First off this is not an appliance, it’s a science project, albeit a really good one. I spent a happy hour fiddling with MAC addresses and WEP keys to get everything up and running. It’s not something my mother would thank me for. There are a couple of gotchas I ran into setting it all up which I thought I’d share.
Installing and setting up SqueezeCenter as a service
First you need to install SqueezeCenter on your home server. Download the SqueezeCenter software from the slimdevices web site.
- When prompted save it to the Software folder shared on your server, \\MyServer\Software\. Don’t run the software on your PC, when the download completes just close the dialog. SqueezeCenter needs to be installed on the server.
- Next use Remote Desktop to log directly into your home server. Open the Start | Run… menu and type “MSTSC”. In the Remote Desktop Connection dialog type in the name of your home server. At the login dialog type in your home server password.
This should be fairly straightforward but I’ve seen people struggle with it so thought it was worth mentioning.
By default SqueezeCenter will install on the C: drive on Windows Home Server. This is a bad idea because WHS has a very small system drive. You should install any additional software on the D: drive along with your data to prevent the system drive from filling up.
- In your remote desktop use Windows Explorer to create a “D:\Program Files” folder on the server.
- From the remote console desktop open the “Shared Folders on Server” shortcut and navigate to the Software folder and run “SqueezeCenter-7.2.exe” to install SqueezeCenter.
- In the Select Destination Location dialog edit the path to “D:\Program Files\SqueezeCenter”. Accept the defaults for other pages on the setup program.
If you haven’t done so already you might be tempted to install the latest browser on your home server as the SqueezeCenter page suggests. I didn’t do this as I try and install the minimum amount of unnecessary software on my servers. Normally you’ll be accessing SqueezeCenter from another PC with the latest version of your favorite browser, not the WHS desktop.
Finally you need to configure SqueezeCenter to run as a server so it starts automatically when the home server does.
- Run “Start | All Programs | SqueezeCenter | SqueezeCenter Startup options”.
- Select the “Start SqueezeCenter automatically” option and enter your user username and password. Don’t use the server administrator password. Ideally you should use a WHS user account that’s not used for anything else or your own user account but not the administrator one. See comments for an explanation of why you should not run the SqueezeCenter as an administrator.
Use the “Start | Log Off” button to end your remote desktop session on the server. You should now be able to connect to SqueezeCenter http://MyServer:9000/ from any PC in on your network.
Wireless network configuration
I’m using a Microsoft MN-700 Wireless network hub that runs an 801.11g network. The Squeezebox controller handles input of the WEP/WPA key just fine but I found it easier to turn off MAC address filtering on my router while getting things setup. Once you have things working the MAC addresses of for the controller and receiver are in “Settings > Advanced > About” and “Settings > Advanced > Squeezebox” Information respectively. Add the MAC addresses to the router’s filter table and turn on MAC filtering and everything should just keep working.
The home server is a fairly beefy machine. Most of the really negative reviews on Amazon tend to be focused around either poor network or server performance. Overall I’ve been very pleased with the Squeezebox. My setup doesn’t suffer from dropouts and streams lossless FLAC files just fine. If you run into difficulties is seems like the first place to look is your wireless router and network configuration. After that start looking at the load on the server especially if you are using a format, like WMA lossless, that requires SqueezeCenter to transcode music on the fly.