Installing SlimServer on Windows

SlimServer on Windows with AlienBBC plugin. A ripcaster Step-by-Step Guide


This step-by-step guide is intended to allow someone with minimal Windows experience to install Slimserver with AlienBBC and related files on an existing Windows installation. After following these instructions you will be able to access your digital music collection and listen to streamed radio - including BBC Live and Listen Again services. Please note - there is no guarantee with these instructions - use at your own risk - they worked for us - they may not work for you. Please feel free to leave any comments you may have.



Last Updated: 2006-09-12
Author JJN
Copyright ripcaster.co.uk

Assumptions

This guide assumes that you have:

  • An Internet connection.
  • A Windows machine with sufficient free space to allow downloading and installation of the required files.
  • Access to the original Microsoft Windows installation media (if required).
  • Administrative rights to install software.

Goals

  • Simple to follow step-by-step instructions including verbose screen output.
  • Suitable for creating a dedicated SlimServer machine from modest specification hardware.
  • AlienBBC plug-in configuration for BBC Listen Again services.

Hardware

We are using an old PIII machine with 128MB RAM for this test install with a mighty 12GB hard drive - and it works just fine. For a stable system that can serve a number of Squeezeboxes we would recommend at least a low end P4 celeron with a reasonable hard drive and 512MB or more memory. As always more processor power, hard disc or RAM will always improve things according to your budget.

The hard drive size dictates how many music files you can store. Hard disc storage is relatively cheap so buy the biggest drive for your money. We have 500+ CDs FLAC encoded occupying just 180GB of storage.

Note. If using an old PC to act as you Slimserver be aware that some old BIOSs have problems with large drives. Old BIOSs may not recognize drives above 80GB or 128GB. So check that your motherboard BIOS can be upgraded before purchasing, for example, a 500GB drive that either won't be recongnized by the system or will only allow the first 128GB to be used.

Here we assume the machine already has an operating system installed. If your machine is not going to be used for anything other than Slimserver we would recommend wiping the disk and re-installing the operating system - you will be surprised how much more performance you get from a machine without any unnecessary clutter (Install Linux in text only mode and it will fly).

So we assume at this point that your machine is able to connect and browse the internet. We also assume your machine hardware includes a network card, CD/DVD ROM dive, screen and keyboard.

Start Here

Ok so lets get started! First we make sure the computer has all the latest patches installed. Start Internet Explorer (or whatever browser you use) and go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com and download all the latest patches for your system. Depending on how old your Windows operating system is and your network speed this may take some time to complete (and several re-boots) - yawn.

Web Server

SlimServer is a web application. The SlimServer Windows installation is totally self-contained and does not require IIS or Apache to be installed.

Download SlimServer

Now we are ready to install the free SlimServer software from the Slim Devices website. Launch your browser and go to http://www.slimdevices.com/su_downloads.html.

Select the Windows NT/2000/XP option, scroll down the page and then click the "Download SlimServer" button.

The download should start automatically or you can manually start the download by clicking the "here" link.

Save the downloaded file to your hard drive.

SlimServer Installation Wizard

Once Downloaded run the installer by clicking the "Open" button.

The SlimServer installation Wizard will start.

Click the "Next" button.


Accept the default installation folder location - click "Next".


Change the default location for your music to be C:\Music - click "Next".


Change the default location for your playlists to be C:\Playlist - click "Next".

We want SlimServer to start automatically when Windows boots - so accept the default and click "Next".

Accept the default Start Menu folder and click "Next".


Create a desktop icon - click "Next".


At the Ready to Install screen review your settings and click the "Install" button.


The installation will take a few minutes to complete depending on your computer performance.


Click the "Finish" button when done.

Once SlimServer is running you will have a new shortcut on your desktop:

Whenever SlimServer is running a small icon will be displayed in the task bar (usually) in the bottom right of the screen.

Testing SlimServer

Check that SlimServer is running using your browser. Start Internet Explorer (or whatever browser you use) and navigate to http://localhost:9000. You should see the main SlimServer web interface:

You should also be able to access the SlimServer interface from other computers (and Squeezeboxes) on your network. You can access SlimServer using the hostname or ip address of the computer running SlimServer. You may find your IP address of the SlimServer computer using the following:
Click the "Start" button

Click the "Run" menu option

Enter the command CMD and click the "OK" button.

A command window will be opened

Enter the command

ipconfig

and press the enter key.

