HP releases updated TiVo and new Easy USB Transfer Add-Ins

by Alex Kuretz on July 12, 2010 · 24 comments

in News

HP has announced the release of two free HP Add-Ins that will be available beginning July 13th for the HP MediaSmart Server and HP Data Vault products. The first is an update to the previously released TiVo Add-In and allows customers to schedule series recordings of their favorite programs and have them automatically copied over to their MediaSmart Server or Data Vault.

The second is a new Add-In called Easy USB Transfer, which allows the contents of a connected USB drive to be copied directly over to the MediaSmart Server or Data Vault. This will be useful for customers who routinely create large amounts of data such as generated by a photo or video shoot and removes the intermediate step of first copying the content to the client PC before moving it to the Home Server.

I do not have TiVo service so have not been able to test that functionality, and though I installed the updated Add-In I wasn’t able to see anything significantly different than what we saw when the Add-In was first released. If you’re a TiVo user, please post in the comments about your experience with the updated Add-In.

HP sent along the following Frequently Asked Questions about the Easy USB Transfer Add-In that you may find useful, and then I’ll share my experience from having used the new Add-In for the past few days.

Easy USB Transfer FAQ

Q. What is the HP Easy USB Transfer add-in?
HP Easy USB Transfer is a free add-in that allows you to copy or move files easily between a USB drive and the HP MediaSmart Server or the HP Data Vault. Transfer files to or from the USB drives – either way.

Simply plug your USB hard drive or flash drive directly into any USB port on the HP MediaSmart Server or the HP Data Vault. Click on the HP MediaSmart Server or HP Data Vault icon on your desktop to open the Web site (User interface), and then click on the Easy USB Transfer icon located at the right.

From the Easy USB Transfer interface, drag a single or multiple folders or files from the USB drive to any folder on the Server, or from Server folder to the USB drive to initiate the Copy. Hold the shift key to Move the file or folder. You can also right click on a file or folder and Cut/Copy, Paste.

Once the transfer is initiated, no connection through your computer is required – you can disconnect or turn off your computer and the transfer will complete without a computer connected.

Q. Is HP Easy USB Transfer exclusive to HP, what products does it work with?
Yes, HP Easy USB Transfer is an HP written add-in for the HP MediaSmart Server or HP Data Vault. Easy USB Transfer works with 3.0 software from HP, including the EX490, EX495, X300, and X500 series.

Q. How do I get the HP Easy USB Transfer add-in?
Customers can get access to Easy USB Transfer through the HP MediaSmart Server and HP Data Vault Add Software page at http://h41112.www4.hp.com/promo/mediasmartserver/index.html . The Add Software page is also accessible through the WHS Console on EX49X series products.

The customer will download the add-in .msi file to their client computer, and then copy the file to the \\Software\Add-ins folder on the Server. The customer will then go into the WHS Console and Install the Add-in through the Settings menu.

Q. What is a Windows Home Server software add-in?
Add-ins are supplemental programs that extend the functionality of Windows Home Server. These applications can be added to and managed by Windows Home Server via integration into the Windows Home Server Console, running as a web service on Internet Information Server, or operating in a client/server fashion.

Note that in the FAQ above, HP mentions that the Easy USB Transfer Add-In works with the 3.0 software from HP. I took a look at the Add-In installer package and found no version checks that would disallow installing the Add-In on an older version of the HP software. So of course I had to fire up my older servers and see if the install would work. I’m happy to report that the Easy USB Transfer Add-In installed on both an EX47x running HP 1.3 software and on an EX48x running HP 2.5 software. One issue is that the shortcuts to the application do not exist in the Control Center, so you’ll need to manually navigate to https://servername/EasyUsbTransfer and then bookmark it for easy access later. You may also encounter an error during the install but this is simply saying that it can’t add the links to the Control Center page that exists in the 3.0 software.

In order to access the features of new Add-In, you’ll need to authenticate with the server using a user account that has Remote Access permissions in order to access the Easy USB Transfer page. Once logged in, a Flash gui appears with connected USB devices on the left, your server’s shared folders on the right, and the Easy USB Transfer status in the top pane. When a USB device, directory, or file is selected in either window, meta data is displayed showing used space, available space, creation and modification date information, and other useful statistics.

Copying files is a simple as using drag and drop from one pane to the other, or you can right-click and select Cut/Copy/Paste options. The utility also allows you to create and delete files on either the connected device or the server itself.

The top pane of the window shows a history of all actions performed by the Easy USB Transfer Add-In, with the option to delete entries or clear the log entirely.

Overall I’m pleased with the Easy USB Transfer Add-In, however there are a couple of issues that I’ll mention. First, it is required that Remote Access be enabled on your server in order to access the Easy USB Transfer web page, due to it requiring the user to authenticate with the server in order to access the Shared Folders. I understand why the Add-In is designed this way, but it complicates things for those users that may not have Remote Access enabled.

