How to Install Windows Home Server Vail on the HP MediaSmart Server

by Alex Kuretz on April 26, 2010 · 200 comments

in Guides

Now that Windows Home Server Codename “Vail” has been released to public beta, I’m sure there are several of you that would like to install the beta operating system onto the MediaSmart Server that you already own. While it is possible to install and run Vail on any MediaSmart Server, be aware that each model has its own unique requirements in order to successfully install.

If the MediaSmart Server is your only or primary Home server, I’d recommend that you instead use a spare 64-bit PC or purchase a low-cost test server to use.

Most importantly, be aware that this is a Beta Release, and as such you should not use the Beta as your only form of backup of your important files. Be sure that you have backups of your data, and only store on Vail data that you know is backed up elsewhere.

Pre-Installation Setup
First, you’ll need to follow our guide on creating an unattended Vail Installer on a USB Flash Key. It’s important to setup the unattended “cfg.ini” file if you are performing the install without the benefit of a debug board that provides video and keyboard functionality to your MediaSmart Server.

Next, it is important to remove any partitions from the system drive because the MediaSmart Servers are configured to boot off of that hard drive if it has a bootable OS. In order to force the server to boot off of our flash key, we need to clean the drive.

Take the hard drive you have identified as your System (Operating System) drive, and delete any partitions that may be on it. NOTE that this will effectively erase the drive and remove any data you have stored on it. You can delete the partitions by attaching the drive to your PC, the easiest way is via a USB external drive enclosure. If you don’t own such an enclosure, you can connect the drive to one of the extra available motherboard connectors on your PC. Be sure to power off your PC first, connect the System drive, boot your PC, and delete the partitions from the drive via Disk Management. For the LX195, you’ll need to take apart the server in order to access the drive and remove it.

Insert the drive into the bottom slot of your MediaSmart Server, insert the USB key into the bottom rear port, and disconnect any other USB devices. LX195 owners will need to reinstall the system drive into the server chassis, and in my testing either bottom USB port worked successfully. Be sure to connect the server to your network so it can download any required updates during the setup process.

Installing Vail on the EX485, EX487, EX490, EX495, X510 DataVault, and LX195
After performing the pre-install steps, power on your server. It should boot off of the attached USB flash key, and automatically partition and format the hard drive, then uncompress the installation files and copy them to the drive. During this part of the process the Health LED will be blinking aqua/red. This part of the installation takes approximately 8 minutes on my EX495 and DataVault, and I expect a similar or slightly longer time for the EX490. The LX195 with it’s slower Atom processor took approximately 20 minutes. After this step completes the server should reboot itself.

The server will perform the rest of the installation automatically and the Health LED should be blinking solid aqua. You can see what that sequence of events looks like in our Vail Manual Installation guide. This part can take 20-30 minutes or more. On the slower LX195 this took up to 60 minutes! Be patient, and wait until you are able to access the server to perform the initial setup.

After the installation completes, you can begin the setup process by opening a browser and navigating to your server setup page at http:///connect or http:///connect .

Installing Vail on the EX470 and EX475
Note that Vail requires 1GB of RAM to install, and since the EX470 and EX475 shipped with only 512MB of RAM you will need to upgrade the memory in these servers before you can perform the install.

Installing Vail on the older models of MediaSmart server unfortunately is not as easy as it is on the newer models. This is due to the on-board USB recovery flash that the earlier servers used to perform the Server Recovery process. The boot order for these servers conflicts with the Vail installer and it will error out of the install process.

The easiest way to install Vail on these servers is to make or purchase a debug cable to provide keyboard, video, and mouse access to the server. However, fellow MVP Christoph Harding discovered that by changing the boot order in the BIOS he was able to allow the Vail installation to proceed. The following procedure should allow you to install Vail on your MediaSmart Server without a video connection, though it does require a USB keyboard.

  • Set up the flash key and hard drives as described in the first part of this guide
  • Make sure the Flash Key is in the bottom rear USB port
  • Attach a USB keyboard to another USB port on the server
  • Power on the server, and almost immediately begin pressing F12 repeatedly on the keyboard for approximately 10 seconds (too long won’t matter). This will gain you access to the boot list
  • Press down on the keyboard 7 times, and then press Enter. This selects USB-CDRom as the boot source
  • The unattended installation should continue at this point.

There are a few failure points that can occur and cause the Vail installation to not complete successfully. Unfortunately these are incredibly difficult to troubleshoot without having video and keyboard connected. Here are the top errors I encountered while installing Vail on the various MediaSmart Server systems.

  • Server name collision:
  • The Vail installation will halt and prompt you to edit the unattended answer file if you have configured the server name the same as another system existing on your network. You are best off by making sure the name you pick for your server is unique.

  • Invalid system partition size:
  • The Vail installation will halt and require a restart if the unattended answer file has a value for the system partition that is not valid. Acceptable values are 20 to 60, or “Max” to use the entire drive.

  • Hardware requirements not met:
  • Vail requires 1GB of RAM, and installation will fail on the EX470 and EX475 with their default 512MB of RAM. You’ll need to upgrade the memory in your server to at least 1GB before performing the installation.

  • System hard drive not clean:
  • If the System drive does not have all it’s partitions removed (due to not cleaning it off initially or because an installation aborted due to one of the above failures) the server will likely fail to boot from the USB flash key and Vail will not install.

Hopefully this guide has proven helpful to get you running Windows Home Server Vail on your HP MediaSmart Server. Post in the comments or forums to let us know if you were successful with performing your installation.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


eidos April 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Alex Thanks for the guide. I just built a DIY homeserver to test vail but I preinstalled WHS 2003 to play around. I will follow your guide.



Comp1962 April 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I will take a crack at installing Vail on an EX470 the one I use as a test server but I will use a new drive for the install just so that if I want to restore the server I can just swap the drives out. But to be honest the 10 drive limitation just hurts. Fortunately this unit has never seen 10 drives in its life time but its a test server so it will be a good test for it.

eli April 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

is there any way to upgrade whs to vail without deleting everything?

Comp1962 April 26, 2010 at 9:30 pm

@ eli ~ The approach I am going to take is to set Vail up on a new drive and preserve the existing drives in the EX470 I am going to install it on. Now this does a couple things. (1) It preserves the server in the state it was running but not using the current drives in use for Vail. (2) It allows you to play with Vail for a while and then you can shut your server down and put the other drives back in and continue using your server as always.

I honestly think thats a good way to evaluate Vail without hurting what you have. That or you can set it up using VM which also has I believe 2 guies on how to do it but have not yet gotten around to reading them yet.

eli April 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Im still curious if vail with cleanly install on top of whs- perhaps on another pc with a screen, then I can move the hd back. Im using a acer ah340

Alex Kuretz April 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

eli – No, there is no migration path from WHS v1 to Vail, and I do not believe there will be one even at the release. There is no Microsoft product that will migrate from 32-bit to 64-bit, plus the changes in Drive Extender and the Backups are huge. I have been advocating for any migration tools and documents that Microsoft can produce, but I personally believe there will be no clean upgrade path.

Dan Menapace April 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm

So by creating a unattended “cfg.ini” file in the root directory this will make the installation process show up on my Win7 computer monitor as long as the mediasmart server is connected to the network?

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

@Dan Menapace – Not exactly, the unattended file will supply all the configuration options so you don’t need a display and keyboard to perform the install. After it has completed your server will be set up and waiting for you to configure it, which you do by opening a browser on your client PC and pointing it to http://servername/connect .

Chris Mossom April 27, 2010 at 4:09 am

Doing an install as we speak, one question though:

What should the health light be doing? Currently it’s blinking blue, good or bad?

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

@Chris, good point, the health LEDs on all the MediaSmart Servers are controlled by software running in Windows Home Server. Since that software doesn’t exist in Vail, the health LED will just blink blue and you’ll have no drive LEDs. Glad to hear you got it working, which model server did you install?

Chris Mossom April 27, 2010 at 4:37 am

Ahh, flashing blue is good… Installed!!

eidos April 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I installed on a DIY test home server and I used the original WHS2003 primary drive. Your instructions were good but the delete partition selection was not available on the computer manager. I used the Delete Volume section on both partitions and this set the entire disk to an unallocated drive with a single partition and it worked fine.

Thanks for the instrustions!

CubanBlood April 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm

One thing that concerns me is the upgrade from v1 to Vail. I know microsoft will not provide a upgrade option from 32 to 64 bit. If you do a clean installation will you loose all the data on the HDD you had on v1. How do you think we will be able to upgrade from v1 to v2 and not loose the data?

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm

@Cubanblood – I expect a manual migration such as I describe here will be the only way, except you won’t be able to keep your client backup database.

Dan Menapace April 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Should the health light be flashing white and red while it’s installing?

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

@Dan Menapace – Possibly, depends on what server you have.

Dan Menapace April 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I have the EX485.

Kostazu April 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Very nice guide, excited to try out Vail.

Doing the install on a EX495, and I’m getting the blue and red flashing health light when trying the install as well. Hoping it’s working :)

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Good questions, Dan and Kostazu. I’ve verified that the aqua/red blinking Health LED is correct during the first part of the installation, and after the first reboot the Health LED should blink aqua. I’ve updated the guide above.

Dan Menapace April 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

My server just keeps blinking blue and red and never reboots for over an hour already.
So there must be an error. I’m thinking of trying a different hard drive and see if that works. Maybe Vail doesnt have WD Green Power drivers built in.

