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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:10 am 
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I realize not everyone has the patience to read thru all this info to try finding the link to the VAIL update tool. So here the link to the most recent version release along with a .txt file of it's hashes. A readme is also integrated into the .iso for usage instructions. https://www.mediafire.com/folder/4nyoj2asmv6vk/wsusoffline-whs2011-glb

If you want the details, this thread is broken into a couple of posts, first how a bare metal install of WHS11 can be successfully updated using Windows Update (WU). The second post outlines the Telemetry and GWX issues that come up when you use WU, and the third outlines the various options to WU for installing updates, including the off-line updater linked above that is specifically tailored to update WHS11 with minimal hair pulling.

This all actually started as a paragraph rant about the joys (and lack thereof) of updating WHS11 (code named VAIL). It morphed into months of many, many clean installs & update runs, researching superseded updates, and comparing the strengths and weaknesses of third party OS update tools. So if your goal is to find a simple, painless way to get WHS11 installed and updated from bare metal, your reading the right thread.

For the uninitiated, WHS11 is a somewhat stripped down version of s2k8r2x64, built with a clean overlay that makes it super friendly for us home users. For those of us who wanted full control over our data, it was the second generation of Microsoft's robust, non-cloud based, functional home network software. It's core is the 64 bit nt6.1 kernel, the same as Windows 7x64. Nearly 98% of the NT6.1 updates cross over between the two OS. WHS11 includes nt6.1 SP1 as well as all updates pushed thru 2011-08.

Back in the fall of 2018 (not knowing any better), I tried to do a bare metal update of VAIL using Windows Update. On the first attempt I just let it run. Sadly the update process was fraught with update errors. Probably 30%-35% of the updates failed to install! If you've ever tried to do a clean install and update w7sp1, you've felt my pain. But I did figure out how to use WU to do it without the fails. You have to start by installing updates oldest to newest, about 6-12 months at a time (based on how many there were), restarting & repeating, up to the magic date of 2016-03.

At this point you have to decide if you want to install the 2013-03 Enterprise Hotfix Rollup (EHR). Most have never heard of this one. It contains 90 update hotfix's. Microsoft recommends installing this rollup on all nt6.1 (s2k8r2 & w7sp1) installations. Thankfully it appears to be telemetry free. https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-server-essentials-and/enterprise-hotfix-rollup-for-windows-7-sp1-and-windows-server/ba-p/398593

Then there's the 2016-04 Convenience Rollup (CR). It contains another 124 updates. MS stated at the time the CR includes all updates from the time SP1 was introduced (2009-07) thru 2016-03. As it turns out, it includes those and more. This is MS. So in addition to additional functional updates, there's also what appears to be the addition of 3 telemetry updates baked into it, two of which are non-removable.

As it turns out, the CR contains only 2 of the 90 hotfixes in the EHR. And as I continued digging, it turns out MS actually killed off it's nt6.1 hotfix repository in late 2018. So it's only a matter of time before the EHR get's killed too. BTW, neither the CR or the EHR are pushed by Windows Update. Meaning, they are both manual installs.

Adding to this are Servicing Stack Update rollups. These SSU's "stabilize" the OS (a MS technical term) and an updated one is a mandatory pre-requisite to installing the CR. With the EHR, it's KB article directs that you also need to install a handful of post-requisite updates (that of course MS conveniently doesn't publish in their update catalog anymore). Luckily they can be found at thehotfixshare.net. So now after sorting all that out, your system is pretty well updated thru 2016-04. Only 4 more years of updates to go. :beerme:

Next, there's 9 months of updates to install from between 2016-04 & 2016-12 (some are superseded, some are cumulative, some are not). Once that's done, for the most part all that's left is choosing if you want to finish updating with either the 2020-01 Monthly Quality Security Rollup (MQSR) or go with the Monthly Security Only Updates (MSOU).

The MQSR's began in late 2016 and are what WU installs. They are monthly aggregates of whatever is current plus what was previously released. This includes the now infamous Get Windows 10 and Windows Telemetry updates. In principal they are an one-and-done update, drop in the most current one, get all the rest. But of course, this is MS we're talking about. So that's almost the reality.

On the other hand, you have the MSOU's . They are monthly update packages of security only updates (which must be installed in order, one by one). Using MSOU's, you won't get things like DST updates for Uzbekistan or MS's crapware (with one or two minor exceptions). Obviously MS set it up this way on purpose, the latter being more labor intensive (there are a total of 37 of them thru 2020-01) but cleaner.

