Experience Level: Standard

iHomeServer is an add-in for Windows Home Server v1 and Windows Home Server 2011 which allows you to manage Apple’s iTunes media player directly from the WHS Console/Dashboard.  iHomeServer starts iTunes automatically when the computer starts, keeps it running and allows you to manage iTunes without having to physically access the computer. It also makes it easy to add new media to your iTunes Media Server.

Features:

Automatically start iTunes on boot-up

iHomeServer runs an instance of iTunes within its own Windows Service that automatically starts when your computer/server does. Therefore iTunes is always available, even when nobody has logged into the computer.

Runs iTunes on systems with no sound cards

iTunes is meant to be run on a normal desktop. However, today’s microservers are ideal to run as a headless iTunes media server, but most do not come with sound cards. This would normally prevent you from automatically starting iTunes when the computer boots, because iTunes will present a message indicating there is a problem with your audio/video configuration. iHomeServer actively watches the iTunes process for these messages and dismisses them transparently in the background to ensure iTunes starts successfully. You can view any messages that iTunes has presented using the iHomeServer ‘Messages’ window

Manage iTunes from the Windows Home Server Console

iHomeServer supports starting and stopping iTunes from the WHS Dashboard / Console. You can also view and manage all your iTunes media libraries and playlists, directly from the WHS Dashboard – creating and managing iTunes playlists, adding, removing and playing tracks – most of your day to day tasks can be performed remotely from your laptop, but controlling your WHS server’s instance of iTunes.

Create multiple “Watch Folders” to synchronise your iTunes library with your existing media folder structure

One of the issues people face when running iTunes on servers is how to add new media to the server. The last thing you want to do is have to open iTunes manually on the server whenever you need to add a new CD or track downloaded from Amazon.

iHomeServer makes this easy. Create ‘Watch Folders’ that watch areas of your file system (such as the WHS Music and Video shares). Any content already in these folders will automatically be added to your iTunes library. iHomeServer actively monitors these folders so if new media is added, or existing media is modified (eg due to a modification of metadata), iHomeServer will update the track in iTunes transparently. You can even watch network locations or remote storage if your keep your media on another server or NAS.

Edit your iTunes server’s metadata and Cover Art remotely

iHomeServer allows you to view and edit the metadata of tracks stored within the iTunes library running on your server. This can also be done remotely via the Windows Home Server console.

You can even set track Cover Data within your Server iTunes library by copying and pasting from your local PC.

Perform batch metadata and cover art updates

Not only can you update the metadata of individual tracks, you can also use an existing track’s metadata as a template to set a collection of related tracks, just like the iTunes ‘Get Info’ interface, but via the WHS Console.

Automatically delete orphaned tracks

If you delete files directly on your file system, iTunes will keep the track in its library, but when you attempt to play the file, you will get an error indicating that the file no longer exists. iHomeServer can automatically remove deleted tracks from Watch Folder locations so that you have confidence that all your tracks in iTunes exist. You can also ask iHomeServer to perform a complete sweep of an iTunes library to look for orphaned tracks and automatically delete them. These functions are ideal if you reorganise your media folders in order to avoid duplicate files appearing.

iTunes Process Monitoring

In addition to handling iTunes for any pop up dialog boxes that might disrupt your iTunes streaming or prevent iTunes starting up successfully, iHomeServer also monitors the iTunes process and restarts iTunes automatically if it crashes.

Supports all iTunes native functionality – AirPlay, Remote, Wifi Sync, iCloud and Home Sharing

Take advantage of all the major functions within iTunes but benefit from them being ‘always there’ and not having to turn your desktop on first. Wifi Sync, AirPlay, iCloud sync and Home Sharing all work with iHomeServer.

Use the Apple Remote app (for iOS) to remote control your iHomeServer’s iTunes instance and AirPlay your media library to all your favourite devices!

The Apple Remote app for iOS devices is a fantastic partner with an iHomeServer/iTunes microstation allowing you to remote control your server’s iTunes instance and direct media streams to other devices such as Airport Expresses, Apple TV (1 and 2), iPhones, iPads and other AirPlay compatible hardware devices.

Developer: Ed Steward

Download: iHomeServer (WHS v1) | (WHS 2011)

Release History

v2.1.32.0 (3rd February 2012)

  • New Features – Podcast updating, add new podcast, download podcast episodes added
  • Bug fixes: log file rotation, increased buffers between client and server; icon change on iTunes playlist view; some consoles might timeout their connection with the iHomeServer server – if this happens users will not get updates happening unless they press refresh – this behaviour has been fixed

v2.0.28 (28th January 2012)

  • First release for Windows Home Server