Right, well, further to my post pointing how to install Windows Live Mesh as a service, the ever diligent ZDNet Journalist, Windows 7 Inside Out author and all round Windows Guru Mr Ed Bott has pointed out that you could also set up Mesh to run as a scheduled task that loads at startup, which apart from not requiring the installation of extra software is also a “supported” method. So here’s some alternate instructions:

  • Logon on to the desktop of your Home Server as Administrator
  • Install Mesh as per my previous post
  • Click the Start button and type Task

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  • Click on Task Scheduler to load it

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  • Click on Task Scheduler Library in the left pane and then in the right pane click on New Folder
  • Call the folder something relevant such as “My Tasks” and click OK

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  • In the left pane select your newly created folder and then in the right pane click on Create Task

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  • In the Name field enter Windows Live Mesh
  • In the Description field enter a relevant description for the task
  • Select Run whether user is logged on or not
  • Change Configure for  to Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Click on the Triggers tab

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  • On the triggers tab Click on New

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  • Change Begin the task to At Startup
  • Click OK

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  • Click on the Actions tab
  • Click on New

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  • Click on Browse and then navigate to and select C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Mesh\WLSync.exe
  • Click OK

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  • Click on the Settings tab
  • Remove the tick from Stop the the task if it runs longer than:
  • Click OK

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  • You will now be prompted for the password of the Administrator account so enter it and then click OK

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  • Your task is now created, to start it Right click it and click Run

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As before, If you run Task Manager (right click start bar and select Task Manager) you should see the following processes running:

MOE.exe
WLSync.exe

Note: No srvany.exe this time

And if you browse to Devices.live.com you should be able to see that your Home Server is communicating with Mesh (it may take a minute or so to connect):

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If you can see all the above, congratulations you have successfully set up Windows Live Mesh as a Scheduled Task.

Leod

The Ace in the Pack

Windows Live Mesh is an often overlooked and underrated brilliant little piece of software from Microsoft which is part of the Windows Live Essentials suite. In a nutshell it allows you to sync folders in real time between PCs (and Macs) over a network or the internet and also allows you to sync up to 5gb into the cloud…all for free.

This kind of functionality clearly has a natural synergy with Windows Home Server, so much so that I seriously believe Microsoft should build a Windows Live Mesh add-on for Windows Home Server (there has been talk of this in the past but nothing has come to fruition). It’s the perfect piece of software for synchronising your documents and pictures between your computers and home server meaning you have multiple copies and you also have local access to them when not connected to your server. I even use it for backing up my parents documents and pictures over the internet from their computer at their home to my home server meaning they have an offsite backup…brilliant.

Now, unfortunately, Mesh cannot be installed on Windows Home server V1 (which is a shame as its predecessor Windows Live Sync could) but it can be installed onto Windows Home Server 2011. The draw back though is that Mesh requires someone to be logged on in order for the software to run, which for a Home Server is a bit annoying. This give you 2 options, you can configure your Home Server to auto logon when it boots so that Mesh runs or you can install it as a service. The latter I believe is far more preferable and is also pretty easy to do as I shall explain…

 

Prerequisites

To get Mesh running as a service there are a few prerequisite steps that need carrying out:

  1. Firstly logon to your Home Server as Administrator and install Mesh as you normally would i.e. as part of Windows Live Essentials. You can choose to not install the other components of the suite.
  2. Run Mesh, logon in with your Windows Live Account and then set up the folders you wish to sync, again as your normally would if you were setting it up on your computer
  3. Once Mesh is configured download the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit (yes 2003) and install it to the default location
  4. Next download Any Service Installer and extract it to a folder somewhere on your server.
  5. Right click the Mesh icon in the system tray and click exit

You’re now ready to set-up mesh as a service.

 

Installing Mesh as a Service

Step 1 –Stop Mesh Loading at Logon

Before you go installing a service for Mesh you want may want to stop it loading automatically when you logon to the server (you don’t have to with Mesh, it can work in conjunction with the service). Usefully there is no option to do this in the software itself so the most straight forward way to do it is by using a nifty built in utility called Msconfig.

On the home server desktop click Start – Run type Msconfig and click OK. The following window will pop up:

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Click on the Startup tab and remove the tick from Windows Live Mesh

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Click OK and select No to any message regarding restarting the server

Step 2 – Installing the Service

Now there are many ways to install an application as a service but by far one of the easiest ways is using Any Service Installer which pretty much automates the process.

Browse to the folder where you extracted Any Service Installer and double click AnyServiceInstaller.exe.

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Click the Browse option to select the location of the Windows 2003 resource kit and navigate to the following location (assuming you installed it to the default location of course) and click OK:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools

Click the Browse option to set the application that should be used as a service and select the following:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Mesh\WLSync.exe

The service name can be anything you want, i chose the original and unique:

Windows Live Mesh

You should end up with a window that looks like the following:

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Click Create, a message will pop up along the bottom of the windows to say the service was created successfully.

 

Step 3 – Verify and Configure the Service

Once the service is installed you need to check it’s installed and also configure it. Click Start – Run type Services.msc and click OK

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Scroll down the through the services list and locate your newly created service (in my case “Windows Live Mesh”). Double click it:

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You’ll notice the path to the executable is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe”, don’t worry, that’s correct and is how it should be.

Click on the Log On tab. By default the service will be set up to run as the Local System account. This needs to be changed as this account doesn’t have the right level of access to let Mesh run.