And of course, in both scenarios you have to remember to install the two SHA-2 support updates and the newer Servicing Stack Updates... More on that below.

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Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

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Last edited by lioninstreet on Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:17 pm, edited 13 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 7:58 pm 
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As of this writing, (2020-05) Windows Update currently installs roughly 285 updates into VAIL (including IE11, it's updates, the .NET framework 3.51/4.x updates, and the Convenience Rollup). I say "currently because MS does discontinue update availability. For WHSv1, there used to be 236 updates available thru WU. Last time I checked, WU only pushes about 36.

Now comes the real fun. Those 285 updates generously include a total of 36 get Windows 10 nagware updates, including the 2017-04 updates for processor generation detection (KB4012218 & KB4015546). These two are the ones that continually throw an unsupported CPU flag at you every 5 minutes with Kaby Lake, Ryzen, and newer processors. So if you're planning to use WHS11 on a storage/backup platform using a 2017q1 or newer CPU, you have to either manually remove them or install a workaround that fools them. ](*,)

What you say, no worries about that. You've decided to stick with the tried & true HP MediaSmart? OK fine. But you still get to deal with all the other GWX end of support nags including the most recent from 2019-10 (KB4493132). But wait, there's more. Don't forget about telemetry. WU throws an additional 13 (yes 13) telemetry updates into your system for free!

And if that isn't enough, MS has a bonus for you when you try to use WU to update WHS11. Your system wont actually fully update thru 2020-01. For some reason that's unique only to this OS, WU will only give you the monthly security updates thru 2018-05 (kb4103718). In addition, the newest Servicing Stack Update (SSU kb3177467-v2) you get is SSU3 from 2018-10 (as of 2020-01 MS is on SSU8), you'll be totally missing out on SHA-2 support, and as a special bonus you get to finish installing all the 20 missing monthly security only updates manually.

Unfortunately, if you're updating manually it gets worse.

Everything noted above applies to updating the root OS s2k8r2. Remember that WHS11 is a specially tailored overlay. Luckily, WU will install VAIL's most recent Update Rollup (#4) and a backup failure update. But it fails to install the other 3 hotfixes for UEFI client compatibility. Meaning, if your relying on WU to update your fresh new WHS11 install & you happen to be planning to back up a UEFI client with it (basically enthusiast mobos made after 2012 and practically all mobos made after 2015-2016), you won't be able to do a restore of it.

As all of this became apparent, I thought it might save some grief to check out the updater tools that are out there. I found a handful of them. There's Portup 2.5.1 (it actually picks up 234 updates including the GWX & Telemetry), or WUmgr and its predecessor WUMT (they both pull & install the same as WU). Then there's Simplex. it is different in that it includes a static update list to pull & install with GWX & Telemetry manually removed. But that list only installs 66 updates. Biggest problem is, with all these updaters, your still only getting 2 of the 5 post release VAIL updates and no UEFI supprt.

Add to that the joy of identifying & flushing out those 36 GWX and 13 telemetry updates, and it's not hard to see that MS really prefers that you to serve up your data with a $300-$400 license of s2k16e or s2k19e. Not at the moment, thanks. [-X

If you made it this far, rejoice. The answer is in the next post.

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Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

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Last edited by lioninstreet on Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 8:27 pm 
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I'm perfectly satisfied with a $40-$50 copy of WHS11. But especially now that VAIL is EOL, I started working with the kind folks over at the German site wsusoffline.net to develop a fully self contained WHS11 update tool sans Telemetry & GWX (shout out especially to aker who also authored the v1 updater tool). It was intentionally designed to work like WHSv1 tool that's been available for close to two years here: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14784 .
So finally, all the grief and hoop jumping that makes setting up VAIL such a PITA is over. :cheers: One click updating of a bare metal install sure sounds nice. That was the goal, and the tool is just about that simple. It's fully self contained, meaning no worries about MS discontinuing updates. Similar to the v1 tool, all the updates thru EOL (2020-01) for WHS11 are actually located in the tool. This means that if you had to, you could even actually update the system without an internet connection.

We've been in development since support ended for nt6.1 early this year & I've been working with the beta versions since 2020-03.

