79 Responses to The Media Library in Windows Home Server 2011–Revisited

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

  2. Pingback: Yet More Problems With The Media Library in WHS 2011 | Geoff Coupe's Blog

  3. Geoff,

    I am also an WHS 2011 user with the same expiriences you have, the media libary throws these errors randomly at me, but sometimes it works flaweles.
    This kind of bugs me on the new release 2007 was configured with less media expierence, but at least that build was stable.
    Just like you I am located in the Netherlands but dutch intead of British I saw some topics on Connect about this issue but no answer from Microsoft yet.

    I have another question is your WHS 2011 also memory hungry and slow while doing folder transfers?

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Erik, thanks for your comments. Yep, we’re not the only ones experiencing these issues with the Media Library in Remote Web Access. However, I don’t expect any sort of quick fix from Microsoft. It will probably wait until at least the service pack – if there ever is one.

      I’ve got 4GB memory in my system, but I’ve only ever seen a maximum of 3GB being used during file transfers – most of the time I’m at 2GB. Mind you, this is with SyncToy copying of shared folders to a backup disc connected via USB 2.0. So I’m only seeing 25 MB/s transfers anyway.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Erik, I’m trying to elinimate possible causes here. Any you using a Fritz!Box modem/router by any chance? Thanks.

  4. Hi there,

    I have similar issues since I installed the RTM of WHS 2011. Maybe it’s a problem only the Dutch have? 🙂 I’m also from the Netherlands, let’s hope there will be a fix from MS soon.
    I’m really into WHS 2011, even now with the Windows Phone 7 app in beta. Too bad with the issues on the website I’m unable to use the cool WP7 app 😦 because the media stuff doesn’t work…

    Let’s pray and hope for a quick fix from Microsoft!

    regards,
    Helmer

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  6. Mike says:

    I’m also seeing intermittent errors with the remote media sharing. And no, it’s not a Dutch issue as I’m stateside. 🙂

    In addition to the media errors, I’m also experiencing stability issues with USB-connected hard drives. It appears system restarts and inadvertent losses of the USB connection are causing “intermittent” loss of folders. I have been testing both Drive Bender and Stablebit DrivePool, but have been reluctant to fully commission either given the instabilities. At first I thought the issue might be related to the “drive extenders,” but I’m seeing problems with neither being active.

  7. Christian Johansson says:

    Hi,
    I’ve not used the Remote Access functions of WHS 2011 yet, but I’m experiencing problems in local network that can be related to media library shortcomings also.

    I have an Xbox360 setup as media viewer – accessing the WHS 2011 through the console’s similary named libraries “Movies”, “Pictures” and “Music”.
    Accessing Movies for example, can be a bit of a gamble; sometimes it work just fine – sometimes not. Ususally with the error “No movies found”. And I have several hundreds of them…

    On WHS v.1 this worked almost flawlessly.
    On WHS 2011 it’s a 50/50 hit or miss first time, you have to persist and try multiple times to enjoy a movie.

    What can be the real problem here, a bad implementation of “Windows Media Player Library” or whatever it’s called?

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Christian, I don’t have an Xbox, so I can’t compare. I have to say that my HTPC (with MyMovies) seems to be fine with WHS 2011, but then again, it’s probably not invoking any functions of the Media Library, but just using the WHS 2011 as a file server…

  8. Dannybuoy says:

    I also get these media library errors (in the UK!). I have a fairly large media library, I haven’t tried to see if it works with a smaller set of files, but I may do that when I get the time. Sometimes when I first log in it starts to work, although reporting the incorrect numbers of items, and once I even managed to get it to show a photo slideshow. I’ve never got audi or video streaming to work though.

