Author Archives: Ben Wagner

Hauppauge PVR-150 with 4 Gb of RAM

I installed my old Hauppauge PVR-150 analog tv tuner in my new primary desktop that I built a couple of months ago and for some reason I was seeing laggy/frozen video that was extremely blocky and had green blocks throughout like the screenshot I took below.

After doing some digging I found out that the older Hauppauge PVR-150 does not work with computers with over 3Gb of ram due to the hardware address lines on the card. So I set out to find a way to get this to work on my new system without having to cripple the computer and remove 2Gb of ram. read more

VMWare ESXi flash drive only 4Mb

If you were using a flash drive or external hard drive to install VMWare ESXi then you will notice that when you want to use that drive for something else, it only appears to Windows as ~4Mb.

You will probably try to format it inside of Windows but this will still only leave you with the 4Mb of usable space as if the max capacity of the drive has been reduced. Even in Windows Disk Management, you will be completely unable to remove the partitions that were created by ESXi

In order to return this drive to its original capacity you must use the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. Just format it with this program and then you will be all set. read more

Windows Home Server not Virtualized Benchmark

I tried bypassing the virtualization solution and wanted to see what kind of performance I could get running straight off the hardware kind of like a benchmark so I have something to compare WHS VM performance to. I installed WHS directly on my secondary PC and have seen pretty good results so far. File transfers have been generally ranging from 40-50MB/s and I was able to stream a 10Gb 1080p .MKV file with no stuttering and basically immediate response to FF/RW requests.

I did once see transfer speeds below 1MB/s but it worked fine before and after that. I am assuming the slow speeds in that instance were do to the storage balancer since it was shortly after I had turned on some folder duplication and it was likely moving large amounts of data. Although I have no proof, if it happens again I will try to track it down. read more

ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe and VMWare ESXi

For anyone out there who may have the same motherboard as I do, the ASUS A8n-SLI Deluxe Socket 939, I wanted to let you know that it DOES in fact work with VMWare ESXi. Since their hardware compatibility list (HCL) is limited to commercial off-the-shelf servers I wanted to note that it is fully functional (except for that only 1 of the 2 NICs work).

I was able to attach a storage pool directly to the onboard SATA controller and 1 of the 2 gigabit NICs is supported by ESXi with no modifications necessary. read more

Install VMWare ESXi on a USB stick

Next I wanted to try to set up VMWare ESXi. I also read about how you can run ESXi off of a flash drive and I thought I would give this a try so I could dedicate the entire physical hard drive to running WHS.

I read that I could run through the installation normally and just tell it the installation destination is the USB stick, however this did not work for me as it said it was unable to find a location to install to. And after loading the installation files I was forced to restart and try again. read more

Use Google Voice as your primary Voicemail

Google Voice has some great features available including the ability to use a single phone number by ringing multiple phones, call screening, recording, and more, but if you don’t want to switch to a GV number or port over your existing phone number, you can still reap the benefits that GV offers in the area of voicemail.

These benefits include the ability to access your voicemail from the internet, have your voicemails transcribed into text and emailed and/or sms’ed to you, and keep a record of your messages. read more

Hyper-V, Physical hard disk access & CPU virtualization support

A way to avoid using the virtual hard disk files would be by using Hyper-V which has the ability to attach physical hard disks directly to virtual machines. That means I can set the physical hard drive as offline to the host operating system and dedicate it to the virtual machine os, giving the vm os direct and dedicated read/write access to the drive. Using the physical disk access you can avoid using the virtual hard drive “coffins” to store your files, and instead, the files are stored normally, directly on the physical hard drive that can be plugged in and read by any computer. This allows you to reap the full benefits from Windows Home Server’s Drive Extender technology that I have discussed in a previous post. read more

Windows Home Server Drive Extender data storage technology

One of the greatest features of Windows Home Server is its dead simple data management and replication, or what they call Drive Extender. Aside from simplicity, Drive Extender has a few storage features that you cannot find with other solutions. In fact, many enthusiasts choose to run WHS instead of Linux or full blown Windows server upwards of 20Tb for this reason.

No drive letters

In WHS you can forget about worrying about filling up individual drives and having to move files to other drives because they are too big to fit. As far as Windows Home Server is concerned your disks are combined to form a single storage pool. This is like a JBOD “just a bunch of disks” array where you have a single namespace to access the data and the disks are spanned together and appear to the end user as one giant disk. This also greatly simplifies your file access as you will not have to navigate to different drive letters to find your files, they can all be accessed via a single shared folder. read more

WHS on VMWare Server 2.0 with a Windows 7 host

After trying Virtual Server 2005R2 I decided to try VMWare Server 2.0, another free solution.  After a quick Windows 7 reformat (to completely wipe the Virtual Server modifications/workarounds), the installation of VMWare Server went without a hitch. I had a 100Gb partition for Windows 7 and then the rest of the 1Tb drive was broken into another partiotn where I stored the WHS virtual hard drive (not pre-allocated, equal to the remaining space). Later on a second 1Tb hard drive was put in the machine and I created a second virtual hard drive equal to the size of the drive. read more

Virtual Server 2005R2 running on Windows 7 HTPC

The first thing I tried was Virtual Server 2005R2 running on top of Windows 7. This appears to be a very good solution because it allows a single machine to act as a PVR server, a HTPC front end, and a backup server.

I installed Windows 7 x64 on my secondary pc with my TV tuner installed. Since the plan was to attach this computer to the TV for everyone to use, I wanted to keep the host os locked down. I created a passworded user account to act as the administrator and an open account to be used soley for HTPC duties. You can follow this guide to learn how to set up a Windows 7 user account to auto-login upon boot. read more