In our last feature, we looked at excluding folders from Windows Home Server’s backup schedule. This time around, we change tack with a look at how to find and install add-ins in Windows Home Server, as we welcome WGS’ Wiki Editor, Etoa.
Before we talk about how to install an add-in we should probably define what an add-in actually is. In the Windows Home Server (WHS) world an add-in is a specially packaged piece of software which provides additional capabilities and functionality that is not available in the basic WHS operating system. Add-ins are usually written by third party developers, some of whom provide them for free whilst others sell them for a small fee.
A very complete listing of add-ins can be found at the We Got Served’s (WGS) sister site, Home Server plus. Each add-in has a full description as well as ratings from community members.
You can also find discussion topics for each of the add-ins in the We Got Served Forums for community developed add-ins and for commercially developed add-ins, where you can discuss, provide and receive support and swap tips and tricks on each add-in.
So, once you find an add-in that you want to install, how do you go about doing it?
Step 1: Download the add-in from the developer’s web site.
These download locations can be found under their listing at Home Server plus. Whilst you are at the developer’s web site you should probably check to see if there are any special installation instructions.
Add-in installation files should always have a “.msi” file extension. If you download a file and it’s in a .zip format, simply unzip it (using the Extract command) in Windows Explorer before proceeding.
Step 2: Move the downloaded add-in to the Add-ins sub-folder in your shared Software folder on the home server.
Ideally you should download it directly to that folder. To access the folder, double click on the Shared Folders icon on your desktop, then navigate to the Software folder, then the Add-ins sub-folder.
Step 3: Receive a message!
A taskbar notification will fire up telling you the add-in is ready to install. Simply click that notification to open up the Windows Home Server login screen, or use your usual method to login to the Windows Home Server console.
Step 4: Click on Settings in the upper right hand corner and then select Add-Ins from the list.
In the add-ins section of the console you will see two tabs, “Installed” and “Available”. The installed tab lists those add-ins which are already installed while the available tab lists those which are available to be installed.
If you are planning to install a new version of an already installed add-in, you should uninstall the old version first. Do this by clicking on the “Uninstall” button next to the old version. After the add-in uninstalls, the console will close. Reopen the console again and go back to the add-ins section as described in step 4 above.
Step 5: To find your add-in, click on the Available tab.
The add-ins available for installation will be listed there. Click on the Install button next to the one to be installed. After the add-in is installed the console will close. Re-open the console as described in step 4 to see your new add-in.It will now be listed in the Installed Tab in Add-ins.
If the add-in you want to install is not listed under the available tab then check to make sure that the downloaded <add-in name>.msi file is in the WHS Software\Add-ins shared folder. If the software was downloaded in zipped format, it will need to be unzipped before it can be installed.
That’s how you install a Windows Home Server add-in – it’s very easy! Now head over to Home Server plus to check out the wide range of wonderful Windows Home Server add-ins now available.
In our next Get Started guide, we’ll walkthrough setting up remote access to your home server.