    One thing to investigate though is UPnP on the router, I’m not sure whether this needs to be working correctly for the remote web access to the media library. I sometimes get errors that my router is not set up correctly, so I am going to eventually try a factory reset or firmware upgrade of my router or maybe get a new one.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Danny, I thought using UPnP to open up ports was a one-time thing when the Remote Web Access is first set up. However, in addition to ports 80 and 443, I see that I have a number of randomly-assigned UDP ports as well, and indeed, I think that these may be associated with the activities of the Media Library.

      You may well be on to something here. But if it is down to UPnP failures, then I’m not going to be changing my router any time soon. For one thing, it’s pretty new (a Fritz!Box 7340 – supplied by my ISP), and it’s needed for IPv6 support. The firmware is also the latest.

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  10. Glenn says:

    Geoff, I share your pain. I moved from WHS2011 RC1 which had no problem with an over 16k MP3 library (just a little slow, as it appeared to build the view every time someone logged on). With the RTM paid for version I can never get to look at my music library without an error. Also, nothing reported anywhere on what the exatc error is.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Glenn, the only hope is that enough people will be having these issues to make Microsoft acknowledge the problems and do something about it. Otherwise, nothing will be done, and we’ll just have to live with it.

  11. Christian H. says:

    Same problems here. German Homeserver 2011 RTM. Huge Libraries, though.

  12. Joel Leichty says:

    I’d like to add another huge design flaw – you can’t set user permissions for media sharing. So I can’t view all photos via the media link, but let my extended family view a subset of photos.

    I’ve read other posts where they use DLNA compliance as the excuse, which is just not correct because you are logging into a authenticated site, not just putting a share on your home network.

    Bottom line is the only option to share photos is using the folder view. It’s just horrible design.

    • Terry Downes says:

      Hi Joel,

      This is the exact same issue I’m having, you can stop users viewing certain folders using Shared Folders by permission changes but it goes completely out of the window when using Media Library!!

      I have to say though that apart from the router giving me configuration errors every 30 mins it’s the only other problem I have.

      I’m generally happy with the way my server is running and the media streaming isn’t an issue for me.

      Specs: HP Proliant Microserver: AMD 1.5Ghz x2, 8GB RAM, 8TB HDD (4x2TB) WHS v2011 (x64)

  13. AGA Bloga says:

    Hi Geoff
    I am having the problem where the media libraries are not populated. i have restarted the server several times and still cannot get them to populate. Do you have any suggestions? is there a service that i should start or somthing.
    Other than this problem i am pleased with the server. I am using a Shuttle XS – Atom fanless system. so far so good! Running itunes as well so that i can stream to the Apple TV.
    thanks
    John

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      John, one thing you could perhaps try is to delete the current Media Library index, and force a rebuild. That might perhaps kickstart things. See here for the steps that you’ll need to follow:
      http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-GB/whsvailbeta/thread/acf30d3b-c3e3-4880-af0e-d2d6c6ab2f53

      • Andy says:

        Hey Guys, I have have a repro on the empty media library on login. Not every time but I would say 9 times out of 10. I found that restarting Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service and refreshing the browser would get the library to populate. I created a scheduled task to stop and start the service. I think this will cause issues if for instance I was streaming a movie from the server, and there are probably other impacts. I will try this for a day to see how it goes. I also need to check out your link above as that might be a more elegant way to overcome the issue. Good Luck!
        Andy

        • Andy says:

          This approach isn’t really going to work, of course the media library errors out while the service is restarting so it pretty much defeats it’s own purpose.

  14. Al Feersum says:

    Hi Geoff,

    So far I haven’t used the media library stuff on WHS 2011 in anger – I’ve had real issues with my install running as a Hyper-V guest on a 2008 R2 server. I thought I’d be clever and use 128G VHDs mounted as software RAID, but it kept stuffing bad clusters on the disk (low level format, and a full check cleaned ’em all out, now the drive is mounted direct through a Hyper-V virtual device).

    Today is the first real test of the remote media functionality: when I got to work today I found that my iPod database got corrupted (probably due to a WinAmp sync this morning), so I thought I’d stream music from my library.

