Windows PC’s only. Installing a piece of software known as iTimeMachine on your Mac and following the Multimedia-PCs tutorial produces a possible solution.

Read it here.

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  1. As I’ve posted multiple times before on this blog, the process of hacking in support for Time Machine is a very bad idea.

    Time Machine does not fully work with Windows Home Server. Do not, under any circumstances, use Windows Home Server as your primary Time Machine backup store.

    You can force Time Machine to let you backup to Windows Home Server, but that doesn’t mean you can force it to recover a corrupted backup.

  2. I Agree says:

    Why would anyone want to force a square peg to fit into a circle?

    Microsoft cannot even get it’s own WHS product working for sure, and for an application that’s NOT supported, forcing it isn’t helping here.

    You see, WHS is for Windows Only unlike open source code solutions and even some third party solutions.

    And nobody needs some huge power hungry appliance device just to mirror their backup files and data. Especially, when there is a proven design flaw that leads to data corruption in WHS. See KB 946676

  3. Ryan says:

    Microsoft is just trying to sell WHS but suggesting Mac PC’s become early adapters of it’s already buggy home server product as Mac testers now. $$$

    I’m sure the Mac people will NOT fall for this one. Their not the same as well… you know… those other types.

  4. Drashna says:

    Like Apple isn’t guilty of the same thing. If I remember correctly, time machine only does full backups every time, not incremental, nor secter backups. That means you are going to use up much more space. And from what I have read, there has been a huge number of problems with Leopard (or more commonly known as Leoptard). Including BSODs. I honestly thing using WHS to back up with Time Machine is a great idea, despite the fact that I hate all things Apple. At least I’m willing to keep an open mind.

    And as for open source? Well it took the *RELEASE* of windows home server, not just the announcement of its development for the Linux community to even start on something similar, and they still haven’t even come close.

    As for not supported scenarios, Booting Windows on a Mac wasn’t supported until Apple realized that people were going to do it regardless.

    Please, try to keep an open mind. And flame only on apple/FOSS sites.

  5. Luddy says:

    Anyone making a statement such as, “the fact that I hate all things Apple” speaks for itself.

    For someone who’s against all things Apple, it’s interesting to note, how so many of the improvements introduced by Apple ended up in WinBlows.

    But, being how you’re in Love’ with all things Microsoft, why didn’t Microsoft provide support in WHS to do just what you suggested?

    Does that mean, you’re wanting something more than what Microsoft has to offer?

  6. 6 Tigers says:

    Microsoft built WHS with a proven design flaw, that leads to data corruption. See KB 946676 posted by Microsoft.

    As for your opinion suggesting that WHS put NAS in the market, your years behind the scene.

    In fact, there are more Linux NAS offered, especially to the home user and enterprises long before WHS came along with better performance and efficiency.

    Here’s a short list of the many open source software solutions. Which happen to offer more innovation, support and features supported on more platforms across the industry.

    Qnap TS-209 Pro
    Synology DS-207+
    Excito Bubba Miniserver
    ClarkConnect Server and Gateway
    Ubuntu Server Edition 7.10

    NetApp FAS3000 scales to more than 500 terabytes of raw storage capacity. Try doing that with WHS!

    Take a Look at Brian Pawlowski’s CTO Blog:

    It’s obvious, open source projects like Linux are actively solving more customers problems than Microsoft. What else matters?

    That’s one of the biggest reasons why so many individuals and businesses don’t pick Microsoft, because Microsoft isn’t providing reasonable support to it’s customers.

    Take for example, WHS. Does it make WHS customers happy to be told by Microsoft, wait until June 2008 to finally get their crippled “home” server fixed in respect to KB 946676! Especially, for those who had purchased WHS last year in November of 2007!

