Thursday, December 05, 2013

Adding Server Shares to Modern Photo App – Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 updated the photo app to remove Facebook, and Flickr, and make it only look like you can view pictures on your local device, and on your SkyDrive.  However, this isn’t entirely true.  If you’re like me and have a NAS or in my case, a Home Server on your network, you could quite possibly have GBs of pictures stored on your server that you want to show to friends and family on your tablet.  That can be cumbersome to get to if you don’t set it up first.  And nothing makes family or friends more bored of looking at your pictures, than watching you struggle to get to them.

Here is how to add those GBs of photos to your surface “view” without actually copying them to your surface.

First you need to make sure your surface has access to the server share.  I recently wrote a post on how to do that – Using the Windows Credential Manager to Store Server Credentials in Windows 8.1.

Next follow these steps:

  1. Open up the Desktop app if you haven’t already
  2. Open up Windows Explorer and navigate to the picture folder on your remote machine
  3. Right click on the folder containing the pictures, and go to Include in library, and select Pictures to include it into the pictures library. Include in Pictures library
  4. Now you’ll see in your libraries that you have two locations for PicturesPictures library
  5. Next go back into the Photos Modern app and choose the local computer, you’ll notice all the folders inside the pictures folder you chose in step #3, if you’re on the local network Pictures Library Modern App

Now when you’re on your local network, you just look like you have a HUGE photo collection.  The downside is if you take pictures at 21megapixel like I do and use very little compression, that you’ll end up having to wait for Wireless to download each picture as you go to view it.  I find a good 2-3 second story about each picture is enough for the next picture to download in the background. Smile

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Using the Windows Credential Manager to Store Server Credentials in Windows 8.1 (and on Surface!)

My wife got a new laptop, first one in 10 years.  I’m very proud of her.  She’s the opposite of me, and pretty much doesn’t like change on her computer.  This is most likely due to the fact she touches a computer for less than 1/2 an hour a day, and doesn’t want to spend 10 minutes of the 30 figuring out where the “File” menu went (yes, the IE7 upgrade just about killed my wife).  She went with the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. It’s an amazing laptop, but doesn’t have a TPM chip, so I can’t use it for work (otherwise I’d have one too!)  The screen is breathtaking, but I digress.

We have a Home Server 2011 in our house (obviously), but it doesn’t back up UEFI machines (not that I know of anyways) via the Client Backup.  So installing the Launch Pad seemed a bit of overkill so she could just go to \\server.  Her Windows Explorer has a link to the root of the Server share so she can get to the pictures, the videos, the TV shows, and so on.  I’m a big fan of security, and she has her own account on the server, but I couldn’t get her username and password to save for the server through a reboot.  And as you can probably guess, it has to be easy for her (a click to get access). 

I ended up simply saving this into her Windows Credential Storage (details below).  Worked like a charm.  It got me thinking, does this work on my Surface 2?  Sure enough it did!!  This means that I can simply access the server without providing credentials every time.  Now when I’m in my home, my Surface can just access an additional 4TB of data, right from inside the Metro Apps (more on this in my post "Adding Server Shares to Modern Photo App"). 
Let me tell you how to use the credential manager first. 
  1. Hit the Start key or swipe out the charm bar and press the Start button
  2. Type in Cred to search the start menu for the Credential Manager. Search for 'Cred'
  3. Launch the Credential Manager, and select the Windows Credentials button. 
  4. Under that button, simply click the Add a Windows credential.
  5. Fill out the wizard with the name of your server, in my case “SERVER”, my credentials Fill out the Add a Windows Credential Wizard
  6. Notice it’s in the list and then close the Credential Manager
Now you may try this instantly and it might not work.  This is most likely because you’ve already tried to connect to this server and stored the fact that you don’t need a username or password.  A reboot or sign-out/in will fix that as long as the item stays in the Credential Manager.  You can also open the command prompt and type in “net use * /d” to delete all active connections which will force Windows to re-open new ones, using the Credential Manager.

For reference, here is the official Windows Help topic on this.