    Works great!

    … until the login session times out, and the SilverLight remote media player reports that the tracks it’s trying to play have ‘errors’. Think I’ll have to have a dig around and see if I can increase the session timeout.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi Al, sounds as though you’ve been doing the “one step forwards, two steps back” waltz along with the rest of us with WHS 2011. 🙂

      The Media Library is still giving me issues via Remote Web access. I see that over at Microsoft’s Connect site, where they track bugs with their products, this problem has now been marked as “Closed”, with “External” as the qualifier. What this means is that they acknowledge it as a problem, but the resolution is not in the hands of the WHS 2011 team. I suspect that it’s over to the Silverlight team to fix the damn thing.

    • CAM55 says:

      Al,

      When you run WHS in a Hyper-V environment, you will have success if you pass through your drives instead of using vhd files. Leave the drives offline in the host OS and then set them up directly as scsi drives in the settings for the WHS machine. You will then see the drives when you run the machine. I was running that way for a couple of years without any issues and over 9TB of HDD space (internal SATA, eSATA, and USB for backup drives). I only recently separated my Home Server to reduce comlexity for any restore issues. I hope this is helpful.

  15. Hi,i also have WHS 2011.It’s running ok but i also have problems with media libary remote acces.Sometimes the pictures,music and some movie folders appear but mostly not.I think that the problem is Upnp related.Most of the time WHS 2011 gives an alert that the router is not correctly working.But everything works fine with shared folders,also streaming films on a mediaplayer.
    And there are a little video extensions such as mkv. that are not supported.So i hope that Microsoft takes a look in this problem.On the former WHS1 i had also a WordPress blog.Pity there are no add ins for WHS 2011 yet.Cheers Wouter.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi Wouter, It’s interesting that you say you get Alerts relating to UPnP not working properly. I’ve not had any such alerts, but I do wonder whether the problems are indeed related to UPnP settings – in particular the setting up of UDP ports used for streaming.

      Anyway, now that Microsoft have acknowledged that there is a problem (see my reply to Al Feersum above), we’ll see whether someone in Microsoft will fix it…

  16. Morty says:

    windows home server 2011 media library error
    ———————————————————————
    Here is what I found.
    I had placed 1400 photos into the Pictures directory. It seems as WHS 2011 cannot
    handle this number.

    I created a folder and moved them into it.
    I have ~ >30 subdirectories with ~ more than 3000 photos.
    Everything seems to work now. I hope this helps.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Thanks for the comment Morty. Unfortunately, for those of us with larger libraries, it’s still very much broken.

      I currently have 47,404 photos in 867 subdirectories. WHS 2011 simply cannot cope.

  17. e Blue says:

    I’m seeing pretty much the same things that everyone else has mentioned. I don’t think its UPNP-related because I see the same ridiculously bad performance on my local network. Either it has the worst indexing system ever designed or it simply doesn’t actually index the files and tries to generate the media listing on the fly. My gut feeling is that the product was not adequately tested on larger (>10,000) media libraries. For me the net effect is that it is pretty much unusable and considering that it was the only real reason to consider ‘upgrading’ to WHS 2011 the move has been a colossal waste of my time.

  18. Simon Russell says:

    Just to say that this is #1 in the Google rankings when searching for the error. I’ve had it since shortly after installing and have not got any further on.

    I don’t have #that# much in my library either. Maybe 2000 songs, couple of hundred photos, couple of hundred videos. I am gradually migrating all of my media over, since it was in a mess, and it fell over around this level.

    Occasionally it works, mostly it doesn’t. Thought an update fixed it a while ago, but after five minutes, back to normal.

    I’m in the UK, although that doesn’t seem to matter.

    I also get a “cookie rejected” error when trying to remote connect to the dashboard, but I don’t think that’s related.

