Windows Home Server "Digital ArcHound" Add-in - Review

Digital ArcHound is a retriever of information. Once set up it will sniff out any PDF files that are scanned onto your PC, it will sit on guard and wait for your scanner to deliver a PDF file and then display it within its interface for you to catalogue and then archive onto the Window Home […]

Digital ArcHound is a retriever of information. Once set up it will sniff out any PDF files that are scanned onto your PC, it will sit on guard and wait for your scanner to deliver a PDF file and then display it within its interface for you to catalogue and then archive onto the Window Home Server

Glen Hansen and Digital ArcHound got an honorable mention in the Windows Home Server Code2Fame Challenge in Sept 2007 and since then it has been available in beta. Glen and his team have been listening to feedback from the WHS community to refine and bring a stable product to release . 

When the first version of Digital ArcHound appeared, a few comments were made about incorporating this type of tool into the WHS Console.  These centered around using the Console as the main tool that a WHS administrator would use to manage the WHS and PC’s on the network rather than a gateway for applications that would be accessed by everyday users. For the record the Digital ArcHound WHS add-In needs no intervention from day to day users and need only be accessed for backing up/restoring or moving the scanned document archives or entering a license code. 

Digital ArcHound is a little more than just an add-in designed to tweak WHS settings or provide a service on the WHS and bearing this in mind, its installation is a little lengthier than we have so far been used to with add-ins - but to make this easier it uses an installer to launch each part of the process:

In short: 

  1. Download and launch the installer program
  2. Create a shared folder on the WHS via the Console called -“Digital ArcHound” ( I added this stage here otherwise you get half through installing the add-in and have to stop to do this)
  3. Use the Digital ArcHound installer program to automatically place the Add-In within the WHS add-in folder, and then install it via the Console.
  4. From the Digital ArcHound Installer load the Digital ArcHound WHS Client.
  5. Use the Digital ArcHound Installer to download and install the PDF Digitizer.

Along the way, Digital ArcHound asks for the name of your server and then confirms the user name of the current PC you are installing on, as well asking for the current user password.

Now this may appear as a straightforward process, but it does involves a lot of clicking on Next and agreeing to files being stored in default locations as well as agreeing to various licenses. The provided installation guide may appear rather lengthy but is broken down into stages and is comprehensive, though it would benefit from a couple of screenshots along the way to make it more user friendly for the less technical user that WHS is trying to get on board.

Digital ArcHound’s licensing system is very smooth and includes a confirmation e-mail and the licensing code for future reference. 

Now that Digital ArcHound is installed let’s get to work scanning and filing! 

Digital ArcHound works by watching certain defined locations for PDF files -  these locations are My Documents and the Desktop, or if your scanner scans to a defined folder Digital ArcHound can watch that folder too. 

Whenever a PDF file is scanned into or placed within these areas Digital ArcHound will recognize it, and display it within the Digital ArcHound WHS Client.

The next part of the filing process is to describe the document and place it within various predefined or user defined categories and sub-categories e.g. Household Bills then Credit card bills or Vet bills. Once this is done within the Digital ArcHound settings you can choose files to be copied or moved to the WHS for archiving.