Click on This account and enter Administrator. In the password fields enter the Administrator accounts password and then click OK. A message will pop up saying Administrator has been granted log on as a service rights. click OK

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The mesh service is now configured, right click the service it and select Start.

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If you run Task Manager (right click start bar and select Task Manager) you should see the following processes running:

Srvany.exe
MOE.exe
WLSync.exe

And if you browse to Devices.live.com you should be able to see that your Home Server is communicating with Mesh (it may take a minute or so to connect):

image

If you can see all the above, congratulations you have successfully set up Windows Live Mesh as a Service.

Step 4 – Administrating Windows Live Mesh

In the future if you wish to change any sync folders for Mesh on the Home Server, simply log onto the server and run Windows Live Mesh from the Start Menu. This will connect to the already running MOE.exe and allow you to change your settings. If you exit Mesh from the system tray or log off Mesh will continue to run as a service in the background.

Happy Syncing……

Leod

Update:

Windows guru and ZDnet Author @edbott has also kindly pointed out that rather than installing as a service you can also use Windows Task Scheduler to create a scheduled task that runs at startup to launch Windows Live Mesh in the background. The beauty of Windows, multiple ways to achieve the same goal, gotta love choice Winking smile……

Posted by: Lee | April 12, 2011

Regarding Tivo

Well…in the days since I wrote my blog post on the terrible Tivo introductory offer from Virgin they have now about turned (a bit). Unfortunately you still have to pay for box activation (still to expensive) but subscribers on VIP packages no longer have to pay extra for the Tivo services (it will appear on the bill but be covered by discounts) and the installation fee has been wavered for the time being for all existing customers who preregistered their interest.

Whilst not perfect this is definitely a better deal..to charge £40 (on top of activation) for plugging a box in was asking quite a bit as it was, but to also expect customers who were already outlaying for your top package to pay even more on their subscription (just after you put prices up as well) was pushing it. To be honest I don’t think Triple XL package subscribers should have to pay it either.

As I’m a VIP50 customer I’ve now opted to take the plunge and get Tivo (installation is this Friday). I still resent the large activation fee but not as much as the principle of having to pay extra on my subscription and an installation charge as well. Yes I can do the maths over which costs more etc as I said, it’s principle.

The benefit of upgrading is that I get Tivo downstairs and get to replace the V HD box in the bedroom with the V+ HD box that the Tivo box is replacing. So I end up with pause and record in both rooms at no extra cost. Thank heavens for small mercies

I’ll let you know what Tivo is like.

Posted by: Lee | April 1, 2011

Time to Try Pastures New

I have a small announcement to make, after much soul searching I have decided to try pastures new. So as of today I’m leaving team Android and joining team Apple…yup I’m ordering an iPhone 4.

iphone love my

After years of tweaking, messing, configuring, flashing, reflashing and then flashing some more I’ve decided my brain needs a rest. I want a device where I don’t have to do anything, where I don’t have to think, where I don’t have the temptation to mess, where everything is already thought out and set for me and that’s why I’m going for an iPhone. The iPhone meets all these goals and objectives perfectly, my brain can finally have long earned rest. If I ever get a problem in the future I can just get the “Geniuses” to fix it, brilliant.

I’m sure many of you are shocked by my change of heart but as they say you have to try everything once so I’m ordering the handset this morning and should hopefully have it very soon….wish me luck!

Update: In case you didn’t realise, this was an April’s Fool Open-mouthed smile

Posted by: Lee | March 31, 2011

Virgin…Regarding your Tivo Service…I’m Out

I’ve been looking forward to the prospect of Virgin’s Tivo Service for months and months now. Based on the stuff I have read it really look likes Virgin have got something to properly challenge Sky’s Sky+ service.

Considering the fact I’m on Virgin’s top end package, which costs me a considerable amount each year, I was hoping for a decent deal for the Tivo service when it came out but sadly that does not appear like it will be the case. I received an email today offering me a special deal and chance to be one of the first Virginmedia customers to get Tivo….you know as a thanks for being a customer and all that.

Instead of paying £199 for a set top box that you won’t get to own, I get to pay £149 for the privilege instead, along with a £40 Installation charge, a £3 a month increase on my subscription and a new 12 month contract. So in the first year Tivo would cost me an extra £225, yes only £36 in the second but considering my Virgin subscription costs the wrong side of a thousand pounds (and then some) each year, adding another £226 to that is a lot of money and not to mention very disappointing. Remember this also supposed to be a reward for being a Virgin customer….hmmm.

I’d always been pleased with Virgin in that I never had to pay a small fortune for the equipment, unlike Sky, mainly because you don’t own it. But with Tivo it feels like my time with Sky all over again when only the people with lots of spare money got to have the new exciting services.

I was hoping to be able to blog about my experiences with Tivo, sell it’s benefits to help people realise how much more superior Virgin’s infrastructure is over Sky’s but sadly I shan’t be doing that as I’ve been alienated from the outset.

Words can’t describe the dissapointment.

P.S. Apparently my name is Dean too, nice personalisation Virgin

Posted by: Lee | February 10, 2011

I was so tempted to turn the taps on :-)

Posted by: Lee | January 27, 2011

sssshush I’m trying to sleep here! :-)

Posted by: Lee | January 25, 2011

New addition to the family

Introducing Lottie the beautiful little kitten that was added to Techie Towers a few months ago. Face of an Angel, behaviour of a mischevious little devil :-)

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