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TwinTraveller

Gdata For Home Server - My Experience

13 posts in this topic

After spotting the announcement and release of the Germans version of GData for Home Server early November, I bought an English copy at the end of November. As many of you appear to be having some issues with the product, I thought I'd share my experiences. Unfortunately, I've not made any notes over the past 2 months, so much of this is from memory, and I apologize upfront for any bit that may be left out.

Why did I go for GData?

a) my 3-year Avast license was expiring at the end of 2011

B) I wanted to migrating from WHS 1 to WHS 2011 and was looking for a supported anti-virus solution on my home server. Considering that Avast appears to be going nowhere with their WHS 2011 support, and the fact that they dropped the famliy pack deal, I was in the market for something new.

c) In the AV reviews I read, GData scored quite well with their "normal" Internet Security package.

Purchase and download

The purchase process was smooth. If I recall correctly, I went through the Dutch website where I found a link for an English version, and was able to pay in Euro. After paying (Paypal) I received an email with my license key and download link within second.

Contrary to the majority of software bought online, the download is in ISO format, so you either need to burn it to a DVD (1.5 GB) or use virtual CD solution to install the software.

Aside from the installation software for the server the image contains:

- a bootable version to allow OS independant scanning

- the client installation software (more on this later)

- the user manual

Prior to my purchase, I had already downloaded a manual from the support site, which appeared to be more complete than the manual on the image.

Server installation

My first installation of GData was on a new test environment for my WHS 2011. I noticed that Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005 (32-bit) was installed automatically. This didn't make me very happy as I intended to install SQL Server Express 2008 (64-bit) for supporting my WSUS installation. As I was still on a test environment, I decided to wipe the whole machine, and start over with a clean installation of WHS 2011. This time round I installed SQL Server Express 2008 (64-bit) prior to installing GData. The installation of GData respected this choice, and created a database within the SQL Server Express 2008 (64-bit) instance.

Although I can't remember exactly the options I chose during installation, I did not encounter any issues at all. After installation, GData Administrator showed up nicely in my dashboard, altough it is not listed as an installed add-in in the dashboard.

First use

When first navigating to the GData Administrator dashboard, I was surprised to see that I had to provide a username and password. By default you can access the GData dashboard with your home server's admin user name and password, but it should also be possible to configure additional users.

The first impression of the GData Administrator dashboard is a bit overwhelming. Although I don't know any of the GData business products, I can't help but think that the home server product is derived from GData's corporate product line. As I said, this can be overwhelming, but on the other hand, once you get to know it, it's quite easy to manage. For example, you can define groups and subgroups for the computers in your network and defined settings such as a weekly scan on these groups and subgroups. Configuring a PC is then as easy as assigning it to the appropriate group and you're done!

This is great functionality, but at the same time, with a maximum of 5 systems including your server you won't be defining all that many groups and subgroups. Oh, yes, 5 systems including your server if you decide to push the client to the server machine as well. I know that their marketing suggests the server and 5 PC's, but over the weekend, I tried adding a 5th PC during a replacement and discovered the limitation. Although this appeared to work initially, at the restart of the dashboard, the G Data administrator complained that too many clients had been installed and suggested moving to their business line!

Client installation

For the first two months, I did not succeed in deploying a client from the server despite addressing the prerequisites as documented in the manual. (All my systems are Windows 7 Home Premium, both 32 and 64 bit.) I ended up performing a manual install on every client system. This was not only a disappointment, and additional work, but it also resulted in systems without the GData firewall.

Then finally over the weekend, I was able to fix this issue. Although the manual lists 7 prerequisites to be able to deploy the client from the server, I found that this is not entirely accurate. In my experience, deployment was successful when:

  1. The "Administrator" account on the client system was active (and had the same password as the "Administrator" account on the server). Note that I also tried other accounts with administrator privileges, but this never succeeded.

    For Windows 7 users, you can enable your "Administrator" account by running the command prompt in administrator mode and entering the following command:
    net user administrator /active:yes
    After doing this, the account will be enable and will show up in the user's section of the control panel, when you can set a password. You can later disable the user again using:
    net user administrator /active:no
  2. The (windows) firewall on the client was disabled. (Maybe it is sufficient to open the appropriate TCP port, but if your also deploying the GData firewall the windows firewall will be disable anyhow.)

Overall experience

The GData Administrator allows plenty of configuration, for managing your clients. As an administrator you have full control over your clients, and you can determine if your user is allowed to modify any of the settings that you set and manage. Virus definition files are downloaded through the server, but one can also allow user to download these directly from the internet when not connected to the server. You can for example define 2 groups of computers: desktop and laptops and have separate settings for each group.

