The Media Library in Windows Home Server 2011

As promised yesterday, here’s the follow-up post describing my experience (thus far) with the Media Library in Windows Home Server 2011.

On installation, Windows Home Server 2011 will create a number of Folders by default for music, pictures, documents, recorded TV, and videos. These can be accessed either via Windows networking, or via the web using the Remote Web Access facilities of WHS 2011.

On my home network, I’m using Windows networking for access by my Home Theatre PC (HTPC) and other computers to the digital media files held on my WHS 2011 system. This seems to be working as expected. I can play my music, or watch DVDs and Blu-rays streamed from the server to my PCs without issue.

I did, however, find a couple of wrinkles when trying to access the same digital media files via the Remote Web Access facility of WHS 2011.

Wrinkle 1

When I first set up my WHS 2011 system, I had installed my music library on drive D:. And, I could access my music in the Music library displayed via the Remote Web Access. However, after a few days, I thought that I should move my picture and video libraries to different drives. I used the “Move the folder” Wizard in the Dashboard to accomplish these tasks.

I then found that instead of being able to see in excess of 45,000 pictures in the Media Library, I was presented with the grand total of one picture:

WHS2011 24a

I also saw that I had a total of 54 videos, but when I tried to play any of them, the web-based player would start, but then fail with an error message complaining that the file-type may not be supported.

Using Remote Web Access to browse the shared folders would show all the pictures, and would play the videos without problems.

I thought at first that it was simply a case of the index service needing time to register the new locations of my picture and video files, so I waited, and I waited… I waited a couple of days, and nothing changed.

At this point, I decided to reboot my server, and lo and behold, the picture and video files were found:

WHS2011 37

You will notice that there are now 45,058 pictures and 92 videos found, and that the thumbnails show a real photo and video thumbnail.

So I infer from this that using the “move folders” wizard is not sufficient to keep the WHS 2011 system running smoothly – it is also necessary to reboot the server in order for the indexing service to discover the new location of files. This, despite the fact that accessing the files via Windows networking appears to be able to account for the changes.

For the case of web access, the server’s left hand does not know what the right hand has done…

Wrinkle 2

I noticed, from the forums, that some people were complaining that their Album Art (CD covers) in their Music Library was showing up in their Pictures Library. Clearly, this is wrong, and should not be happening.

Then I realised that when the Pictures Library of WHS 2011 was showing just one picture, it was in fact a CD cover stored in my Music Library. Well, (a ) this should not be displayed in my Picture Library, but (b ) why was it just one? After all, my Music Library has 990 albums:

WHS2011 39

– why was it just displaying one album cover, and not 990 in the Picture Library?

It turns out that WHS 2011 will ignore certain filenames when it is searching for items for inclusion in the Picture Library.

WHS 2011 will ignore filenames in the Music Library folders when they have the form:

  • AlbumArt_{alphanumeric}_Large,
  • AlbumArt_{alphanumeric}_Small, AlbumArtSmall, and
  • Folder.jpg files

However, if you have Album Art files that do not follow this convention, then WHS 2011 will count them in as part of the Picture Library.

And that’s what was happening. I had an Album Art cover file with this name:

Cover- Wiener Philharmoniker _Orchestra_- Strauss, R. Eine Alpensinfonie; Rosenkavalier-Suite.jpg

Cover- Wiener Philharmoniker _Orchestra_- Strauss, R. Eine Alpensinfonie; Rosenkavalier-Suite

and so WHS 2011 included it into the Picture Library…

Sometimes I feel as though I’m an archaeologist, trying to second-guess what has been left by extinct civilisations…

Update: I have discovered more issues with the Media Library. See this post.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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10 Responses to The Media Library in Windows Home Server 2011

  1. Pingback: My WHS 2011 Experience (Thus Far) | Geoff Coupe's Blog

  2. Pingback: The Media Library in Windows Home Server 2011–Revisited | Geoff Coupe's Blog

  3. Matt says:

    Finding similar problems but they extend, seems my videos are in the pictures (all of them), my pictures are not in any of them, my movies are in my videos and meh its a mess….
    Hope they bring out a fix or something for it

  4. Matt says:

    Also note: I did not come from WHS v1, so my files arn’t perfectly layed out in MS format, if thats what MS needs I hope there is a way to batch convert (to correct file type and file structure) a whole tonne of files some how?

  5. Derek says:

    I’ve had this problem too, and it’s ridiculous that the web interface won’t just look at the “Pictures” folder for pictures. I’ve got “backdrop.jpg” “logo.jpg” “banner.jpg” for all my movies which also now appear as photos in the “Pictures” library.

  6. dszigeti says:

    Geoff … Great article thanks. I am coming from WHS V1 – actually I am running both V1 and 2011 in parallel until I can be sure that I can migrate successfully).

    I found the same problems that you mentioned with WHS 2011 – it is unfortunate that these bugs exist in what could be a good system. As someone famous … and you said … “definitely a Curate’s egg …”

    I am also coming to the same conclusion that you are. WHS 2011 generally works but it is not home user friendly … and we seem to be heading toward needing an IT guy to maintain the system. I don’t dislike WHS 2011 (except for the bugs) but I did expect it to build on WHS V1 and refine the “experience.” I am not seeing an improved experience at this time.

  7. Dan says:

    Hi Geoff, great blog. I’ve have just started using WHS 2011 this week and have found when I’m streaming media to my Win 7 Media Center from the server that Recorded TV does not appear in the shared tab in win 7 media center. It appears to stream fine to media player on the same pc just not to media center shared tab in the recorded tv menu. Just wondering if your experience was the same?
    Cheers,
    Dan

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Dan, as far as I know, the “recorded TV” folder is used for archived TV recordings that are made on your Media Center PC, and then automatically transferred across to the WHS 2011 system. On the Media Center PC, there should be a Home Server tab, with “archived TV” under it.

      I don’t use my Media Center PC for making TV recordings, so I’ve never been able to test this out.

      • Aussie_Z says:

        Hi Geoff et al … I concur with your assessment … I don’t understand why WMC doesn’t allow us to just connect to a shared WHS 2011 folder(s) to select and play video. I don’t understand how the “automatic” archiving works … my thoughts are that, as usual, Microsoft has made this too difficult, when a simple solution would have been fine. I am not happy with the implementation … If I am wrong, I would be happy to hear the solution.

        • Geoff Coupe says:

          Hi Aussie, er, WMC does allow you to connect to a shared WHS 2011 folder(s) to select and play video… At least, it does on my systems. I’m not using any “special” codec packs, just the ones supplied with Microsoft. That allows me to play the videos that I have in the video library held on my WHS 2011. That library is separate from the “Recorded TV” folder, which, as I say, I don’t use.

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