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I would try it again, and make sure you’ve deleted all partitions from the drive.

Kostazu April 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Going to try a new drive myself as soon as I finish copying over the data on it.

I initially tried a 200 GB maxtor, and had the blinking blue and red and no reboot for over an hour as well. The server did seem to find the usb key, and seemed to copy the data over, but no dice on the drive.

Will try a 1.5 TB Segate next

Dan Menapace April 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Yea the drive is unallocated no patitions.
I have another newer WD Green 1GB drive that I’ll try next.

Kostazu April 27, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Tried a couple different things here. I took out a – from the middle of my server name (though it’s supposed to be ok, just to be on the safe side), I re-locked the system drive lock and I tried the Seagate drive.

Worked like a charm, just connected to the server. :D

Alex Kuretz April 27, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Great to hear, Kostazu! Let us know how you like Vail, here in or preferably in the forums. 8)

Dan Menapace April 28, 2010 at 12:35 am

I finally got mine to install. It wasnt the drives.
It was dumb user error. I manually copied the code for the ini file along with the list numbers by mistake instead of just using the copy to clipboard feature.

Alex Kuretz April 28, 2010 at 1:06 am

Dan, glad to hear it was an easy fix, I’ve updated the instructions to make it more clear how to copy/paste the entries for the cfg.ini to hopefully avoid anyone else having the same issue.

Dan Menapace April 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

Im really liking Vail so far. It even recognized my 2 Samsung 1.5TB drives correctly. Something the HP software failed to do.

Jon April 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

Any Guesses when a HP MediaSmart will come out with Vail ? Christmas ? Seems like enough time for vail to be out and about ? My EX475 is itching to find a new home :)

Alex Kuretz April 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

Jon, no clue, neither Microsoft nor HP have made any announcements about release dates or availability.

Rhinoevans April 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Anyone know if the AHCI drivers are their and recognized correctly for SATA Hot Swap? Problem I have with current WHS

Alex Kuretz April 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I’m not sure what you mean, all MediaSmart Servers can hot-swap drives in WHS v1.

Dan Menapace April 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Hot swap wouldnt work for for me with Vail. Had to reboot each time I added drives.

Rhinoevans April 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm

@ Kuretz

On my home built, WHS did not have the AHCI drivers, and you were supposed to install them during the uinstall of WHS. I did not install the drivers during the install and was STUCK in IDE for SATA. Never could get a good answer on the Zotac H55 ITX, what SATA AHCI controller was on the MB to update the Primary IDE drivers in the device manager. I have a floppy and the drivers ready this time, but should not need if VAIL has the ANCI drivers, which it should if it is Server 2008.

Rhinoevans April 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

@ Dan Menapace

Are your drives in SATA or IDE? Also doing the install to VAIL as I write this, so far no issues.

Dan Menapace April 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Whatever the default is for the EX485. Ive never checked the Bios on my server.

Jamie Park April 28, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Hi Alex, I’m installing Vail on a EX495. My first attempt using a new WD 2TB Caviar Green drive resulted in a BOIS failure (flashing Red heart beat led). Reading the release notes – Page 16 – Vail can’t recognize the new WD “Advanced Format Drive” as a boot device.

Comp1962 April 28, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I just installed Vail on an EX470 with 2GB RAM, Stock Processor and a lonely 500 GB Drive I had but I left the WHS-1 on the drive that was previously used so I can swap between the 2 versions of WHS.

So far so good only 1 driver could not be loaded. For now I am just looking around. I did look at the server backup configuration but was disappointed in that I had to use a connected hard drive for that. I was really hoping that I could back up the server to a drive on my network but its still a good option to have I would of just prefered more flexibility with it.

One thing I am concerned with is fan speed regulation as I have no real way that I can see to monitor the CPU temperature so for now I chose not to run my EX470 with Vail 24-7.

I will be looking to see if I can get the drive lights to light up and see if there is a way to get the fans to run abit faster using some of the past EX470 posts where others installed other server software and got things like that to work.

Rhinoevans April 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

@ Dan Menapace

I just checked my install, and even though it loaded the AHCI controller (which I think is what gives us Hto Swap) during the install, my BIOS showed my SATA drive in IDE mode. just enabled AHCI, and rebooted. It seemed to work.

Alex Kuretz April 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm

@Jamie – Thanks for confirming that the EARS (Advanced Format) drives don’t work, sorry it didn’t work for you.

@Rhino and @Comp – The EX47x had special RAID drivers that enabled hot swap, not AHCI, even though the RAID wasn’t used. I’m not positive about the newer models. Sounds like you’re on the right track to figuring it out.

Rhinoevans April 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Whats up with the Fat32 for the DE?

Rhinoevans April 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm
Comp1962 April 29, 2010 at 12:56 am

@ Rhinoevans ~ Wow I can’t believe I missed that but I did not miss the drive properties off the Server Folders and Hard Drives being listed as a RAID Connection Type. Maybe an old format is teaching a new dog a few tricks.

Rhinoevans April 29, 2010 at 1:31 am

@ Comp1962

I ALMOST reformated to NTFS, but decided that it must be correct. I was never given the choice to select NTFS. I have already drop an 8 G file on the DE so the Fat 32 4G limit must not be an issue.

Comp1962 April 29, 2010 at 4:48 am

@ Rhinoevans ~ Cool! Gives me an idea to drop a Blu-Ray MKV file in there to see how it goes. Best thing about this is we can beat the hell out of it and if we screw it up then we can always test to see how the Server Recovery software works. When I arrive home from work I will place an assortment of files on the server and maybe find another drive or two to install to enable duplication but this weekend I will play with remote access to see if I can get my TZO domain added in there or maybe setup another free domain doesn’t matter how I do it I just want to be able to see if I can access a 3rd server off one network. Already doing it with 2 servers.

Rhino April 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

@ Comp1962

I got remote Access to work last night, Vail shows an error but it works???
Installed YAMJ last night and it work like a charm. I miss the pie charts for the HD, but overall much better

Comp1962 April 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I played with Remote Access but I also knew I would have to tweak my router again forwarding external to internal ports so I was not surprised it would not work right off the bat but its fairly intelligent. I will try to read up on the inner workings of manually setting things up which would not be necessary if I only had 1 server but I have 3 of which 2 are accessable. I have some ideas to try out but I will require alot of time and weekdays does not afford me much time. But I am confident with the tools provided within VAIL that it will be a much easier task then with WHS-1.

Rhino April 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Vail said that my forward ports and firewall was wrong, However, I am at work and I can see and access my server from here. Played some music today, so I guess it works. :)

eidos April 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Just a comment. I have three servers and when I had two I set up remote access to two different web sites and I have to manually set up my router to allow one server to work. When I set up two servers neither one would work. I finally gave up trying to use two servers. I like to know if you ever get yours working. I finally selected the most powerful server to allow web access.

bpop April 29, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I just tried installing my ex470 with no luck. It boots from the usb but nothing happens after that. I have a clean drive. Actually tried diff drives. Also cleaned the drive again put them in a dell and booted from the usb. on the dell the install goes just fine and fully unattended. Any ideas?

Comp1962 April 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

@ eidos and Rhino ~ I am now able to remote to VAIL and my primary server. I had to drop my configuration for the EX470 running 3.0. I can get 2 servers to remote but I will be damned if I can get the 3rd but in the end I just need to remote to 2 not 3 anyway.

I do see the remote access message indicating the Router is not working but it is which is not the first time I have seen this type of message I even see it in WHS-1 from time to time and yet there is no problem so I will ignore that one and tomorrow I will test it from work.

I do not believe the remote access functions in VAIL to be fully functional yet as some of the things for manually setting up remote access do not appear to be fully functional. I did find one area for adjusting ports but they were ghosted out. I know if I could adjust them that I could possibly get it two work along side my other 2 servers but for now I am at the mercy of VAIL wanting to configure things its own way.

@ bpop ~ I would look closely at your USB Drive to make certain its been setup properly and then go over the instructions Alex wrote just to make certain you have not missed anything. I really can’t comment any futher on the unattended installation because all my servers have monitors so it makes things like installing VAIL easier. But I know Alex writes his guides with great care. Hopefully someone who has done an unattended install can offer you some better advise but hang in there VAIL is interesting to play with.

Dan Menapace April 29, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Did you put USB drive in the bottom port in the back?
I don’t think it works anywhere else.

Rhinoevans April 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Can anyone tell me how to change the password on a user. It says it is available, but I do not see it.

bpop April 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Yes. usb in bottom port. You see the light go on the usb stick for about 35 seconds then nothing. I am 100% sure the stick it good as I used it on another system. I am stumped.

Rhinoevans April 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Changing User Password. I found it. It is not in the Dashboard. It is on the Desktop Icon Server Manager. Configuration/Local Users and Groups. Guess I need a Server 2008 book.

Comp1962 April 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Rhinoevans ~ Hey good to know. You know I had the same thought about getting a Windows Server 2008 book but then it occurred to me I would read something in it and get all excited about it and find its not in VAIL so one side of me say get the book the other side says not to. It would be nice however if Microsoft Press released a book in future specifically for VAIL.

Oh yea my setup for Remote Access for VAIL is working perfectly however its slow on the EX470 and I mean slow but once it loads up it runs fine. For now I am just going to come up with a plan for data migration but I need another port multiplier so I will have to finish building my MSS Port Multiplier this weekend and get some drives an start moving my data a head of time.

