EX490 lives with Win 2016 and 2019 Hybrid Essentials
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Author:  MusicLover2112 [ Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 Essentials

Great job and appreciate your progress updates, Ripstop; thanks for sharing your light driver too. I have not had time to do much yet, but I should have mentioned that the backup options show up after a successful backup! Even though this is an unsupported config I just can't see returning to Server 2016 or *shudder* 2012 R2. 2019 is the first time since 2011 where everything feels snappy and responsive, though my E8400 dual-core CPU and 4GB RAM is really pushing the minimum hardware limits. I still miss that magic of WHS v1, but 2019+Essentials is probably the last stop for my old EX490. Now that I've played with Windows' ReFS, Linux's BTRFS and BSD's ZFS I have found ZFS to be the best long-term data storage due to its bit-rot-resistant design. However, it REQUIRES ECC RAM (and lots of it, at least 8GB). I use my WHS for client backups, my Linux NAS for Plex Serving/transcoding and my N40L FreeNAS (BSD) for backing-up/archiving my data and the other servers. I'll give the light-drivers a shot this weekend and report back.

Author:  lioninstreet [ Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 Essentials

Ripstop wrote:

I have now added some trial copies of lights-out 3 and DrivePool to bake in a stable working environment and will let you know how that goes.

MusicLover2112 wrote:
I'll give the light-drivers a shot this weekend and report back.

Thanks for keeping this thread alive @Ripstop & @MusicLover2112. I've been seriously considering dropping the cash on this as a long term option instead of simply going to WHS11.

Any progress worth noting?

Author:  MusicLover2112 [ Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 and 2019 Hybrid Essentials

I have been using Server 2019 successfully so far and had 1 client restore that worked. The issue is WHS2011 will no longer be supported by 2020, since it is based on Windows Server 2008 R2, which shares code-base with Windows 7 SP1. Officially Windows Home Server has been unsupported since April 2016, as extended support was never offered. The problem with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is that it's supported only until October 2023, and I experienced a variety of issues with that OS on my EX490. Windows Server 2016 Essentials is probably the "safest" bet, since it's officially supported until 2027. However, that OS was based on a very slow build (1607) of Windows 10 - that build has known issues with performance, especially when it comes to updates (I also experienced memory issues on my EX490). Windows Server 2019 performs MUCH better for me on my EX490 - however, the issue here is three-fold:

1. The Essentials version of 2019 is a much-limited version that removed the core capabilities of Essentials - this means one needs to use the Standard version to support the Essentials hack
2. The Essentials Dashboard is not officially approved/tested by MS for Server 2019, which could make support challenging (Ripstop already pointed out some issues he encountered)
3. The cost of officially licensing Windows Server 2019 Standard is much higher

If one is OK dealing with the speed/performance issues of Windows Server 2016 Essentials that may be the way to go, since 2027 is still 8 years away. By then the hardware in these servers will be very out-dated and may not even be functional (power supply, DDR2 RAM, etc.). Since this server is just for my home and not "mission-critical" I am OK with 2019 since I prefer the improved speed, memory management and update performance compared to 2016 (and it's supported for another 10 years).

Author:  Ripstop [ Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 and 2019 Hybrid Essentials

And to add to that, if you can stomach the essential (No pun intended) technical tweaks that are required to make it work aka WHS2011 style like mixing SMB v1 and v2 and playing with workgroups and domains and changing DNS addresses then I am pretty sure it will be patched until 2028. I can live with the assorted local and domain accounts I need to make it viable and I have purchased DrivePool to get the folder duplication back and it works really well. I mainly use it for streaming to my Popcorn A-400 and keeping my pictures and music safe. I also run Ubuntu 16.4 LTS on another EX490 as my 3rd level backup for those files but that's a rather difficult machine to manage as Linux isn't my native language :)

The past 3 weeks have seen me get more confident in the latest build I made from an MSDN source and I have started to migrate from my old WHS2011 media farm.

The speed improvements over Server 2016 Essentials meant that I couldn't go back. Its now surprisingly slick even on the EX490 but I admit I have a selection of Quad Xeon's and Core 2 Duo CPU based units to choose from. The problem was then paying for a licensed version which I have avoided by having access to MSDN which is very fortunate for me.

