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Moving from WHS 2011 to Windows Server 2016 Essentials

    Question

  • I am thinking of upgrading my WHS to WS 2016 Essentials.  Is this server software a logical progression from WHS. All I see is stuff about the Cloud etc. which I have no use for. I just want a home server to backup my 3 or 4 PC's overnight and supply movies from hard disk storage.  Is it difficult to get WS 2016 Essentials into this format.

    Second, should I install it on top of WHS  2011 are would I be better off with a clean disk.


    • Edited by monahan_z Sunday, October 16, 2016 5:28 AM
    Sunday, October 16, 2016 5:27 AM

Answers

All replies

  • Well, what is the logical step is a difficult discussion. It depends on what you want and as you wrote you only want client backups and storage for movies. In WSE 2016 it is really easy to backup and restore your clients, it works in a similar way as WHS but WSE 2016 is always a domain controller and I don't think you want or need that.

    If it is just for client backups and storage for your movies I would go for a NAS like QNAP or Synology.

    You should not try to upgrade your current WSH to WSE 2016. A better path is a fresh installation or a migration if you promoted your WHS to a domain controller.


    Mariëtte Knap
    www.server-essentials.com | Linkedin | Twitter | Facebook | Migrations done the easy way

    Check out the latest tutorial How to migrate Windows Server 2012 R2 (Essentials) to Windows Server 2016 (Essentials)


    Sunday, October 16, 2016 11:28 AM
  • There is no direct product replacement for WHS, sadly. The requirement that WSE be a domain controller coupled with the generally heavier-weight nature of the current Windows Server OS makes this quite an adjustment.

    I migrated from WHS 2011 to WSE 2012 R2 a couple of years ago in order to get past the various 2TB volume limitations and to take advantage of Storage Spaces. Going to 2016 will be similar.

    For WSE 2012 R2 it is possible to make a registry change on the client the allows you to skip joining the machine to the domain (I have no idea if Microsoft continues to support this in 2016, but likely so). This allows for a much simpler administrative environment, and does not adversely impact family members.

    Most features work fine this way, critically file sharing and client computer backups work fine, but there are some gotchas. For example, logging into the Launchpad on non-domain joined computers trashes any saved domain credentials on the client, and so you will no longer be able to connect to network shares without recreating them, or logging into the Launchpad again. But, unlike WHS 2011, the WSE Launchpad does not permit saving a password, so logging in is a tedious manual step each time. For this reason, we never run the Launchpad anymore, meaning we don't see network server notifications.  VPN also doesn't work with non-domain joined computers.

    There are many other differences: basically there is a vast array of server and domain controller features that are unnecessary and unwanted in a SOHO environment, and this makes the system more complicated to use than WHS 2011 (which itself was more complex than the original WHS) or any modern NAS appliance.  Microsoft's oppressive enterprise-focused licensing means that you can't even use your expensive server software to run VMs on a WSE box (other than WSE itself).

    Another issue is that I suspect WSE usage is pretty niche, since each significant update to Windows 10 breaks the WSE client configuration, and work-arounds and fixes can take weeks or months to appear from the Windows Server team. (The Windows Client team obviously does not test with Essentials configurations.) So, living with this product requires you to put on your IT troubleshooting hat rather frequently.

    Basically, I figure that Microsoft hates you if you were a WHS user, and doesn't intend for you to go anywhere near this software. I put up with it because the client computer backup feature is still the best available solution of its type, and because I apparently have a hard time letting go of formerly good ideas.







    • Edited by Gary Voth Sunday, October 16, 2016 3:40 PM
    Sunday, October 16, 2016 3:12 PM
  • Hi, 

    Agree with Mariette Knap.

    Additional, for OEM version system, it is better to contact the hardware/device provider to confirm that - if the hardware/device also supports to install/active other OS version. 

    WHS 2011 and Windows Server Essentials are different OS version, upgrade is not supported. Since there are 3-4 PCs, a clean installation would be recommended. 

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2016 9:06 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    I am checking to see how things are going there on this issue. Please let me know if you would like further assistance.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Monday, October 31, 2016 3:33 AM
    Moderator
  • Well I did actually move to WSE-2016.  After some difficulties hooking up my clients that are in a workgroup (not domain) I got it working as for WHS.  All in all I'm very satisfied with it.  All the backup connector stuff etc. is identical to WHS 2011.  It’s actually easier to hookup workgroup W10 Home clients than the W10 Pro clients.  The latter get forced into the server domain and you have to put them back to the workgroup (if you don’t want them coming up with a completely new desktop requiring reinstalls etc.).  This was all talked about last week on this forum.  The trick is adding the same usernames and passwords of the Workgroup clients to the server list.

    Monday, October 31, 2016 4:07 AM
  • Hi,

    Thank you for taking the time to have an update about the result. 

    If there is anything else we can do for you, please feel free to post in the forum.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Marked as answer by monahan_z Friday, November 4, 2016 4:35 AM
    Monday, October 31, 2016 8:32 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi - I'm considering making this same move, but wondering if it's worth the trouble to go to WSE 2016.  I have similar uses but also will host a database server.  I'm wondering if I shouldn't just go to Windows 10 though.  Do you still feel it was a good decision?

    Thanks,

    Michael

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 12:16 AM