Rhinoevans April 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

@ Comp1962

Vail up and running for 2 days now. Moved about 500G of stuff to folders, backed up 3 pC, and installed YAMJ. All is WELL. Thinking about getting one of those HP from Newegg tonight even though I just built this DIY i5. The Ex490 @ $397 FSNT, and since I need another 1 TB drive, it is allful tempting to just get the HP. Any thought?

Rhinoevans April 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Does antone know if the HP EX 490/495 come with OS disk? So if I wipe it clean for Vail, I can restore to Factory specs?

Alex Kuretz May 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm

@Rhino – All MediaSmart Servers come with Server Recovery disks for reloading WHS v1.

Comp1962 April 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

@ Rhinoevans ~ The EX49x price today at NewEgg is a good deal who am I to stop anyone from ordering one. Like all HP MSS you get 3 disks so if you want to install Vail on it your good to go. After reading a post from Diehard I removed my connector software from my desktop then installed the connector software for VAIL then I reinstalled the WHS-1 connector software so now my Desktop is being backed up by WHS-1 and Vail. I am thinking of doing the same with a couple other computers as well just to give VAIL a few things to do but I also want to fill up all the drive bays a move data to VAIL Server then if I can finish my MSS Port Multiplier then I can connect it up to see how it works not just with VAIL but just to see how well it works in general.

Rhinoevans April 30, 2010 at 9:32 pm

If it wasnt for the NON support of MKV on all the extra software that the HP provides, I”d push BUY at new egg now!

Maybe just build another DIY, based on the i3. I think they are almost under $100 now so

case $100 Chenbro Sr209 9 bay (Already have a 450 watt PS)
CPU $120 i3
MB $120 Intel BOXDH57JG
Ram $50 2G
OS free VAIL (Deferred cash flow)
TOTAL $390 and this gives you i3/i5/i7 growth and easy ram upgrade, both which are probably not necessary for Home Server
So sfor about the same price as the EX 490, and $110 less thenthe EX 495. No HP support though,

Rhinoevans April 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Forgot about the HD….$100

Gerben May 2, 2010 at 3:48 am

I have Vail installed on my HP EX490, had sam installation issues becouse i didn’t unplug the USB cbale form my UPS, but after that is just worked out. Thanks for the info.

The second problem i had after installation was the Vail didn’t install the correct drivers for the SATA controler of the HP EX490, so just the system drive worked. After rebooting my server whit the old HD and fond the drivers that were usesed in Home Server. Download the drivers for windows server 2008 and everything works fine now.

Does anyone now how to instal de HP addins for support of the leds on the server?

Theo van Elsberg May 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Within 5 minutes I had VAIL installing on my HP475 testserver. Running on 2 disks without problems now. To my surprice VAIL is quite responsive on the old HP47x (original processor with 2G memory upgrade)

Thanks Alex!!!

Dan (Nomad) May 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm

To All, a Dumb question, What is the advantage of Vail? What does it give you over V3? Or is it just the fun of hacking (which I can understand)

Alex Kuretz May 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

@Dan – Perhaps my overview article will be helpful to you.

Atle May 5, 2010 at 6:17 am

Maybe a dumb question, but here I go: Can I take out one of the disks from Ex470 and put it into the vail system ( have two servers ), or will vail erease the disk?

Alex Kuretz May 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

@Atle – Vail will erase the disks when you add them to the storage pool. Just connecting them should be fine, if you want to copy data off.

Darkstryke May 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hey Alex,

Thanks for the walkthrough, I have Vail running on my EX490 and it’s working great! I hope “Vail” is released before this time next year, technet will have paid for itself again in spades!

Keep up the great work.

roednex May 23, 2010 at 3:06 am


I am trying to install Vail on my EX470 for days now with no success. The server does not boot up and the server state LED blinks aqua.

What I have done so far:

- Upgrade of my EX470 to 2GB RAM
- Erased the hard disk
- Changed the boot sequence in BIOS (workaround by pressing F12, 7x arrow down and Enter :-))
- Prepared a 4GB USB Flash drive
- Created the following cfg.ini file:

PasswordHint=This Is Your Password Hint

I think that I have done everything correctly.

Has anybody an idea what went wrong? Appreciate your feedback.

Alex Kuretz May 23, 2010 at 8:20 am

If the LED is flashing aqua then it restarted the first time and is likely hung up waiting for user input. I’d remove the locale settings as they are optional and the default values seem to work fine, you can see my suggested settings in my “Installing Vail via USB Flash key” post.

Loe Gerards August 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I have a EX490 WHS and installed Vial by USB stick, recording your info. The led is flashing solid aqua but I cannot connect to the Vail Server!!!! By internet explorer, RDC and I don’t see any IP adress given to this server. What am I doing wrong. Many gretting from Holland.

roednex June 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

Thanks, Alex. I have tried this but still no success.

When I delete the partitions in another PC using the Windows Server 2008 CD (and then cancel after the disk management), I can see that the system has already created a 60 GB partition on the disk. So it seems as if at least something is working.

During the install process, I cannot hear any disk activity and the LED of the USB just flashes for 30 seconds or so´.

Any other idea that could help?

Alex Kuretz June 6, 2010 at 8:56 am

@roednex – Most likely something isn’t happy with the settings you created in the unattended file. Verify your password and hostname meets the requirements, etc.

Al June 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Question – does anyone know when new home servers with ship with the new OS(Vail), if who? Will existing HP/ASUS/ACER home servers have an upgrade that can be installed (assuming there is enough memory) or will there be an upgrade available from MS to purchase? The spec for Vail mention a 64 bit OS – isn’t Vail (or other versions of the OS) have that anyways? Thanks you the help.

Alex Kuretz June 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

There have been no announcements on when Vail will be shipping or if there will be upgrades for existing home servers. My belief and a general consensus seems to feel that an upgrade is highly unlikely. It is possible to manually install, as you’ve read in this article.

Jim Brown June 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

@roednex – “Think” I know what you’re issue is … I think, cause i purchased a cable to hook up VGA to my EX470.

The install got to the point where it created the 60gb system partion (likely from the cfg.ini … and once that’s created, EX470 will look on that disk for the BOOTMGR … doesn’t find it and the install will stall.

Pull out your old system drive and check it … it will likely have a new system partition on it. Delete that (again) and restart. But … there’s still something it isn’t liking in your install.

Where my install is stalling is … it is requesting “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now.”

I have no idea what driver it could be looking for and there is no driver disk for “Vail” that I know of … any help would be appreciated.

Alex Kuretz June 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Jim, do you have any other USB devices connected?

Jim Brown June 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Yes … i have a USB Keyboard connected … i was just reading other posts (all be they from Vista installs) of the same message … and needing the SATA and RAID controller drivers to continue …

I’ll try cfg.ini … and going with unattended install … just use the keyboard to get through to boot.

Jim Brown June 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Still no success … here’s what i’ve tracked down so far …
1. Unattended install .. not really working … install begins, identifies all hard drives, once selecting the harddrive/disk number to install to (primary), it errors out with the CD/DVD Drive device driver missing – error.

I’ve attempted a number of things … hidding the ATA, RAID drivers on one of my data disks, pull all disks except the primary out, adjusting the boot sequence in the BIOS … even, get this, installing on another PC … I pulled all HD’s out of another maching that i have and put in only the WHS primary … booted from the USB and got the same error.

Some of the reading indicates that you need the RAID drivers available, some indicates that you need the USB drviers … some indicates that this issue is caused by a coorupted .iso image (so I’m downloading from the Europe site currently to test another .iso image).

same result … and each time I have to re-image the primary HD so that there is no 60 gb partition on it to disrupt the process.

What i found interesting was that I got the same result on a different piece of HW .. (EX470 is my WHS and the other machine is a HPE-180t – WMC PC).

K … back at it … will keep you posted … suggestions appreciated.

hopmah June 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Question: Am looking to install/purchase a home server. My network has at this time three computers on it, 1 PC running WIN 7 Home Premium 32 bit, MAC mini osx 5.4, Compaq running Linux (Mint). I do quite a bit of photography, video and HAM radio (digital modes) with the present system. (MAC mini is for Mother in Law.) Will the Vail on the EX495 support these other computers? Is there a better direction or option for me to look into? Presently have 1TB of photos alone with twice that in video. System is so full I can not back it up and that scares me.

Alex Kuretz June 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm

hopmah, all three platforms can access the network shares on the server via Samba, for both WHS v1 and Vail. You do not get native backup of either Mac or Linux in Vail. With the current crop of HP servers you can get Time Machine to backup your Mac to the server, and the Linux options are pretty good too via rsync and cron jobs or some other backup utility. For your situation I don’t see Vail being a significant improvement and it sounds like you need some more robust storage pretty quickly before you experience a failure. With the 3 systems and 3TB of storage requirements, the EX49x or DataVault series would serve you well.

roednex July 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm


now I have purchased a debug cable from the US and I can see the screen now…

Unfortunately, the installation terminates again in the setup menu, message: BOOTMGR IS MISSING.

Any idea what is wrong now…?

roednex July 7, 2010 at 5:13 pm

One more comment to what I just wrote: this message appears after startup. any changes in the boot sequence in BIOS have been to made and set to USB.

