Using iTunes on a Server without a Sound card

In earlier versions of iTunes, iTunes would steadfastly refuse to run on systems that did not have a sound card installed.  Kind of makes sense - why would you want to run iTunes on a computer that didn't have a sound card?

Well, there are two great reasons that I can think of - AirPlay and "Home Sharing".

With AirPlay, you don't need to use the speakers in your computer.  Instead you can stream your iTunes music/media to any other AirPlay enabled device in the house.  Therefore if you are using your server-based iTunes installation to stream to other AirPlay speakers, there's no need to have a sound card in your computer.

Secondly - "Home Sharing" lets you maintain one single master iTunes library which you can then access from your other iTunes / iOS devices.  Again, if iTunes is acting as a media server rather than a media play, there is no need to have a sound card installed.

The current version of iTunes installs ok on a Windows machine without a sound card, however, when you start it up you will get a message box saying the following:

iTunes has detected a problem with your audio configuration.  Audio/Video playback may not operate properly.

If you have tried to put together a script, maybe using srvany.exe, to run iTunes as a service, this will stop you dead in your tracks as iTunes won't initiate properly until this message box has been dismissed.

iHomeServer for iTunes solves this problem.  iHomeServer runs iTunes as a service and monitors all the iTunes windows in the background.  Whenever it detects a message box such as the one above, it will automatically try to handle it with the most appropriate action.  This works for audio/video problems, screen resolution warnings, iPod service issues, etc.  

iHomeServer does way more than just that though - it's a complete solution for running iTunes on a server.  Optimised for Windows Home Server v1 & 2011 (but compatible with most other Windows platforms), it brings iTunes library and playlist management directly to your WHS Console!  Find out more about iHomeServer here.

Comments (4) -

9/21/2011 5:28:46 PM #


I love this product. It could not be a more perfect fit when combined with a clean Windows install as a virtual machine. Good luck with compatibility issues in upcoming versions of iTunes -- I'm counting on you to overcome!

Jesse United States | Reply

9/23/2011 5:03:04 PM #


Hey Jesse,

Thanks for the feedback - glad you like the app!  We are continually testing iHomeServer with each new version of iTunes - the main problem we have had is Apple putting modal dialog boxes in their code before opening (eg no sound card, display resolution too low, new version of iTunes available), but iHomeServer auto-detects these and tries to cancel them if they appear.  Of course, just drop us a note to [email protected] if you find any incompatibility issues that we haven't gotten around!


Ed United Kingdom | Reply

7/16/2012 7:34:07 AM #

Techie Now

Have you guys already pull this one out. I can't wait to set this up on a server also. Love itunes, it works great, specially when you have apple product and messing around with some setup, like the home sharing option, and for this to be installed on a server, it would be great, so accessing application anytime would be possible.

Techie Now United States | Reply

7/16/2012 8:14:16 AM #


iHomeServer was released last year and we have been incrementally adding features ever since!

The latest version is available from

bizmodeller United Kingdom | Reply

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