Windows 2012 R2 Data Center, Home Server Help

Discussion in 'Windows Server' started by iPenguin02, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    I recently acquired a copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center for my home server, It was free so I thought I'd give it a try. Problem is i have little experience with Windows Server 2012, I played with 2003 way back, but haven't touched any copy of server since then. I would love some help or to be pointed in the right direction in terms of what i need to do to accomplish what I'm trying to do.

    Here's the idea, My brother and I wanted to centralize our files and create a media server, so we picked up a server and a few hard drives. Since we acquired a copy of server we said what the hell, why not. We have Server installed on a 320 GB HDD and 2 3TB HDD we spanned together to make a 6 for our files. So far I have server installed, changed the server name and set up a static IP. For the Media Server I plan on using Plex Media Server.

    The issue is I do not know where to start to get the server up and running. Not sure if i need to install Active Directory and a DNS server. I'm not exactly sure how to create a file server in server 2012. Would I need to add users to the domain? and how do i do that? We do plan later on to include a print server, if we ever figure this thing out. Any assistance on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Maybe given a list of things that i need to do and I can research from there. At this point I do not even know where to start to get this thing up and running. I could not find any guides that pertains to my situation.
     
  2. guig

    guig MDL Member

    Apr 15, 2008
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    You have to add a role File Server
     
  3. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    Thanks, Do i need to install active directory and a DNS server?
     
  4. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    No, for such small outfit there is no need to make it AD/DNS

    Treat the server as if it was a workstation (like if you were using Windows 7 to share files)

    Just because it has Server in the name, it does not change any principles.

    Create 2 local users that will have access to shared folders, on Storage Pool volume (configured from your hard drives)

    Honestly ALL info is available everywhere, to anybody above age of 9.

    Read, try, destroy, redo, learn/try again. That is the whole point of IT

    sebus
     
  5. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    #5 iPenguin02, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    (OP)
    Thanks man, i know theres alot of info out there. I just didn't know where to start with what i was trying to do.
    Would that work if i were to access it off my home network?

    any other advised or tips i should look out for, so i dont mess things up? lol
     
  6. tonto11

    tonto11 MDL Addicted

    Jun 18, 2012
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  7. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    Thanks I'll read over it and give that a try
     
  8. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    That is UNRELATED to the question!
     
  9. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

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    Which way would you want to access it?

    From Internet? Doing what? Simple file pickup, or stream or what?

    You must be a little bit more descriptive for a good answer

    sebus
     
  10. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    #10 iPenguin02, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
    (OP)
    Sorry for the confusion.

    We want to be able to access our files when we are not on our home network where the Server is, pretty much away from home.
    The media server will serve so we can stream our movies and such while we are away. We would also like a file server to access other files while we are gone as well.
    The OS is on a 320 GB HDD and the media server and files we would like to access will be on a separate drive spanned volume. hopefully..
    Wasn't sure if i needed AD to run a file server and eventually a print server.
    My understanding of AD is that it is mainly used for local accounts. How does that plan into windows 8 and being able to log in with you Live.com account?

    Thats the idea at least.
    Using DirectUpdate for DynDNS we hope to link that to a domain name so we can access files while gone. sounds good in theory i suppose.
     
  11. ZaForD

    ZaForD MDL Expert

    Jan 26, 2008
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    OK, It sounds like your after a setup similar to mine.
    So heres a few things I discovered while doing this on Server 2012.

    1. Plex Server is almost useless on a Windows based server. As it has to run with a user logged in.
    Check out the WHS thread on their forums. It dates right back to the original WHS running server 2003.
    There are lots of other 'Streaming Media' servers out there that will run as a service and therefore are a lot better/safer on a Windows Server based network.

    Personally I used the Windows Essentials Media Server (hence I installed Server 2012 Essentials) This can installed as a feature in Data Centre 2012 R2. So give it try, its free and it may suit your needs.

    2. You need good Upload speed if you want to stream Movies away from home, most 'Streaming Media Servers' will adjust your bitrate to cope. This has been very hit and miss for me. But smaller files like TV Shows or Video clips have been fine.

