Home Server SMART for WHS v1 Updated, Beta Available

by Alex Kuretz on September 12, 2013 · 6 comments

in News

The following is a guest post written by Matthew Sawyer (forum member msawyer91) of Dojo North Software, developer of the popular and useful Home Server SMART Add-In for WHS and WHS 2011.

For Christmas of 2009 my wife bought me an HP MediaSmart Server EX490. Being the geek that I am, I couldn’t leave the server alone, and I found my way to MediaSmartServer.net in very short order. But the geekiness didn’t stop there—I felt the need to develop an add-in for Windows Home Server, and on January 21, 2010, the very first version of Home Server SMART was born.

Thanks to colleagues over at Home Server Land and their WHS Add-In Management tool, I was able to see that Home Server SMART was downloaded and installed by well over 10,000 users! And despite the fact that it had some shortcomings, it scored well in user reviews (4/5 stars). I was honored to have provided an application that provided value to so many users.

Over the last three and a half years, I have been blessed and honored to be a part of such a great community. Despite the ups and downs of the IT world and the demise of the Windows Home Server product we know and love, this community has weathered the storm. I don’t just consider you colleagues, but rather I consider you all friends. Thank you for helping make my endeavors so rewarding.

That said, you all may be wondering what the future holds in store for the original version of Home Server SMART, which on my website is listed as Home Server SMART Classic. It’s been almost two years since it was updated, and I’ve gotten emails from folks wondering if it’s dead.

Fear not, because I have good news! Home Server SMART Classic has gotten an extreme makeover. It still has the UI you know and love, but under the covers it has the same features and capabilities of its newer counterparts, Home Server SMART 2013 and WindowSMART 2013. This includes, but is not limited to, support for SSDs, mobile notifications, disk self-tests, exporting of results and more.

The news gets even better—you can download it and give it a test drive today! Just click here to visit the Home Server SMART Classic page.

But wait…what do you mean by “test drive?” I thought Home Server SMART was free!

You’re right. Three years ago when I released Home Server SMART, I promised it was and always would be free. While there are days when I regret that choice, it nevertheless was a promise. A promise made is a debt unpaid, and so yes, Home Server SMART Classic remains free. The reason I call it a “test drive” is because it’s a beta version. It is a major overhaul to the original Classic code and thus it needs to be tested much more thoroughly in the MediaSmartServer.net community.

Donations of course, are always welcome. Development of Home Server SMART Classic and Home Server SMART 2013 represents thousands of hours of work over a three-year period, oftentimes making my wife question why I disappeared for hours at a time into the basement to work on it. If you find that Home Server SMART Classic or 2013 has been of value to you, especially if it helped you avoid serious data loss, please consider making a donation, which can be accessed via the beta page.

Installing Home Server SMART Classic: HSS Classic now uses version 3.5 of the Microsoft .NET Framework. Version 3.5 is really just an extension of .NET 2.0, unlike .NET 4.0 which is a whole new version. Before installing HSS Classic please be sure you’ve applied the Microsoft .NET 3.5 update. Otherwise the add-in will not function properly and may cause the Console to crash when you open it.

Next, the WHS Console will see HSS Classic as a separate add-in from HSS, so it is possible to install HSS Classic without uninstalling the older version. Do NOT install them side-by-side! Please UNINSTALL Home Server SMART before attempting to install Home Server SMART Classic. Also, if uninstalling HSS or installing HSS Classic prompts you to reboot, make sure you do so. If you don’t reboot, HSS Classic won’t work correctly until you do.

Please feel free to leave your feedback in the forums here. Bugs should be logged @ https://www.dojonorthsoftware.net/bugtraq.

Kindest regards,
Matthew Sawyer (msawyer91)
Owner, Dojo North Software, LLC

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.


Comp1962 September 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

Totally Awesome to see this great software being upgraded. I look forward to installing HSS Classic on my WHSv1 servers. Anyone running WHSv1 without this software is playing with fire! Its one of those must have ADD-INs and its unfortunate that many do not discover it until after they run into issues.