So here we are. A server OS with limited $$ out of pocket, updates with GWX & telemetry removed, daily backups, storage drive compatibility over 2gb, SSD's plug & play, UEFI support, no open source OS learning curve, and decent SMB security. For another $30-$40 bucks or so, I can even have Drive Extender by using the add-in Drive Bender or StableBit Drive Pool. Both are stable, well proven, remain updated, and maintained.

No more issues bringing Windows Home Server 2011 up to date.

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Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

ex49x/v1 (toyin w/Vail)
VGA
Q8200s w/two 30mm cooling fans
4gb Ram
Rear Casecover Cooling Mod


Last edited by lioninstreet on Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:52 pm 
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The off-line updater contains and installs all updates normally installed by Windows Update as of 2020-01 for s2k8r2 and the WHS11 overlay fully off line. No internet connection required. In addition, there is no worries about Microsoft's Telemetry and GWX that is normally injected using Windows Update. If that crapware was removable, it's already redacted.

There are also several optional Rollups & Feature Packs available for WHS11 included in the updater package. They must be installed manually due to the nature of the WHS11 overlay functions inside of nt6.1 s2k8r2.

These consist of four rollup packages, a Servicing Stack Update, and a WHS11 Feature Pak Hotfix (shown below). These updates are also included in the tool. The tool's readme instructs where they are located inside the updater package and how to drop them in after the base OS is installed. It's no more complicated than simply double clicking them to install before running the off line update tool. There is a specific order they need to be installed in:

The 2019-03 Servicing Stack Update (KB4490628)
The 2013-09 Enterprise Hotfix Rollup (KB2775511) and 6 post-requisites
The 2016-04 Convenience Rollup (if you want it)
The 2013-02 WHS11 GPT/UEFI Hotfix Feature Pack (KB2781272) & it's prerequisite WHS Update Rollup 4 (KB2757011).

Note: should you decide not to install these optional Hotfixes, the tool will automatically install the WHS11 UR4 rollup as well as the 2019-03 SSU. But the others listed above will not install automatically. Refer to the readme in the tool for more information. Changelog & Hashes below:

2020-03-08 [BETA 1]
initial version

2020-04-27 [BETA 2]
- updated wsusou to 11.9.1
- added new detection mechanisms for WHS2011 and the UEFIRollup
- fixed compatibility with the convenience rollup
- removed KB3068708 and KB3080149
- added two versions of the static lists (one satisfying Windows Update, one with strict cleanups regarding superseded updates)

2020-05-23
- added the files for the "Enterprise Hotfix" and "Convenience Rollup" for manual installation
- added a README for installing the hotfixes, all of them can be installed using double-click
- added System Update Readiness tool [10-2014] to fix some installation issues (failed installations, installation loops, ...), if the "Enterprise Hotfix" is installed
- Update-Rollups defined using static definition will also be excluded, if the SecOnly-option is enabled
- Lightened the download by removing from the stored update files:
installation files for C++ 2005, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2019 to save space (only 2010 is preinstalled)
nt6.1 SP1
- added updates to satisfy WU, if the "Enterprise Hotfix" is installed

2020-06-03
Code: Select all
- unblacklisted KB3054205 for systems with convenience rollup installed

Hashes
name: wsusoffline-whs2011-glb.iso
size: 8760061952
CRC32: 665db28b
MD5: 7ba48028b4cbc6f036ec25aa58b1b258
SHA1: 83ec41ee8f7aea6f21eb9cb34d83ba4b5db93a9f
SHA256: fa52acaf1fc778058ca974dbac62c982c44c36ac4b9504cfd86fc5698d07259d

_________________
Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

ex49x/v1 (toyin w/Vail)
VGA
Q8200s w/two 30mm cooling fans
4gb Ram
Rear Casecover Cooling Mod


Last edited by lioninstreet on Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:49 am 
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This is just fantastic news. Thanks so much lioninstreet! I have also chosen to happily remain with WHS2011 no matter what. It just works! I religiously do bare metal backups of my server, but in my mind always wondered if that should somehow fail, how would I restore from scratch, or even if it would be possible, as I have seen the updates disappearing from MS updates. I came back here as I was searching for the UEFI client backup hotfix for WHS2011. I still run windows 7 clients (I accept the risks), but wanted to make sure down the road I could do it if I decide to ever upgrade to Win10.

