As part of my journey to install Windows Home Server 2011 on my HP MediaSmart EX470 server, I have been looking for useful add-ins and customizations. Below is a list of the ones I have implemented and found useful, though keep in mind that not all are essential or free… oh, and none are written by me, so you use them at your own risk…
Configuration / monitoring
The AWIECO DriveInfo is a free add-in for Windows Home Server 2011 and Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. The add-in integrates itself into the "Server Folders and Hard Drives" area of your Dashboard. It shows a graphical overview of your hard disks and drives inside the Dashboard.
The AWIECO RemoteLauncher add-in for Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Home Server 2011 is a free add-in, which gives you more administrative possibilities to manage your SBS or WHS remotely. It pre-installs a number of pre-defined system tools which are useful for remote admin etc. If you really want, you can install applications on the server and run them remotely.
This add-in allows you to easily set up an Apple Mac computer's Time Machine to use a backup location on WHS 2011. This is something that was complicated to do before, but this takes away the guesswork.
Windows Home Server Add-In adds iSCSI Target Storage capability to your Windows Home Server. Okay, not everyone has or needs an iSCSI SAN, but think about setting up a cluster on Hyper-V and using your WHS for storage?
ISO Mounter is a software add-in for Microsoft Home Server and Small Business Server that allows you to mount ISO files (DVD and CD images) stored on your server so they can be viewed directly through your servers folder share on all of your PC's and laptops. Note that this is not a free tool, but not expensive.
SpeedFan by Alfredo Milani Comparetti
SpeedFan is a program that monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures in computers with hardware monitor chips. SpeedFan can access S.M.A.R.T. info and show hard disk temperatures. On the HP MediaSmart Servers, it is a good way of monitoring CPU and drive temperatures and controlling the fan speeds to avoid over-heating.
Windows Live Mesh
Windows Live Mesh is a great free tool to sync data between machines and yes it does run on WHS 2011. There is a good blog post here on how to install Windows Live Mesh on WHS 2011.
Drive pooling technology for all versions of Microsoft Windows. This is a replacement for those wanting the equivalent of the WHS v1 Drive Extender technology. Note that in a previous post, I discussed not combining DriveBender with Live Mesh... you have been warned! (though others report that this works fin, but I suspect it is a function of resource availability on the lower powered HP MediaSmart EX 470/475 servers)
StableBit DrivePool is an add-in for Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. This is a replacement for those wanting the equivalent of the WHS v1 Drive Extender technology.
Snoop-de-dupe will automatically scan your server storage and display duplicate files in an easy-to-view layout directly within the server’s user Console. Once snoop-de-dupe locates duplicate files then you can respond to them as you choose. You can delete the duplicate files, ignore/keep the duplicate files, or replace the duplicate files with a hard-link.
Video / Communications
My Movies for Windows Home Server is an add-on program for Windows Home Server, providing a set of features around movies and music, making it a great solution for adding, identifying and maintaining movie and music data on your Windows Home Server, serving it to different Media Center solutions or music playback devices. I have now used MyMovies for several years to help me archive and organize my videos.
TV4Home installs MediaPortal TV Server on your Windows Home Server. You can then record your favorite TV shows or stream Live-TV to network clients. It supports a wide range of tuners (see here).