Jim Brown July 16, 2010 at 10:47 am


I believe that you must re-format your system drive … then reattempt. Here’s why … when you booted initially, but failed, it still created the 60 mb system partition (altough empty).

By default, WHS looks for the boot record on your internal drive, if it finds one, it trys to boot from it.

Give that a try … if unsuccessful .. i would recommend being the process from the very start.

Love to hear how it works for you.


Narg July 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Hey Alex, great article, we are so lucky to have you around. I have an EX485, and love this machine. I can’t seem to get Vail to start to install via the USB unattended method, with the ini file. I’ve tried leaving it for hours, and it never seems to do much. The first hour I’ll get the red/aqua led flashing, and my USB stick will flash for a few mintues at the start, but after 1 hour the LED will flash just red and nothing seems to have been done. I don’t find any partitions on the 750gig drive either.

I tried the 470 method with 7 down arrows and and enter key. Oddly this caused the USB stick to flash some more, then the same result of nothing. Is there something odd about the 485?


Alex Kuretz July 24, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Narg, thanks for the comments. Most commonly either your drive does not have all partitions erased, or some fields in the ini file are not valid. I’d suggest posting in the forums with these details and we can try to troubleshoot more easily. The EX485 BIOS is different and the EX47x keypress will most likely not have the same effect.

Narg July 24, 2010 at 11:16 pm


Thanks for the reply. I spent a lot of time reading here and on the MS forums so I did as much as I could. I’ve erased all partitions, so the drive is 100% blank. I removed all but the single original drive the 485 came with, so only 1 drive in the server. No other USB devices are plugged in (other than a keyboard on some attempts). The ini file is exactly copied from the post here, with only that I changed only the server name and password. The password is strong with numerical and upper/lower case letters. I tried different server names like just “server” and “server2″ but that did nothing either (thinking the past server name may interfere due to one post here I read)

In just playing around I can get more action out of the USB drive light by random hits on the keyboard after some time has passed. So, the install is waiting for something. I even caused it to reboot once by random keyboard hits. I’ve gone ahead and contacted the guy that makes the video cable for these guys, as it seems there is something stopping the automated install. Video may be the only way to figure it out.

If you have any other ideas, or maybe a much more complete cfg.ini file that I can play with I’ll give anything a try? I’ve not done much research on the windows PE stuff, but it does seem interesting. Or, just wait for the video cable so I can see what is really going on. Once I get that I’ll let you know what I find out.

Thanks for the help. I wish I’d found this site a long time ago though, since I’m already into the Vail beta attempts, I can’t wait to get it up so I can try some of your plugins.

Narg July 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Oh, also the network should be good if that is a possibility. I’ve still got it behind a great router than handles the port calls properly for this type of server (and the Xbox360 etc etc.. UPNP, is that what’s its called?)

I’ve built USB bootable setups before for Windows Vista and Windows 7. And due to the keyboard trails, I think the USB is booting like it should. Do you think maybe manually building the USB stick again might be worth a try? I assume I’d build it the same as I did for other Windows installs.

Alex Kuretz July 24, 2010 at 11:43 pm

It sounds like you’ve done all the right steps. I’ve heard of bad USB images, bad downloaded ISO files, and network connectivity seems to be required for easy unattended install. The cfg file I posted here is complete and is exactly what I used for my installs though with my own password. Sorry I don’t have more tips for you, we’ve covered them all here or in the forums. :( Do let us know what you find out when you get the video cable.

Vince Tinnirello July 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Yeah I’m stuck too. I’ve got a Data Vault 510, followed the instructions, and mine just goes from aqua to red over and over. Not sure where to go from here. I don’t even know how to get my box back to where it was at this point. I’d really like to get Vail on here and have been doing the unattended install method. I’m just stuck.

Narg July 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Woot! Got my VGA plug for the 485EX and went right away into taking the server apart. Kinda tricky, but disassembled it all, made a whole to feed the cable for a semi-perminant install (this is beta after all… I’ll be doing another install sooner or later, right?)

OK, there are two user input screens that are showing up even though the cfg.ini file is in place and apparently working for what it can. The first is a simple “new install or fix old install” question. Getting this was very odd. The single drive in the machine is 100% clean. No partitions, no nothing. I even low level erased it with one of those Linux based HD cleaners. A simple “Enter” will get past this screen and on to a new install.

The second user question is “are you sure you want to erase the HD”. Bother!… You need to put in an “Alt+U” to check the box, then another “Enter” to get-er-going.

From there on it was pretty hands off. 10 mins it rebooted the first time, another 5 for the last pre-install reboot. At 20 mins the Vail part of the install started, this is the part after the main Windows Server install. Not sure how long after this because I was cooking dinner for my family, but probably at least another 15 mins. So around 35+ mins for the install.

The last screen that showed up was a notification to connect to http://server2/connect to get started and a “continue” button. I asume there is no need to do anything at the server here, but continue on at a workstation. The “Server2″ shows that the ini file DID do something.

Anyway, I’m up and running now. Time to have more fun…

Yanni August 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Hi Narg and Vice,

i volunteer to offer you guys help in installing vail onto your system.
i had the same issues you guys are having, for Narg it seems easy as he has vga connection, and i think i can help out anyway.
i have vail now for some time and i love it.
you are welcome to email me at and i will do my best to help.


Narg August 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

Thanks Yanni, I’m good for now. My server is running great! I do miss a lot of the HP add-ons, so I do hope HP releases a version for thier older servers.

One thing I do have to say though is that this thing is FAST!!! I had a large file that I had to copy between 2 hard drives on my system, and the also copy it to the EX485 for backup. Would you believe that it copied faster to the HP over network than it did between the 2 internal drives!!! WOW!

Michael August 20, 2010 at 3:23 am

Was reading the comments about Vail on the HP MediaSmart Servers b/c I just picked up the EX490 from NewEgg for $360 and was curious about whether or not the upgrade would be 1)possible and 2)HP supported. Glad to see 1) is true and sorry to see that 2) is unlikely. I’ve decided to wait for the RTM as I know that we will all have to do a re-install at that point to get the full WHS2 experience. My understanding is they might be changing something else between now and then as well (something with how they either store the databases or the file-naming structure???? Could be wrong..doesn’t matter in my case) so I might as well wait. I just started poking around and this was one of the first Google hits that came back.

What are the odds that 1) Some HP MSS fan will create a nice packaged zip file with all the appropriate drivers or 2) Windows Server 2008, being more like Vista and or 7, will be able to recover from an install of WHS2 onto another machine (i.e. your desktop) and then drop that HDD straight into your HP MSS machine? I can’t tell you how many Vista and Win7 machines I was able to simply pull the OS HDD from my old box and drop into my new box. Sure, you had to call and re-activate…but it was a lot easier than XP. It was pretty much impossible to pull an XP HDD from one machine and drop in another unless they were identical or near identical hardware. I’ve taken Vista and Win7 images from C2D machines on a HDD and slapped them on an i7 machine with an SSD. You have to tweak a few things, but they run fine. (Need to format/partition the SSD drive correctly, but)

Is the HP MSS hardware that rare/proprietary that Win7 wouldn’t be able to pickup the HP network drivers so that you could remote in to finish the transition or does my idea have merit?

Also, I realize that its probably been answered elsewhere..but while I’m here: What’s the fastest/last manufactured Core 2 CPU to work in an EX490?


Alex Kuretz August 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

Thanks for the comments, Michael. The newer HP servers such as your EX490 is more likely to be able to transfer between hardware, however I don’t think I’d recommend doing it except as a test, especially since directly installing it is pretty straight forward. If you do try it let us know how it goes.

Regarding CPU upgrades, this forum topic is the definitive guide. The fastest dual core I think I’ve seen people run is an E8500, though some have run quads.

Theodoor August 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Had a problem with unattended install of VAIL refresh on my HPEX475.
Installation appeared to progress as expected but after the final reboot I could not connect to the system.

Appeared to be a naming conflict with my WHSv1 production server called “SERVER” on the same network even though the unattende installation script (cfg.ini) specified “VAILSERVER” for the server name…

Solved this by shutting down WHSv1 and restarting the HP. VAIL went into OOBE (properly named VAILSERVER), no problems from there.

RonnyLULU August 27, 2010 at 6:16 am


i have problems installing VAIL: during “copying windows files”… at 0%..the setup end with an error: “ERROR: Win7 Setup exited with 31″ and “failed to launch setup”….

Has anyone an idea what does this error 31 means?


Narg August 27, 2010 at 7:44 am


That is a media or device error. Basically the install could not read the installation files any more. As for the root reason for the media error, that will be something you will have to research by trial and error method. If you were installing with a USB stick, I’d try another USB stick.


Stephen Crescenti August 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I decided to go this install headless on my HP EX4XX… don’t recall the exact model number because I have owned it for a bit of time now.

I upgraded my home server a while back with a faster processor and 2gb of ram. I pulled all my drives out and am only using the original 500gb sata drive in the system. I put the cfg.ini in the root of the USB key and I can get a connection remotely from the install disk and when it tells me to wipe and I do the i agree, it comes back with this following error message:

Could not complete the server restore

Cannot restore your server to factory default settings. The XML file that describes the OEM specified disk configuration could not be found. Please contact the manufacturer of your server.

Any ideas guys?

Talon September 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Thanks for the post! Had Vail running for 2 days on my EX495 fine. Had some slow performance, so I went through the Dashboard and instructed the machine to reboot. This is where all broke loose.