Fortunately it may be possible to work around this issue by manually adding a firewall exception on the MediaSmart Server. First you’ll want to access the server via Remote Desktop, launch the Windows Firewall control panel, and then manually add an exception for HTTPS traffic on port 443. I had one server that this process worked, and another server that I was forced to enable Remote Access, so your mileage may vary. Post in the comments if you give this a try and let us know how it works for you.

Additionally, I don’t understand why HP constrained this Add-In to only support USB devices, when it could be quite helpful to allow file transfers from any drive that is not part of the Windows Home Server storage pool. This would allow easy migration of data from eSATA storage enclosures or docking ports, as well as internal drives that aren’t part of the storage pool rather than using the manual process we have documented in the Wiki.

Definitely download these new Add-Ins, let us know how they work for you, and if they make it easier to use your HP MediaSmart Server or HP Data Vault.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of MediaSmartServer.net. 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.


RehabMan July 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Maybe I’m missing something, but that seems like a whole lot of extra work to do something as simple copying files. Isn’t it easier just to RDP into the server, and copy/move files using Windows Explorer?

And the novice who is not comfortable with using remote desktop could copy files using Windows Explorer from their client machine to the server… with the USB drive plugged into their laptop or whatever… no??

I have _got_ to be missing something.

Alexander Kent July 12, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Well, no luck! I so wish I could use this TiVo add-in but my cable provider (Time Warner) DRM’s everything but CSPAN and NASA TV.


I guess I could wait until the new DirecTV receivers with built-in TiVo launch, although I think I am over TiVo as that TiVo service at $129 a year seems a little excessive for the EPG and overall recording functionality.
The little guy inside of me has been shouting Windows Media Center for quite a while now. It might be time for me to finally build an HTPC rig and start bribing my cable guy with pizza.

Bryan July 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

The TIVO aspect does seem interesting but if its an incremental cost to use on top of the Direct TV Service then it seems a mute point. The question I have is, if you can move those saved TV showed over to the MS server does that mean you can watch them on another TV utilizing an HTPC? If so, that would be awesome. It would essentially mean you could have multiple set top boxes to watch taped shows without being restricted to just 2 tvs. Pretty cool. Anyone know if this is the case?

Damian July 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

@ Bryan,

Hopefully someone else can chime in as I haven’t used a Tivo in a long time. My best guess you will be able to watch whatever the Tivo records on other HTPCs dependent on whether the recorded show has been DRMs by your cable provider. I think this is the situation that Alexander Kent is mentioning in the post right above you. The only way right now to get full access to record all your channels with unlimited restrictions is using an HD PVR connected to your cable box. Otherwise you will be limited only to shows/channels that are not drm’d (for me the basic channels such as ABC, NBC, FOX, etc… are not drm’d so that is good enough for me).

Jason July 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I installed the new TiVo Add-In but don’t see a way to schedule new recordings or series recordings on my TiVo units.

I do now get a choice to “transfer series” when I click on a show that’s already recorded on one of the TiVo units.

Maybe I am missing something but I don’t think that the recording functionality being described is there in this version.

The version I downloaded direct from HP is version

Matt July 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm

The new Tivo addin adds a “transfer series” feature and includes many bug fixes.

Jason July 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

That makes more sense to me, it does not appear to offer the ability to actually do any scheduling. I think I just mis-read Alex’s description of the functionality.

Once you have scheduled a season pass you can then use the add-in to automatically copy all of those programs, as they are recorded onto the Mediasmart.

Alex Kuretz July 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Matt, thanks for chiming in. Jason, sorry for the confusion, after re-reading I see how it’s not exactly clear. I used pretty much the exact wording from the HP release email they sent me, and since I wasn’t able to test it (not having TiVo service) I didn’t know a better way to phrase. Hopefully this clears things up for other readers.

Keith MacK July 14, 2010 at 7:53 am

Didn’t see any upgrade directions. Do you need to uninstall the old TiVo sw before installing the new one?

Have to say on the old one it works pretty good, but wish it tranferred back to a TiVo faster. Takes a lot longer to transfer from the WHS then it does from another TiVo.

Alex Kuretz July 14, 2010 at 8:21 am

Keith, yes, all Add-Ins that I’m aware of should be uninstalled before an update is installed. Let us know how you like the updated version once you get it installed.

martin July 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

OK have spent 20 hours trying to get this thing running so far nada. IS THERE A DETAILED STEP BY STEP HOW TO GUIDE FOR EVERYTHING SOMEWHERE?????????. SUPPORTS SAYS IT SHOULD WORK, U GIVE SIMPLE DO THIS AND BANG IT WORKS! That simply is not the case always and im lost!!!! I downloaded that usb app I see it in the webconsole but it says remote disabled, i have enabled and logged on remote user access. i able to remote desktop, but still disabled. What is missing in the directions???????

Alex Kuretz July 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

Martin, our friends over at HomeServerLand.com have a bit of a guide that may help you.

Jason July 16, 2010 at 10:29 am

Woah, calm down there fella. You don’t need to shout and sprinkle your post with more punctuation than information.

