Add-In: My Movies v5.00 Pre Release 8

The pre-release version of My Movies Home and Essentials Server Solution has had an update.

My Movies 5 Pre Release Settings

Version 5.00 Pre Release 8 has the following change log:

  • Added: License key changes allowing for branded customer versions of mobile applications.
  • Added: New internal API functions for use with My Movies branded mobile applications.
  • Added: Popcorn Hour NMJ V2 meta-data storage
  • Added: There were some situations where the user was not prompted for external credentials. If you find locations where you can still enter an external UNC path for other server or NAS device, and you do not get prompted for credentials, please report this.
  • Change: You can now enter "guest" as username and no password in the external credentials dialog to connect to open shares.
  • Change: Media Center meta-data storage deprecated. Users are now expected to run My Movies as a Media Center client.
  • Change: Folder Monitoring and Folder Import consolidated in back-end code. Keep an eye out for issues with folder monitoring and folder import.
  • Change: Updates to meta-data storage handlers, letting them store meta-data for Online (File) titles.
  • Fix: TV Series season posters were missing in the Dune interface.
  • Fix: It could require a reboot to get fresh installations running.
  • Fix: There could be problems connecting to the database after restoring a database that was created on another server.
  • Fix: There was a problem opening the category entries in Windows Media Center.
  • Fix: Non-default cover profiles were broken.
  • Fix: Music disc copier could read drive configuration wrong.
  • Fix: Optimize database could fail if there was elements that needed to be marked.
  • Fix: Music disc copying could fail due to an image embed error.
  • Fix: There could still be point confirmation issues in some situations.
  • Fix: The browsing dialog for adding folder monitoring folders did not allow to select local paths.
  • Fix: XBMC meta-data storage would fail if there were no genres or studios available on a profile.
  • Fix: Meta-data storage for multi disc titles, or dual side titles could store with wrong filenames on secondary discs or sides.
  • Fix: Monitoring did not work correct for local paths.
  • Fix: Upcoming titles type box was not set to any by default, but was blank.
  • Fix: Issue storing data if more than one metadata storage handler existed.
  • Fix: Removed unmodified since checks for streaming, which could give issues on streaming from Windows devices.
  • Fix: Updating actor profiles would not update images, and could even clear existing images.
  • Fix: User was not prompt for external credentials when entering paths manually.
  • Fix: The external credentials feature did not support using \ or @ for specifying a logon domain.

More information is available from here.

WD Sentinel DS6100 review

WD Sentinel DS6100We haven’t had a Windows server to review for quite a while. Since the last one, the domestic market has seen an increase in the popularity of NAS servers, and Microsoft’s change to the Home Server product has limited the use of Windows based servers in the home. The new WD Sentinel S-Series promises to be a powerful, resilient and capable server aimed squarely at the small business/professional user market, so nicely fills the middle ground between home and enterprise servers.

The WD Sentinel S-Series comes in two variants, the DS5100 and the DS6100. The major difference between the two models being the amount of resiliency you get out of the box, processor, memory and capacity options.

The DS5100 ships with a single boot disk and power supply, whereas the DS6100 has pair of each; the DS5100 has 8GB RAM and a choice of 4TB (2 x2TB) or 8TB (4 x 2TB) storage; the DS6100 has 16GB RAM and either 8TB (2 x 4TB), 12TB (4 x 3TB) or 16TB (4 x 4TB) storage.


Outwardly, the DS6100 looks identical to the last WD Sentinel server we reviewed, the DX4000. This is no bad thing, as the case is compact, solid and well constructed.

WD Sentinel DS6100 - Front

Measuring 208 (8.1in) high, 223 (8.8in) deep and 160 (6.3in) wide, and finished mostly in steel, the DS6100 can blend into the background, only giving its presence away with a gentle hum from the fan and disks. It certainly isn’t intrusive.

