This is actually a problem I’ve been dealing with — or, more accurately, ignoring and working around — for a few months, at least, so I thought I’d put a post up here to see if anyone has come up with an actual fix.
Back in July 2010, I bought an Acer Aspire easyStore Home Server running Windows Home Server 2003, primarily two solve two problems: (1) run nightly backups of all my Wintel PCs; (2) provide a common media file repository for myself and my wife (who runs Macs). After a few bumps, it worked just fine and has been working fine since.
Except that a few months ago — which at this point may mean something like this past summer or even late spring, given how time flies — I noticed that I could no longer run the WHS Console app from any of my PCs (all running Win7 Pro). Any attempt to do so resulted in an error box with the message:
This computer cannot connect to your home server. Check your network connection and make sure your home server is powered on. If your home server has recently restarted, try again in a few minutes.
Here’s what’s strange: the server itself still shows up in the Network panel, I can still access all the shares, and I can still log onto the server via the Remote Desktop Connection application (and, by the way, run the Console app there, on the server itself). I can ping the server in a console window via its name and its (fixed) IP address. And the automated backups keep happening (though more on this below).
At roughly the same time — and it may have been exactly the same time — I began to get certificate warnings when I used RDC to log into the server. This is a well-known problem with a kludgy work-around (configure RDC to ignore certificate warnings). That problem appears to be associated with Service Pack 1 of Windows 7, and I suspect the Console problem showed up at the same time as well.
However, to date, I have not found a workaround to the Console problem. What’s more, I’m starting to have backup problems. In particular, one desktop system stopped backing up. In an effort to fix that, I uninstalled the WHS Connector Software and attempted to re-install it. No go — I get this error during installation, after entering the server’s admin password:
This operation cannot be completed at this time.
Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Product Support.
This appears to be a well-known, if intermittent, problem, but one for which a variety of suggested-but-not-necessarily-effective solutions have been offered. I started to tackle the problem again this morning, trying some of the solutions, and found some other oddities:
- Even though I can see my server (which we’ll call foo-bar for now) in the Network panel, can access it, can ping it (by name or by IP), and can remotely log into it, I cannot bring it up in a browser, e.g., http://foo-bar or even http://<fixed IP address>. That last one is particularly surprising.
- Yesterday, I brought down and then brought back up my entire home-wide network (modem, router, access point, lots of computers and other network-accessing devices). I noticed that the Acer server box took forever (probably 15+ minutes) to reboot itself and reappear on the network.
- I’ve been getting flaky behavior from WHS itself over the past few months when I remotely log in (which I don’t do that often). For example, when I logged in today, I got three standard Windows “unexpected error – send info to Microsoft?” boxes, all associated with the backup utility.
- I did bring up the Computer Management panel on the server, thinking that the inability to browse to the server may depending on something running here. I did find that IIS Admin Services was not running and would not start, even though its two dependencies (RPC and Security Accounts) were, in fact, running.
I suspect that what I may actually need to do is reinstall WHS 2003, but that means that I will have to (for safety’s sake) back up the (non-automated) shares. Not a bad thing to do anyway, but not how I envisioned spending my Thanksgiving weekend.
What struck me while researching on-line is how many people had posts that said, in effect, “I did this and it fixed everything”, followed by posts saying, “I tried that and it still doesn’t work”. Similarly, not everyone running the same systems gets the same problems. It goes to the heart of the underlying complexity, uncertainty, and — to a certain extent — unknowability of the systems upon which we depend.
That said, I welcome suggestions. ..bruce..