After rebooting, the machine is no longer accessible from my network. My router does not assign the machine an IP, the Power Light, Network light are solid aqua and the status light is blinking aqua. However, I can’t seem to access anything!

Any ideas on how I can get this machine to boot normally again? I’ve tried every configuration removing and reinstalling each USB, eSATA, & internal drives, but no luck.

Help! :)

Thinking I may need to order a debug board. Have some content on the drives, I don’t want to start from scratch, because I was going to move those files onto external drives after my reboot. :( fail.

Theodoor September 2, 2010 at 1:30 am

FWIW: My EX47X occasionally looses all network connectivety on reboot. Somehow the onboard NIC need a reset: disconnecting the unit from the mians (power cable) does the trick.

Talon September 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Interesting. I’ve tried that, however it still never seems to come back to the network.

The next post mentions something about it going to sleep. I did just activate it, so I wonder if there’s something along those lines happening.

Narg September 2, 2010 at 7:46 am

Experience after a few weeks…

Hi all! Here’s some more info on my experience with my EX485 and Vail. After a few weeks of using it, I truly hope HP steps up and offers a release of this for most of their older home servers. Vail installed quite cleanly (after a small install glitch) and is running very fast in comparison to the old WHS. In fact Windows 7 LOVES this server, transfers are lightning fast. XP suffers though, but it’s about time I replace my HTPC anyway :).

All the needed drivers are there to get basic service, but the HP specific items such as the lights on the front, and the cool plug ins that HP provided are sorely missed. Like for instance I’m one of those lucky users that their ISP blocks port 80. HP had a work around for this (port redirection on the URL you registered in setting up the HP WHS initially…) Vail doesn’t so I often get the warning from Vail and the router isn’t working. Port 443 does work, so I can access the server remotely just fine with an HTTPS:// connection.

So far though only one bug is puzzling me. After I finally entered the serial number provided by MS to activate Vail, the machine started “going to sleep” daily. I say sleep, because I have all power settings to high and sleep turned off. But the 3 lights on the front of the machine change and the machine becomes no longer accessable. Very puzzling. Nothing in the system logs gives any clue as to what’s occuring. Normally the first 2 blue lights are lit, and the 3rd is blinking. At the point where the machine becomes comatose, the 2nd light goes out. Since there are no native drivers for the lights in Vail, I’m not sure what this means. Alex, any ideas?

Over all, I can’t wait for release of this system. The improvements so far are fantastic. Add to that HPs spin on features and this will be a must have for any well networked home user.

zaliis September 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I also have the latest Vail beta running on an EX495. I am not having the sleep issue that you are having. Not sure what your problem is. Later tonight I will boot into the Bios (have to move a ton of crap to connect to the debug board) and will see if there are any settings related to sleep. Good luck.

Dan September 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Just made a interesting discovery. I’m installing Vail on my EX475 following these well done instructions. After the second reboot (you can tell when it reboots by the increased fan noise and change in lights) I connected an Ethernet connection to the server. I then checked my router to find out what IP it picked up. I then opened a web browser and connected to that IP address. I was presented with a Green Vail screen that has big button in the middle that says “Download and install the setup wizard.” After clicking that I’m now able to watch the install (it was at 28% when I started watching). Very informative and stays running even while the server is rebooting (and it tells you the server is rebooting). Nice.
The URL is (note you will have to insert your own IP)

Alex Kuretz September 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Nice tip, Dan, thanks for sharing!

John Edwards September 21, 2010 at 10:29 am

Trying to install the new Vail preview refresh on a brand new 490 – flashes red for only a few secs before blinking aqua, no hd noise. Drive is definitely clear of partitions (checked under linux boot on spare machine), and I think my cfg.ini is ok. According to Diehard’s msg in the forum @ it may be that the new preview doesn’t have the drivers included?

I may try a slipsteam build with the driver if I can work it out, but a walkthrough would be welcome.

Thanks in advance

Rob Lewis October 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I’ve successfully installed Vail on my LX195. My only issue is that the aqua LED continues to flash, even though the OS was successfully installed. The HD activity LED does not function.

Alex Kuretz October 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Rob, glad you got it installed. There are no drivers for the HP hardware for Vail, or services to control them, so the LEDs will not function.

Greg G October 9, 2010 at 11:26 am

So how do I get all the data onto my 2TB drive before I wipe the 1TB that came with my EX490? Will the install automatrically set up the 20 gig c partition again?

Alex Kuretz October 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Greg G I don’t think I understand your question. Installing Vail will completely wipe the attached hard drive.

Comp1962 October 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

@ Greg G ~ If your going to install Vail on your EX490 then you will have to move the data off the server before installing VAIL for the reasons Alex stated above. What I would recommend you do is keep your existing drives currently used in your EX490 in a safe location that way should you want to go back to running the EX490 as it is now you will just have to install the drives again. This will mean you would need to get one or more drives to run and install VAIL on. Keep in mind that Vail is not a finished product and should not be used in such a mannor that you have to rely on it. If you have a client laying around that meets the requirements to run VAIL your probably better off to install it there. I have a small unit I built to run as a VAIL Test Server. While Vail is nice and does some nice things its far from being ready for prime time. Yes I like it but I am smart enough not to trust it with my data accept only for testing purposes.

Greg G October 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

Thanks for the responses guys. I was mostly trying to figure out how it will work once Vail is finalized as V2 because that drive is configured at the default of 20 gig partition for C and the rest of the 1 TB drive is filled with data. What I was asking is how I can move all the data onto the second drive in the storage pool, then remove that drive so I can format away on the first drive. My next question was whether or not the vail (or WHS v2 final) install will auto format the 1tb drive with 20GB for the boot partition and the rest as the D: like it came from the factory.

Comp1962 October 10, 2010 at 11:35 am

@ Greg G ~ First Vail creates a 60GB Partition and I also believe it will allow you to create a larger partition upto and including using the entire system drive for the OS. Vail also uses it own Disk Format so the drives used with Vail can not be read outside of Vail.

When Vail is released and you chose to install it on your server that is currently running WHS v1 you will need to move the data off the server to another location and then install Vail or whatever Microsoft will then call it. After you configure the server software you will then be able to copy the data back onto the server.

This is not like an upgrade where your data is preserved its a clean installation and so drives within your server will be formatted so that Vail can use them. For this reason many including myself have been giving the migration path some great thought and some have discussed this.

At this point in time should you install Vail on your server you will lose LED functions as you know know them and the ability to run the HP software your use to.

What remains to be seen is if HP will release a set of install disks for the current servers they are selling as they are under no obligation to do so. If they do chose to do so then I would be very impressed with them.

Greg G October 11, 2010 at 11:11 am

So even the data on the other drive in the storage pool will not be readable under Vail? Or just the first drive? Finding transitional space for TB’s of data is a bit tricky. If it’s just the first drive it goes back to my question of how I can force the data from the first drive in the storage pool to the second so that I can freely wipe the 1TB that came with the EX490.

Thanks again for all the help. The last time I was reading about an upgrade to WHS it was just going to be a 64 bit version. Now I see it will be much more drastic than that.

Narg October 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Greg, you probably realize this, but you are working with Beta software. The future upgrade path for the release of WHS version 2 may be quite different. It may also be different from the MS path due to the OEM/3rd party maker who could change the upgrade methods entirely. Even if there IS an upgrade path at all. I believe changes in the file system are what currently require the data be wiped on install. And, that this change in the file system is to make future changes easier. Vail’s file system setup is very different than WHS 1 from what I’ve seen.

Know that I do feel your pain though. I installed the 1st public beta 1 week before the 2nd public beta came out. I’ve not installed the 2nd beta yet due to the need to push off the data and then back onto the server. It is a pain to say the least.

Rico October 16, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Anyone know how to revert back to Mediasmart? I have vail, but decided to go back and order the v.3 of HP Mediasmart server. I tried using server recovery, but it says “can’t find the server”..

Please help.


Comp1962 October 16, 2010 at 7:43 pm

@ Rico ~ Can you post this request in the forums and please specify which model server you have. Also if Vail is still installed and working can you also for the time being leave it that way so that you can RDP to the server and see if you happen to see a small drive listed there with the name SMI contained within its name. Please post this information and you will receive much better help in the forums from myself and others.

Rico October 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Which category on the forum should I post my question to?

Here’s what I have:
EX485 Mediasmart Server.
Upgraded to E6500 2.93GHz Dual Core

I basically made a mistake of installing Windows Vail on this server. I feel it’s still unstable. I just ordered a 3.0 Mediasmart disk from HP and trying to restore, but during the server restore, it can’t find my EX485. Not sure what causing it. Can I install 3.0 Mediasmart server directly on my EX485 using a USB drive? I also installed the VGA monitor upgrade directly on my EX485 so I can attach a monitor, keyboard and mouse. So basically I have full access to it, just don’t know how to reinstall HP Mediasmart server.

So sorry if the above not clear, and I’d be happy to post this on the forum as well, just need a little guidance of where to post on the forum.



Comp1962 October 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm

@ Rico ~ Just post your message in the EX48x Forums.

Cubanblood October 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Rico post your problem on the troubleshooting and support section.
I dont think yoy can do a recovery. You will have to do a factory reset.

James October 24, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Installed Vail on my HP LX195 and am up and running! Not having dashboard access for OS X is really inconvenient and may be a deal-breaker.

