How To Install Windows Home Server 2011

Windows Home Server 2011 has several changes. Here is how to do a fresh install.

David McCabe, Contributor

July 2, 2011

4 Min Read

BYTE -- Microsoft’s Windows Home Server 2011 will install on pretty much any system that supports Windows 7.

There are a few requirements system requirements to note. Unlike its 32-bit predecessor, WHS 2011 is a 64-bit only OS. Make sure your hardware meets and exceeds all requirements.

Now pop in the DVD or a USB key for an even quicker install.

Ensure the PC can boot from a DVD device by entering the BIOS for the PC and selecting DVD as a boot device. This is the default on most newer systems and motherboards, but if your PC won't boot from DVD, the BIOS entry is the issue.

The boot process looks similar to Windows 7.

Once the setup has completely booted up, choose whether you are making a new install or a repair.

I am selecting New Installation.

The system will then present you with the hard drives on the system. Keep things simple while installing this OS. Only boot with the hard disk you intend to install the OS on. That way, you'll minimize mistakes.

If you don't see a hard disk in this step, it's possible you need to install drivers for the controller the hard drive is attached to. Locate the drivers for your device and put them on a DVD or USB key.

NOTE: Remove the install DVD at this point in order to put in a driver disk, if you need it. Just be sure to replace the install DVD once the drivers are loaded. Click the Load Drivers button to browse to the location of the drivers for your device.

Now choose the drive that you want to install Windows Home Server 2011 to. Check the box at the bottom. All data will be erased. You've backed up, right? You'd better be.

The installation procedes with almost no interaction on your part.

The installation procedure will reboot the server up to four times before it needs any additional input. Just make sure you maintain power to the PC during the install. You don't want to repeat this.

The install process takes around 20-30 minutes.

Now it’s time for the fun part of the install. Customization. Select your country, time zone, and keyboard layout. Hit Next.

Verify the time for the server. Click Next.

The license agreement is next. Read through the agreement and check the box stating you agree to its terms, if you do. Click Next.

Locate the product key that came with your Windows Home Server 2011 purchase and type it in verbatim.

The key will be 5 groups of 5 letter and number combinations -- ie 12345-xxxxx-12345-xxxxx-12345. The installer will automatically type the dashes for you.

There is also an activation option. I recommend checking this box so Windows Home Server 2011 will activate once it is online.

If you don’t activate it the server will nag you for 30 days. If you don’t activate it within the 30-day time period Windows Home Server 2011 will cease to work until you do. So just activate it!

The biggest decision during the entire install process is next. What will you name your server? A good example would be, "homeserver," but you can name it anything you want up to 15 characters in length and including letters, numbers and dashes.

NOTE: There are some names you cannot use for your server such as Anonymous, Local, Users and Self. There are more than 30 of these reserved names.

The next box is the password for administering the server. Choose a password that's at least eight characters in length and includes three of the four criteria: Upper case characters, lower case characters, numbers, symbols. Type in the password and verify it.

The password hint is just that. Never type in actual passwords as this hint is visible to anyone on your network. Fill in the boxes and click Next.

The next decision is for updates. Microsoft gives you the choice to check and install updates automatically or to not check at all. I highly recommend that you have the server check and install updates automatically. Select the other options as you wish and change them later if needed.

The installation will finalize and present you with the name of the server so you can connect the PCs in your household to it.

In this example you would connect to the server at: http://vm2011whs/connect

Hit Close.

Your server is now installed and you're back at the desktop. Way to go! Safely log out of it or start the dashboard to get acquainted with its options. Let the fun begin.

Based in Helenville, WI, David McCabe is a senior contributor at BYTE. Follow him @homeservershow. or email him at [email protected]

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