Getting Started With Windows Home Server 2011

I see that Microsoft’s Michael Leworthy has posted that the latest update of the “Getting Started With Windows Home Server 2011” document is now available. This version is dated June 2011, and replaces an earlier one dated February 2011.

It’s a pity, therefore, to report that errors that were present in the February version are still there in the June edition. For example, take this page:

WHS2011 57

In the Pre-Defined Shared Folders section, it states:

Your home server is pre-configured with the following shared folders: Pictures, Music, Videos, Documents, Recorded TV and Users. From the Windows Home Server 2011 Dashboard you can specify the user permissions for these folders and create a number of new shared folders.

Wrong. In WHS 2011, the pre-defined shared folders are: Client Computer Backups, Documents, Music, Pictures, Music, Recorded TV, and Videos (as can be seen in the screenshot immediately above in the Guide). In the original version of WHS, the pre-defined folders were Photos, Music, Videos, Public, and Software. In addition, every user who had an account created on WHS would automatically have a folder created for them; e.g. user Geoff would have a folder  \\server\users\geoff. In WHS 2011, these user folders are no longer created automatically, so there is no “users” folder.

At the end of the Guide, there is a section on Resources that are available to help you with WHS 2011:

WHS2011 58

Unfortunately, the links given for Installation Instructions and General Help are still mistakenly swapped (doesn’t anyone at Microsoft check this stuff?). The link under Installation Instructions takes you to the General Help pages, and the link under the General Help pages takes you to the online Release Notes (which contain the latest Installation Instructions).

I’ve commented on the poor quality of the General Help pages before (both here on the blog, and in feedback direct to Microsoft); unfortunately, as far as I can see, they are still unchanged and as bad as ever. The WHS 2011 Product Pages were supposed to be cleaned up this week also. As of today, they are still in the same chaotic state that they’ve had for a few weeks now.

Addendum 5th July 2011: I was browsing through the excellent We Got Served forums today, and noticed that someone had reported that the WHS 2011 notification icon in the Windows System Tray wasn’t turning blue when a backup of the PC was in progress. This was always the case in WHS v1, so I was surprised to read that it wasn’t apparently working in WHS 2011. It’s even mentioned in the Getting Started documentation:

WHS2011 62 

Intrigued, I looked at the System Tray icon on a couple of my PCs whilst they were having a backup taken, and sure enough, it wasn’t turning blue. I then discovered that this bug had been reported to Microsoft on the Microsoft Connect web site (note, if you haven’t got an account there, you won’t be able to follow that link, I’m afraid). Astonishingly, Microsoft have replied:

This is a good suggestion, although we decided in the 2011 release that backups should be seamless and not neccessarily [sic] notify the user of when they are in place.

Ah, yes, the “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature” defence. If they’re going to pull that one, then they should also change the documentation to be in line… And what on earth do they mean by describing this as “seamless”? “Invisible”, more like. The whole point of the icon behaviour in WHS v1 was that you could see at a glance whether a backup was in progress, so that you didn’t shut down your computer while it was underway. I’m already seeing complaints on the forums that people are missing this, and pointing out that it was very easy to use by family members. Now, you have to go into the Launchpad and click the backup button. If there’s no backup underway, the Launchpad will ask you if you want to start one. If there is one underway, the Launchpad will tell you how far it’s got. Family members don’t want this hassle (many don’t even want to see the Launchpad), and neither do I.

I’m sorry that I always seem to be negative about WHS 2011. I really want it to succeed, but it seems to me that the lack of attention to detail and the resulting slip in quality, not to mention the issues in the shipped software, does not generate a good impression of the product. It could have been so much better.

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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3 Responses to Getting Started With Windows Home Server 2011

  1. Actually Geoff, it’s probably half-updated. “Documents” is a 2011 share, not present by default in V1. Apart from my own new folders (Calendar, Downloads, GI Laptop Backups :), P80ServiceImages and WebFolders4WHSShare) I have Music, Photos, Public, Recorded TV, Software, Users and Videos. I wonder if it got typed on autopilot and the proof-readers saw what they thought they saw – Grauniad-style.

  2. Pingback: Windows Home Server Support | Geoff Coupe's Blog

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