How to troubleshoot Windows Home Server problems

Solutions to issues you may run into with Windows Home Server and associated software

Things don't always go according to plan when using any networking hardware or software, and Windows Home Server (WHS) is no exception. If you run into trouble installing or using WHS or the Windows Home Server Connector and Console, check out these tips (and be sure to read my review of WHS.

Getting Windows Home Server Connector and Console to work

If all goes well, installing the Windows Home Server Connector (which also installs the Console) will be a breeze -- insert the CD, follow the prompts, and you're ready to go.

If all doesn't go well, though, you may end up pulling out your hair trying to track down the source of the problem. Could be your PC, your version of Windows, your home network, the home server software, your home router ... when it comes to network troubleshooting, the possibilities, unfortunately, are endless. So if you get a screen like one pictured below, you need help.

If you get this dreaded message when you try to install the Windows Home Server Connector, the problem may be with NetBIOS over TCP/IP.
 
If you get this dreaded message when you try to install the Windows Home Server Connector, the problem may be with NetBIOS over TCP/IP. (Click image to see larger view)

If you find that Windows Home Server Connector won't install, the problem may be a relatively simple one -- NetBIOS over TCP/IP isn't turned on in your network or on your PCs. WHS uses NetBIOS over TCP/IP to identify devices on your network and to communicate among them. If NetBIOS over TCP/IP isn't working properly, you're out of luck.

In Windows, there are three settings for NetBIOS over TCP/IP -- turn it on, turn it off or get the settings from your router. By default, Windows XP and Windows Vista are set up to use the NetBIOS setting from your home router.

If you're having trouble installing or running WHS, check your NetBIOS over TCP/IP settings to make sure that they're not turned off. This varies slightly in Windows Vista and Windows XP.

In Windows Vista:

1. Select Control Panel --> Network and Internet --> Network and Sharing Center --> Manage Network Connections. A screen appears, showing your network connection.

2. Right-click your network connection and choose Properties. The Local Area Connection Properties screen, like the one pictured below, appears.

3. Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) and choose Properties, then click the Advanced button.

Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) on this screen, and you'll be able to dig deep enough to find out your NetBIOS over TCP/IP settings.
 
Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) on this screen, and you'll be able to dig deep enough to find out your NetBIOS over TCP/IP settings. (Click image to see larger view)
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