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Mailbag: February 6, 2011

In this week's mailbag: Moving from Windows 7 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit, editing Halo: Reach Theater videos on the PC, whether you can upgrade from the Colorado server beta to the RC, why not just provide Drive Extender on Windows Home Server 2011 only, using RAID with WHS 2011, and the only social networking connection I'm willing to make.

Have a question? I can't guarantee an answer, but I'll try. Drop me a note! (And let me know if you'd prefer not to have your name published.)

Upgrade from Windows 7 x86 (32-bit) to Windows 7 x64 (64-bit)

Steve C. asks:

What's the most painless way to convert my Windows 7 x86 to an x64 system?

There's no way to convert, sorry. You have to rip and reinstall.

Does Easy Transfer wizard (or any other utility) work when going from x86 to x64?

Interesting, I haven't tried that. But, yeah, it should work. Does anyone have experience with this? That is, in migrating a Windows 7 install from one PC to another, or from migrating from one install to another on the same PC, using Windows Easy Transfer?

Copying Halo: Reach Theater videos to the PC

Bryan W. asks:

Is there a way to get videos created by Halo Reach: Theater on Xbox 360 to a PC for video editing? About the only thing I have seen as a possible solution is to play the Xbox content into a video capture card on a PC.  Are there other ways?  He would be willing to spend some money on a program.  Thanks.

Right, that's the way I'd do it. (There are many external capture devices as well, including those based on USB.) I'm not sure whether there's a way to play them (or download them) directly on the PC, but I don't believe so.

Incidentally, I use a Hauppauge HD PVR for these purposes. It's not great, especially the bundled software, which is terrible, but it does do the job.

Colorado RCs: Upgrade or clean install?

Christopher P. asks:

I have the Windows Home Server 2011 RC ISO downloaded and I am ready to go, but I am wondering if this is a fresh install over the current data I have in my WHS or whether it is an upgrade.

Clean install only, sorry.

Why not just provide Drive Extender on Windows Home Server?

Pat Y. asks:

Windows Home Server v1 is the ONLY version of Windows Server 2003 that has Drive Extender. Why can't WHS 2011 be the ONLY version of Windows 2008 R2 that has DE?

So, without taking a stance on this decision, I can tell you that Microsoft's response is that the Add-In platform that is common to WHS 2011, SBS 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2011 Essentials is more valuable, and is what broke because of DE. So we can argue about this--and I'm with you, for whatever that's worth--but Drive Extender is not coming back.

I'm surprised Microsoft didn't offer a DFS-based data pool alternative. But the big deal, obviously, is the duplication. Since most people get this software with new hardware, my suspicion is that we're going to see pre-built WHS 2011 systems with RAID or something similar.

Using RAID as a redundancy solution for Windows Home Server 2011?

Joe R. wrote to tell me that...

\\[Microsoft has provided video-based instructions for implementing (software) RAID on Windows Small Business Server 2011. And since this product features the same underpinnings as Windows Home Server 2011 (Vail), it applies there as well.\\] Now was that so hard?

I believe what we're seeing here is software RAID 1 (i.e. "mirroring"), which can be used as a not-perfect replacement for the data redundancy features of Drive Extender. (As you know, DE was removed from both WHS 2011 and Windows SBS 2011 Essentials.) Fair enough. But that was never the issue. The issue is that WHS is aimed at home users, and asking these people to understand/configure RAID is a bit much. I suspect we'll see appliances configured with this out of the box instead.

That said, this should work on WHS 2011 too. I haven't tested it, and I won't. But if you're a power user and are comfortable with this sort of thing, it's worth looking at. I think RAID has more relevance in the small business market than it does in the home market. What I'd rather see for most home users is an appliance that either does this for you or comes preconfigured, perhaps using hardware RAID.

And since we're on the topic, Windows Server does support spanned volumes, which allows you to create a dynamic volume (storage) that spans two or more physical disks. This could, of course, be used as a replacement, of sorts, to DE's single pool of storage feature, though you'd still have to manage it somewhat manually. As with RAID, this is a power user topic, and it does require at least three physical disks (the startup disk plus two disks configured as "dynamic volumes").

This is perhaps a good topic for a future How-To. Let's see what Microsoft's hardware partners come up with first.

Want to know more? Just friend me on Facebook

I get a lot of unsolicited email-based invitations to various social networking and online services. Though I'm sure most of these are well intentioned, most are also unwanted. For example, unless we are actually friends (i.e. have known each other for years), the following applies:

I do not want to share my location with you on Google Latitude.

I do not want to communicate with you on Skype.

I do not want to join Quorum.

I do not want to be friends with you on Windows Live.

I do not want to connect on LinkedIn.

And so on.

Where I would like to connect with you, however, is Facebook. Yes, Facebook is intrusive and has privacy issues. But it's the one-stop-shop for connecting with people online, and if you want to know more about me for some reason, that's where you can find me. And everyone is welcome.

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