The IP address can be seen in the screen (in our example 172.30.1.180).
You may access SlimServer from another computer on the local area network using the ip address and the port 9000. In our example we would navigate in the browser to http://172.30.1.180:9000

Alternatively you may use the host name of the computer running SlimServer. The host name can be found by entering the command hostname in the command window:

In our example SlimServer can be accessed from any computer on the local area network by navigating to http://ripcaster-co-uk:9000

Firewalls

If you can access the SlimServer interface on the local machine but cannot access from other computers on your network then it is likely that your firewall is blocking access. For SlimServer you will need to open the following ports on the firewall:

  • Port number 3483 (TCP) - Name: SlimServer Control
  • Port number 3483 (UDP) - Name: SlimServer Discovery
  • Port number 9000 (TCP) - Name: SlimServer Web

Test SlimServer with your Squeezebox or SoftSqueeze

First we need something to listen to so copy/move some music files to your music folder C:\Music.

Once you have copied the music files you will need to get SlimServer to index the files. From the SlimServer web interface click on the "Sever Settings" link. Scroll down on the Settings page to the "Rescan Music Library" section. Select "Clear library and rescan everything" from the drop-down list then click the "Rescan" button. Once the scan has been completed the Music files will be available to your Squeezebox/SoftSqueeze music player.

You can test the SlimServer installation using a hardware Squeezebox or by running the free software music player "SoftSqueeze" on your computer. Assuming you have a computer with sound card and speakers you can install SoftSqueeze by clicking on the "SoftSqueeze" link on the main SlimServer web page (http://:9000/html/softsqueeze/index.html). You will also need a Java runtime (free download from http://java.com). See the seperate installation instructions for SoftSqueeze here (TODO).

Hopefully you are now able to hear your music in beautiful fidelity through your Squeezebox!

Next we will install the AlienBBC plugin to allow listening to BBC live and Listen Again radio streams.

Configure AlienBBC Plugin in SlimServer

Installing AlienBBC on Windows is a simple task thanks to the self-contained installer. Download the file from the home of AlienBBC at http://www.x2systems.com/alienbbc
The current release can be downloaded here.

First we need to download the installation file on the computer running SlimServer:

Save the file to your local hard drive:

Once the download has completed open the file:

The installation wizard will begin. Click "Next"

Click the "I accept the agreement" and click "Next"

Accept the default installation folder and click "Next"

Review the settings and then click "Install"

The installation file will be copied. After a few moments the installation will be completed. Assuming that you have speakers and sound card on your SlimServer computer, ensure that the tick is shown in the "Test that mplayer is working correctly" then click "Finish".

Tesing AlienBBC/mplayer

Testing of AlienBBC will start automatically after the installation routines have completed. You may manually start the AlienBBC/mplayer test by running the following batch file:

"C:\Program Files\SlimServer\server\Bin\MSWin32-x86-multi-thread\Test mplayer.bat"

The test sequence runs in a command window:

Enter the number of the station to test and press the enter key. After a short delay connecting to the stream you will hopefully hear and see output similar to that shown here:

Stop the test by pressing the ESC key.

Exit the test by pressing the x key and then the enter key.

Re-Start SlimServer

SlimServer must be re-started for AlienBBC to be available in the menu structure.
Right Click with the mouse above the SlimServer icon on the taskbar

A menu will be displayed

Click the "Stop SlimServer" menu option.
Wait a minute or so whilst the server stops then right click again on the SlimServer icon on the taskbar. Click on the "Start SlimServer" option.

Starting SlimServer may take a few moments.

Squeezebox or Softsqueeze Test

Now try listening to the BBC from your Squeezebox or SoftSqeeze music client.

Select "Internet Radio", right arrow to "AlienBBC", down arrow to "Radio 4" (for example), right arrow to "Radio 4 Live FM", then press "Play".

The player should display "Connecting...", then "Connecting to Play".

Now sit back and enjoy the listen.

Feedback

Please let us know if you have any comments on these instructions.

Plug

Please consider purchasing Squeezebox or Sonos music players from ripcaster.co.uk. We provide additional support for customers who purchase equipment from us.

Acknowledgments and Links

More information on AlienBBC can be found at http://www.x2systems.com/AlienBBC/ and http://www.mrtickle.org/alienbbc.html.

Slim Devices main website for Squeezebox and Slimserver http://www.slimdevices.com

The very useful Slim Devices discussion forums can be found here http://forums.slimdevices.com/. See the "3rd Party Plugins" forum here.

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