Plex is a great media server. The only thing that really is a disappointment, is that Plex Media Server for Windows isn’t a real server.
Unlike the variant on a Synology Diskstation, it won’t run if you don’t log on your computer. When you log out, Plex will be shut down.
This is a guide to let Plex run as a real server /services.
Make a (domain or local) user account on the computer you’re using as a server. Log in with that user.
Download Plex Media Server from the official site http://www.plexapp.com/desktop/
Install Plex with the default settings. Finish the installation and configure Plex. The settings are saved in the user profile.
Settings are stored in [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Plex, Inc.\Plex Media Server] and in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Plex Media Server.
Start regedit.exe and remove the following registry key to make sure Plex doesn’t start when you log on.
“Plex Media Server”=”\”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Plex\\Plex Media Server\\Plex Media Server.exe\””
Stop Plex through the task manager.
Download the Windows 2003 resource tools and install them. Just ignore any warnings about compatibility. I’ve installed it on a Windows 2012R2 server and everything works fine. The part we need is srvany.exe. Almost everything can run as a service with this. As Windows 2003 is support is discontinued in April 2014, don’t wait too long.
You can download them here. Install them with the default settings.
There are a few command to install everything as a service but I’ll make it easy for you. Just save the following and save it as a .reg file. Import the file to finish. I’m assuming you’ve used the default paths, like I’ve mentioned earlier, or else you’ve have to change them.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
"AppDirectory"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Plex Media Server"
"Application"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\plex\\Plex Media Server\\Plex Media Server.exe"
Reboot your server.
Log on again and start services.msc. Find the service called Plex and change the properties. Plex doesn’t run as the Local System Account as it needs a profile to save its settings in. Go to the Tab “Log on”.
Press OK and restart the service. You can now manage Plex by going to http://localhost:32400/web/index.html in your Browser. Change localhost with your server/computers ip if your running it remotely.
If you’d like to update the Plex software, go to the command prompt and type: net stop plex. Install the software and reboot your server / pc. Plex will be updated.