This piece of hardware is out-of-control attractive. Small footprint, low power consumption, upgradable to 2GB RAM, and runs a medium powered CPU, which you may even upgrade yourself.

HP MediaSmart Server

My desire is to get rid of all the media capabilities by removing Windows Home Server, and installing a full blown Windows Server OS on it.

Given that it doesn't have a video-out port, it might prove difficult. I know that the machine comes with a restore disc that will wipe or recover the machine to factory defaults. Perhaps that needs some 'tweaking'. Unattended installation, likely

Perhaps Windows Home Server can accommodate the installation of SQL Server, IIS, and ASP.NET. Has anyone heard or learned how to run the WISA stack on this beautiful machine?

The idea here is for a server at home. The incredible ease of adding hard disks to this machine make it very attractive, as well as its small footprint.


I own the older EX470, and in theory it's capable of running WISA, although I don't believe that SQL Server is licensed for this (except Express). Also, licensing of the IIS Part may be a bit complicated if you want to use it as a Web Site for other users as well. But technology-wise, it contains IIS and you can run ASP.net Applications on it.

Installation of a normal Windows 2003/2008 Server can be done by preparing unattended installation media and booting from a USB DVD Drive, so that you can RDP in right after installation. Needless to say, that can be a bit of trial/error to make sure the correct network driver is installed and RDP is configured.


SQL Server licensing is approx. $5k per CPU for Standard, or $25k for Enterprise. Just generally speaking, a $500 headless Windows Home Server would probably not be the first choice for most users. You might be able to get it to work - but if you're talking about genuinely licensing it, it seems like a poor choice.

If you're not worried about performance, you'll do better with a more conventional piece of hardware like an MSI Wind desktop, which costs less but has conventional video outputs and Windows support. If you ARE worried about performance, then the Dell Outlet usually sells servers under $500 that are not only supported under Windows Server, but have up-to-date drivers available for the normal Windows OS's too.

  • This likely will be the way that I go. Thanks Brent, never heard of a nettop before your post! – p.campbell May 1 '09 at 0:59

Considering Home Server is just a layer on top of Windows Server 2003 you can do anything Windows Server 2003 can do. But it can indeed run WISA.

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