Home Multimedia Server

I’m currently running a slim Dell Vostro 220s in my apartment as a low-power 24/7 home server of sorts. It’s also connected to the TV so that my mom could watch Russian movies and TV shows.

Currently it serves only a few functions:

  • File Server for photos, backups, downloads, and installation files for software and OS
  • Bittorrent Server

I’ve installed some extra utilities too:

  • DynDNS updater, for remote access without using dynamic IPs
  • Windows 7 Concurrent Sessions enabler (so I can administrate the server without interrupting mom’s TV shows/movies)
  • SyncToy

What I would really like to do though is have it download Windows Updates for all the Windows machines I have running at home, and the computers I set up, troubleshoot, and order for other people. Unfortunately, it seems that requires WSUS, which doesn’t work on Windows 7 Profession (the OS my server is running). If anyone knows how I can make it work on Windows 7 or another way to serve Windows Updates locally, please comment below and you will receive endless amounts of gratitude from me =).

I could reinstall with Windows Server 2008, but last I tried, it did not play well with ATi’s video card control panel at all, so I was unable to achieve TV-out, and I’m guessing Server 2008 wouldn’t be a good fit for a lot of multimedia uses.

Something else that would be really cool is for me set up scheduling so that it would go to sleep/shutdown and wake up/turn on on its own, to cut down on power usage without interrupting the tasks it currently serves. The only problem is setting up a system in which the photos on my desktop PC can be available so my mom could browse them whenever she wants to, while not having to have my computer on, and also download files at night when no one’s internet browsing experience would be interrupted.

For photos I currently use SyncToy on the server to check for changes in my Photos folder on my desktop PC every hour, whether it’s on or not. On my mom’s computer the server folder with the photos is set as a network drive which is scanned by Picasa.

For downloads I use uTorrent’s scheduler to fully use my bandwidth at night, and is very limited during the day – although that’s not as necessary.

So the dilemma is the current system requires the server to be running 24/7. Perhaps I can somehow make it sleep during the day until mom accesses Picasa and sends a request to the server.

Any ideas?

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