Windows Home Server 2011 End of Mainstream Support – Users left abandoned

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Windows Home Server 2011 mainstream support has ended in the second quarter of 2017

What does this mean for you?

This means that Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for the Home Server-specific components that make up Windows Home Server 2011. If you are still running Windows Home Server 2008 or Windows Home Server 2011, Microsoft recommends bringing in a new device running Windows Server Standard or Windows Server Essentials and migrating your roles, features and data to the new appliance. Today’s new hardware is significantly faster and cheaper and can better handle the latest Windows security infrastructure, roles and features. Customers moving to a modern operating system will benefit from dramatically enhanced security, broad device support, higher user productivity, and a lower total cost of ownership through improved management capabilities.

Why migrate from Windows Home Server to Windows Server Essentials?

The latest versions of Windows Server Essentials support improvements in security, scalability, and manageability, and it contains device driver support for new hardware and silicon.
Simplified setup. There is no easier way to set up a server than using the Windows Server Essentials Out-of-Box experience. Windows Server Essentials configures AD, certificate services, and DNS. It helps get a public domain name set up, and it generates and installs SSL certificates and everything you need to get started with your own hybrid cloud setup.
Data redundancy and single pool of storage. Windows Server Essentials includes a feature called Storage Spaces that provides data redundancy and storage pooling functionality like that provided by Drive Extender in WHS. Windows Server Essentials has a much more reliable and resilient storage subsystem.
Centralized PC backup and restore. Windows Server Essentials includes the next generation version of the centralized PC backup and restore functionality from Windows Home Server 2011 as well as centralized File History storage for all your PCs. Windows Server Essentials supports up to 75 PC backups vs. Windows Home Server’s 25 PC backup limitation. Windows Server Essentials 2016 also supports backing up volumes to Azure and backing up VMs to Azure Site Recovery (ASR).
Centralized PC and server health monitoring. Windows Server Essentials includes health monitoring, both for the server itself as well as for all the connected PCs.
Document and media sharing. Windows Server Essentials can share content using SMB, iSCSI or NFS. Windows Server Essentials 2016 no longer includes the media streaming codecs, however, we found that people were not actually using that feature and they prefer to decode in the respective media applications.
Remote access. Windows Server Essentials has the remote access gateway feature that automatically generates SSL certificates for your server from GoDaddy. Essentials includes a web-based client for accessing home documents and media, and you can also remote desktop into the server if needed for administration purposes.

IO

Yeah, so this means the product line Home Server is dead and users are forced to migrate an domain, certificates and data. Well data migration isn’t that hard, a basic copy can do the job, but before they can do this they need to setup Storage Spaces which is a new concept for them.

Storage Pools

Do you know how to setup a storage pool with existing data? Well you don’t because it’s not possible…

Migrate Domain

Migrating a domain controller and removing the first existing domain controller used to be a lot of work if done properly. Good thing Microsoft made it easier with 2016. Basically all you need to do is delete the Computer Account from Active Directory Sites and Services (dsa.msc) and after this open a elevated Command Prompt or Powershell and

type ntdsutil and enter. 
Then metadata cleanup
Next type remove selected server <yourservername>

There is still one little issue with this. Server 2016 Essentials is designed to be a domain controller. If you are following the wizard pages after you login you will end up with another domain and joining the first domain will be a hard job. You have to cancel the wizard and join your new 2016 Essentials server manually to the existing domain.

Certificates

You will also have to import the EFS (Encrypted File System) and CA (Certification Authority) from one server to another.

EFS migratation contains files and certificates. The File is located in

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA

And you will need to export a certificate under the Administrator account Certificates\Personal\ of the File Recovery type. Export with private key or else you can’t use it.

For the CA feature there are more guides around on the interwebs.

Microsoft hasn’t made a guide for the 2016 edition yet, but the 2012 doesn’t seem that off.

 

So does this sound easy peasy for you? Well go ahead then with your new server (with new harddisks) if you have the funds and are willing to pay for it. It’s just $559 at the Microsoft Store 🙂 Not really a home product isn’t it….

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