Upgrading to WHS 2011 (Part 2)

I started off by removing one of my 1TB hard drives using the remove hard drive tool. This took a lot longer than I thought it would, several hours. After it was finished I removed all of the drives from the system. I kept the WHS v1 and other 1 TB drive with my data just in case I needed to go back to my original server.

I installed one of the new 160 GB laptop drives into the dual driver cage and put the cage in my case. Next, I booted up the system with the WHS 2011 disc in the DVD drive and proceeded with the install. The complete install took about 2 hours on my system and involved several automatic reboots. After the OS was installed I had 3 partitions on the hard drive. The OS was on the C: partition and the shared folders were on the D: partition. There was also a 100MB System partition. I turned off the server and installed the 1 Tb drive that I had previously removed the data from. The server saw the drive and I added it to the system. I then used the move folder tool to move the shared folders from the D: drive to the new G: drive. I couldn't figure out how to select all of the folders to move so I did it one at a time. Now it was time to put some data on the server. I plugged in the external drive to which I had performed a server backup. I then manually copied the files over to the new shared folders. I had more folders than the default WHS 2011 setup so after copying them I had to add them with the "Add a folder" tool. After adding the folders they showed up in the Server Folders tab.

Next I needed to protect my server from a crash of the OS drive. I installed a second 160GB laptop drive in the dual cage with the first OS drive. To set up the mirror of the OS drive I used the built in software RAID in the OS. To get to the disk partition tool go to Start and type "create and". The first thing in the menu should be called "Create and format hard disk partitions". Select this option to get to Disk Management. Under Disk Management I could see the 3 partitions on the OC drive and the 1TB storage drive. The second 160GB drive was also shown. I right clicked on the 100MB partition on the OS drive and selected "Add Mirror". The system then said that the drives would have to be converted from "basic" to "dynamic". I selected OK and the mirror was added. I did the same for the OS partition (C:) and it worked fine and = only took a few minutes. For some reason I am not able to do the same thing with the empty D: drive. When I roght click on it, the option to "Add mirror" is not available. This isn't critical since the D: drive is empty but I don't know why it won't let me set up a mirror of it.

Now that my server was up and running I went to the client PCs and uninstalled the old WHS connector software. I then went to "http://whserver/connect" to install the new connecter software and set up the backups. I was worried at first when the first backup took a couple of hours but then I remembered that all of the data had to be transferred, the subsequent backups only transferred the changed data and took only a few minutes.

I have been running WHS 2011 for a couple of weeks now. So far I really like it. The new connector software allows me to quickly start backups and view any alerts. I have had a couple of problems with the backup service on the server stopping which causes my backups to fail. When this happens I have to remote in to the server and manually start the service, then backups work fine again. I don’t know why this is happening, whether it’s a bug or a conflict with some other software I have running on the server. I have installed APC PowerChute to manage my UPS, Crashplan to continuously backup my shared folders online, and DynDNS updater. The backup service problem is the only issue I have had with the system. I have logged in to my server from my Windows Phone 7 and it is great that there is automatically a mobile formatted website. It was very easy to download photos from my server to my phone. I am looking forward to the WP7 add-in and app to get even more functionality between the 2 devices (perhaps remote management and streaming).

I do have one final thing to configure on my Windows Home Server 2011 box. Once I am fully convinced that the new OS is working fine for me and all of my files are again backed up off-site, I will add my second 1TB drive and use it as a mirror of the G: drive which contains my shared folders. I'm waiting to do this because I will have to wipe out my 1TB drive and that will make it impossible to go back to WHS v1 with my data intact. I will probably do this in a month or two and it will provide a complete backup solution for my data. I will have both the server OS and data on mirrored drives in the same tower. I will also have all of the data backed up off site with Crashplan.

Again if you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them and I will do my best to get back to you.