Announcing the RC of the Windows Home Server 2011 Windows Phone 7 Connector

Announcing the RC of the Windows Home Server 2011 Windows Phone 7 Connector

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Today we are pleased to announce the Release Candidate of the Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector for Windows Home Server 2011 (aka Integrating Windows Phone 7 with your WHS 2011 Server).  The purpose of this Add-in is to enable Remote Server Management tasks and relay Media Streams for WHS 2011 including:

Alerts

clip_image004After you complete the authentication steps with the server that you are trying to connect to, an alerts listing is the first panorama item that the application launches into. This feature brings the Alert Viewer that you know from the server, to the phone.

If an alert is displayed white, it is active and included in the alert count. If an alert is dimmed, that means the alert is disabled, and it is not included in the alert count. Any alert item can be clicked to view the full alert text just as on a computer. Contextual menu options include enabling or disabling an alert, and performing a repair action if one was assigned to this alert.

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Users

clip_image006The user-panorama item performs basic user management tasks, including:

  • Viewing user account details
  • Enable or disable a user account
  • Change a user account password

If you disable a user account, that is a reversible action. The moment a user account gets disabled, it causes the same effect as it would if you disable it by using the dashboard. The user’s access to Remote Web Access, the phone application, and any server resources is turned off.

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Devices

clip_image008“Devices” is a panorama item that lets you:

  • View server-joined computer and Mac details.
  • View the backup status that every device last reported to the server.
  • Start or stop a backup for any computer or the server (from the contextual menu).

 

 

 

 

Media

The Media panorama lets you discover and view streams of media elements that you stored on your server in the appropriate shared folders (such as Music, Video and Picture shares).

clip_image010Music

MP3 non-Digital Rights Management-protected songs will be streamed directly from the server to your phone. Album art is also transported. Your library is searchable and can be organized in different views to help find what you want fast.

 

 

 

 

clip_image012Pictures

“Pictures” has a variety of functions:

  • Discover all .png and .jpg images that are stored in the Pictures shared folder on the server. Subfolders are recognized.
  • Open a picture full-screen to view it on the phone.
  • Save a copy of the picture to the phone, using its original dimensions and resolution  (to be viewed later in the built-in Pictures hub of any Windows Phone 7).
  • Take a picture with the phone’s camera and upload it to the server.
  • Upload any picture that is stored in the Pictures hub of the phone to the server.

clip_image014Videos

The “Videos” feature allows you to discover and view videos that are stored on your server in the Videos shared folder.

Even though discoverable by this feature, the variety of video formats is high and not all formats can be streamed. For details about which video formats can be streamed from the server and accepted by the phone, see Supported Media Codecs for Windows Phone.

 

 

 

 Live Tile Support

imageIf you pin the application to the home screen of your Windows Phone 7, you will be able to see a variety of at-a-glance information without launching into the application. An opt-in using the settings menu is required.

The at-a-glance information includes:

  • Count and type of network health alerts.
  • Percentage of storage use of your main disk.
  • Server name sending this information.

The Windows Phone 7 application requires both a server sided add-in to be installed on the WHS 2011 Server, as well as Windows 7 Phone application downloadable via marketplace.

For further information, and access to the downloads to start testing today, please visit http://connect.microsoft.com/windowshomeserver. Please note this is a release candidate and as such is for testing purposes only.

38 Comments
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  • This is pretty awesome, thank you.  Hopefully there will be support for more ports in the future.  I have 443 enabled for another site and i couldn't get the client to work without it, so I moved other server ports temporarily.  Keep the features coming.  RDP next would be stellar.

  • the app looks good...too bad it will not stream music on my Samsung Focus.

  • @galaxyprune: Panorama application design is pretty cool. But I'm curious what would be your alternative?

  • I took some time this Saturday and fixed my certificate problem which made me problems connecting the server.

    I run my WHS on an Intel Core 2 Duo (EZ7500 2.93 GHz) machine with 4GB of a fast RAM. The server runs very smoothly. I have no comments with that. I think my configuration is much faster than any production WHS.

    Now to my problems/suggestions.

    1. I think the WP7 client runs a bit slow. It takes quite a lot of time to get any info on videos or music or even pictures. I run my phone on my local WiFi so the connection speed is not a problem.

    2. Suggestion: It would be great to have an oportunity to have a Play, Pause, Forward Backward buttons and a timeline (I could press the timeline and continue from there) while watching movies. It would also be great that the WP7 application would remember where I stopped watching a movie and it would return to that location. From what I see this application should be something like a Zune application except that it would take data from my own WHS.

    3. I have several folders. One is Music, one is Podcasts, one is Videos, etc. Now I get all of the video podcasts under Videos section which is not good because I really have lots of podcasts. My suggestion would be that WP7 applications would use a library type of content grouping.