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  20. Tom says:

    Hi, although i havent got errors, my libary just wont fill after a specific folder so i can acces my libary but not all of it, same on my xbox it does not show all of my libary, now for my xbox i installed tversity and its doeing pretty well(it also transcodes mkv) but web acces libary is a failure, however you can rebuild your libary it worked once for me so you could give it a shot

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-GB/whsvailbeta/thread/acf30d3b-c3e3-4880-af0e-d2d6c6ab2f53

    I read however geof you allready did that.

  21. DT says:

    Just installed WHS 2011…Media Library will not populate…

  22. Jeremy says:

    I’ve been having some problems with the Media Library as you described but lately, it just plain stopped working and now just shows 0 items in all three libraries. Many reboots and restarts of IIS later, nothing is resolved.

    Overall, this has been a disappointing product and having lost the libraries function, I’m tempted to just wipe this box and install a standard copy of win2k8r2 and be done with WHS forever.

  23. Schwemmi says:

    Hi. I have the same problems with the Libraries (Lots of Pics & Music) but each are shown with 0 Elements. I delete my Librarie File and the Server created a new one: about 600MB. But either with MediaPlayer as Foreign Library in the LAN nor with the WebAccess over Internet: Still 0 Elements. And, yes, I use a FritzBox, but I can’t see a Problem with this, because the MediaPlayer in my LAN has an empty Database, too. It’s disappointing.
    Schwemmi, German WHS 2011 on Hyper-V.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi Schwemmi, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that Windows Media Player running on a client PC in your home network doesn’t see any media stored on your WHS 2011, even though you have added the folders into the WMP Library?

      That’s odd. All my client PCs are able to access the media stored on my WHS 2011 over the LAN – it’s only when I try and use the Media Library services over Remote Web Access that I have problems.

      There must be something else going on in your case.

      • Schwemmi says:

        Hi Geoff.
        No, I always had Access to my e.g. Music Folder, Media Player was able to build his own, local Library with the Music Files. That was not the Problem. Even via Webinterface I could open the Folders and I saw the content.
        What not worked was the Media Library in the Web Interface. Always shown with 0 Items.
        So, please check your Settings as I described below.
        Schwemmi

    • Schwemmi says:

      Schwemmi again:
      I found a solution for my Problem (Remember my Issue was that in my Media-Library the Folders Pictures, Music and Videos were shown with 0 Itmes)
      I try to Translate form German OS:
      So I went to the Dashboard -> Server Settings -> Homenetworkgroup.
      There I clicked Change Settings.
      In this Window all my Folders have been marked with no Access. (I wonder about this because in my LAN and in my Remoteweb I had Access to those folders)
      Anyway: I set my Music, Pictures and Videos to Full Access!
      Suddenly everything was fine!

      Rgds from Germany,
      Schwemmi

      • Geoff Coupe says:

        See, I thought that there must be something else going on… Glad you got it sorted. As far as I understand it, the Media Server settings control the DLNA service available over the Remote Web Access. This is separate from the Media Library settings…

  24. Michael McDermott says:

    I had the same problem as Schwemmi — no media visible to DLNA server or remote access. Turns out if you turn off Homegroup file sharing, nothing is made available! Talk about counter-intuitive.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Michael, the Homegroup feature has its own problems, but the issue you describe is not one of them, I think. I do not use the Homegroup feature, because I want access controls per user. If you don’t define any users, then certainly no media will be visible to DLNA devices or remote access.

      • al feersum says:

        I have to agree with Geoff here. Don’t use Homegroup – you lose the granularity of user controls. I don’t want people in my household accidentally making changes or deleting data ‘by accident’.

    • Morty says:

      I experienced the same problem and solution. Turning of HomeGroup made things visible again.

  25. dszigeti says:

    Geoff, As I have similar problems to you with WHS 2011 and the Media Library (for example not showing photos and indicating “X” in slideshow mode … I decided to log into my WHS 2011 box directly (I have a head on it) and see what happens directly in Windows Media Player.

