Streaming video to XBOX 360 from Windows Home Server 2011

This one threw me for a while and I could find nothing specific on the web. I wanted to use my Xbox 360 to watch video streamed from my Windows Home Server. Streaming is switched on by default, I hear you say. Why, yes it is, but each time I tried to connect the Xbox I received an error.

The solution? Enable the Guest account on the server. Do this with care – revoke it’s access to everything except the folders you want to stream unless you want to allow read access to everything on the server.

Once Guest was enabled and the access rights were applied the whole thing worked like a charm.

Windows Home Server – something for my father

On Saturday I got the email telling me that I’d been accepted onto the Home Server Beta 2. I’m excited about this product in a way that I haven’t been about new software solutions for a while.

I’ve taken part in beta programmes before. I’ve been around a while, and as an IT pro you get desensitised after a while. Vista has some innovative features, but it’s evolutionm, not revolution.

Home server is different.

To explain why, let me give you a bit of background: Being a geek, you’d expect my home to have a few PCs and you’d be right. I had a purge shortly after I got married, which reduced the number of active systems from eight (don’t ask!) to four – my home desktop, my wife’s home desktop, a media PC and a Mac Mini (which I use for web site testing and development). On top of that, we have a Netgear SC101 NAS box for shared storage, a networked printer and a photo printer attached to my wife’s PC.

My Grandmother has firmly embraced the information age. She has a desktop and a laptop. She sends emails all over the place and is slowly scanning all the photographs that the family has collected over the years. The desktop stays on all the time with a file share for the laptop.

My parents have a computer each. They also have a Netgear SC101 and a coulpe of printers. In addition, my father has a laptop.

Particularly for my parents and grandmother, the Home Server will be a perfect match to requirements. A black box that can back up systems, is easy to manage and allows file and printer sharing – great!

Being the defacto tech support for my family, the opportunity to put one system in each home that can do automatic backups and store all the important files safely is extremely welcome. I’m looking forward to getting my Home Server beta up and running and if it works like the documentation suggests, there’ll be three customers lining up for a copy when it’s released.