I have been running this software since it first came out and its always kept me well informed as to any potential hard drive issues allowing me ample time to remove a suspect drive from my server thus keeping my WHSv1 servers running well.

If your not running it then get your copy and install it today. WHSv1 may tell you your drives are healthy but you may find out they are not as healthy as you thought or you may find out your drives are clean which will give you peace of mind. Knowledge is power and this provides you the knowledge about your drives then you really need to know.

Enough said!

Matthew Sawyer September 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Thanks for the kind words. As I noted in my letter to the community, I am happy that Home Server SMART (both the Classic and 2013 editions) have provided so much value to folks.

Having kissed data good-bye over my nearly 20 years of working in IT, creating HSS seemed like a no-brainer. Sure there are a lot of good SMART tools out there, including Crystal Disk and HD Sentinel. Unfortunately there wasn’t one that integrated into WHS. Since WHS was built to be “headless,” having a client that runs in a full desktop seemed to defeat the purpose. And with WHS v1′s built-in alerting mechanism, there was certainly room to create a SMART monitor just for WHS.

Home Server SMART has also evolved into our shareware product WindowSMART so you can actually deploy HSS-like functionality to all of your Windows PCs. It supports Windows XP right through and including Windows 8 and 8.1, as well as the Server editions.

BUT, when all is said and done, nothing should take the place of a good backup strategy! WHS is a great product, but I also believe in the Cloud and use CrashPlan — WHS may be great, but it’s no match for lightning or a fire.

Gardian September 28, 2013 at 6:12 am

Hey Matt, just wanted to say Thank You, I have been running your addin since the beginning and always recommend it to people that come to the forums with there server acting up and they don’t know why.
Thanks also for the update to our old friend. While many have decided to move on, I know there are a lot of us that will continue to run WHS v1 for many more years.
As soon as your out of beta I will be pushing that donate button. SMART is a must have unless you like bad surprises. :-)
I hope you will send out another notice when it is done. Thanks Again
P.S. I had a friend bring their laptop over, it was acting up, Windows Smart found the harddrive was almost dead, just that quick. I wasn’t able to clone it (to far gone) but was able to retrieve there personal data. Awesome program!

Matthew Sawyer September 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Hi Gardian, thank you for the kind words! It’s always rewarding to hear that our software saved someone’s data. While a business owner may look at a disk failure from more of a cost perspective, a home user is going to see it very much from a sentimental perspective–especially if the disk that is on its way out contains non-replaceable data like family pictures that haven’t yet been backed up.

I always tell folks that nothing takes the place of a solid backup strategy, whether to an external disk, a home server or even the cloud. Me personally? I opt for the home server backup as well as cloud backup–as long as we don’t plunge into nuclear war with warheads hitting both Detroit and Minneapolis, my data is safe! :)

We are getting close to the end of beta. I haven’t gotten much feedback, so I’m hoping that “no news is good news.” I certainly would hope if folks found bugs they’d let me know.

Bert-Jan van Regteren October 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

Hi Matthew, I’m one of those people who still cling to WHS v1. I’m a late convert as far as Home Server SMART is concerned. Untill I installed your add-in for curiosity’s sake and found out that one my WHS HDD’s had 910 bad sectors, while WHS was telling me the drive was ‘healthy’.

Thanks to your software I was able to save all the data on that drive just before it became thoroughly unusable. Can’t thank you enough for that!
I’ll be sure to use your software for the foreseeable future and will join Guardian in hitting the ‘Donate’ button as soon as beta ends.

Oh, and I started using Bitcasa, as a backup to my backups :-)

Matthew Sawyer October 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Good news everyone! Home Server SMART Classic is out of beta and ready for download! Today we finished ironing out the wrinkles of the beta, ran some additional tests and at last made the decision that it was time to roll out Home Server SMART Classic to the masses!

Please visit http://www.dojonorthsoftware.net/HomeServerSMARTClassic.html to learn more and grab the latest bits.

As always, be sure to UNINSTALL any Home Server SMART installation BEFORE installing this one!

Feedback is always welcome. Please log any bugs to https://www.dojonorthsoftware.net/bugtraq. Diagnostic reports can be submitted directly from the add-in itself as well.

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