    Which Microsoft is continuing to sell WHS despite knowing this, too! :(

  7. David says:

    Here are a few of the many NAS manufactures:

    Agami Systems
    Apple Inc
    Broadberry Data Systems
    MPC Computers
    Pillar Data Systems
    Sun Microsystems
    U.S. Robotics
    Western Digital
    Vantec Thermal Technologies

    And YES, Microsoft isn’t even one of these manufactures in the whole entire NAS industry. Not that this is important by itself, but in how it speaks to the point of how Microsoft’s Windows Home Server was conceived for the purpose of enriching it’s own profits by entering a new market niche.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft hadn’t done it’s homework, by failing to properly market WHS, and for failing to test their own software when using WHS.

    The fact that Windows is support now on Mac, isn’t it time that Windows returns the favor and supports Mac now?

  8. Aaron says:

    Huh? Who are you guys even responding to? Who said WHS put NAS in the market?

    Drashna is 100% correct. There is not a single OSS solution that can do what WHS does, not FreeNAS, not Amahi, not Ubuntu, none. Prove me wrong and show me an OSS solution that can do the following:
    1. Completely and automatically restore a crashed Windows machine over the network to any backup point.
    2. Provide nightly automatic incremental backups saving space by not duplicating files across client computers.
    3. Wake client computers from standby.

  9. Ed Whitacre says:

    Do not use applications to directly edit or change files that are stored on the Windows Home Server-based computer. -Microsoft KB 946676

    So don’t use files directly on the Home Server. Wonderful way to use a file server, wouldn’t you say?

    So why RISK using Time Machine with WHS for your Mac backup then?

  10. Ivan Seidenberg says:

    Aaron is like some obsessed drug addict totally stuck on Microsoft WHS. The only thing whatever OSS solution doesn’t do like WHS is for the FACT, that WHS comes with a serious data corruption glitch in the software (KB 946676).

    In addition, WHS is a headless operating system, which means you still must connect to WHS using a networked PC client if your going to “pick” a backup point to restore. Duh…

    But WHS doesn’t even backup it’s own operating system, which any user knows your at risk form both software and hardware failures of this WHS appliance device for it.

    And who wants just anyone with access to WHS to restore any PC client? It’s obvious that the WHS unit isn’t going to know if the right person is giving the orders to rewrite over someone’s PC hard drive with the wrong backup image!

    It makes far more sense, to keep your backup files separated under lock and key, than all in one place like WHS. If you are willing to trust WHS, you are exposing your PC clients to a huge data security risk for doing so.

    Microsoft isn’t a security business, all there products had demonstrated the need for critical security patches over the many years. WHS is no better, and it’s NOT immune, but unlike your PC clients, WHS will be left turned on all the time, and connected to the Internet, which elevates the risk of being compromised by hackers.

    But wait, Aaron states WHS wakes PC clients from standby, but what he didn’t tell you, was for the FACT WHS doesn’t support “Wake-to-Lan” which means you cannot bootup your PC clients using WHS!

    This feature is supported in open source code solutions. So how can WHS be completely automatic when it cannot even boot up the PC clients? Not to mention WHS has NO printer server solution by default too.

    WHS also isn’t “energy efficient”, costing more money to run and operate then say a Linux NAS server.

    It’s just more propaganda by yet another Microsoft fanboi trying to influence individuals with persuasive or rather pathetic rhetoric by praising how great WHS is or does something, when it fact it’s NOT at all delivering, just like YET another Microsoft product called Windows Vista.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft fanboi’s who have dedicated their careers to becoming expert in Microsoft’s products, there just too much utterly devoted in their obsessions to consider the larger whole picture that Microsoft isn’t everything, it’s just part of the community.

    It’s also a sad speech when your CEO (Steve Ballmer) labels Vista “A Work In Progress”. As Ballmer just confirmed for the rest of the world how Vista isn’t done, it’s NOT finished and or actually ready for the public and enterprise markets.

    Where was the Vista hardware driver support? And nobody wants DRM in Vista anyhow, except the MPAA and RIAA content distribution monopolies.

    Then again, why would anyone want to praise WHS with a proven known design flaw (KB 946676) that leads and causes data corruption on the server? Especially, when this hasn’t been fixed and isn’t expected to be patched, replaced or whatever until at least June 2008, if even then…

    It’s sort like cutting off one’s head, running around like a chicken.