I have been a member here for many years, and this is where I learned about servers. I still think it's the best site around for knowledge and FUN!!
I am glad to see this site continue on, with users such as yourself helping us all to still enjoy "the good old days" of home servers!!

I still have 2 mediasmart servers, but sadly on the shelf now. Never could overcome the problem of Esata drives dropping offline. But I still like to come back to where it all started for me. It just feels like home. Thanks again for this!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:01 pm 
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580guy wrote:
I came back here as I was searching for the UEFI client backup hotfix for WHS2011. I still run windows 7 clients (I accept the risks), but wanted to make sure down the road I could do it if I decide to ever upgrade to Win10.

Thanks for the kind words 580guy!

The UEFI (and GPT) hotfix updates are included in the package with the update tool as well as the subsequent updates that fix those updates with or without the .NET framework updates (KB2960358). Note that the requirement for KB2934950/KB2934953 depends on the client's .NET version (MS' documentation isn't clear about the serevers version). Per the tools author, Imagine these 4 possible situations:

Situation 1: Server has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358 (Update for Disabling RC4 in .NET TLS: 2014-04) ; Client has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358 -> no need for KB2934950/KB2934953

Situation 2: Server has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358; Client has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358 -> the documentation isn't clear about that, but I assume, that KB2934950/KB2934953 should be installed on the server

Situation 3: Server has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358; Client has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358 -> KB2934950/KB2934953 have to be installed on the server

Situation 4: Server has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358; Client has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358 -> KB2934950/KB2934953 have to be installed on the server

With both bare metal & existing installs, the updater tool will sort this out automatically depending if you have selected to update to .NET4.8 or not. With bare metal, this is a non-issue as net 4.5.x & earlier versions are no longer supported, not installed or updated. .NET4.0 is on the install disk but as you know is also no longer supported. So in the tool (especially with bare metal installs), it's best just to select update to .NET4.8

580guy wrote:
I still have 2 mediasmart servers, but sadly on the shelf now. Never could overcome the problem of Esata drives dropping offline. But I still like to come back to where it all started for me. It just feels like home. Thanks again for this!

Yes, I don't think that bug was ever resolved. I personally don't have enough data to need the use of expansion so for me it's a non-issue.

Sounds like your storage needs graduated from the MSS to building something that would hold more storage. But I would think that in most cases (especially with the size of todays drives) you could pool in 3 GPT drives and get well over 20-30tb of storage into a MSS. It's great to see "older" members like yourself here. Feel free to check back in from time to time!

I'm sure your experiences will be a valuable addition to this great forum!

_________________
Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

ex49x/v1 (toyin w/Vail)
VGA
Q8200s w/two 30mm cooling fans
4gb Ram
Rear Casecover Cooling Mod


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580guy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:04 pm 
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lioninstreet wrote:
Thanks for the kind words 580guy!

The UEFI (and GPT) hotfix updates are included in the package with the update tool as well as the subsequent updates that fix those updates with or without the .NET framework updates (KB2960358). Note that the requirement for KB2934950/KB2934953 depends on the client's .NET version (MS' documentation isn't clear about the serevers version). Per the tools author, Imagine these 4 possible situations:

Situation 1: Server has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358 (Update for Disabling RC4 in .NET TLS: 2014-04) ; Client has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358 -> no need for KB2934950/KB2934953

Situation 2: Server has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358; Client has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358 -> the documentation isn't clear about that, but I assume, that KB2934950/KB2934953 should be installed on the server

Situation 3: Server has .NET <= 4.5.2 and no KB2960358; Client has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358 -> KB2934950/KB2934953 have to be installed on the server

Situation 4: Server has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358; Client has .NET >= 4.6 or KB2960358 -> KB2934950/KB2934953 have to be installed on the server

With both bare metal & existing installs, the updater tool will sort this out automatically depending if you have selected to update to .NET4.8 or not. With bare metal, this is a non-issue as net 4.5.x & earlier versions are no longer supported, not installed or updated. .NET4.0 is on the install disk but as you know is also no longer supported. So in the tool (especially with bare metal installs), it's best just to select update to .NET4.8


Thanks for all that info on the UEFI fix. Good to know. I have already downloaded the .iso and was browsing through it last night. Now I just need the confidence to do it, before I really need it!! It's so great that all you and your crew have put all this effort in to keeping WHS alive! Thanks again!

lioninstreet wrote:

Yes, I don't think that bug was ever resolved. I personally don't have enough data to need the use of expansion so for me it's a non-issue.

