The TS mini comes with a preinstalled HDD (our sample had a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 with a capacity of 500 gigabytes) and ready to work out of the box. For the sake of comparison with NASes we had tested earlier and to see how Windows Home Server could be installed on a new disk, we replaced the default HDD with our Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AAL.
When you put your HDD into the TS mini, the next step is to install the OS. This is a two-step process actually. First you switch the server into recovery mode by pressing the Power and Reset buttons and then you run the installation wizard from the included disc on your PC.
In a little while you get a ready-to-work server with a new hard disk. The process took us about half an hour. The same wizard can be used to reset the TS mini to its default settings or restore its OS in case of a failure.
Now, you need to install the Windows Home Server Connector utility on your PC. We used its version downloadable from the ASUS website (TS mini connector software V2.0). You can also install it directly from the TS mini by accessing the latter via your browser. The installation requires a live Internet connection since part of the software is downloaded automatically from the Internet. You will be asked one question during the process: whether you want your LAN clients to be automatically turned on for backing up their data.
If a new Windows Home Server is found on the LAN, its setup wizard starts up. It will ask you a few simple questions like server name, admin password (you need a strong one with 7 or more symbols including numerals and letters in both upper and lower cases) and update mode (if you choose automatic mode, the server will install updates immediately).
To set up more server parameters you launch Windows Home Server Console using the admin password.
In this review we will only discuss the basic features of Windows Home Server available in the ASUS TS mini because this software from Microsoft features nearly infinite expandability. Particularly, ASUS added a couple of its own modules into the console.