Archiving TV with Windows Home Server 2011

Feb 1, 2012 by

When Windows Home Server 2011 was announced I was extremely excited. I participated in the beta, and I now have a dedicated 8TB Raid 10 running in my closet. Not only will WHS2011 store all of your files in the house, backup your computers, and allow you to stream your content through your browser or WP7, but you can even automate recorded TV backups. We’ve had a few questions come in lately about this process, so we decided to put a little guide together.

What you will need:

  • WHS 2011
    • Separate storage drives in the WHS2011
    • Windows 7 running Windows Media Center

I will assume that you have already set up your WHS2011. So the first step is to open the WHS2011 Dashboard and go to the Server Folders and Hard Drives section. By default, WHS assigns default locations to where it thinks you want to store your files. We do not want to go this route. Instead, we want to choose a specific folder. So go ahead and select the Recorded TV folder, and take note of its location. If it is not where you want to store your files then simply press “Move the Folder” button.

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If you do this you will now see a list of possible locations that you can move the folder to. So go ahead and pick a different hard drive to put your Recorded TV on to. Another thing we will want to do is Turn off Shadow Copies for this hard drive. If you desire you can keep Shadow copies on, but it’s not necessary since you are probably already running a RAID. Next, click on “Hard Drives” and select the hard drive that the Recorded TV folder is now on and click “View Properties”. Now under the “Shadow Copies” tab uncheck the “Enable Shadow Copies” box to disable it.

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We are all done on the Home Server. Now if you haven’t installed the WHS connector software on your HTPC you will want to do that now. To do so simply go to a web browser on your HTPC and enter http://<servername>/connect and install the software. After you have done this you will want to open up WMC. Right under “Extras” you will now see a nice new tab called “Home Server”. Unlike WHS v1 there is only 1 option here, which is TV Archive.

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Once you select this, you have 4 options.

  • Series –> Select specific series that you want to have copied to your WHS
  • Programs –> Select specific recordings that you want to have copied to your WHS.
  • Settings –> There is only 1 option which is to automatically back up everything to your WHS.
  • Activity –> View if files have been copied over to your WHS

So for instance I can tell my WMC to backup this episode of 30 Rock by checking it and hitting save.

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After I hit save I can now go into activity and see that is is being archived directly to my WHS:

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If I simply open up WHS in windows explorer I can see that it is currently being copied over as well.

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So there you have it. The important part is to specify on your WHS where you want your Recorded TV to pull from. Your archived shows should still show up in your Recorded TV folder. If they do not simply go to Settings->Media Libraries->Recorded TV->Add Folder->On another computer –>Select WHS –> Select Recorded TV Folder and you should be go to go.

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If you are interested in purchasing Windows Home Server 2011, it is available on Amazon for as little as $45!

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  • Anonymous

    I may be biased, but this is exactly what I was looking for.  I like that when the show is archived to the server, the file on the local machine is deleted.  

    Nice work.  Mad tutorial slaying skills…  Thanks a ton.

  • http://twitter.com/JamesMontemagno James Montemagno

    Glad I could be of help that is what we are here for :) If you have any more questions about WHS let me know.

  • http://twitter.com/Dieharder Dieharder

    Could you please explain why you don’t use the default Recorded TV folder ? You can turn off the Shadow Copy for that folder.

  • http://twitter.com/JamesMontemagno James Montemagno

    You can use the default Recorded TV folder, it just depends on what hard drive you want to move it to. Some people might like it in a completely separate hard drive than their raid. I believe shadow copies are on a per drive basis. Correct me if I am wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/thedigitalhobo thedigitalhobo

    Another option, rather than archiving the full HD recordings on the server, is to use MCEBuddy to encode the recordings, so they take up much less space on the server. Also makes the recordings available on other devices (like an android tablet). You can set it up to encode shows that are older than 2 weeks, so you give yourself plenty of time to watch in full HD before it encodes. Then just write the h264 files to the server’s shared video folder. Add that folder the WMC’s source folders and you’re good to go at a 10th the storage space. 

  • Anonymous

    As a long time HTPC enthusiast, I’ve just moved to WHS 2011…. My HTPC just ran out of space, literally, to store of of the drives I needed!

    Couple of questions on this :

    1) Why not record directly to the server (I’m sure I could do this to network drives before, and this is the same thing right?)

    2) if I’m wrong on point 1, and archiving (moving) is the only option, can someone tell me ‘when’ the archive happens? If you select To always archive, can you schedule when this occurs, or does it occur as soon as the programme is recorded, or a certain time of the day? I’d like to control the data transfer on my network at given times of the day…. And moving numerous 2GB files (or more) is quite network heavy…… Searched high and low for an answer to this and can’t find one…

  • http://twitter.com/JamesMontemagno James Montemagno

    Since Media Center doesn’t allow you to select a remote drive to record on, I would assume you could record to the network drive(I have not tried it though), however I don’t recommend that at all. The recorder drive is also used for your temp drive so you would be constantly using your network if you were just watching live tv. Additionally you are then relying on 3 different components to work 100% (WHS, HTPC, Network). There is usually a reason as to why Microsoft never allowed you to set one by default. I am sure you could do it, just seems a bit sketchy.

    So if you pick individual episodes the archiving will happen immediately. It runs in a background process. If you are recording a series and a new episode is recorded it will archive after it finishes recording. I wish you could schedule it, however there are no options to do this. 

  • http://twitter.com/JamesMontemagno James Montemagno

    I tried add a network location and map it to a drive and media center will NOT allow you to select it as your recording drive. Just a heads up. Let me know if you found a way to do it.

  • C F

    this also works with vista aswell. havent loaded tv pack yet though to test if it breaks it like it broke wmc gadgets