    Home users can use the lower cost method of using Acronis True Image Echo Workstation that does network backups and restores, and it doesn’t need a SERVER to restore your PC client. It also restores on different hardware, which WHS doesn’t do.

    However, real actual customers often purchase a newer PC and shouldn’t be forced into starting over again. The pathetic method Microsoft sells is a lame attempt to migrate just some of your data and applications over.

    Acronis unlike WHS, restores everything including all your personal settings, even your applications and their settings, and all your personal data. The only think Acronis doesn’t do, is provide you with the new hardware drivers for that new PC.

    And by the way, NetApp has some of the best NAS products on the market, just like HDS (Hitachi Data Systems).

  11. Aaron says:


    Fantastic, a novel of a response, filled with 100% complete misinformation.

    Let’s take a look:
    “The only thing whatever OSS solution doesn’t do like WHS is for the FACT, that WHS comes with a serious data corruption glitch in the software (KB 946676).”

    Oh? That’s the only thing? I’m still waiting for you to actually name one of these OSS applications that does the three things that I listed above. Can you actually list just a single one? Please?

    “In addition, WHS is a headless operating system, which means you still must connect to WHS using a networked PC client if your going to “pick” a backup point to restore. Duh…”

    Um, yeah, it’s headless. You boot the client from the restore CD, you select a backup point, and it does the rest for you. What is your point?

    “And who wants just anyone with access to WHS to restore any PC client? It’s obvious that the WHS unit isn’t going to know if the right person is giving the orders to rewrite over someone’s PC hard drive with the wrong backup image!”

    Uhhhh, you do realize that the whole scenario requires that someone is booting the client PC from CD, right? So if they’re not restoring from WHS they could, for example, boot one of many OSS boot disks and blow everything away. How is this any different? Please, think before you write.

    “But wait, Aaron states WHS wakes PC clients from standby, but what he didn’t tell you, was for the FACT WHS doesn’t support “Wake-to-Lan” which means you cannot bootup your PC clients using WHS!”

    Frankly, I’m glad that it doesn’t rely on WOL given that most desktop PC’s don’t even support it.

    I’m not even going to respond to your three paragraphs on Vista, as you’re clearly scraping.

    “Acronis unlike WHS, restores everything including all your personal settings, even your applications and their settings, and all your personal data.”

    Unlike WHS? Um, which of those isn’t backed up by WHS? Seriously, do you have any idea what you’re talking about?

    Anyway, nice try with the FUD.


  12. Jon says:

    This is how I’d have to restore a backup if I used a linux application to a clean hard drive…

    – Install Windows XP ~ 45 minutes
    – Setup Networking and connect to a Samba Share
    – Run the restore from the share containing the backup files, copying files over the network.

    Three manual steps.

    With WHS, stick in the Restore CD, boot, about roughly the same time as a fresh NT boot, type in WHS password (you know for security), indicate the computer backup you want to restore from, and click okay… then come back in a suitable amount of time, reboot and enjoy… One step, better use of my time.

    This is funny: “WHS also isn’t “energy efficient”, costing more money to run and operate then say a Linux NAS server.”

    Equipment is equipment, a NAS runs hard drives, and the energy efficiency is really about the same. If you’re talking full blown hardware. A small dedicated NAS will run more efficient, but a WHS can be built to be souper efficient too. That has NOTHING to do with the OS.

  13. Aaron says:

    Speaking of energy efficient, my WHS is home-built and runs with a Mobile Sempron which relies on on scaling to keep power consumption low. Before deciding on WHS I evaluated a few OSS solutions. The most frustrating part was that it took several hours to get any kind of CPU scaling functional in Linux, requiring hacks and workarounds. It seems Cool-n-Quiet just doesn’t work well on newer kernel versions. It was a complete frustration.

    Meanwhile, WHS is running nice and cool (and silent) at 29 watts idle, measured from the wall. I’m curious what Ivan’s definition of “energy efficient” is.