Also, you can configure GData in such a way that all virus detections are reported back to the server. The same is true for applications that have been blocked by the firewall. This gives you the necessary tools to really manage your home network in an efficient way.

Conclusion

Despite some initial hick-ups with the client installation, I am quite pleased with the G Data solution. Compared to Avast on WHS 1, this is certainly a more "professional" solution that gives you much more control over your network.

Is it worth the money? I think it is, antivirus software is like insurance: I hope that it's money which I spent and never needed. Especially if you have multiple clients, GData for Home Server will not set you back much more than any other antivirus solution for 5 PC's, and for the extra money you do have the centrally managed solution. Think of the time you will save by not having to check each PC individually and your return shouldn't be too hard to calculate.

I do find it a pity that GData is currently not offering a multi-year deals as they are doing with their other products. From a business perspective this may be because WHS is not a mainstream platform and GData may not be willing to commit itself to a multi-year product support at this time.

Upon request, I've added some screenshots in the galery

http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/gallery/album/117-gdata-for-home-server/

Edited by TwinTraveller
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Awesome post - thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Thanks for the review.

Can you share some screen shots ? I would like to see Gdata in the Dashboard.

Do you have to install a wssx file for the server ?

They say that it also works on Windows Home Server, so that's WHSv1, can you confirm ? Does it include a .msi for WHSv1 ?

Thanks,

John.

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John, I've added a link to a gallery containing some screenshots in my original post.

In response to your other questions:

There is no .wssx file for the WHS 2011 server, nor is there a .msi file for the WHS v1 server. All installations are done using a setup.exe

I haven't used GData on WHS v1 so I cannot confirm myself that this works. Hower the user manual does distinguish between Windows Home Server 2011 and Microsoft Windows Home Server. (I've compies the system requirements sections below

System requirements

The following minimum requirements are defined for your home network. You do not need to have a dedicated Windows Home Server system to install the G Data software. This means the server, the client software and the Administrator can be installed on any of these configurations.

  • Windows 7 (32/64bit) with 1 GB of available RAM
  • Windows Vista (32/64bit) with 1 GB of available RAM
  • Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or higher, 32bit) with 512 MB of available RAM
  • Windows Home Server 2011 with 1 GB of available RAM
  • Microsoft Windows Home Server with 512 MB of available RAM

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I am glad you had a good experience. Mine was significantly worse!

First of all installing the it on WHS2011 disabled my Dashboard. It just wouldn't start up, no error on screen but entries in the Event Viewer. I contacted tech support and they were very helpful with sending new DLLs to try but after a week we hadn't gotten anywhere and I decided to go for a refund. I haven't heard anything since I asked for a refund a couple of weeks ago. I have tried numerous email addresses but gotten no response.

My clients didn't install properly either. They wouldn't install remotely as I didn't have the Administrator account open on any of my 4 clients. I installed the clients manually but they would never connect back to the server to get updates. Doubt this is a fault of my network as I had the trial of Vipre business running just fine before this.

After asking for a refund I went to uninstall the clients - uninstall runs but doesn't actually remove the client. I had to manually clean it off my 4 client computers. That means booting in to safe mode and cleaning the registry of a ton of entries. Awesome.

I can't recommend this software at all and the it looks like their claims of a refund in 14 days are lies as well.

Edit: ah the power of the INTERNET! Not 5 seconds after typing this I got an email that my refund should be through next week. Will report back either way. There should be a trial for this software.

Edited by pox67

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I bought G Data Internet security for Win home server.

But it does not work. I tried uninstalling/installing it many times, but that still dont work.

It does not update on my server, or my clients, I cannot connect from server to clients, nor did it remove a virus on the server and on one client!

One error is that the G Data says that antivirus client service is not running on my client, but it is!

I have tried diferent solutions and workarounds, finally i realised it was´nt worth the trouble.

I was glad that there was finally a antivirus for windows home server, but I am sad to say it does not meet my requirements.

I have requested a refund from G Data.

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Hmmm. I'll stick with Security Essentials

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I got the GDATA ManagementServer to load, and it even shows up on the dashboard. HOWEVER, the Windows authentication isn't working, even though I know that I entered the information correctly. I keep getting the following error- "Login failed: user unknown or wrong password." Any suggestions from those who've managed to get it up and running?

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I got the GDATA ManagementServer to load, and it even shows up on the dashboard. HOWEVER, the Windows authentication isn't working, even though I know that I entered the information correctly. I keep getting the following error- "Login failed: user unknown or wrong password." Any suggestions from those who've managed to get it up and running?

Are you using the server's administrator account or your own user account? By default only the administrator account will function.

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Hello

Have you a link to download a trial version of G Data for home Server WHS 2011 ?

On the site G data no link !!

 

Many thanks

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