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MinimServer update 97 has been released

Running MinimServer

Table of contents

Starting MinimServer
MinimServer and MinimWatch
Online updates
Automatic updates
Package management
Web browser status page
MinimServer logging
ohNet debug logging
Reading audio files
Multiple MinimServer instances

» User guide main contents

Starting MinimServer

If you haven't already installed the MinimServer download package on the computer or NAS that you want to use to run MinimServer, see the Installing page for details of how to do this.

To start MinimServer on Windows, select the Start Menu item for MinimServer. Alternatively, you can double-click the MinimServer desktop icon if you chose to create this during MinimServer installation.

To start MinimServer on Mac OS X, open the MinimServer application.

To start MinimServer on Linux, please refer to the Starting and stopping MinimServer on Linux section.

MinimServer and MinimWatch

The MinimServer application runs the media server and provides a user interface on the same computer for monitoring and control. The optional MinimWatch application enables you to monitor and control MinimServer from a different computer on your local network, using a similar interface to what you'd see if running MinimServer locally. This "remote control" capability is very useful if the computer running MinimServer is in another part of the house or if MinimServer is running on a NAS or as a background process with no user interface. See the Monitoring and control page for details of how to monitor and control MinimServer.

Online updates

From 0.8.1 onwards, MinimServer and MinimWatch can install online updates without needing to do a download and reinstall. When a new update becomes available, you'll see a pop-up dialog informing you about the update and asking if you want to install it. You can install the update from this dialog or you can ask to be reminded again later with another prompt. The reminder interval is 1 day by default, and this can be increased to a maximum of 30 days by setting the .updateReminder property. At any time, you can use the About dialog to check whether any online updates are available. After installing an online update, you need to select Relaunch from the update dialog for the update to become active.

Automatic updates

From 0.8.3 onwards, MinimServer and MinimWatch can automatically check for and installs the latest online update if it isn't already installed. This requires the computer or NAS running MinimServer or MinimWatch to be connected to the internet and the .autoUpdate property to be set to true (the default value).

The automatic update check is done each time MinimServer or MinimWatch is launched or relaunched. If a later update is found, the installer downloads and installs the update and relaunches MinimServer.

If you'd prefer to be prompted to install updates manually as described in the Online updates section, you can set the .autoUpdate property to false.

Package management

From 0.8.1 onwards, MinimServer and MinimWatch have a package management system for installing and removing packages that extend the functionality of the original download. To install and remove packages, select the Packages tab of the Properties dialog. The Packages tab also shows you what packages you currently have installed and what packages are available for installation. After installing or removing a package, you need to select Relaunch from the Packages tab for the change to become effective.

At present, the only package that is available is MinimStreamer. See the MinimStreamer website for details of the additional functionality that MinimStreamer provides.

Important: Before installing MinimStreamer, you should make sure MinimServer is updated to the latest level. To check this, select 'About' from the minim icon and click 'Show updates'. After applying any updates, relaunch MinimServer.

If MinimStreamer isn't shown as an available package, this probably means you don't have the latest MinimServer update installed. After you have installed this update, you should be able to see and install the MinimStreamer package.

The package management system is also used for online updates. This means that any online updates that are available and not yet installed are shown on the Packages tab as available packages and can be installed in the same way as other packages.

Each package contains one or more modules. You can view a list of installed modules by selecting the Modules tag of the Properties dialog. This information can be useful for problem determination.

Web browser status page

While MinimServer is running, you can access a web browser status page hosted by MinimServer. From this status page, you can check whether MinimServer is running, set an initial content directory, and initiate a rescan of your library. To access the status page from a web browser, enter
 n.n.n.n:9790
in the browser address bar, where n.n.n.n is the IP address of the computer or NAS running MinimServer. If you have changed the http.port property to some other value, use that value instead of 9790.

MinimServer logging

MinimServer writes logging messages to a log file. This can be useful for status monitoring and problem determination. By default, the log file is named minimserver.log and is located in the MinimServer data directory (for QNAP installations, the default location is /share/Public). The name and location of the log file can be changed using the .logFile property as described on the MinimServer properties page.

Accessing the contents of the log file directly isn't always convenient, so MinimServer and MinimWatch provide a 'Show log' selection from the minim icon. This selection displays a log window which contains the most recent log messages, updated in real time as MinimServer runs. You can save the current contents of the log window by pressing the 'Save as' button.

