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How do I connect computers to the server?

Updated: March 30, 2011

Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

You can connect your home computers to the Windows Home Server 2011 server using the Connect a Computer to the Server wizard. You can launch this wizard by typing https://<servername>/connect Internet address in your Internet browser, where <servername> is the name of the server. The wizard installs the Windows Home Server 2011 Connector software on your home computer and joins it to the server. Windows Home Server 2011 then automatically backs up your home computer, monitors its health, and enables you to configure and to remotely administer Windows Home Server 2011 from your home computer.

Before you begin

Before you begin connecting your home computers, do the following:


Windows Home Server 2011 does not support backing up and restoring dynamic disks on client computers. If you want the server to create backups for your computer, do not use a computer with dynamic disks.

Connecting your home computers to the home server

This section includes step-by-step instructions to connect a computer to a server that is running Windows Home Server 2011. To complete this procedure, you will need the following information:

  • The Windows Home Server 2011 password.

  • The user name and password of the computer’s local administrator account (if you are not logged on to the computer as a local administrator).


Complete the following procedure on all of your other computers to connect them to the Windows Home Server 2011 server.

To connect your computer to the server

  1. Log on to the computer that you want to connect to the server.

  2. Open an Internet browser, and in the address bar, type https://<servername>/Connect, where <servername> is the name of the server, and then press ENTER.

    Alternately, click Start, click Computer, double-click Network, and then double-click the server name in the Other Devices section.

  3. The Connect your computer to the server page appears. Do one of the following:

    • To connect a computer running Windows, click Download software for Windows.

    • To connect a computer running Mac OS X or later, click Download software for Mac.

  4. If the User Account Control message appears, either click Continue or type your user name and password of an account that has administrator permissions on that computer if prompted to do so.

  5. The Connect a Computer to the Server wizard appears. Follow the instructions in the wizard to connect your computer to the server.


    If the computer uses a Windows display language that matches a supported Windows Home Server 2011 Connector software language edition, the Connector software is installed in the same language. If a language match is not found, the Connector software is installed in English.

  6. When the computer is successfully connected to the server, shortcuts to the Launchpad and the Dashboard appear on the Start menu of the home computer’s desktop which can be used as follows:

    1. From the Launchpad link, you can access the shared folders shortcut, configure computer backups, address alerts, and open the Remote Web Access site. For more information about the Launchpad, see Overview of the Dashboard

    2. From the Dashboard link, you can access the Dashboard to administer the server. For more information about dashboard, see Overview of the Dashboard.

    You can access resources that are located on your server in multiple ways. If you want to use remote access, we recommend using individual user accounts, but more options are available. These options are as follows:
    • Using individual user accounts If you want to use remote access, and/or have individual user accounts, after you connect the computer to the server, you can create new network user accounts for the users of this computer on the server using the Dashboard. After creating the user accounts, you must provide the network user name and password information to the users of this computer so that they can access resources on the server using Launchpad. For more information about user accounts see, see Manage User Accounts.

    • Using a HomeGroup If you have Windows 7 in your network, you may want to use an existing homegroup, or create a new one, and join this computer to the homegroup. This will enable users of this computer to access the shared folders on the server. However, the computer must be running Windows 7 to participate in the homegroup. For more information about homegroup, see What is a homegroup?

    • Using the Guest account The Guest account can be used as a convenient way to turn on access to resources that are stored on your server (such as photos and music) for someone who is not a regularly using the home server. You can activate the Guest account to share files with your extended family (such as grandparents) and friends. Use the Guest account for temporary access to resources on the server and deactivate the Guest account when the guest no longer requires access to the resources on the server. By default, the Guest account, when activated has Read only access. It is recommended that you think about what level of access to the server folders should be provided to the guest account, whether Read/Write access is required, or if a Read only access is sufficient. These considerations will provide maximum protection and privacy to your data. For more information about setting access to server folders, see How do I manage access to server folders?

      If you provide read/write access to the Guest account for a server folder, then anyone who accesses the server folder using the Guest account can delete, change or add files that are located in that folder.

For troubleshooting issues with connecting computers to the server, see Troubleshoot connecting computer to the server.