Does anyone know if Mac users will get dashboard access in a future release?

Also, the “health” light (3rd one down from the top) just keeps blinking, and the “hard drive” light (2nd from top) is off.

Does anyone know if this situation with the status lights is normal on an LX195 after installing vail?

My hard drive is a 2tb Samsung F4.

Comp1962 October 24, 2010 at 9:39 pm

@ James unfortunately the LEDs on your server have nothing in Vail written to support them. So you will have to accept the way they are. This is the case for all HP MediaSmart Servers.

James October 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

Attention Mac/OS X users!

Here’s very cool a work-arround to gain access to the Windows Home Server “Vail” Dashboard (or older Console). While a dedicated app would be great, using a Remote Desktop Connection is way better (faster) than rebooting OS X into Boot Camp or using VMWare Fusion or Parallels to run Windows and then launching the Windows Home Server Dashboard.

James October 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

…by the way, you can skip step 7 and after in the linked instructions. Basically when you remote into the computer you have access to the entire Windows Server, not just the Desktop application. You can run the Dashboard application from the shortcut on the desktop of Windows Server.

Stevo November 16, 2010 at 10:47 am

I suddenly had a test opportunity after a power outage killied my WHS, I was going to do a System recovery but decided to install Vail instead. I installed it on my EX485 with a processor upgraded to E5200 dual core. it installed beautifully, and it working awesome. I especially lie the streming and the Rremote ability, works better than my orginal WHS, the 2008 R2 used by Vail is fast and responsive. The only sad thing is that I have invested so much in the original WHS with all the licnesed applicatiions I purchased, but the in cany case, I think the Vail is a vast improvement in many ways.
My only suggestions is to imlement MKV support (However I resintalled my licened twonky server and it rocks and feeds me my MKVs ) and allow more control over what is shared regrading what photos videos etc, I dont like album art budeled with my reglar photos.. There can be other features Id liek to see.. but I like it thus far.. I cant wait until the final release. Do you think HP wil create a MediaSmart version?

Comp1962 November 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm

@ Stevo ~ Glad to hear you had a positive experience. I do believe that HP will introduce a server running the new WHS version when its released. Of course this is my own humble opinion. Just what it will look like remains to be seen. One thing I would like to see HP do is contact their user base to see what they would like to see in a new server but I do not believe that will happen as I have to believe they are most likely designing something now or are about to. Its not clear when Vail will be released and I am in no immediate hurry for it as I have to come to terms with the migration path I will take and if I will run Vail which I would build a system for it or Aurora since thats what my ProLiant would have to run on should I chose to upgrade it since it has duel processors. Should HP release a unit I would consider it but it would need to have some additional expansion capabilities the current Servers do not have. I would also hope that in the next generation of Home Servers that HP would make certain components available to the end users like Power Supplies and Drive Trays. My wish list of course would make the MSS abit more expensive but I think it would be well worth the added cost.

Sebastian December 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm

This tutorial is awesome, i got Vail running on my X312 right away.
Unfortunately, something happened while installing windows updates and now the server is not reachable anymore. The LAN led was off so after a while I shut the thing off and started it up again. The LAN led is not lit again, but somehow the server is not reachable. No remote desktop, no dashboard, no network sharing, nothing :( Any ideas?
Plus, is it possible to get that diagnostic led to stop blinking under Vail? Has someone managed to port HPs software or something to Vail?
BTW it would be cool of HP, now that they retire from the WHS market, to release some sort of open source drivers for the leds.

Sebastian December 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm

may i correct, the LAN led IS lit right now, but the server still not reachable

Comp1962 December 17, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Hi Sebastian,

Chances are the drivers for your LAN port may have been updated or changed rendering them useless. I am not fully familiar with your model server and not certain if a debug cable will work with it or not. I would be interested in knowing if the LAN Port is working and so what I would do is remove the drives from the server and insert a hard drive you could test a recovery with and attempt to perform a server recovery using the discs that came with the server. If the recovery can be done then the issue is with the LAN Drivers and the easiest way to resolve that would be to reinstall VAIL onto your server but you may encounter the same issue again so I would then RDP to the server and perform the upates and review the listing to see if any might involve the NIC or LAN PORT.

As for the health light and drive lights I do not forsee anyone in the immediate future spending time to see if they can get those functional until maybe after Vail is released and even then I am not certain if many will be willing to run it on the MediaSmart Servers or at all with DE now being dropped and if the solution is RAID then most of the drives we are currently using in our servers AKA Consumer Grade Drives will not function well or at all with RAID and it will require everyone to purchase more expensive drives.

Sebastian December 18, 2010 at 1:50 am

Yeah, the Windows Updates involved some sort of Realtek driver, probably for network. I just chekced everything :P I will put it in the ignore list next time and see if it does any better. Reinstalling Vail right now.
In my experience consumer drives also work with RAID. However I am still unsure how i’m gonna handle this. Perhaps a RAID 1+0 with 4 disks. Windows supports some sort of software raid with dynamic discs, but I’ve never done anything more with it than doing RAID1 so not sure if it’s gonna work. Damn, I still can’t believe they removed DE.
My other WHS, an Acer H340, appears to have an unused Marvell 61xx RAID controller. Not sure however if I can connect the drives to that one, and then probably I would need a video card to get in the bios and set things up. Probably not an option.
Finally I will have to decide if to keep the Acer H340 or the HP X312, and give the other one to my parents… the X312 has a better dual core Atom, whereas the Acer has a PCI Express slot and as said the RAID controller.

Comp1962 December 18, 2010 at 8:44 pm

At this point in time I do not see any valid reason to continue running Vail since what you have now will not be what Microsoft Releases next. My efforts would be to continue what I am doing with WHS v1 and take the wait and see approach to what they have in mind. I do wish them well but my efforts are better placed on what I know works.

Mike February 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

I thought I would pass on that on my EX487 I was able to follow this procedure to install RC1 also that just released. It didn’t name the server right out of cfg.ini but it worked ot install.

Also, I had to use the trick of pulling the lowest hard drive, wait for it to begin booting the USB stick and then quickly plug that drive back in. Probably easier to wipe the whole drive prior to booting from USB, but this worked fine for me.

HP is not supporting MS WHS 2011 per an annoucement, but it seems to load ok.


Michael February 13, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’ve installed the WHS 2011 RC, but i did this in different way. I put an empty harddisk into a PC, installed WHS 2011. Removed the harddisk and pluged into my HP Data Vault. Then only the 3150 Video card has to be installed through RDP. It is much faster then creating a USB stick and you need no VGA debug cable.
I’ve extracted Firefly from MMS 2.5 (because it is newer then on the firefly website) and installed it.
1.) Regarding the LED driver – in WHS1 there has to be a driver which is responsible for the LED. Perhaps this driver can be extracted and installed too. What is the name of this driver?
2.)Virtual sound card driver, that sound would work over RDP – does anybody know a 64bit virtual sound card driver?

Sindre February 19, 2011 at 12:59 am

I just tried to install Vail, but before the install it is a short check to confirm the system requirements. It passes the CPU and HDD check but it stops at the memmory check. It sais that i need 2048MB ram. I hvave 2048MB. I checked the bios and there it confirmes that i have 2GB ram.
So what is wrong?

Rob February 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I didn’t have a USB keyboard and my bluetooth one didn’t work so I just took the drive and put it into another machine to install. Seemed to do the trick, it’s only been about two hours but knock on wood it’s still up and running so far.

w March 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm


I have ex485 with v3.0, I was wondering if I should install Vail on it, what is the benefit?
Now that HP is out of the course what the best available WHS Vail right now?
Does Vail can be encrypted (bitlocker)? and does the backup can be encrypted?


Best Regards


brc March 20, 2011 at 1:57 am

This is now really far down, but I did an install of “Vail RC” on an HP mediasmart ex490 yesterday and there was some things that I noted that might help others.

The answer file needed to be modified a little compared to the on in this example.

SystemPartitionSize=60 did not work
SystemPartitionSize=61440 MB size instead worked

I also added AcceptOEMEula=true which depending on which image file you used to make your USB disk may be needed and will be skipped if it isn’t.

Once the server starts to reboot, check your router for which IP address your Vail server gets, if you can. Then open a commend prompt and run “PING ip-address /T”. You can try with “yourservername”, but the install assigns the server name later in the install, so it came up as SERVER in my router list.

When the server starts responding to the ping, point your browser to http://ip-address/connect or http://servername/connect, from there you can see the installation taking place via a website. Including reboots and a progress bar.

On the ex490, the health light is blinking aqua and there is no hdd lights, perhaps a small program is needed. I am sure vail has APIs available for drive status…

Kurt December 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

“When the server starts responding to the ping, point your browser to http://ip-address/connect or http://servername/connect, from there you can see the installation taking place via a website. Including reboots and a progress bar.”

This was awesome help for an EX495 user. I didn’t know to go to this URL to continue. I did discover it while browsing what to do next.

I watched the solid aqua light for an hour, expecting it to go solid, or something. Then, I started trying to browse IIS, only to get FORBIDDEN errors. I am downloading the updated connector for WHS2011 now (and am uninstalling the old version). I have also been able to RDC into my upgraded box. Good so far!

nate April 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

I went a slightly different route with my EX487

I removed the drive in bay 1 (system)
I put the drive from bay 3 into bay 1, and then booted from the USB drive. never needed to hook it up to another computer to format/repartition it.

