It’s finally here – ever since HP announced last year that they would be making their v3.0 MediaSmart Server software available to all owners, I’ve had a steady stream of email (building into a torrent in recent weeks) from readers asking when it’ll be available.
As you’ll have read, the update is now available to order direct from HP. You’ll receive a new set of disks and a set of upgrade instructions helping you through the steps required to upgrade. We were fortunate enough to receive a pre-production upgrade pack at the beginning of the month, so whilst you’re waiting for your disks, let’s run you through what’s required!
We’re going to walkthrough the process using the first generation EX475 HP MediaSmart Server. This is the lowest powered MediaSmart Server, shipping with a (mis-guided) 512Mb of memory, and an AMD Sempron 3400 processor. When it comes to using the v3.0 software, the processor is fine, but that memory will need to be upgraded. HP are advising that if you do not upgrade the memory of the EX470 series before updating the software to v3.0, your subsequent home server performance will be poor. Whilst the memory upgrade process is a little fiddly, there are some really good guides online to walk you through the process. Make sure you power up your home server with at least 1GB of memory, and then proceed.
If you’re an EX480 series owner, your machines are fine to run the update without switching out your memory.
For the record, our WGS EX475 test machine had a 2GB upgrade a while ago, and is remains nippy and responsive following the update.
You should not need to backup the data on your home server, but may wish to do so for absolute protection during the update. Do however make sure that you do not have any important data stored on the Windows Home Server system volume as this will be formatted during the update. Your shared folders are safe.
How Does The Update Work?
You’ll spot that HP will ship you a new set of discs for your MediaSmart Server – a Software Installation Disc (which you use to connect home computers to your home server), PC Restore Disc (for restoring a home computer in the event of an issue) and the star of this particular show – the Server Recovery Disc. That’s right, to update your home server, we’re going to do a Server Recovery, which will wipe and replace your Windows Home Server software installation whilst ensuring your the data in your shared folders is untouched.
Our pre-production discs looked like this (yours are likely to be a bit more colourful!)
For the EX470 series:
For the EX480 series:
Things to Bear In Mind Before You Update
Remember that whilst HP have added a lot of new functionality to the MediaSmart Server software over time, they’ve also dropped a couple of features which are detailed below. Also remember that doing a Server Recovery basically creates a fresh installation of Windows Home Server, so that means post-update, you’ll have to set-up your user accounts again, as well as re-install any add-ins you have installed. The add-in files themselves will still be in your Add-ins tab waiting for you – you’ll just have to install them again from within the Windows Home Server Console.
Okay, with regard to what changes when you install the update, the list varies a little based on whether you’re updating the EX470 or EX480 series.
- Second generation Video Converter
Create profiles to match your viewing device
Control how your video is converted
- Enhanced Media CollectorFaster collections
Select specific media, locations, computers to collect from
- Improved status feedback
- HP Media StreamerStream music, photos, and videos to any Internet connected computer
Requires a web browser and HP MediaSmart Server personal web address
- HP Photo Publisher and HP Photo ViewerPublish photos to popular photo sharing sites like Snapfish, Facebook, Flickr™, and Picassa™ Web Albums.
Share photos directly from the HP MediaSmart Server using Photo Viewer and a personal web address
- More MacMac Media Collection
Server Administration via Mac
Faster Mac image level backup and recovery
- Improved user interfaceNew look & feel
Improved user flows
Feature overview pages in the Windows Home Server Console
Web based home page – access your media from home (local network) or away (via web) using a single easy to navigate web based user interface.
New more intuitive console – set up, configure, check status from the new server administrator console page
TwonkyMedia Server is an integrated part of the HP MediaSmart Server v.3 software.
- Compatible with the HP MediaSmart Server iStream ApplicationFree download from the iTunes App Store
Securely stream music, photos, and videos from your server to an iPhone or iPod touch
So, lot of great new features, but there’s a small cost. A few features will also be removed:
- The HP MediaSmart Server Control Center is replaced by the web-based HP MediaSmart Server Home Page.
- Settings for iTunes on the Tools tab of the HP MediaSmart Server – Control Center will go away and it is replaced by the HP Media Collector. The HP Media Collector can be set up to scan network computers for music, photos, and videos and copy them to your server.
- HP Photo Webshare will go away and it is replaced with HP Photo Publisher and HP Photo Viewer. Photos in your Webshare albums will be copied to your Photos shared folder during the upgrade. See above for more information on Photo Publisher.
- If you had the HP MediaSmart Server Mac software, it will need to be uninstalled. The new HP MediaSmart Server v.3 Mac software should be installed in its place.
- If you installed the Server Online Backup add-in, it will be removed from your server during the HP MediaSmart Server v.3 upgrade. You will need to download and install the newer Server Online Backup add-in after the upgrade. It is a free download. The new Server Online Backup add-in will continue to work with your existing Amazon S3 account.
Still up for upgrading? Right, let’s get started!