Review of WHS Disk Management

With the default installation of Windows Home Server there already exists a tab called “Server Storage” in the Windows Home Server Console but this gives you only basic information about the hard disks attached to your system.  If you want an add-in that provides you with some more information and a graphical representation of your home server storage configuration then the WHS Disk Management Add-in is made for you.
WHS Disk Management provides exactly the same functionality and information that the standard “Server Storage” gives but it adds some key information for your server:
  • Real-time temperature monitoring
  • Individual disk capacity usage
  • Real-time disk access metering
  • Access to detailed disk information
  • Wireframe view of disk locations and status

Getting the Add-in

To get the add-in visit http://www.tentaclesoftware.com/whsdiskmanagement/ and select Download.  At the same time you might want to take a look at the wireframe views of servers and download one that matches your system.  If one doesn’t match you can download one that it similar and customise it or tailor your own design to meet your needs.

Installing

You should be familiar with downloading and installing add-ins.  If not it’s very straight forward.  On a client PC download the add-in from the website to the \\SERVER\Software\Add-Ins folder on your home server.  You might have renamed your server to another name.  Simply replace \\SERVER with your server name with the two slashes before the name.  Once the file has downloaded complete you can go the home server console.

Find the home server icon in the system tray on a client PC:

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Right click on the home server icon and select “Windows Home Server Console”:

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Enter your password:

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Then after a short moment you will be presented with the Windows Home Server Console:

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Select Settings:

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Then select the “Add-Ins” section and then the “Available” tab:

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Once copied to the correct location installing Windows Home Server Add-ins are as simple as hitting the Install button.  In nearly all cases no further interaction is required.  So safe in the knowledge that all should be well click on the ‘Install’ button and wait for the following message box to be displayed:

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Click ‘Ok’ and the console should close and reopen after a brief moment.  Congratulations, that’s the add-in installed.  Now lets get back to the review.

First Impressions

When the console reopens click on the “Disk Management” Icon in the top tab to see the Disk Management Console View:

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What you will now see is more information about the disks in your system including a bar showing usage of each disk, temperature and activity on the disk.  From here you can click on a drive and select more details.  You are also able to perform the add and remove disk operations that are within the standard “Server Storage” Console Tab.

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To setup the wireframe view click on the “Click here to begin wireframe setup” link on the right hand side of the window.

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Though you can create your own wireframe from scratch it is quite likely that one that suits your system has already been created.  You can download wireframes from the producers website at http://www.tentaclesoftware.com/whsdiskmanagement/ and the ‘Download’ section provides many wireframes for popular systems there.  We’re going to add the wireframe for the popular HP EX47X series that we downloaded earlier.  Click on the ‘Import’ button and select the file that you have downloaded to your server.

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Once the wireframe is loaded you have to configure it with which drives are in which bay.  Click on “Edit Current Wireframe” and you will see the following screen where you can select each bay in turn and assign to it the correct drive:

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First click on the bay you wish to edit and then select the “Edit selected drive bay” item from the radio list.  Click on the next button image and select the Drive from the “Drive Path” list box.  More detailed information of which drive has been selected will be presented in the disk item on the page.  If you have any other options to set here then do so now and when complete hit the next button image once again. 

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Now you have the chance to give your disk a more meaningful name.  Perhaps your unit has bay numbers or you prefer to keep your disks labels.  In the “Name/Text” entry area you can enter any name you wish other than the default to help you.

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Once complete hit the next button once again and repeat these steps for the other drives in your system.  When you have completed these steps for all your drives then click the “Ok” button.  Clicking “OK” on the Windows Home Server Settings window will take you back to the add-in main window where you can see your new wireframe.  Notice that click on a drive highlights it in the wireframe and click on a drive in the wireframe highlight it in the list so now you can be sure you configured the wireframe correctly.

If we go back to the settings window you can also see the other options this Add-in has.  Simply click the setting icons  image in the top right of the window.  Here you can turn on the option to display real-time information on drive temperature and access.  Also you may set the thresholds for remaining capacity and how often this information is updated.

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Overview

The Windows Home Server Disk Management Add-In is a very nice presentation of an important part of any Windows Home Server.  It provides a great way to see what each of your disks is contributing to the storage pool and potentially helps you decide which disk to target in the event of changing your storage configuration. 

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One thought on “Review of WHS Disk Management

  1. Sam Wood says:

    Thanks for the review, Al!

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