David April 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

Hey all,
Quick question re: WHS 2011 and the Mediasmart. With v1, a re-install asked if you wanted to preserve data and just overwrite the system partition. Does WHS 2011 work the same way? Has anyone tried a re-installation with data preservation?


Jim Brown April 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Has anyone encountered the following (this will only apply to those who are NOT headless as you wouldn’t know you’ve encountered this during installation) …

Select New Installation … click OK to whipping the drives clean in the list … Dialog box comes up with “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver …. ”

I’m finding it hard to believe the message – as there is NO CD/DVD drive connected (USB or otherwise) to my EX470 … I have also attempted at this point to load the RAID and Eternet drivers … which work OK … but does not get me off of the message … meaning it’s still looking for a driver I haven’t offered.



Kevin Gardner April 26, 2011 at 9:23 am

Reading through the comments above as I have pretty much switched off all the HP stuff supplied with my MediaSmart EX490.
Should the upgrade to WHS 2011 work as described if I simply buy a new disk and insert it into the #1 bay ? Then I am assuming the old system disk can be reinserted into my spare #4 bay and formatted extra storage ?

Stephen April 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

Yes that is how I installed it : )

David April 26, 2011 at 11:53 am

I would recommend using a new disk to install WHS 2011…I did, and am glad I did – as much as I want to run it, I reverted back to my v1 disk and data because the lack of DE makes 2011 very restrictive. As soon as a DE replacement is released and is tested and stable, I will probably switch back. Installing on a new disk makes it easy to switch back, should you decide to.

Kevin Gardner April 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for the replies. I think I will wait a little until there is a production version. DE isn’t a huge concern to me, but I am mainly disappointed that I haven’t been able to get any of the HP “gimme” software on the EX490 to work properly, and I am thinking a better option might be to go for a vanilla version of WHS (if one exists) and then build third party stuff on top to get the functions I want. Very specifically, I have manually disabled the HPMSS executable (associated with media collector) to avoid frying my motherboard.
Other option is to go “whacky” and put Ubuntu on it instead, but then I’ll probably be ostracized by this forum :-)
Thanks again.

Alex Kuretz April 26, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Feel free to post in the Troubleshooting forum if you want help getting the HP features working, though the Media Collector is the most brittle feature IMHO and I quit using it mainly because it didn’t organize my data the way I wanted.

There are several topics here on installing Linux on the MSS hardware, here’s one and a search will turn up lots more.

Tony May 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I have an HP EX470. I upgraded the RAM to 2 GB and upgraded the CPU to a 2.6 GHZ AMD. I installed WHS 2011 RTM just fine. I don’t miss DE as much as I thought I would. Reinstalling WHS 2011 without DE will be much easier, as you will not have to worry about losing or backing up your data. I have also installed Crashplan, to backup my server. The vanilla WHS 2011 install is much better than the HP bloatware crap from WHS v1, and the new media sharing vis the remote web access is awesome. I actually think this new WHS 2011 runs snappier with much less delays than with HP’s V1 WHS install.

Thank you very much for the tutorial. It was easy to follow and now I can get a few more years out of my EX470 chassis.

Mark May 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

Hi, I’m following Kevin’s approach by buying a new disk and installing WHS 2011 onto it. 2 Questions

1.) Am I right in saying I can put the old system disk back in at any time and I will have WHS V1 back ?

2.) Once I have installed WHS 2011 onto my new disk can I just then install the old system disk into the spare bay and copy off any data onto my new disk ?


Alex Kuretz May 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

1) Sure, as long as you don’t overwrite the old disks.
2) Yes, you’ll have to log onto the server via Remote Desktop and manually copy the files.

Mark May 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

Great all installed – new processor (E6500) as well, installed all my apps and data. Only thing that looks like a problem is a hardware device on the device manager Other Device->Mass Storage Controller , this reports no device driver found – what’s this for ? Is it the eSATA ? Can I get the driver?

Alex Kuretz May 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

That’s most likely the eSATA controller, see here:

SteveMat May 24, 2011 at 6:06 am

Followed flawless instructions and have WHS 2011 running on my 470 (2GB upgrade only).

Thanks for the instructions…

Len June 15, 2011 at 7:37 am

I have a stock HP Mediasmart EX495 at home serving 4 Win7 and 2 Mac PCs – I installed the released WHS 2011 a few days ago using the headless USB stick instructions here. It went more or less flawlessly with a 8 Gig flash drive (note the updated config.ini instructions compared to original article). I pulled out my 3 WHS 1 disks drives and started with a new unpartitioned HD. Poster Dan’s tip was exellent – the install seemed to hang (e.g. http:///connect not working) after about 10 minutes, but typing this in a URL on a network PC:

The URL is (note you will have to insert your own IP)

brought up the WHS 2011 installation screen, and after that it went without a hitch.

I also had to DL and install the missing (yellow exclamation) SIS storage driver, as noted elsewhere on this site. No problem there.

While I had been happy with WHS 1, what really drove me to try WHS 2011 was that WHS 1 backp restores to several home Win7 PCs would all eventually fail with the famously irritating and irresolvable “cannot mount backup” error. I could never get this solved over the past year (other than reinstalling WHS 1). So what was the point of all these daily backups when I could never restore them?

Do I miss Drive Extender? Not at all – most notably my file transfer rates are now a LOT faster at 40-50 mb/s compared to 10-15 mb/s on WHS 1. This is a huge plus for me. I will wait and see how 3rd party DE clones are reviewed before going that route.

So far backup restores work, and are much faster on all PCs (so far, its early days). Praying the “cannot mount disk” error will not happen again.

I popped in my 3 old WHS 1 disks, and voila, all my old data was there. I copied it over to the new main drive and reformatted the old drives. One is used for automated server backup. The new move folders function worked really well to move data around to the other drives.

Do I miss the HP tools (media collector, converter, blinking lights)? No, in fact media collector, while interesting and useful in principle (one of the reasons I bought the EX495 in the first place), with this many PCs at home with 3 teens we had at least 1.5 G of duplicate and triplicate files of music and videos littered all over the WHS 1. It took me days to clean that mess up. I now prefer to do the organizing and collecting myself, thank you very much. The EX495 sits in the basement, I never see it anyway, so i do not care about blinking lights or temp monitoring.

The new interface is fine, a lot simpler and cleaner. I wonder how one can start Launchpad minimized, however.

As far as media serving, the new Homegroup function on the server works nicely to our other windows PCs and Xbox. I have yet to try installing iTunes 10 on the server for the Apple TV.

In short, so far I am very happy with this WHS 2011 setup so far, and good riddance to WHS 1.

Thanks for posting the instructions here.

Mark June 15, 2011 at 8:02 am

I can confirm that ITunes does install okay straight from the downloaded set-up file. The only thing I cannot work out is how to launch as a service and how to stop the ‘ITunes detectd problem with audio’ message from popping up. I have a connceted my ATV to it which works fine.

Francois June 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Be careful – after a successful install on a EX487 with a USB key, Windows left a “Processed=TRUE” in the cfg.ini which prevented further installs with the same USB key.

Kind of hard to figure out when installing blind, have been trying various things for about a week before finding out!

Len June 16, 2011 at 7:06 am

Mind the Shadow Copy! Now a week into WHS 2 on my EX495. I noticed very odd server file deletion behaviour. I had copied about 70 Gigs worth of files to the WHS Documents and Music folders at the beginning. If I deleted these files from the server (after several days of back and forth copying and backups), the deletion progress showed the amount of original data (~70 Gig) had swollen to 1.4 TB (!!), and took about 5 minutes to delete. I am guessing this has to do with “shadow copies”, which is enabled by default for all disks – and a quick way to FILL up your disks. Seems its either “on or off” per hard disk (not by folder), and no way to limit the number of shadow copies. I can see this is useful for work documents, but definitely not for music and video files. My conclusion is that to save space I need to put all music and video on its own server disk and disable shadow copies for that disk.

JazJon June 21, 2011 at 2:39 am

I couldnt get my EX495 to boot from USB. I verfied the USB drive is bootable by testing it on my spare laptop. My server flashes violet(white’ish) for a few minutes, and then turns solid RED. I tried the keyboard method, but it’s as if the keyboard is not even plugged in! (num lock doesnt even light up) After going around and around I’m glad I read deeper into the comments about pre-installing on another computer. That did the trick! You turn off the computer right after it tries to do the very first reboot. Pop it in the EX495 and boom. It now blinds the regular blue. You’ll see it chug along for 5-10 minutes. Log into your router to see which IP was given to the server via DHCP. After you find the IP, you should be able to ping it. Then I went to
(that’s the IP mine had) It’s now finishing the install and I’m good to go sweet! Next choice is if I should beta test Stabebit Drive pool or Drive Bender.

Comp1962 June 21, 2011 at 6:33 am

I don’t know about Drive Bender but I am testing out Stablebit which is still in beta and am liking it very much. Please read the following thread and form your own opinion on if Stablebit is right for you.

Good Luck with WHS2011

Antipode July 10, 2011 at 2:27 am

Hi Alex,

I upgraded my EX470 with an AMD Athlon X2 dual core using the modded BIOS. Everything worked great with WHS v1. After installing WHS 2011 (Vail) I found that the CPU is always running at 50% (1 GHz) only regardless of the power profile (High Power vs. Balanced).