All in all its been a journey to get this working but the little EX490 Homeserver from HP lives on again until probably the hardware fails.

Author:  Gardian [ Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 and 2019 Hybrid Essentials

Hey Guys, Haven't been around for awhile, still running WHS v1 but was playing with Win2012E. What a piece of trash, twice windows updates broke on it and that is when I decided to try 2016E,
What a difference, installed it on my DIY machine (2012 MiniITX board) and it is working Great!!! 5-6 updates for about 30 mins and a couple of reboots and it is snappy.

I am going to Demote AD and get it back on the wordgroup, but I think I may have a real upgrade path when I can't use my WHS v1 anymore.

I have been reading about the 2019/2016E splice and don't feel like it would be worth the work for me, 2016 is running great compared to 2012 (waste of money)

Anyway, for those that still pop in might give 2016E a try, they have the eval version....

Everybody take care and enjoy..

P.S. if somebody gets those lights working that would be very cool, I have (4) X-510 and I would love to put 2016E on one with the lights working, That would be the Cats behind lolololoolol

Author:  MusicLover2112 [ Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 and 2019 Hybrid Essentials

Gardian, sometimes I do miss the simplicity of WHS v1 but those days are long gone for me. If 2016 Essentials works for you that's great. For me 2016 Essentials felt too slow, though I agree 2012 R2 Essentials was much worse. 2019 runs better for me than 2016, close to how WHS 2011 felt; too bad you need the Standard Edition and that cost more $$$ too. I will say 2016 and above pretty much require 4GB RAM and a dual-core CPU (of course most of us here already made those upgrades). It works well enough on my EX490 with E8400 @3GHz but I wish 8GB RAM was supported on the MediaSmart servers. Changing the OS drive to a SSD was a big upgrade too for updates and patches (and overall system feel & dashboard responsiveness). If you use OfficeMaven's install tool getting Essentials onto Server 2019 is pretty simple these days. Install 2019, don't set up server role, then install drivers and other system updates. Then install Essentials role via OfficeMaven tool, which he has been updating. He even recently added preliminary support for Server vNext Preview build 20215 (aka Windows Server 2022). I'm happy with this 2019 server with 2016 Essentials role bolted on - it's been backing up my household's computers (QTY 5) and serving up our files without an issue for over a year now (and saved my bacon a couple of times with restore functionality).

Author:  Gardian [ Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 and 2019 Hybrid Essentials

Great to hear someone is still moving on with WHS YAH!
I to had lots of problems with server 2012E with updates breaking and having to re-load. I never was able to get it close to being placed in service.
Server 2016E I agree, I have it loaded on my DIY server but plan on using one of my X-510's and possibly even going live with it, Just haven't had the time.

I think what you have done with the lights is great, I may fiddle with that later. But good to know they can kind-of work. Even not blinking would be nice. :-)

I am searching the net about "Demoting" the server from the Domain thing, but still don't know if it can be done without breaking anything else.

I also agree, unless you use "the HACK" to install the E from 2016 into 2019 "which I have seen on the net can be done" 2019 is a waste without the "E" the backups and vpn was what made whs great.
Microsoft will apparently never understand home users or chooses not to.

I was able to find a good price on a full version "key works" at a descent price. And use stablebit drive pool (works Great)....

Good Luck to you and yours.
If I am able to demote I will post back, assuming this site is still here.... Alex has told me he would keep it up as long as it was still useful.
For WHS this site is the Bible for me lololololo

Till later enjoy,
finally something from Microsoft that may actually be worth having on a home server again!!!!!

Author:  msawyer91 [ Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX490 lives with Win 2016 Essentials

MusicLover2112 wrote:
OK I did it and it works very well! Server 2019 Standard runs MUCH better than 2016 and updates no longer take hours.

Indeed I am impressed at how well both my EX487 and EX490 handle Windows Server 2019. Like a CHAMP! Boots up fast, and I have a decent amount of stuff running on them. Even my EX495 running Windows 10 holds its own. OK so maybe I can't use it to watch a Blu-ray, but as a utility box that I interact with mostly via Remote Desktop, all three MediaSmarts are fantastic!

You would never know they're all 11+ years old. :)

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