    4. Of course it would be great to see the Documents also. I mean I could edit the Word or Excel files that I have on my server.

    5. Users. It would be great if one could add new users and set all of their roles. Let's say I'm on a vacation and I need to add a new user.

    6. How about setting up a backup over the phone?

    7. One good thing would be to shutdown/start the computers on the network. Let's say I'm in hurry and I don't have time to stop all of them when leaving. Or there is something running on a computer and I have to run it and after a time I would stop the computer over a phone.

    Just a few things but I have more ;)

  • ammughal
    25 Posts

    excellent idea, but at BETA stage

    spent 2 days installing as the instalelr took ages to complete

    overriding the SSL cert problem by adding the CA autority to my WP7

    when all was setup and I was about to get connected .Netframe work 4 update crash all

    so I removed it but still the connector was not happy with the code and gave me errors when loading the webpage

    anyway reinstalled and got all working :)

    [ There is no Need to buy Public Trusted SSL cert the Self signed just works fine ]

    WP7 connects locally and over the internet fine

    But unable to play music and video

    can see the the 00:00 counter it try to play but stays static no errors

    so something is not right

    the same files play fine over IE9 from a PC

  • PaulMD
    0 Posts

    Sorry to swear, but any plans to release this for *cough* iphone?

  • I was able to install the WP7 App. However I could not find any link to the WHS Add In (also not on Connect). Can someone guide me to the direct link?

  • For those having issues connecting, try turning your WP7 off and back on - that worked for me.

  • @simulacron - as this uses specific features of our development plaform which WHS 2011 is built on, it is not currently available for other platforms outside of this (other then SBS 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials).

  • @Jdog

    1)Can you upload Video taken from your phone, like you can with pictures? No, not at this time.

    2)Can you access documents on your WHS via the app, and also upload them to your WHS? no, not at this time.

    3)On a scale of 1 to 10 for future additions (10 be most likely), what is the likelyhood that "Connect to Remote Computers" maybe added? at this time we are in RC for the current version, and have no started planning on future versions.  Please enter this in as a request in MSConnect so you can be notified of any changes/updates in relation to this

  • @emiliano84 - as this uses specific features of our development plaform which WHS 2011 is built on, it is not currently available for other platforms outside of this (other then SBS 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials).

  • @Patrik22 - not at this time.  However we are in constant dicussion with the WP7 team.

  • @Greg Edwards - does your user have permission to see the media files?  If they don't in the dashboard they will not be shown in the phone app.  On the WP7 account setup page, you can also set int the admin password (which is independant from the user alias/password you will be using),  This will show the device, user and alert screens.

  • I am having the same problem as efjay.  Whenever i try to get the "My Home Server" app it takes me to a social.zune.net page that instructs me to download the zune software, it also has a button that says "Yes, I have Zune software" but clicking it does nothing.  Like efjay, the other WP7 apps "My Business Server" for example work just fine.

    @efjay, did you do anything to get it to work or did it just start working randomly.

  • Will this be eventually usable of server 2008?

  • Jdog
    4 Posts

    3 questions:

    1)Can you upload Video taken from your phone, like you can with pictures?

    2)Can you access documents on your WHS via the app, and also upload them to your WHS?

    3)On a scale of 1 to 10 for future additions (10 be most likely), what is the likelyhood that "Connect to Remote Computers" maybe added?

  • Whats with this obsession with panorama views. Almost every app tries to use it  because they are too lazy to make something new? Maybe you could need a designer for something new?

  • The link for the Home Server WP7 app doesnt work, just goes to a page on Zune.net. I tried today and will not work

  • For me, the url that worked was https://xxxxxxx.homeserver.com, not remote.xxxxxxx.homeserver.com

    Impressions:

    It'd be nice if the metadata could be cached.  When you have a ton of artists/albums in music it takes a while to get to the one you want.  view 25, wait, have additional 25, wait, phone times out and lock screen appears and then you have to start over with the initial 25.  

    I was able to get to my media, see songs, but none would play.  The progress bar shows 0:00 at both ends and the play button does nothing.

    In videos, i click a video and i get a black screen, no loading graphic, no buffering graphic, nothing, i thought my phone went off.  Waited several minutes and still no screen, no video, nothing.   90% of the videos, click, wait 60 seconds, and then i get a "not supported" message.

    I'm 3' from a femtocell, so a strong signal isn't an issue.

    It would be nice if instead of music and videos, the app showed the server folders.  I know where all of my media is stored.  I don't want my dvd folders being aggregated with the videos from the camera.  Those are placed in two distinct places on the server.  I don't want to wait for folder data to be brought in that i don't care about.  

    I like the concept of this app, but unfortunately none of the streaming worked at all.  Microsoft's own video formats aren't supported.  Any thoughts to transcoding files on the fly so everything is supported?

