Can I add server-like capacities to an existing media pc?
March 13, 2008 7:37 AM   Subscribe

I like Windows Home Server, but need to keep my PC media box to run my media center. Can I get the same features (remote access, automatic backup, and media extension) without decapitating it, i.e. by switching to Vista, using dedicated applications, or running WHS differently than advertised?

Right now, the home computer just serves as a repository for my media and to supply access to movies, music, and downloaded television. (Hulu Woot!) Can it do double duty as a server without going 'headless'?
posted by anotherpanacea to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
You can get similar though not identical features with Vista. Remote access with a simple URL like Home server isn't built in but you could use a service like dyndns or gotomypc. Vista has a built-in auto backup tool though it's not as full-featured as what comes with Home Server. There are dozens of other more robust backup programs. Home Premium and Ultimate work with media extenders.
posted by aerotive at 7:57 AM on March 13, 2008

Would you consider Linux? (aka Ubuntu Home Server)
posted by blue_beetle at 8:50 AM on March 13, 2008

Response by poster: Ubuntu doesn't look like it's ready yet. As for gotomypc and dyndns, they're both monthly subscription services, right? I was hoping for a self-serve option.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:07 AM on March 13, 2008

Dyndns is free (or at least the part you are concerned about).

Vista does ship with remote desktop installed.

You cannot have a user on the machine at the same time you are logged in, but it works pretty well. Or you could try VNC.

The built in backup is broken - it's not a full backup, only certain types of files. Unless you get Vista Ultimate or one of the business editions. This may not matter to you.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:31 AM on March 13, 2008

To add to Pogo's comment remote desktop only works with Business and Ultimate. There is a simple tweak/hack that enables it on Home Premium.

Also Radmin is another option if you need something that doesn't blank the local screen and works with Vista. I've tried VNC with Vista and it's just doesn't seem ready yet.
posted by aerotive at 4:02 PM on March 13, 2008

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