You are asking for help in the wrong place, responding to a BLOG POST when what you need to do is open up a new thread in the forums here, or at one of the many other home server forum sites and then you can get the attention of people willing to put up with you, errr, help you.

martin July 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Sorry, the problem was with usb add-in and remote access, media streaming. I found the problem I have ATT 2wire modem aparently MSS is not capitable with ATT 2wire modems. I have read and tried every article i found so far a no go and yes i do have a post in the forums on this.

Keith MacK July 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Finally got a chance to install… now no matter what I do the WHS won’t see either my TiVos. Driving me crazy. Some how I deleted my old version of the TiVo Expander so can’t go back to that version either. I have uninstalled and reinstalled… nothing. The TiVo’s can see the WHS. Just not the other way around….

Irritate me!

Jeremy August 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I installed the USB transfer add in today. Sorta. I am using a 490. When I try to “install” the add-in I get an error for “…network error… Documents and settings” … EasyUSBTransfer[1].msi”. So it says failed to install. Tried several times to same effect. BUT: the add in is listed on my server home page, and it seems to work. Almost. I have several directories on my portable hard drive. As soon as I scroll down to see the unshown ones it crashes… says it cannot connect to server and then immediatly reconnects… but I have no way to scroll down to see lower files. Scrolling works fine on the server side (right hand side). HP Mediasmart support says this is 3rd party and they can’t help.

Any ideas on how to fix this would be MOST welcome.

Alex Kuretz August 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Hi Jeremy, I’ve not seen the issues you describe, you can post in the forums and see if the community has any ideas. Also, HP released the USB Transfer Add-In, it is not 3rd party, I’d call them back.

Jeremy August 5, 2010 at 10:15 am

Alex, Thanks. When I tried this again (reinsert drive and restart add-in) it worked fine. I did have it crash (the same way) once or twice, but def workable. For some reason transferring to the drive connected to my mac is SLOW – 1.23 MB/s v/s 9.9 MB/s when I am plugged into the mediasmart and use this addin.

Rhinoevans October 12, 2010 at 10:04 am

Just got TIVO last weekend. Works great. Much better than my COx DVR. I do not have an HP Server, but a home built based on WHS, so am unfamiliar with the new TIVO/HP addin. But, All I did was install TIVO desktop on the server and it will AUTO move any files /folders I select to any folder on the server. Uses an auto transfer process based on what you decide to transfer. You can also select the location on the server. I have a Folder labeled TIVO and they all go in that folder. On any PC with WMC/P I can watch the TIVO files as is. I use DIRECT SHOW DUMP to convert to MPEG if I want to watch from PCH. So once I week I go into the server, select the files that need to be converted from the TIVO format, select the location for the files, and can now watch via PCH. Nice set up. Direct Show Dump has an automated process which I have yet to get to work. TIVO ROCKS

Rhinoevans October 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Looks like with the TIVO Desktop server software installed and running on WHS, my TIVO, under MY SHOWS, has a link to my WHS server, and I can see all the files that have been transfered to the Server from the TIVO. And they will play from the server on the TIVO. SWEET!!! No more HD full messages and glad I did not by the WD MY DVR hard drive as an extender.

Gabriel December 19, 2010 at 6:38 am

I tried the easy USB add-in, the first add-in I’ve tried to install actually (had my ex495 for a month). The issue is after the successful install, and subsequent restart, I see no icon on the console. I went to my hp home page and clicked the icon there and I get some runtime error. It asks to do some system config to see the error. That’s beyond me. Any advice on this is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Alex Kuretz December 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

You’ll probably want to post in the forums, where you can share screenshots of the error messages and you’ll be more likely to get help from the community with troubleshooting. I’m not sure what’s going on without seeing more details including error messages.

Gabriel December 21, 2010 at 2:44 am

Thanks Alex. I am currently acclimating myself with the forum at the moment. I should have mentioned I am having remote access issues, which is what I am using the forum to help solve. Perhaps when I get that going, this won’t be an issue. Keep up the good work!

Nia September 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

Just use the USB transfer program to rebuild from EX475 to EX495 machine. Out of 40,000 music files 13,000 had errors. There is no description given for the errors. The help file shows some reasons for errors but they are not indicated in my log file. The log just says Error Occured after each file. The log files cannot be printed out or exported to excel. The log window cannot be expanded to full screen so you can’t even get screen dumps of the logs. Now I have to go slit by slit on the windows to try and write down which files had problems. This program deserves a D for execution. It copies files but gives no help when the files don’t copy. It is like programming an If-Then-Else statement without the Else.
Also, it would be nice if the progress on the log showed separate counts of Actual Copies and Non-Copies where duplicates existed. If it tells me it copied 30000 into a folder that already existed I don’t know if it added 3 or 30000 to that folder. If the log could be sorted into copies, duplicate found, and errors then that would be one step forward. Then we need to export the info.
Don’t waste your time with this unless you expect it to work perfectly. Then you will be fine.

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