Sunday, October 18, 2009

HomeSeer on Windows Vista

Since our home server Octopus is cobbled together with the failed parts of Siobhan's previous computers, it tends to lock up fairly regularly. I had hoped that sitting quietly and serving files and not being hooked to a monitor and being configured for minimum video performance might prevent that, but apparently bad video cards are stubborn that way. So when Woot! had a cheap computer system up, I bought it, and I have been transferring things to it as time permits.

It's been slow going since I don't have a spare monitor to hook up to it, so I had to share a monitor with my laptop (and for a while I had a problem with changing my laptop's video configuration to add or remove a monitor causing a bluescreen and painful reboot, but a video driver update finally fixed that). But by far the bigger obstacle has been Windows Vista. This is my first time dealing with Vista and I wonder if I shouldn't've formatted and reinstalled XP (especially now that I realize that the system was configured with the hard drive partitioned, which always seems to bite me later). But I figured I'd tough it out; about time I learned Vista, what with its successor almost here.

I eventually got file shares working, and got a VNC server to work so I can get around the missing monitor problem. (I've always used RealVNC before this, but the freeware version doesn't work well with Vista. UltraVNC does. Pity I wasted a day fighting with RealVNC before I switched.) I've also installed the most important utilities for the server, and a few handy tools. TVersity is working on it fine as well. And having bought a USB printer cable, I have the printer working too.

There are two applications that run on this server: HomeSeer and PaperPort. And they'll be the last things I set up. HomeSeer, my home automation system, is what I'm currently stuck on. Moving HomeSeer from one computer to another is tricky: I've found various "how to" posts and guides but they don't agree with one another and none of them even tries to address the transition from one version of Windows to another. I've tried various combinations of installing and copying over, but each one has proved problem-fraught in one way or another. And each iteration takes hours to try.

Today I'm going to try wiping all traces of HomeSeer, then doing a clean install and trying to get it working, then importing one bit at a time. It'll be tedious to redo all my configuration, reinstall all plugins (including the ones I wrote), etc. but at least it should work. And when it doesn't I can tackle each problem one at a time.

I sure hope PaperPort (the software that goes with the scanner) works on Vista, or I'll have to move the scanner to Siobhan's computer. Either way, I hope to have the new server installed and switched over to today.

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