Do you know how a solution would look like? I’d love to use the box with the full power to stream media across the network with high definition.


Antipode July 10, 2011 at 3:06 am

I think I’m a step further. WHS 2011 installs the Standard VGA driver only. Did someone manage to install the SIS Mirage video driver to get power management working correctly?

SteveMat September 6, 2011 at 11:45 am

Did someone manage to install the SIS Mirage video driver to get power management working correctly? I haven’t tried yet but was wondering if it was futile?

Øyvind July 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thank you very much for this Howto. It was very helpfull. Thank you.
Øyvind from Norway

Kansas August 2, 2011 at 1:16 am

Thank you for the excellent post. After a few glitches I managed to install WHS 2011 on my EX470. I upgraded the ram to 2GB and changed the processor so things went in rather quickly. A little bit of a hassle with the usb stick at first but eventually I got it!

Nick August 16, 2011 at 3:36 am

Great guide.

Another way to do this is to prepare the drive in another system and avoid the USB approach altoegether.

Here’s a guide on how to do this:

Alex Kuretz August 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

Yup, we’ve discussed that in the forums but I’ve not updated this article to include the method.

Thang September 13, 2011 at 12:57 am

Hi guys! I have succesfully installed Vail unattended (without debug cable) to my ex490 (That’s why see “VAILSERVER” under my network computer). I am trying to open/RDC it but Windows Security pops up asking for User name/Password. I had never set it up, how could I have my credentials? Please help!

JazJon September 13, 2011 at 2:03 am

@Thang, I believe you provided the Administrator password in the unattended (ini?) file used during the unattended install. I myself could NOT get unattended to ever work so I went with the pre-install hard drive method. Plug the hard drive into another computer, install WHS 2011, power off & remove it after the VERY “FIRST” reboot during install. Put the drive back in your MediaSmart. Turn it on, and wait until you can ping it. Then simply finish the rest be going to http://serverOrIP/connect

Ryan December 2, 2011 at 2:29 am

Banged my head against the wall trying to upgrade. I finally plugged the drive into another computer and used these instructions:
My usb boot didn’t do everything automatically, so I had to hit some keys and had to see what I was doing. Even then, you have to be quick and unplug the drive while the temporary computer is off. Then it worked. Still had some problems, but at least I could see (through Remote Desktop) what I was doing. Totally worth it though!

Stephen January 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Thank you so much for this how-to !

I successfully installed WHS2011 on my HP EX-490 (with upgraded CPU/RAM)

Went without a hitch! I formatted my Kingston USB drive as FAT32 and manually copied the contents of the DVD onto it and that worked great for me

Tom January 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I purchased a copy of WHS 2011 and would like to install in on my HP EX495 Mediaserver. I have read the directions and prepared the USB drive but how do I make a disk image to copy to the USB drive?

Stephen January 5, 2012 at 5:48 am

Tom: it’s right in the directions, well the directions in the link anyways, and you don’t *have* to make an ISO file of the DVD unless you are using the Win 7 USB Download tool….

I just followed the directions to use the command line “diskpart” stuff, except formatting as FAT32 instead of NTFS), and then put the USB and DVD into another computer and flat out copied everything in the root of the DVD to the root of the USB drive and it worked like a charm

Tom January 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

Thanks! Most of the directions refer to downloading a Vail disk image. I have an (OEM) disk with WHS 2011 and I wasn’t sure if a disk image and a disk copy were the same from an autoexecution standpoint.
It worked! Amazing! Some posts refer to issues with regarding FAT32 or NTFS and others point to modifying the cfg.ini file. I followed the directions (also amazing!) as posted and everything worked fine.
Thanks again!

Wes February 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

Side note on the EX485:

I’m installing right now, thanks for the guide btw, and the health light blinked white and red for me for the initial part of the install, not aqua and red. Just figured I’d note that for the other users here. Once it went through the initial setup, it started blinking solid aqua like the guide says. I’m assuming it’s running the setup as it should now, so I just wanted to point out the health light color discrepancy in case other users had my thought, which was, “crap it’s not working,” lol.

Wes February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm


Worked perfectly. Took about 30 minutes for me to be able to configure it after the first reboot. Thanks again :)

Also, I do not have an external drive bay, nor a desktop that I could plug the drive into to delete the partitions, but I did have two drives in the server. I used the server console to delete the partitions one of my drives, then swapped them and did the install on that one. Just another option if you have two drives.

Nelson March 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

I have EX495, the health light blinked white and red, and i wait like 40 min, it still doing the same thing.

I’m using Samsung 1TB drive, removed all partition from the drive. plug on the lowest slot.
and i did check my cfg.ini without the line number.
create a bootable USB drive, plug in to the bottom USB port.

please help, what else i need to check and make it work?

Alex Kuretz March 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

There’s more discussion in the forums that might help you:

Nelson April 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

i read the whole forum topic, but why some ex495 work and some not work. i don’t want to buy the video output device, any other solutions?

anees March 28, 2012 at 1:28 am

Have any body idea about this error, this is about hard disk leds.

2012-03-25 19:14:06.8400
Exception of type ‘Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Storage.StorageObjectModelException’ was thrown. (ErrorCode 0x800401f6)
at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Storage.internal.StorageBackend.WaitForConnection(Int32 interval)
at HpMssService.HpMssService.StartStorageMonitoring()

2012-03-25 19:14:37.9600
System shutdown, service stopping.

2012-03-25 19:14:38.2700
Storage monitoring stopped.

2012-03-25 19:14:38.2701
Health monitoring stopped.

2012-03-25 19:16:22.7600
Hardware detected: HP MediaSmart Server EX48X. Using HPEX48x driver family.

2012-03-25 19:16:42.0000
Service starting.

2012-03-25 19:16:42.2500
Health monitoring starting.

2012-03-25 19:16:42.2501
LED brightness set to 6.

2012-03-25 19:16:42.2600
Storage monitoring starting.

2012-03-25 19:17:43.1800
Exception of type ‘Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Storage.StorageObjectModelException’ was thrown. (ErrorCode 0x800401f6)
at Microsoft.WindowsServerSolutions.Storage.internal.StorageBackend.WaitForConnection(Int32 interval)
at HpMssService.HpMssService.StartStorageMonitoring()


Alex Kuretz March 28, 2012 at 9:54 am

We need more information, please post in the forums with details of the server behavior, when this started, what changed to cause this, etc.

Alex May 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Question…I am looking to install WHS2011 on my EX490, what will happen to my data on the three 1tb drives. Will I still be able to access that data after upgrading to the new version?

JazJon May 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Alex: follow this here step by step

JazJon May 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Alex, more info on DrivePool:

Alex May 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Awesome thanks

JazJon May 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

No problem Alex, enjoy your new WHS 2011 box. Here’s the link again for anyone else that has the migration question. The one above didn’t post correctly.

Alex June 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm

After some trial and error….and installing the iso on a host computer I am in the process as we speak of upgrading my EX490 to WHS2011….looks like my issue was with the CFG.ini file for somereason it would not run

Ron Yu June 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I decided to move to WHS 2011 on my HP Data Vault and want some help to know if I should be using 32bit or 64bit of WHS 2011. Are Vaults capable of having 64bit OS.

I tried making a USB Disk from the steps above with following
a. Windows 7 USB/DVD download too
b. WHS 2011 X64 iso
c. 8GB USB Key
d. On Windows XP(32bit) Desktop

But the files are not getting copied to USB ending up with error.

Chris March 9, 2013 at 7:33 am

I am trying for 3 days to setup whs2011 on x311, no succes. I am creating the ini file, using a kingston usbdisk, but when the OS boot i get UI interface, not the unattend install. I tried config.ini, config.ini.txt… nothing helped. The hdd is 1 tb, 2 g ddr, i dont see what is the problem.
In Ui mode WHS2011 installes succesufuly. I tried on my laptop.
So i guiess is a cfg.ini problem, since my log said : cfg.ini file not found.

Matt April 4, 2013 at 9:16 am

Well, I knuckled down and purchased the OEM version of Windows Home Server 2011 from Amazon for my HP MedaSmart EX487. I was cautious since support runs out for the OS in about a year.

I created an ISO out of the install disc and created a bootable USB flash drive per the manual instructions provided by Sean Daniel. I am sure the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool will work too. I also wiped my 750GB and two 2TB drives before starting the installation. I was not successful with cfg.ini file at all.

I realized that after booting my desktop computer with the Windows Home Server 2011 disc, it was stopping at New Installation or Repair installation, after selecting New Installation, I had to accept the EULA, then click Install. I wrote down all my keystrokes for future reference.

After figuring this out, I deleted the cfg.ini from my USB flash drive, installed my 750GB drive and booted with the USB flash drive. I waited for the USB light to stop flashing, pressed Enter for New Installation, waited 10 seconds for the USB to stop flashing, pressed the space bar to accept the EULA, pressed TAB twice to get to the Install button, an finally press Enter. The installation began.

It took about ~10-15 minutes before the server was ready for a remote connection. I used RDC instead of a web browser. Since I was using RDC, it was prompting for a username and password. The default username and password is Administrator and Admin. The information if found at

It took about ~20-25 minutes to complete the rest of the installation.

I installed the current version of Stablebit for drive pooling and installed my two 2TB drives.

I am very happy that my MediaSmart is up and running. April 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Wonderful post! We will be linking to this great content on our website.

Keep up the good writing.

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