AT&T’s recent incompetence regarding my DSL connection made me appreciate some things that I had begun to take for granted – like being able to IM my wife in another room.
Now that I am back on-line I decided to setup my own local Instant Messaging server on my Windows Home Server (WHS).
Let’s start by downloading Openfire.
On the Openfire download page click the Windows button and then download the .exe file that includes Java JRE. At the time of writing the current version of Openfire is 3.6.4.
Copy the file to your WHS and establish a remote connection to it , then run the Openfire executable.
Select a language for installation and then click OK.
Click Next and then accept the License Agreement and click Next again.
Click Next and change the install location to D:\Program Files\Openfire. Click Next.
Click Finish to run Openfire.
Click Unblock on the Windows Security Alert.
If you try to configure Openfire using Internet Explorer on your WHS it will not work.
I accessed the Openfire web-based setup using Firefox on one of my WHS clients with the IP address of my WHS using port 9090 as follows: http:\\192.168.0.2:9090. Simply replace this IP address with the IP address of your own WHS.
On setup screen select a language and click Continue.
The default Server Settings for Domain and Console ports should be fine so just click Continue again.
Assuming that you do not have a MySQL database already running on your WHS click the Embedded Database radio button and then click Continue.
For the Profile Settings leave default selected and click Continue.
Enter an email address and password for the Administrator Account – you do not have to use a real email address if you do not want to.
Setup is now complete and we should be able to log in to the Admin Console.
I found that I needed to stop and start Openfire on my WHS before I could login successfully. Note that the user-name to login with is admin.
Adding new users is very simple – just click Users/Groups and then Create New User. I created a user called ‘mike’.
It is advisable to run Openfire as a service on WHS (so that Openfire will start automatically if WHS is rebooted):
Run NTServiceInstaller and configure as below (the Executable path is D:\Program Files\openfire\bin\openfire.exe):
Click Start then Run and type services.msc and then click OK.
Start the Openfire service.
The first client that I tried was Gajim but I did not get on very well with it – it gave me an error message every time I quit it.
The client that I tried after that was Psi. Connecting Psi to my WHS Openfire server was straightforward as Psi asks you if you want to use an existing account when it runs for the first time. On the Account tab of the Psi account setup I entered my Jabber ID: firstname.lastname@example.org (my Openfire user-name @ my WHS IP address) and the password for that account.
Under the Connection tab I checked the Manually Specify Server Host/Port checkbox and entered my WHS IP address. I left the port at its default setting.
I then setup Psi for my wife and authorized her account in my Psi client so that we could chat to each other. My only disappointment with Psi was that I had to change settings so that chat windows automatically popped up on the screen.
It would be nice if chat (amongst many other things) were included in WHS – but at least it can be achieved without too much effort …