Sounds like your storage needs graduated from the MSS to building something that would hold more storage. But I would think that in most cases (especially with the size of todays drives) you could pool in 3 GPT drives and get well over 20-30tb of storage into a MSS. It's great to see "older" members like yourself here. Feel free to check back in from time to time!

I'm sure your experiences will be a valuable addition to this great forum!


Well, yes there are lots bigger drives now for sure. But with Sata II speeds (what I have), it can take hours to rebuild a drive with data if you have a failure. A 4TB drive can take 8 hours or more. Not wanting to have the server down for a couple of days for that, I have steered away from the larger drives for that reason. Most of my drives are 2TB, which I bought years ago, when I was running the MediaSmart server. My plan was when they failed, they would be replaced with larger 4TB drives, so I started buying 4TB 7200rpm enterprise drives when I saw them on sale, tested them, and put them on the shelf waiting to use. 4TB seems like the sweetspot for me. In the last 10 years of running my server, I have only lost 2 drives, so the plan isn't working! Either I am lucky or doing something right (probably the former). A couple WD20EADS 2TB green drives have been running 24/7 for 10 years! Who'd of thought?
Anyhow, not to hijack this thread, but that's how I ended up with so many drives. Most of my expansion occurred before 4TB and larger drives became available, and now they are waiting to be replaced with larger drives when they fail. I have a couple running with SMART errors for a couple of years, so could be soon!
I definitely check in here from time to time. This is just such a great community of fun, knowledgeable users. Always learn something every time!
Thanks again for the great work, and the information on the UEFI update. I will sure keep an eye on any updates!

_________________
Lenovo TS-440| 8GB| |13 int HD's| 2xSans Digital TR5M-B (10 HD's) | WHS 2011 | |Stablebit Drivepool |Stablebit Scanner| |FlexRAID 2.0|


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:27 pm 
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580guy wrote:
Well, yes there are lots bigger drives now for sure. But with Sata II speeds (what I have), it can take hours to rebuild a drive with data if you have a failure. A 4TB drive can take 8 hours or more.

Just a quick comment on the slow data transfer speeds your experiencing. Last year I benchmarked a 2TB WD Gold (probably the fastest 2tb drive available today) against a SSD. Hardware was a MSS (SATAII) running the baked in Intel Storage Matrix driver in v1. Turns out that the best benchmark was still 20% under saturated with the HDD. Only if your running an SSD will you saturate, meaning your slower rebuild times are more likely caused by the inherent speed limitation of a hard drive, not the SATAII interface. I posted the results down towards the bottom of the first post of thread: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14864&p=106518#p106518

On the other hand, there is a substantial difference in client/server/client file transfer speed between v1 & Vail. But that's a topic for another thread.

580guy wrote:
Thanks again for the great work, and the information on the UEFI update. I will sure keep an eye on any updates!
By the way, once you have the tool extracted out of the ISO & the program file sitting on the server desktop, it's super simple to work with. The readme is decent, but if your unsure about the process just post a quick note if you run into something.
:cheers: :cheers:

_________________
Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

ex49x/v1 (toyin w/Vail)
VGA
Q8200s w/two 30mm cooling fans
4gb Ram
Rear Casecover Cooling Mod


Last edited by lioninstreet on Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:39 am 
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To date, it looks like there's been about a couple dozen downloads of the update tool without any commented issues or concerns.

:encore: :encore:

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Hi All, Thanks to everyone for your continued effort to keep the MSS & WHS alive. Haven't registered yet? Please do so the moderators know your here!

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Rear Casecover Cooling Mod


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580guy
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:58 am 
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Gosh, I really haven't used it yet. As stated previously, I was wanting to install the UEFI fix for clients. But, I don't have any right now, but I know that will change down the road. The one thing that is nice with WHS 2011 vs. WHS2003 is the ability to back up your server, and I keep dozens of backups on a external hard drive (just put them into their own dated folder, move them to root before a restore). So, I have my images already updated from Microsoft. Was just missing the UEFI fix. But...it's nice to know if it all goes South somehow, I actually could start from scratch with the WHS2011 ISO/DVD and with your outstanding project here, bring it all up to date and keep on using WHS2011.
I just need to find some time for that UEFI fix. I really appreciate this project! I will be running this OS for quite some time. It's solid, and it just works.

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