    I guess i can use it to see the stats on my server, but that's not the portion that i was looking forward to.

  • Finally got the app to install by logging in to connect.microsoft.com and opening the relevant WP7 app link on the phone.

  • I'm having the same issue efjay was having - trying to install/activate the WP7 app for Windows Home Server is just giving me a zune.net page questioning if I have the Zune software installed (which I do) and will never open the relevant Marketplace deep link.

    Trying to open the link in IE on my WP7 is bringing up Microsoft Search.

  • How have dvr-ms and wtv been left out of the supported media codecs?

    The filetypes that work best in media center in microsoft's own format.  95% of all videos that i have are in these formats for ease of use with media center.  Yet for some reason they can't be used with the Zune and WP7.

  • Great stuff WHS team, downloaded and got it working right away...not sure why everyone else is struggling? - would be great if you could have Friendly names for Server Accounts (I have submitted a request for this on MS Connect)

  • Is this US only? I'm UK based and I can't see the app in the marketplace, nor can I see the WHS add-in for download.

  • really good idea...but why don't do the same for windows 7 too!?

  • Is it possible to change the settings for Picture & Camera so the Quick Upload Account is set to my Home Server? That would be a great feature.

  • Works for me, pretty nice app.  Little bummed that .wtv files from recorded TV won't play, but they wouldn't over the browser before either, so I assume it's a WP7 limitiation.

  • Once I got around the SSL issue (I just setup a xxxxx.homeserver.com domain, which automatically creates the cert and installs it for you, pretty handy!) the app was able to connect.  I'm however disappointed that I can't stream mp4, dvr-ms or wtv files.  The last one was really the wierd spot, as lots of Media Center users will archive shows to their WHS and expect to be able to watch (atleast the non-DRM shows) them using this.  I'll pass on this and continue to use Remote Potato with Smart Potato for Windows Phone 7.

    I did get my pictures, music and Videos to show up without any issues, BTW.

  • So I installed the WHS 2011 add-in and WP7 app. When I launch the app, log into my server, and setup my account, everything seems to go fine. I get the Loading screen, and then the main page of the app displays Account > Settings, Logout, and About. That's all. The My Server title doesn't have a background color; it's just white text on a black background. When I tap Settings, Live Tile Updates are set to Off and it says "You may not enable Live Tile Updates under the current account." That's weird because I'm using my primary WHS account, and he has access to everything. I applied all updates to my WHS box. The RWA site seems to be working just fine from my PC. I think ports are forwarded properly for remote access. What am I doing wrong here?

  • The "My Home Server" WP7 app fwlink on the Connect site didn't work for me either.  I posted a workaround under the "Download Link Error" topic with a full URL.  The other WSS WP7 app install links worked fine, but I needed the Home Server flavor, though.

  • @Phalitine .. a couple of questions to help troubleshoot this

    Can you see media in RWA media webpart (music, video & Pictures)?

    Did you download the WHS WP7 app (do you have the green background)?  That is because we also released the SBS one today which has no media support (has a blue background).

  • @Peter .. beacuse you dont have a SSL certificate installed with your domain name.  WHS 2011 can support any domain name provider through manual integration, however you will need a SSL certificate for this to work (plus removing the security warning from your RWA)

  • Whats the secret to logging into your server URL?

  • I was finaly able to be the add-in added to my homeserver and downloaded the WP7 app - I was able to login to my homeserver on mt WP7 device, but could not see any of the music, videos, or pictures. I was able to see the computers being backed up. I am so disappointed, but not surprised.

  • efjay
    14 Posts

    Tnx, link works now.

  • efjay
    14 Posts

    The link for the Home Server WP7 app doesnt work, just goes to a page on Zune.net. The others properly prompt to open the Zune software.

  • I am really excited to set this up and give it a try when I get home. I sincerely hope I'm reading this post too literally, but I noticed you made specific mention to unprotected MP3 music streaming. What about WMA? I've spent a rather long time painstakingly converting my entire collection to WMA, because I figured it would be the most compatible with WMP and WP7 devices on my network.

  • I think this is a very good idea. The only problem I have here is that I can't make it work.

    I installed the AddIn as described. I can also access my WHS web site since I installed a few months ago.

    I installed the My Home Server application to my WP7 phone, but when I try to add the account (https://...) it says The specified server could not be connected. The only problem here may be that I use my own domain that is not registered at GoDaddy or eNom Central. This is why I can't setup the domain name at the server side. But nevertheles I can access my server from Internet Explorer from anywhere it only says there is a problem with security certificate and then I select Continue to this web site and everything is OK.

    Does anyone have any idea what the problem would be?

    But I wouldn't like to go back to Enom Central, because they are more than 3 times more expensive than the solution I have right now (Namebargain.com).