Guide: Build Your Own HP MediaSmart Server and Data Vault 3.0 Patch

by Nigel Wilks on January 13, 2011 · 27 comments

in Guides

If you are MediaSmart Server or Data Vault owner, you should be aware by now that HP have discontinued the product and ceased development. That means we won’t see any updates to the software and have to live with the annoyances of some of the bugs they have left us with. After HP announced they were discontinuing the MediaSmart Server and Data Vault, Alex contacted them and asked that they Open Source the 3.0 software so that we could address the outstanding bugs, unfortunately HP refused this.

When I was answering a forum post recently I noticed I hadn’t got round to fixing one of the bugs on my server, the missing server icon on the Remote Access page shown in the image below.

So, rather than fixing that each time I rebuild I knocked up a quick Add-In to fix it. As it’s a straightforward Add-In, I thought as well as putting it out to the community I’d run through the code as a “How to Guide” so you can create your own.

As I put this project together, I remembered another little bug that’s easy to fix. HP has a typo in one of the help files, dropping an extra ‘t’ in  the target file, so settings became setttings. This problem exists on all language versions of the server (English, French, Spanish and German). So we can squish that little bug at the same time.

You can see this by opening the console, and opening the settings page. Then click on the HP icon, Notifications and then click on Help.

Your Browser will open with a “The system cannot find the file specified.” error. If you change the URL file name from “notifications_settings.htm” to “notifications_setttings.htm” the page will now load correctly.

The “patch” we will create, just uses the Add-In mechanisms built into WHS to install the files we want to fix. There won’t be any need to create any kind of content on the console itself so we don’t need to use complex systems like Visual Studio. All you will need is Wix, but to make it even easier we will use the WixEdit GUI.

So first off you will need to have downloaded and installed WixEdit and then download and unzip the project file on your PC. This has the source files we will need for the patch, and also the Add-In template we will use.

Building the Add-In

  • Open WixEdit and Choose File, Open and navigate to where you unzipped the files above and open the MSSDVPostHPPatch XML file.

So now you have the file Open, there are a few things we need to do to make this “your” Add-In. First off, let’s make you the Manufacturer.  You can change the name of the Add-In here as well if you want.

To make things really easy for this Add-In, I have put all the files in the correct structure. We could add each folder and file until the end, but we have a nice GUI so let’s take advantage of the import feature and save a little bit of time.

  • Click on Files on the left hand menu bar and then right click on the PFiles folder (highlighted in the image below) and choose Import Folder. Now browse to the folder you extracted before and choose the Hewlett-Packard folder.

You can now expand the folder structure thats been created in your project, and you will notice we have some entries under the DE, EN, ES, and FR folders labelled notifications_settings.htm, notifications_settings.htm_1, notifications_settings.htm_2, notifications_settings.htm_3.

These are the “components” of our project as they contain the actual files we will deploy. I prefer to rename the components so I can identify them easily later on.

  • Click on the component and rename the Id.

You can see the first example for the DE folder below.

So, after you have done all four entries, your structure should now look like this: -

Now we have our components and structure set, we need to just add a Feature. If you look at the top of the screen to the right of Files, you should see a Tab labeled Features.

  • Right click in the left pane and choose New Feature. Type HP_Patch in the Id field and set the Level field to 1.

Now we need to add those Features

  • Right click on the HP_Patch feature (in the left pane) and choose New, Component Ref.

We now have a blank component reference which needs pointing at one of our components.

  • Click on the down arrow to the right of Id and choose the first component name on the list.

Now we have our first component referenced in the Feature, we need to repeat that for each of the remaining 4 Components. Until you have the following: -

Now the Add-In is completed!

  • Click File and Save.

We now need to build the Add-In file.

  • Click  Build, Build MSI setup package

All that’s left to do is to copy the file you saved (default location will be with the project files you unzipped) to your \\SERVERNAME\Software\Add-In folder and install as normal. But, if you didn’t want to go through the steps above then the completed project is available with our other Add-Ins.

You have now created a basic Add-In that simply copies files. Wix can be used to do many other things as part of the installer and it’s a tool I have used to create the installers for Fireplay, Php, MySql and WHS Health. Some of these installers use more advance features such as creating Web Pages but the basic principle is the same for each and by using WixEdit you have an easier way to work through the installation. For any task or install that is a file copy rather than installation via an executable or MSI you can probably automate it by using Wix.