  14. Howard says:

    MicroServer HP only consumes 12.5 Watts with solid state drive and 15 Watts with hard disk using Linux.

    Compare that with HP MediaSmart Server EX475 using WHS, which consumes about Watts: 46.5 min, 52.2 nom, 80.2 max

  15. Mac Is Better says:

    The fact that Windows is support now on Mac, isn’t it time that Windows returns the favor and supports Mac now?

  16. Joe Nacchio says:

    I been using a Linux product called MicroClient Sr. It draws an extremely low power consumption of about (1 watt) VIA ULV 500 Mhz CPU.

  17. Joe Nacchio says:

    Here are some of the other features in this Linux solution:

    Fanless Design
    Onboard DDR 512 MB
    Realtek 8100B 10/100 Base-T
    Built-in ROM function, support PXE boot and Wake on LAN
    VESA mount
    VIA CX700M
    MPEG4/WMV9 decoding accelerator, up to 1920 x 1440
    Integrated MPEG2 Hardware decoding
    3 x USB 2.0
    Mic in, speaker out jacks
    Up to 2 x RS232
    1 x PS/2 port
    2.5 Hard Disk Installation option
    WIFI option

    Not to mention it’s only 115 x 115 x 35 mm, 505g, and can be booted from a CF directly!

    For the cost of just Windows Home Server software, you get the entire whole Linux server!

  18. Aaron says:

    MicroServer and MicroClient sound very cool. But if you need 500GB+ worth of storage then you’re really looking at 3.5″ drive(s). By default these appear to be provisioned with either solid state or 2.5″ drives. So I think those power numbers (as impressive as they are!) need to be taken with a grain of salt, right?

  19. Jon says:

    Right, I can run that low using my modded NSLU2 (I’ve ran Debian on it, and now it runs OpenWRT), but any type of storage needs an attached drive, and that means using the attached drive’s power supply (unless you use a 2.5″ drive pulling power of the NSLU2).

    but the whole argument is non-sequiter. WHS is an operating system, not a hardware platform. If you want to compare apples and oranges feel free, but at least be honest about it. For instance, the hardware specs from Joe Nacchio can probably run WHS just fine, even booting off a 64GB SSD drive if you wanted to configure it more. Yes, would have to shell out more money for the OS, but you’d get SiS (Single instance storage, that saves space when backing up multiple machined) and DE (which lets you add all kinds of drives to increase storage space without messing with RAID), two technologies that Linux based solutions can’t (currently – hey, OSS has a pretty good track record in getting things out) match.

    And yes

  20. Aaron says:

    Jon, I agree 100%. I wasn’t really trying to make a comparison other than to point out that you can, in fact, make a very energy-efficient WHS machine and that energy consumption is primarily based on how you design the system requirements (hard drives, CPU, PSU, etc) and less so on the OS. I think this is loosely consistent with what you’re saying.

  21. HVACengi says:

    On topic:
    This technique ought to work with any OS that see’s the server as a network share, and any OS that shows network shares. So a linux user could just as easily use their backup software and store the backup image on a WHS. Conversely, this should work for a NAS host as well (and why shouldn’t it, before I had my WHS I backed up Windows to a NAS share). And the data corruption bug will not crop up as an issue if you only use one drive. In such instances, the hard drive might get a bit full if you take the same “backup early, backup often” approach and keep every single backup, and store music/video on the server.

    Straying off-topic a bit:
    But one of aaron’s points strikes true here. That’s the price you pay without incremental backups, on any primary OS and any server OS. I run into the same thing with my backup’s at work, and with my previous home NAS. The backup software in WHS is not just incremental for each PC, but over the whole collection of computers that it backs up, saving even more space from shared system files and applications.

    I will readily admit that you can find a linux solution for almost every feature in WHS, but you can’t do it easily. Maybe you already have the tools, you’re the kind of person that has run Linux for years, and knows what SVN tree to shake to get these tools. If that’s the case, great! You can save a bunch of money, and have a great level of control over your system. It does mean that when a conflict between your applications causes an issue (perhaps even corrupting data) you have to dig to find the problem yourself, but given the above information I doubt that’s an issue for you.

