Play Music / Videos from Windows Home Sever into iTunes and iPad

Windows Home Server for many is used as central location to share and store all their music files, videos, images etc. Also on the other hand if you use iTunes to stream music to your TV or on your iDevice like iPad or iPhone using the music and video files right on your iTunes for the basic requirement. Specially since iTunes and iOS have Home Sharing feature available.

This tutorial will help you to stream music from Windows Home server ( WHS ) to iTunes to your iPad or iPhone without any duplication of files over your computer or on your iPad.

Requirements :

  • Windows Home Server 2011 or any previous version.
  • A Windows or Mac Machine having  iTunes 10.2 and above i.e. for Home Sharing.
  • iPad / iPhone
  • And some music and video files to test things out.

WHS Itunes iPad

**The same tutorial should work for Mac Users. They can skip the Home Group Settings.

What you need to set on Windows Home Server :

A couple of things

Turn on Guest Account :

Windows Home Server by default is only available to users which are created using the Dashboard. Since we do not want to be asked for  user name and password every time you access it via network, we should enable the guest account and give it read only access to folders we want to share from WHS. To do this :

  • Launch the Dashboard and Switch to Users
  • If this is the first time you will see only Guest Account available which is disabled by default.
  • Activate it first.
  • Now Go to View Properties of the Guest and switch to shared folders tab. Here you can configure the permission mode which should be Read Only.

Guest Account on WHS for Seamless Network Access

Add Windows Home Server or Your Computer under one Home Group :

Depending on what you setup first, WHS or your Computer, make sure all your Windows Computer are in same home group. To add a Windows Machine follow this tutorial and to add Windows Home Server to Existing Home Server, do this :

  • Launch the Dashboard and click on Server Settings button.
  • Switch to Home Group and you will get option to create or Join.

WHS Home Group Settings

Done this,  just to make sure things are as we need, Access the Windows Home Server on your Network and see if you can pass through and see the folders inside it. It should not ask you for any username password.

What you need to set in iTunes :

Since our basic requirement is to share files from Windows Home Server you need not to maintain a copy of files on your local computer. Also you do no want iTunes to change the way files are organized on your shared folders on Windows Home Server. Though iTunes does it by default with any folder you add but since we do not give any write permission to iTunes nothing will change.

To keep things smooth set the following in your iTunes.

  • Go to iTunes Preferences ( Edit > Preferences )
  • Switch to Advanced Tab.
  • Uncheck Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized. If you do not uncheck this, iTunes will try to change file and folder organization in the shared folder of WHS which will result in error as we have set ready only permission .
  • Uncheck Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to library.

iTunes Settings for WHS

Add Windows Home Server Shared folders to iTunes

Ready with the basic setup, now add the shared folders Music and Video to iTunes. To do this :

  • Copy the network path of Windows Home Server shared folders.
  • Files > Add Folder to Library.
  • Paste it in the text box right to Open Button.
  • Click on Open and it will Add.
  • Repeat it with any number of folders, iTunes will automatically sort it under videos, audio and so on.

As soon as you do that, iTunes will read the files available and add it to its database.

Add WHS Shared folders to iTunes

 

Done this you will be able to easily listen to the music and watch the videos which is on your Windows Home Server. In case of doubt you can right click on the file in iTunes and use Get Info to find the location of the files.

iTunes Sharing WHS Files

How do you share Windows Home Server music and video to iPad or iPhone ?

Once above setting is in place, you need to setup Home Sharing on your iTunes.  The menu for this is available under Advanced Menu in iTunes.

iPod Home Sharing Credentials

Read our complete instruction set on How to set up Home Sharing feature using iTunes and your iPad or iPhone . Once you complete this, in your iPad or iPhone go to :

  • iPod > Library > Select the Library Name in the list and you will see all the songs.
  • Videos > Shared. You will see the Library’s name. Tap to open and you will see all the videos.

WHS Shared Libraries on iPad


About Ashish Mohta

A Professional Tech blogger, Editor and Writer who talks about solving day to day problems of people who use computer. His expertise are in Windows 7, Microsoft Office, Software, Mobile Apps and Video Posts.

4 comments

  1. Great tutorial.

    I have few hundred movies(vob & mkv files) on my whs. Do you think this method will let me watch them on ios devices? Not sure if Itunes can play movies that aren’t bought/rented from Apple.

    Any thoughts?

    • Hi Rohit,

      No, iTunes cannot play all the formats and that’s the drawback of this method. However there are many other ways if you totally want to skip itunes. Is your primary requirement is to stream music from WHS to iPad or iPhone ?

  2. I realize there are workarounds to get video from WHS to iPad, but i thought it would me much easier and perhaps less taxing on the cpu/ram of the whs if iTunes worked with such files natively. Meanwhile, I applied the above tutorial and was able to get my music on my ipad & iphone. Your instructions were perfect.

    But there seems to be an issue with home videos. I added the video folder on to my iTunes libray. All videos do show up under movies. But when i try to play the video within itunes, itunes freezes or takes too long to display the video. I have a gigabit network so i don’t think bandwidth is the issue. Because of this i am not able to view videos on ipad either.

    The home videos stored on my WHS consists of hd videos shot on different cameras (iphone, video camera, digital slr),different resolution 1080p & 720p, probably different file types.

    I do view these videos through WMC & extenders and they work fine.

    My guess is itunes is having a problem recognizing different file types.

    Have you tried watching videos on your machine and do they work well?

Leave a Reply