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Synchronize Files on a Remote Network with WHS

FolderShare

How would you like to synchronize files that are not located on your network with your Windows Home Server?

In my case I use the online FolderShare service to “backup” my brothers photos and documents from his PC back to my WHS

With the Foldershare software running on both the home server and on his client machine, the folders are kept in sync. And although my brothers computer is a PC, it could had also been a MAC, because the FolderShare software is available for that to, allowing an easy way of syncing the Mac to Home Server.

Privacy is not an issue with Microsoft’s FolderShare service, since none of the files are hosted. It’s just like sending a file to someone over Windows Live Messenger, except it is done automatically. Any file type can be transferred and the web management screen works in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera.

Since the FolderShare software will only work when a user is logged in, we will have to turn it into a Service. This is easy enough to do but be sure that you have already  downloaded and configured FolderShare and that data is being synchronized before proceeding and be sure to shutdown FolderShare before performing these steps. Courtesy of Chris Blankenship’s Ramblings:

  1. You will need  instsrv.exe and srvany.exe from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.
  2. Copy instsrv.exe to c:\program files\foldershare
  3. Copy srvany.exe to c:\program files\foldershare
  4. execute “c:\program files\foldershare\instsrv.exe” FolderShare “c:\program files\foldershare\srvany.exe”
  5. execute c:\reg ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\FolderShare\Parameters /v Application /d “c:\program files\foldershare\foldershare.exe”
  6. execute c:\reg ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\FolderShare\Parameters /v AppDirectory /d “c:\program files\foldershare”
  7. execute c:\reg DELETE HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run /v Foldershare /f
  8. execute c:\net start Foldershare

More Information:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/137890

A couple of things worth mentioning.  First, you can’t run a Windows Service with Interactive Desktop support if you want that service to access the Internet; Windows won’t let this happen.  So this means you should never click the service properties checkbox to make Foldershare interactive with the desktop.  Second, because you are running Foldershare as a service you will receive an error during your login indicating that Foldershare is already running. Ignore this error and things will continue to work great.  If you try and remove the registry entry that causes Foldershare to launch during your login process the service will re-add the entry the next time it restarts, so don’t even bother removing the registry.  I have tested this with Windows Server 2003 and Windows Home Server without any trouble.

As you can see Foldershare is a great tool and is handy for syncing small amounts of data. It allows syncing of up to 10,000 files, which is around 40 GB of mp3 files.

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Comments (17)

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  1. Bob Crook says:

    Anyone setup a sync process between Windows Home Servers? Am looking to setup in July three WHSes in the UK and would love to be able to sync all with my two WHSes in the US.

  2. Lucas says:

    How did you configure FolderShare on WHS? MS suggests strongly against accessing shares directly con d:\shares, but FolderShare will not work with network shares. Did you map the network shares to drive letters? I think network shares are mapped for logged users, so I don’t think this will work for a service.

  3. David Clark says:

    Why not just run the program at startup using a scheduled task, much easier, thats what I do (you just supply the user id/password in the scheduled task)

    Dave

  4. Andrew Johnson says:

    Can I reiterate the question about how to configure this without risking Drive Extender problems?

  5. Andrew says:

    Live Mesh and Windows Home Server – this is the way forward. Talk to me.

  6. Andrew Johnson says:

    Live Mesh integration would be wonderful…but there’s no Server 2003 version yet.

    I still await an answer on Drive Extender and Foldershare…I am very tempted to try this, but don’t want to risk a data catastrophe.

  7. Andrew J,

    W/rt DE corruption, I added a drive to my WHS, but *didn’t* add it to the Drive Extender pool. I then shared a few folders on the drive. I use these non-DE shares for all “live”, changing files: e.g., OneNote notebooks, FolderShare folders, etc. For important stuff (e.g., my OneNote notebooks) I’ve automated a nightly backup to a DE share. I use Beyond Compare to perform my backups, and have it set to do a full binary compare -and-overwrite of my DE’d share w/ the “live”, non-DE share. That way, if the DE *were* to corrupt a file then it would only be for one day. (Note I think there’s better backup tools – it’s just what I have available.)

    So I’m putatively safe from Drive Extender bugs, and have triple-backup of important files. (Well, quad+ backup if you include JungleDisk to Amazon S3.).

  8. Hey, I don’t think the above instructions will work for the latest version of FolderShare.

    MS seems to have moved the binary to, oddly enough, C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\FolderShare\FolderShare.exe. So I think the paths would need to change.

  9. Mel Gorman says:

    Windows Home Server users prove once again how WHS is buggy. broken and NOT ready for the public:

    1) you can’t run a Windows Service with Interactive Desktop support if you want that service to access the Internet;

    2) Windows won’t let this happen. So this means you should never click the service properties checkbox to make Foldershare interactive with the desktop.

    3) Second, because you are running Foldershare as a service you will receive an error during your login indicating that Foldershare is already running. Ignore this error!”

    Don’t waste your time, effort and money on WHS folks!

  10. Dave says:

    Roughly translated: “You may or may not have problems running this completely optional and free 3rd party piece of software on your Windows Home Server for reasons that have nothing to do with Windows Home Server, therefore, don’t buy Windows Home Server!”

    Outstanding logic, there, Mel.

  11. soidhg says:

    It’s ‘Mac’, not ‘MAC’. One is the name of a computer, the other is an acronym for networking, hence the capitalisation.

  12. chris says:

    im not running it as a service but the only thing that allows me to run it without being logged in is
    advance admin console
    if i reboot the server all i gotta do is login once and start the foldershare service through advance admin console add in and then close the home server console then i double check the foldershare website to see that the server is running foldershare

  13. Peter says:

    I made an update of this tutorial at the Forum of this site, the changes are to support the (apparently) newer version of FolderShare and to get it running automatically as a service, without the need to start the service each time through the advance admin console as Chris said on July 4th.

    http://mswhs.freeforums.org/updated-foldershare-beta-on-whs-t480.html

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