Now we have our first potential Community Add-In, I’d like to know if this is something we can build on. There is a more elegant way to do what we have above  but it’s a little more complicated and involves using Wix to modify an XML file, and if we have more things we can resolve I’ll certainly do that method. So; do you have any fixes you would like incorporated in this Patch? Are there any developers wanting to make this a community development so we can resolve issues we have on the server as HP won’t?

Let us know here, or in the forums!





Article by

I'm a Technical Architect based in the UK predominantly working on Windows Server and Active Directory based solutions. I'm also a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP and moderator/author at http://www.mediasmartserver.net. I've released the FirePlay for Windows Home Server, WHS PHP Installer, MySql Installer for WHS and Wordpress Installer for WHS Add-Ins as well as co-author of the SanEncore and WHS Health Add-Ins with Alex Kuretz.


{ 27 comments }

Alex Kuretz January 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I’ve got a fix for the annoying HP “Remote Access is disabled” notification that doesn’t stay ignored when your server reboots that I’d contribute.

Nigel Wilks January 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Excellent! Thanks Alex, that would be a great addition!

T-Bone January 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Thats awesome you guys are doing a great thing for this site and the community at large. To bad HP couldnt have implemented some basic fixes before the end. No reason to cry over spilled milk.

Bodog WGS January 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Great initiative guys – I’m afraid I’m not technical enough to contribute code – but I can certainly let you know when I find any bugs I encounter. Look forward to seeing this patch evolve.

Mehdi January 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Awesome work!!!

diehard January 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I would like to see the Media Collector software fixed. That’s on my wish list.

Alex Kuretz January 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

That’s a pretty vague statement, we know there are issues in the Media Collector but saying you want it “fixed” isn’t enough, we need to know the specific issue that you want fixed.

Kubla January 24, 2011 at 9:55 am

diehard posted a more specific explanation of his problem and here is another:
If you go to: HP Media Collector>Configuration>Video Settings>double click on an enabled computer>select custom>get custom list the resulting screen lists your available drives with a plus sign next to it. If you click the plus sign it goes away and no folder list comes up.

I have had this problem since setup (it worked the first time).

A call to HP tech support revealed that this is a known bug and it will not be fixed. The tech agent suggested two ways to address the problem:
1. Disable the client computer and re-enable it. This did not work for me.
2. Uninstall the client computer software and reinstall. I haven’t tried this yet.

My unit is a EX495 but the agent said it is an issue with all models and all operating systems (I use Win 7).

The tech also told me that nobody uses Media Collector anyway. I use it with music and photos and it seems to work fine as long as you don’t want to change settings.

Any other fix solutions would be appreciated.

Andreas M. January 14, 2011 at 1:58 am

Nice article! Have to give WixEdit a try now. One question though: How often do you guys rebuild your servers? I bought mine in August ’08 and luckily never had to rebuild it.

Alex Kuretz January 14, 2011 at 8:37 am

I’ve never had to rebuild either my EX47x or my EX49x primary home servers. Development and test boxes get rebuilt periodically as needed, maybe a few times a year.

Nigel Wilks January 14, 2011 at 3:24 am

My production system is fairly stable, and the current Data Vault unit is still running the same build it came with. The dev unit probably gets refreshed every month but most of the time I work on VM so I can just revert the snapshot.

JesterEE January 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Great work guys. I think the first thing is probably to get a list of things that need to be addressed. We all know that there are some outstanding issues, but a bug tracker will go a long way. If you choose to make this a community project and there is something I can help with with my skill set I will be more than happy to dive in.

diehard January 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

OK, my issue with media collector is that it’s stuck on pending files. I’ve tried the recommended comments,but, no go. If I use hp’s 2.5 version. I’m good. But once I install 3.0, it collects the files, but stays pending.

Sergio January 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Maybe off topic. I am worried that some day my ex485 will die and not be able to revive it due to hard to find parts, e.g. power supply. Is there a way I can make a new media smart server with the server restore CD? Do I need to have the same motherboard and exact components to successfully make a new server, or can I use any PC replace the OS with WHS?