    Lo and behold, WMP didn’t show all of my photos (surprise, surprise). After I checked a few settings that really didn’t change anything, I decided to run an “Apply media changes” (on the “organize” menu) … and then I waited … and waited … but it would not complete. I did notice that the message on the dialog indicated that the “Server was busy”, and sometimes the indexing would reinitialize to 0%. It barely made it to 5% for a few hours. I tried upping the priority of WMP but it didn’t help.

    I then ran WMP using the “Run as Administrator” (I know that I am logged in as Administrator … but what the heck!) …

    Sure enough the library finally updated to 100%. Logging back in through the web interface showed all the photos and allowed the slide show mode to run correctly!!!

    So now all I need is for someone (err Microsoft?) to tell us how to fix this permanently … I hope this helps us resolve the issue sometime soon.

  26. Mark J says:

    Having the same problem with 100k files. Wasn’t a problem with a few CD rips but once I got them all in, selected and shared the WMP has had the CPU pegged for several hours now. This isn’t a typical home server either. I dropped in a Intel Dual Port Gigabit Server NIC and LSI raid card. The CPU is a Core 2 duo, not super-duper fast but I never had problems indexing those same files before. So really this is a software problem. WMP shows all the files in there but at the bottom right updating the media library for T:\X folder. Even more odd is that when I clicked on the Music portion of the window media player on the server locally I got an error: “The remote media library did not allow the connection. Please contact device manufacturer.” Um I am the device architect. This is the local machine, what connection failed? I can get to the stuff on the share drive that I have mapped over the lan, why not at the core on the machine it’self. I wonder if updating windows media player might do it.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Since it’s a server, I doubt whether Microsoft consider using WMP locally to be a supported scenario, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are problems using it. There are clearly issues in the media library/DLNA implementation of WHS 2011. I just hope that Microsoft are addressing them.

  27. Mark J says:

    Also of interest the library started to build and there was a lot but sometime after 3 pages of music it failed.

  28. Anno says:

    Hello, is there all a solution to the error problem. My library don’t work at all.

  29. Simon says:

    Oddly enough, my error went away a while ago. I don’t recall doing anything bizarre to the server.

    I started using a client machine’s Media Player to Find Album Info and Update the music. I don’t know whether that inadvertently fixed a file that the server was tripping over on.

    Mind you, I’ve only got about 2k photos, 6k songs and a few hundred videos. I have more, but I’m moving them over gradually so I can have a clear out on the way.

    Really wish I could offer a solution, but somehow mine just started working again.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Simon, I think that’s the thing – Microsoft’s media library software simply doesn’t scale. I have over 50,000 photos and 12,500 songs, and the media library just doesn’t work without throwing errors.

      • Simon says:

        Yes, agreed. Thing is, I used to get the error 99% of the time. I was thinking that maybe I’d thrown too much at it too quickly, and it takes an unreasonable amount of time to process the library. I certainly haven’t removed anything from the library, so who knows.

        Like you say, everything points to large libraries (or at least large as far as WHS is concerned).

        • Anno says:

          Here there same problem. i have a lot of photos and some music. I have the problem from the start. about a year now. So it will take some more waiting time than. But nobody except Microsoft can fix the problem?

          • Geoff Coupe says:

            I don’t think that there is an easy-to-install third party equivalent of Microsoft’s Remote Web Access to the Media Library feature. Some people are using Subsonic to stream music via the web, but that’s not a complete solution, nor does it look easy to setup and maintain. So unless someone has another suggestion, it looks as though we’re stuck with waiting for Microsoft.

            If you want to replace Microsoft’s Media Libary for access over your local network, then some people are using Serviio to do this. Since my problems are with Remote Access over the Web (local network access works fine), then I haven’t gone down this route.