WD Sentinel DS6100 - Door Open

Up front, hiding behind the lockable front door  are the four caddy-less hard disk bays, which simply swallow the disk and lock it away with a reassuringly solid mechanism. Above the drive bay is a status display with some scroll buttons and the main power switch.

WD Sentinel DS6100 - Rear

Around at the rear of the Sentinel is where the main business of connectivity is located. Here we find 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, twin DC power inputs and dual 1Gb/s Ethernet (the IPMI port was blanked off on our review unit).

The DC power inputs rely on having a pair of fairly sizable laptop style power bricks somewhere near the server. The DS6100 will run happily on a single power supply, but having two allows for replacement or failure without interrupting the server.

Regardless of the number of power supplies in use, power consumption with 2 x 4TB drives hovered around 45-50 watts, increasing to 65-70 with 4 x 4TB drives. Disconnecting one power brick simply doubled the consumption on the remaining power supply, so there seems to be no major green penalty for using both supplies.

Finally on the rear we have a VGA monitor port, which greatly simplifies any installation of a new or alternative operating system, and is a huge improvement over the headless design of the DX4000 which needed a custom installer to reload the operating system.

DS6100 CPUDS6100 Memory

Inside the DS6100 things look very different to the DX4000, instead of an Intel Atom and 2GB RAM we find an Intel Xeon E3 and 16GB RAM. This specification should make very short work of the Microsoft Server R2 2012 Essentials that comes supplied with the DS6100, leaving plenty of room for other Windows applications/services to be deployed on the server.

Storage Configuration

DS6100 System Disk (right)DS6100 System DisksDS6100 System Disk (left)

Although they are not immediately obvious to a casual observer, there are actually two 320GB 2.5” WD AV-25 (WD3200BUCT) drives hidden away on each side of the main storage bay, which get revealed when all of the main drives are removed.

DS6100 System RAIDDS6100 System Drive

By default, these two drives are configured for use as the system disk in RAID-1 (Mirror). Having a separate array for the system partition adds flexibility and eases any upgrading of the main storage drives, as the main 4TB disks are not bound up with system duties and can be removed without impact to the system.


For main storage duties our DS6100 uses enterprise class 4TB 3.5” WD Se (WD4000F9YZ), which are designed for 24×7 availability, reliability and performance.

DS6100 Dashboard (2 drives)DS6100 Storage Spaces RAID-1DS6100 WD RAID-1

Initially WD supplied our DS6100 with two 4TB drives, which were tested both with software Storage Spaces RAID-1 and with the hardware controller  RAID-1. The choice of which to use is really down to the personal preference of the system administrator, although in theory the hardware RAID controller should be the better option. As you can see from the images above, both configurations gave about the same usable partition size.

DS6100 Dashboard (4 drives)DS6100 RAID-5DS6100 RAID Drive

WD then provided an extra pair of 4TB drives, which really opened up the storage options. Out went RAID-1 and in came hardware RAID-5, overall storage capacity went from 3.6TB up to 10.6TB.

Although the RAID-5 array was available for use immediately, the background initialisation took a substantial 48 hours to complete before it was properly resilient.


The DS6100 is supplied with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, although the inclusion of a rear VGA monitor port simplifies the installation of any operating system should you wish to install it.

DS6100 Server Manager

Despite Server 2012 Essentials being one of the entry level versions of Microsoft’s current server platform, there is still plenty on offer for the target small business user. A domain controller, 25 user accounts and 50 PC connections are all part of the package, and with the license allowing up to 64GB of RAM, you still have plenty of potential should you wish to void the warranty and upgrade the existing 16GB.


Once the server is up and running, getting a client PC incorporated into the servers ecosystem is pretty straightforward.

DS6100 /connect

Simply pointing your browser at http://(servername)/connect and downloading and running the installer package, will initiate the connection and configuration of your client PC.

DS6100 Client EULADS6100 Server confirmationDS6100 Client login

After accepting the EULA, confirming the server name and entering login details, your PC client will then be joined into the Sentinel’s own domain.