Thanks for the help.
Sergio

Bodog WGS January 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Sergio – The answers no to doing a resotre but if your EX485 dies and cant be repaired you can simply remove the HDD’s and move the data off them to another platform. It’s readable on a PC. You won’t be able to use the HP MSS Restore CD – that’s for the HP hardware and peripherals. For backups you could download a demo version of WHS (suggest you do it now), set that up on PC and access WHS backups if you’ve created a copy (use Alex BDBB addin). If you wanted a replacement EX485 you could go hunting on eBay – that would be cheaper than buying parts from HP.

Richard January 17, 2011 at 11:50 am

I don’t have a bug to report just yet as I’ve only been using my MSS EX490 for about 2 months now but I’ve been an avid “reader” of this community for some time now. I think what you are doing here is a great idea! I think we as a community should definitely pick up where HP left off and create patches and such. I agree with the two ‘bugs’ previously mentioned (remote access thing is so annoying, and the icon thing as well).

Sorry to get off topic but – I’ve done a quick search but has anyone come across an article or tutorial on how to optimize the MSS or WHS in general? I’ve only had mine for a month like I said but (being the nerd I am) I’d like to get in the habit of optimizing it first and keeping a set maintenance schedule if needed so that it stays in tip-top shape. I have upgraded the CPU to an Intel E6500 (2.93 GHz) and have been very happy with it so far but haven’t really done anything on the OS level yet.

Art Zasadny February 3, 2011 at 7:27 am

As a 3 year user of WHS and an owner of the HP x510 Data Vault, I really appreciate your efforts to support us. As MS and HP abandons us, it’s nice to know we may be able to “limp” along as we support each other and try to keep our WHS 1.0 systems running as long as we can. I’m not planning to move to Vail because of the lack of DE support, so this platform is it for awhile, or until I find another backup/archiving solution. Thanks again!

ygohome March 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Much appreciated. I’m going to try the add-in this evenning.

CBers March 9, 2011 at 3:12 am

I know this is an excise in creating an add-in, but to fix this problem, you just need to find a picture of the MediaSmartServer and save it to C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\HP MediaSmart Server\webapps\HPHome\images\server.gif on the WHS as I have ??

Nigel March 9, 2011 at 3:21 am

Yes it is an exercise in creating an Add-In which is an automated bunch of steps. As you point out, you could do each of the steps manually and you’ve shown how the Add-In fixes one out of the current five flaws. The exercise was to show how to automate by creating their own Add-In, or people can skip the “lessons” and use the completed Add-In which makes it even easier. Using your logic, do we really need Add-ins if we can copy files, start services, edit the registry etc manually?

CBers March 9, 2011 at 3:28 am

“Using your logic, do we really need Add-ins if we can copy files, start services, edit the registry etc manually?”

Not if you know what you’re doing.

Add-ins bundle lots of things together and are useful and saves you having to re-invent the wheel – I myself use a few add-ins, especially for disk management.

I just wanted to show, that although this was an exercise in creating an add-in, the subject of the add-in had a simpler solution, and may aid people who were searching for it.

Nigel March 9, 2011 at 3:42 am

Fair enough, but you’re also only showing one of the “fixes” included so far. The simple solution IMO would be to use an Add-In, not each of the separate fixes though but we can happily disagree. Also bear in mind we have a varied audience that don’t Remote Desktop into the server period which is why as well as the article there is the finished Add-In available for download.

We’ll also be building on this moving forward to add more updates as we do them. Feel free to do them manually though.

CBers March 9, 2011 at 4:12 am

Look forward to read more about add-ins.

Who knows, some day I may have a need to create one :-)

John Zajdler May 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

Any developments on this ?
Also hopping for a HP Light’s driver for installing WHS2011 on the MediaSmart Server, I’m envious that Tranquil has done one, but since HP is out, we should not expect anything from HP.

http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2011/05/15/how-to-install-windows-home-server-2011-on-to-a-tranquil-pc-sqa-5h/3/

Alex Kuretz May 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

What developments are you looking for? I’ve seen few requests for additional features and it’s not really possible (or legal) to rebuild components of the HP code, the fixes we made in this initial version were simple file placement issues.

The LED controller requires a signed 64-bit driver, plus a service to control it. I’m fine with the service but building and signing the driver is non-trivial.

CBers May 15, 2011 at 10:39 am
Alex Kuretz May 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I published that same guide a year earlier.
http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/04/26/how-to-install-windows-home-server-vail-on-the-hp-mediasmart-server/

And it doesn’t really relate to what DieHard was asking about, which unless I misunderstood was specifically the LED controller.

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