    3. WHS and Essentials have built-in IP/DNS updating and a free Domain. So you can access your Media or Files from anywhere over the Net.
    You can also assign your own Domain if you have one.

    4. On Windows 8/8.1 PC's if your using an MS account to access your PC, go to 'Credential Manager' in control panel and add the Local account details for your local network.

    5. AD is basically a tool for organising users, as Sebus has said you don't need it for a few users/PC's.
    The print server stuff I'll leave to him and others here as they have far more experience than me.
     
  12. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    Thanks ZaforD, appreciate the input.

    Should I just see if i can pull together money to pick up a copy of Essentials? seems alot easier to use.

    1. The user has to be logged in constantly? Locking the account will not work?
    In consideration to the other media servers, If i were to reboot the server I wouldnt need to log in, all the services will run automatically?
    I'll definitely look at the other options and i'll even give the Essentials media server a try.

    2. Im running around 5 mbps on TWC upload speed, streaming away will probably suck.

    3. Does Data Center have built-In/DNS updating? This make essential look way more appealing and easier to manage for my needs

    4. Am i adding the server log in for that? What exactly needs to be done?
    On another note should me and my bro have separate log ins for our server? or does should the admin account be sufficient.

    5. I didn't think i needed AD, but i wasn't completely sure, so i thought i'd ask
     
  13. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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  14. ZaForD

    ZaForD MDL Expert

    Jan 26, 2008
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    No need, you can install the 'Essentials' part of 'Essentials Server' as a role in both Data Centre and Standard Server 2012 R2

    I don't know if its part of Data Centre or Standard Server (I'd guess not) but it gets installed as part of the 'Essentials Role'

    There were a few work rounds that let it work while the login was locked, but I never tried them. Way to much messing around to get a half workable solution for me to bother with.
    Any 'Streaming Media Server' that's designed to be used on a Windows system will run as a service, and if setup to do so (which most will be) will run at startup whether planed or a system reboot.

    As Sebus says, there should only be one Admin account with a secure password and it should only be used for setup and administration.
    Everyone else should be using User accounts, in this case that's one each for you and your brother. You could also switch on the guest account to allow limited access to friends or family (but only have it switched on if your actually going to use it) And its these User account details that you add to your Windows 8/8.1 PC's.

    Also following on from Sebus' post. I think when you install the 'Essentials Role' its adds a VPN service as well for file access. And you chose which of your network shared folders you can access via the built-in web access site.
     
  15. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    I must be doing something wrong..

    There are 3 accounts now. 1 admin, 2 user; on for my bro and one for me

    I create 4 folders
    1 public - everyone has writes to
    1 media - me and my bro have read / write, everyone else read
    2 personal - I have read / write to mine, and my bro has read to my folder. Other folder is his with same permissions but in reverse.

    I set those folders to share on the network. but every time i try to access time via the network they are prompting to log in. I tried both users (mine and my bros, not admin) to access them. all folders including public say access denied.
     
  16. WinDev

    WinDev MDL Expert

    Jul 6, 2013
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    Hmmm... If you want to set up Home Server, you can try Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.
     
  17. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    I personally found each of the above being dumb & inadequate

    sebus
     
  18. ZaForD

    ZaForD MDL Expert

    Jan 26, 2008
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    Yeah, this can happen, it depends on how/where the shares are setup.
    Setup one of the Media folders through the Dashboard with the permissions you want on one of your folders. Then goto 'Shared Folders' in Computer Manger and compare the permissions to the folder you've setup. ;)


    That's because you know what your doing with a server, the 'Fisher Price' approach will just get in your way :p
     
  19. iPenguin02

    iPenguin02 MDL Novice

    Dec 2, 2013
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    #20 iPenguin02, Dec 7, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
    (OP)
    Thanks Sebus & ZaDorD for all the help so far.

    I finally got the folders set up correct. Is there a way to have certain folders to prompt for log in. For example, I enter my user/pass to access my personal folder on the server? And on the public folder log into it so i have full access from my personal pc?

    I understand I have to create the same user on the server PC locally on my personal pc, but is there another way around that? Kind of a hassle to log into the secondary user on my personal pc just to access files on the server. I tried to add my email account onto the server.. doesn't work. emails too long