DS6100 SetupDS6100 DescriptionDS6100 Backup

One of the benefits of Server 2012 Essentials is its ability to centralise client backups. It does this in a way that will be very familiar to anybody used to Windows Home Server.

DS6100 ProgressDS6100 Complete

All done. We are now ready to get our first client backup.

DS6100 Client backup

Keeping a server backed up is common practice these days, but having a robust client backup mechanism is something that is often overlooked. Having a simple integrated solution in this version of Windows Server is a welcome addition, with newly connected clients showing up in the Windows Server Dashboard, which gives central control and visibility over backups.


WD Sentinel DS6100

This server is very quick. Plain and simple, it is very fast for such a diminutive box. Whatever task I threw at the Sentinel, however much data I copied and replicated, it just grinned and got on with it without a hint of slowness. It was simply impossible to really stretch the capabilities of this server on the test bench.

The inclusion of the Intel Xeon elevates this servers performance over anything else we have seen at this size, and it stands head and shoulders quicker than the Atom based servers we normally see in small form factor servers.

This level of power could be easily harnessed for more than just file serving. Virtualisation, business applications and remote access are all well within its capabilities. By properly leveraging the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 operating system, you can place this server at the heart of the network, allowing it to manage all the ancillary jobs such as Active Directory authentication and centralised backup.

Redundancy and storage wise,  the flexibility of the hardware RAID controller and the resilience of the enterprise class WD Se hard disks give you confidence that your data is being well protected. The physical separation of the mirrored system disks and the data storage array allows for simple upgrade or replacement of the data disks. Dual power supplies and Ethernet will keep things running in the event of failure.

The DS6100 is ideally suited to its small business  target market. Although expensive, the Sentinel DS6100 offers high-end performance and is a great example of the quality of product that Western Digital are capable of producing.

WD Sentinel DS6100

The Home Server Show Podcast Episode 258


Servers and security are the theme of episode 258 of the Home Server Show podcast:

It’s hard not to talk about security this week with HeartBleed in the news.  Are you safe? Is your home server safe?  I’ll talk with Jim Collison and John Stutsman about it and how to store your passwords as well. 

You can find episode 258 here.

MicroServer Gen8 Setup Nightmare

ProLiant MicroServer Gen8

We Got Served reviewed the HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8, and it’s not all good news:

When you’re up and running with the server, it actually performs very well and can do a very good job at supporting your home and/or small business.

But, in an effort to differentiate, the company has added Enterprise-grade provisioning and management options that have added complexity to the server’s installation and administration.

The full review can be found here.

The Home Server Show Podcast Episode 257


This weeks edition of the Home Server Show is up:

“I’ve got two Media Center replacements in my house and I’ll talk about both.  I also talk a little bit about Dynamic DNS.  I’m opening up a discussion opportunity for you for the forums.  I’ll talk about two options, one paid, one free. Great short show.”

You can find episode 257 here.

Add-Ins: My Movies v5.00 Pre Release 7

The pre-release version of My Movies Home and Essentials Server Solution has been updated to version 5.00 Pre Release 7.

My Movies 5 Pre Release Dashboard

Here is the change log for the last two versions:

5.00 Pre Release 7:
IMPORTANT: If you have posted about problems prior to this Pre Release, and still have the problem, please reply to your post to notify about it.
Fix: There was an exception when applying settings after having set Dune configurations.
Fix: The system did not log in with stored credentials when storing title media information.
Fix: Save As in the cover right click menu in Collection Management gave an error.
Fix: The video converter detected the main movie for MP4 files, but did not pass it to handbrake, letting handbrake decide, meaning that the functions that should force a better detection was not used.
Fix: Another character in the auto-generated passwords were found that could give problems when restoring databases, creating new databases or similar.
Fix: Due to creations of firewall exceptions at an incorrect time, the install could fail on some devices.
Fix: Wrong message sent during database migration.
5.00 Pre Release 6:
IMPORTANT: If you have posted about problems prior to this Pre Release, and still have the problem, please reply to your post to notify about it.
Added: Warning about it taking time to install SQL Server.
Change: The data service API is now available on port 51415 as an alternative to 51414. The port 51415 is recommended for future usage on My Movies 5, as it also on desktop PC’s runs under a service that is always available, no matter if a user is logged in or not.
Change: Popcorn Hour NMJ meta-data storage have temporary been removed, and will be replaced by an updated NMJ 2.0 implementation later.
Fix: Windows Media Center could not be started from mobile devices.
Fix: Auto generated master database password could contain characters that caused inability to log into the database.
Fix: Update statistics call on DB was not longer possible with new credentials situation.
Fix: Incorrect version of a DLL could cause problems with dashboards crashing.
Fix: Minor progress issue could cause a crash under optimize database task.
Fix: The right click menu for TV Episodes had a delete option when an episode was connected to a disc, which did not do anything.
Fix: The icon was not correct after setting a path on a TV Episode, and pressing save.
Fix: The "GetEpisodePlayOptionsForDune" returns that id is invalid, when it in fact was not.
Fix: The external connection to the server was broken on WHS 2011 and Essentials 2012.
Fix: Prior selected cleaning path was not remembered.
Fix: Apply button could be activated in settings panel, even though no changes was made.
Fix: Create new database option could fail if the database had a lot of content.
Fix: There was a firewall rule created each time the service was restarted.
Fix: The ability to use different cover profiles were broken in Windows Media Center.
Fix: The music disc copier could fail with a certain combination of paths and not having a mobile conversion configured.
Fix: There was an error message shown when applying music disc copier settings if the mobile path was set to a local path, and the path would not stick.
Fix: The sub settings for Media Center interface button and default list configurations did not populate correct.
Fix: External paths were in some situations not connected when storing meta-data.

This latest release is available for download from here.

The Seagate 4 Bay NAS

PCWorld online has a review of the Seagate Business Storage Windows Server 4-Bay NAS device.

Seagate NAS

Ideal as a no-nonsense NAS for business, the review also includes a rapid 2 minute video review too. But in conclusion:

“If you’re looking for Windows-based NAS, you could do a lot worse than the Seagate Business Storage Windows Server. It has no peer in small file serving, and it’s more secure out of the box than Linux-based systems. Windows shops will love it, but consumers and other small businesses might be better off with one of the less-expensive Linux-based alternatives.”

You can read the full review here.

Add-In: CloudBerry Backup v3.8 and 30% Off

CloudBerry Backup Logo (2)

CloudBerry for WHS (v1, 2011, SBS 2011 Essentials and  Windows Server 2012 Essentials) has been updated to version 3.8.

This latest release comes with the following features:

  • Cloud to Cloud Backup;
  • Cloud to Local Backup;
  • Built in storage search;
  • Email notifications improvements;
  • New commands for Windows Command Line interface;
  • "Always Keep the Last Version" Option.

More information on these features/enhancements can be found here.

Also to celebrate World Backup Day 2014 CloudBerry are offering a 30% discount (limited Time Offer expires on April 2, 2014) off their product range – More details here.

How To Migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Migration – Keys to Success is a blog from the Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog.

the Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog

Their article explains the 16 step process to help you successfully migrate from a previous Windows Server SKU, Small Business Server SKU, or a Windows Server Essentials SKU current in Product Lifecycle to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

An excellent read, which you can find here.

The Lifespan of Media

The Lifespan of Storage Media is a info graphic from CrashPlan highlighting the lifespan of different media formats.

From the humble Zip Disk of 1994 lasting just 2 to 10 years to the Solid State Drives from 1999 onwards lasting 51 to 100 years plus this info graphic has computer, audio, video and photo media from 1885 to 1999 detailed in years to live – Great stuff!

The Lifespan of Media Info Graphic

You can find the full version here.