            • Anno says:

              The local access works fine to (but the load time of starting the dashboard is long). Oke i will wait and hope that someone beats microsoft whit fixing this problem. (ow and I have followed this site since I had the problem)

            • Duke says:

              Hi all,

              I’ve been experiencing these media library error for months, using either remote web access or the Windows phone application for WHS 2011. Please note I’m using this for music only (roughly 1300+ tracks).
              I spent hours and hours trying to isolate the error/find a workaround (I posted recently on Microsoft Connect, too) without success, and finally gave up.

              Then, some days ago, the Windows Phone application for WHS 2011 was updated. I tried using it again, and… it worked?!!! I went back to the remote web application… it also worked, whereas it would have systematically failed before.
              And this has been working without any error for several days now… I looked at the Windows update history, but could not identify any WHS 2011 specific one, so I wonder what was the trigger…

              Am I just lucky?

              • Geoff Coupe says:

                Duke, I think you’re right that things have improved following the update, but they are not totally solved for me. I still get errors when trying to view my photos sorted by date…

                • al feersum says:

                  I’ll have to agree Geoff. Something /has/ improved… but it still isn’t great. I think the only real alternative is to crack open the SDK and work on replacing the remote interface as a collaborative open sourced project. Perhaps, then, with community involvement and a community of developers, a team can put together something that works /properly/ and also adds the features that users want, instead of using the default ‘basic’ interface. After all, that /is/ what the SDK is for…

  30. Dave says:

    Problem using Remote App on an iTouch connecting to iTunes running on Windows Home Server 2011.
    Have recently built a server with Windows Home Server 2011, but am having an issue adding the iTunes Library on my iTouch. When I select add a library on my iTouch the passcode is displayed on my Win HS 2011 server and is accepted. But on the iTouch it just hands and the library name is not displayed. (I tried turning off the firewall but no effect). It all works fine on my Windows 7 64bit PC.
    Has anyone had a similar problem or things to try?

    • Dave says:

      PS when the the iTouch it hangs, I any able to move back. iTunes is working OK on the server it’s just the remote that’s the issue.

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  32. haim benalon israel says:

    Hello,
    I have exactly the same problem. Photos (lots of) wont show on media library and an error message appears. Am waiting for a fix. Like your blog:-) see what happens:-)

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi, I’m afraid there’s no fix in sight at the moment. Microsoft is aware of the issue, but all they suggest is to reduce the size of your media library…

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  34. Craig says:

    Geoff, now that it’s 2015 what are you using for server software? I am still using whs 2011 and it’s still not very good even with all the updates.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Craig, well, I’m still using WHS 2011, but I’m certainly not using the web-based Media Library feature. That’s as broken as it ever was.

      I am still using WHS 2011 as a media server, and for taking daily backups of our client PCs and tablets. For those purposes, WHS 2011 still excels, as far as I’m concerned.

      The server holds all our media (films, recorded TV, music and photos), and makes it available over our home network to client devices. I still find myself using Windows Media Center on our HTPC for music/photo playback, but I’m still in the process of choosing between Plex and Emby (formerly known as MediaBrowser 3) for other media and devices. Whichever I choose, the media will still be held on the WHS 2011 system.

      • Simon says:

        I’m currently in a similar boat. I’m migrating away from using Windows Media Center in favour of simpler clients and having a server perform the back end work (Chromecast/Raspberry Pi). Getting tired of maintaining PCs at every screen, when there are plug and play options out there. In the process of converting all movies to MKV and am running Plex for now, but not set on it. No one solution out there can get live TV, movies, music etc all in a single interface like WMC could. Trying out OSMC (what was Raspbmc), and seeing if I can get Plex in that to look native.

        The main difference is that my Movies are on an unRaid server (with all other files on WHS2011). The version of unRaid currently in RC status supports installing Plex (and other dockers), and can run virtual machine, so I am considering setting up some backup on that and doing away with the WHS2011 box altogether. Plex handles the web side, and Microsoft didn’t seem to care much for the home user, plus they appear to be acknowledging that others do the media side better seeing as they’re dropping WMC.

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