Can I create a media server out of Windows Home Server?

Episode 1043 (1:07:52)

Earl from Reston, VA

Earl bought an HP Windows Home Server and now that it's not supported by Microsoft anymore, he wants to know if he can convert it to a media server. Leo says sure! Just because Microsoft doesn't support Windows Home server doesn't mean it won't work anymore. It's fairly straight forward to set up. The real challenge will be digitizing everything. Once it's all digitized, it can be stored and made available by all computers on Earl's network. Paul Thurrott of was a huge fan of Windows Home Server.

This is a category of products, though, and there are more similar options on the market. It's called Network Attached Storage, or NAS. It's a computer with multiple hard drives with no monitor, mouse, or keyboard because that box connects to your router and it's controlled through the browser from other computers. It can be used to backup all computers on the network, store media, and serve that to a variety of devices including phones and tablets, too. Leo uses Synology and Netgear's ReadyNAS to do this. In some ways they're better than Windows Home Server, since they run on Linux. Windows is overkill for such a setup. These devices often have room for 4 drives in the enclosure for more capacity and more data redundancy. He could get a Synology drive with just a single drive in it too.

There's a good open source option called Amahi, which is a really neat home server system designed to take the place of Windows Home Server. He would have to provide his own hardware, but it's a good way to run a home server. It's a great idea if he's a techie and wants to roll his own home network.