You can control how much information is displayed in the log window by changing the logging level in the drop-down selection in the log window. The following logging levels are available:

Info Displays informational, warning and error messages. This is the default level and is recommended for normal use.
Verbose Displays the same messages as Info, as well as more detailed information about what MinimServer is doing. For example, you'll see a list of directories that MinimServer is scanning during startup.
Debug Displays the same messages as Verbose, as well as debugging information about the internal workings of MinimServer. This setting is used for problem determination and should be changed back to Info or Verbose when the necessary problem determination information has been obtained.
Trace Displays the same messages as Debug, as well as detailed tracing information about the internal workings of MinimServer. This setting is used for certain problem determination scenarios and should be changed back to Info or Verbose when the necessary problem determination information has been obtained.

If you are using the console interface, log messages can only be viewed by looking at the log file. You can change the logging level by setting the the .logLevel property (see the MinimServer properties page) using the console interface. When using the console interface, the logging level values are info, verbose, debug and trace (entered as all lower case).

You can use the .logPrefix property (see the MinimServer properties page) to specify an optional prefix for all log messages. The prefix can be any string, or it can be one of the following special values:

time The current time in HH:mm:ss format (example: 13:34:56)
dateTime The current date and time in EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss format (example: Mon Apr 08 13:34:56)
milliTime The current time in HH:mm:ss.SSS format (example: 13:34:56.789)
thread The current thread ID (example: Thread-21:)
milliThread  The combination of milliTime and thread (example: 13:34:56.789 Thread-21:)

The milliThread special value is used for all Debug and Trace messages.

For most MinimServer crashes, you should get a separate crash log file in the same directory as the log file. The name of this file is minimserver-crash-yyyymmdd-hhmmss.log, where yyyymmdd-hhmmss is the date and time of the crash. The contents of this file are useful for finding the cause of the crash and fixing the problem.

ohNet debug logging

Setting the MinimServer logging level to Debug or Trace also has the effect of enabling ohNet debug logging. ohNet debug log messages are written to the MinimServer log file and don't appear in the log window.

The amount of ohNet debug logging is controlled by the value of the ohnet.debug property. The default level (specified as the value Default) produces a small amount of ohNet logging information. For more detailed ohNet logging, the value All-Timer can be used. The value All is not recommended because of the huge number of ohNet timer messages that it produces. You can use the value None to disable all ohNet debug logging.

Reading audio files

When you start MinimServer, it looks for audio files in the directories (folders) specified by the contentDir property and all subdirectories (subfolders) of these directories. When MinimServer finds an audio file, it reads the audio properties and any tag data that the file contains.

The contentDir property can be set to a single content directory or multiple content directories. You might need to use multiple content directories if your music collection is partly on a local disk and partly on a network disk, or if you want to structure your collection in a way that allows you to selectively include or exclude some files from the browse tree.

To specify multiple content directories in the properties dialog, use the '+' button to add an entry field and the '-' button to remove an entry field. You can have up to eight entry fields. Any blank entry fields are ignored.

In the console interface, you can specify multiple directories (up to eight) by using the prop command with curly braces. For example, you can enter:
 prop contentDir={directory1}{directory2}

If you have a large number of audio files, it can take quite a long time for MinimServer to find and read them all. To reduce the time taken to do this, MinimServer maintains a cache for the audio file data that it needs. This means that it takes longer to start MinimServer for the first time after installation because it's reading all your audio files and creating the cache. When MinimServer is next started, it uses cached data instead of re-reading the audio files, so startup will be much quicker. MinimServer automatically updates the cache when any audio files are added, deleted or changed.

If the startupScan property is set to true (the default), MinimServer does a complete library scan when it is started. This scan uses MinimServer's library cache to avoid the overhead of reading audio files that haven't changed since the last scan.

If the startupScan property is set to false, MinimSever reads the library data from its cache and doesn't scan the library files to check whether any files have changed since the cache was written. This reduces startup time but might omit some recent additions or changes to library files.

If the startupScan property is set to full, MinimServer does a complete library scan when it is started and ignores any cached library data. This can be useful if the cache data is suspected to be inaccurate for any reason. With this setting, the cache data is also ignored when doing a Rescan (see the Controlling MinimServer using the minim icon section).

Multiple MinimServer instances

You can run multiple instances of MinimServer on your local network. To help you identify these different instances, you can use the displayName property to specify a unique name for each instance. By default, MinimServer uses a display name of the form
 MinimServer[<hostName>]
where <hostName> is the network host name of the computer on which MinimServer is running.

The display name for the server is displayed by UPnP control points. It's also used by MinimWatch to identify different running MinimServer instances.