Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Home Computing’ Category


Implementing a Proper Backup Plan

Who has heard this scenario before from a friend, family member, or co-worker?

Them: “Hey, so my computer was making this weird ticking noise and then this morning it said it couldn’t find the hard drive.”

You: “Uh-oh. It sounds like your hard drive is toast.”

Them: “Can you fix it?”

You: “Sure. I’ll pick up a hard drive after work. We’ll have to reisntall everything though. No big deal though, because you have a backup, right?”

Them, after a brief pause: “Um, no. I’ve been meaning to do that.”

Suddenly a not so painful task has turned into a matter of life and death. It’s imperative that you get that iTunes collection and picture of Aunt Agatha from the last family reunion back. Too bad there wasn’t a backup. Read moreRead more


New Sandy Bridge Workstation

A couple of weeks ago I finally purchased all of the components I needed to upgrade my main computer. My old one from a couple of years ago (AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ processor, 4 GB of RAM, 7200 RPM HDD) wasn’t bad for some simple programming or other “basic” tasks, but it was lagging behind when trying to run multiple virtual machines plus perform any of those “basic” tasks. After holding out for a while, waiting for the Sandy Bridge i7 processors to launch, I finially made the necessary purchases: Read moreRead more


Triple 24″ Monitors

One thing (or maybe more correctly, three things”) that I’ve really been looking at for awhile now has been getting a triple monitor setup at home. It’s slowly becoming common knowledge that having a dual screen setup can increase productivity, so my thinking is two screens good, three screens better. The price for panels now are getting much cheaper too across the board and are pretty affordable until you start looking at the 30″ models (How long until I look back on this as say, “Wow. Thirty inch monitors used to cost $500!?”). Read moreRead more


HP MediaSmart Server EX485 CPU Upgrade

Last week I went through the fun of upgrading the processor in my HP MediaSmart Server EX485. Now that a bit of time has passed and I’m confident that everything is stable, I figured I’d share the results.

The MediaSmart Server EX48X series came with an Intel Celeron 440, single-core 2 GHz processor. Although the Celeron was a huge improvement over the EX47X series, it could be a bit better, especially when it comes to streaming and transcoding media. I was honestly a little hesitant about doing the upgrade. After all, the MediaSmart Servers aren’t designed to have interchangeable parts and have components designed and tested for what they ship with:

  • The server doesn’t have video output, which means any BIOS updates or changes have to be made blind.
  • The CPU heatsink is passive, and the power supply is smaller. It simply can’t take a juice-hungry, water cooled processor.

Read moreRead more


Unable to Set Up Remote Access on HP MediaSmart Server After Fresh Install

When trying to turn on Remote Access on my Windows Home Server (HP MediaSmart Ex485, MediaSmart Server 3.0, Power Pack 3), I was not able to continue through the wizard as this first check fails:

“Verifying that your remote Web site is available locally”

Everything else on the server works fine, including being able to:

I did notice though that I was unable to browse to http://servername:56000 as I should be able to do.

I had performed a server recovery to reset the installation to factory defaults, with no such luck.

After reading many posts by others having the same issue and almost going bald from all my hair pulling, the cause seems to be fairly simple (and stupid). I believe that the problem developed from a certificate issue. I had originally used the Windows Live Custom Domains service to get a * domain for my home server. Somehow, adding that to my fresh install created the issue.

So what I did was set up a temporary domain with the HP Personal Domian Name by service and now everything is working just fine. I later was able to go back and change the temporary domain back to the WLCD service.

Simple (stupid).


What I Use

I recently created a What I Use page that briefly covers what computer hardware I use at home. This serves to benefit all those who ask from time to time what I’m using. As well, I thought it would be pretty interesting to keep track of the hardware I go through throughout the years. The page will be updated frequently, as new hardware is added or changed out. Feel free to check it out.


SSH on Windows Server 2008

Even in this day in age with hightened security throughout it, Windows Server 2008 still lacks a native SSH server. Luckily though, with open source tools such freeSSHd, we can still get the end result. FreeSSHd even has a built-in SFTP server which makes accessing your remote file securely, surprisingly easy.

Install FreeSSHd

Download and install freeSSHd from The install is pretty straight forward: Run the installer and accept all of the default options. The only exception is to opt to run the SSH server as a service when you are asked.

Add Firewall Rule

A new inbound rule needs to be added to the Windows Firewall in order to allow TCP SSH traffic in on port 22. This can be done either from the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security snap-in or the command line with netsh. The snap-in has a wizard that works great and will walk you through step by step. I prefer the command line with netsh if it’s going to be straight forward with nothing fancy:

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="SSH" dir=in action=allow
protocol=TCP localport=22

Configure freeSSHd

To configure the freeSSHd server, run the freeSSHd application (either desktop or Start menu shortcuts) as administrator. Not running with administrator rights will result in your changes not being saved.

A tray icon will appear, which will allow you to open the freeSSHd settings dialog. Essentially, it’s just a GUI that makes changes to the FreeSSHDService.ini file (C:\Program Files\FreeSSHDService).

Create a user account for yourself. I didn’t have much luck getting NT authentication working as the authorization mode. I think it may have something to do with UAC being turned on on Server 2008. Selecting Password stored as SHA1 hash worked great though.

Once you’ve created your user accounts, among changing other settings, close the dialog to save the changes. To put the changes into effect though, you’ll need to restart the freesshdservice:

net stop freesshdservice
net start freesshdservice

That’s it. You should be all set and ready to test your connection with Putty or some other SSH client.