    But it is for me. I can program, and I can learn the inner workings of linux, the build process, and deployment. But I don’t want to spend that much time getting the system working. I know that it would just turn into another one of my hobby projects that never quite got completed, and I already have plenty of those.

  22. Robert Charlton says:

    It’s NOT Linux that has the proven design flaw that causes data corruption, it’s in Windows Home Server. For those customers who had faith in Microsoft purchasing this product, they have been made to wait since November 2007 until the projected release date of KB 946676 come June 2008 for a patch.

    I don’t see how anyone would call that relief, having been forced to wait for over half a year, especially for something so serious like this, where you personal data is at risk!

    With open source code, like Linix, the turn around is much faster to fix any problems or issues. And then there’s always the source code, that is if you want to do it yourself, unlike with Microsoft’s proprietary source code that denies the public from knowing and reviewing it.

    Open source code is friendly, anyone attacking it is either just plain stupid or trying to captivate another monopolistic market for themselves.

    How many countries, how many developers continue to point this out, letting everyone know Microsoft is anti-competitive in it’s behavior.

    France, South Korea, Europe just to name a few, and these are not just a few individuals, but entire whole countries!

    Microsoft’s founding motto is to make everyone dependent upon them. When will Windows support Mac? Linux despite being locked out, overcome both Windows and Mac, as you can run Linux on both. So it’s only Microsoft Windows that isn’t playing fair or even nice to dictate only their own software bundling is allowed.

  23. Karel says:

    Despite what others say, I was able to successfully setup WHS as a Time Machine backup device. There are just two small hiccups. First, after installing iTimeMachine on latest Leopard 10.5.2 you have to use a workaround, create sparse image on Windows/SMB share manually. The second thing is, you have to remember about MS KB 946676, so you have to use HDD not added to the WHS storage pool, create a share on it and select it in Time Machine. (Fail to do so and you’ll encounter 946676 in no time.)

    And it does incremental backups, of course (very fast and efficient backup).

    The nice thing about this is, when 946676 is patched by MS in a month or so, I’ll move my Mac backup share from plain SMB to the WHS’ Drive Extender again — and because Mac’s sparse bundle disk image is physically created thru hundreds and thousands of small files, DE will handle them, store/balance them using all the WHS storage, all the HDDs added.

  24. Aaron says:

    @Robert –

    Keep in mind that the corruption issue requires that systems have multiple hard drives *and* have files that are edited directly on the server. So even though it is indeed disappointing and frustrating that we have waited this long for the fix, it’s not impossible to workaround. Though, admittedly it’s easier for some than others.

    And while your claim that it’s not Linux with the corruption bug, you also have to admit than many of the popular Linux solutions are still in beta. For example, FreeNAS (which is mentioned quite frequently on this forum) stated this in theor FAQ: “FreeNAS is alpha or beta, it is not a production release and it will have bugs in it”. So would you trust that product with your valuable files?

    As for Microsoft versus Linux versus Apple, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. “When will Windows support Mac”? Windows does run on Mac as well as just about every other hardware combination out there, as you know. The question I ask is when will Apple’s operating system be supported on non-Apple hardware? At the end of the day Apple and Microsoft will both make decisions to maximize shareholder value. For Apple this meant supporting Windows on their hardware because Windows is the most popular OS in the world and they know people really like Apple hardware so hopefully this will increase sales. It wasn’t because they’re just a bunch of nice guys.

    What do you mean you can run Linux on Windows? Do you mean you can run Linux on Intel and AMD based systems?

  25. Gary says:

    “you also have to admit than many of the popular Linux solutions are still in beta. For example, FreeNAS”

    FreeNAS is not Linux. It is built on FreeBSD which is Unix.

    Current version is 0.69 and is stable.

    I am using the beta 0.7 version which includes ZFS, one of the most advanced file systems known to man….I love saying that.

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