Turning Any PC Into NVR For Video Surveillance System Guide! Showcase & Setup

Turning Any PC Into NVR For Video Surveillance System Guide! Showcase
& Set-up – Setting Up Server for Video Surveillance on PC

The title of thsi material accurately displays the contents – our goal is to create a full-featured standalone Network Video Recorder out of a computer. Laptop, in my case, into the NVR basically, which is quite convenient, to be fair, if you have a stationary computer in home or on the site operating 24/7 , and this is the way that allows you to replace the Video Recorder with your PC. It is a confirmed and full-featured option. This is more about what works better with you, and we’re going through the whole process from a scratch, so you can see it and make it work for you. Pipl Systems Store, where you can get all that you might need for your video surveillance system, including cameras, video recorders and the storage for them.


Initially, you have kind of a fork:

  • You already have a hard drive in you PС with some empty space that you can allocate for the videos storage purpose;
  • If you don’t have one – that’s the 2nd way – purchase an external hard drive connected via USB, or the internal HDD. And consider selecting the hard drive Designed for the video surveillance system – that will be your best option. Like Western Digital Purple.

With options number 2 and 3 you can skip the next part and go straight to the Storage Server Setup,  because your drives are empty and ready to go, but for the #1 case – we need to prepare the HDD for further operations, and there’s nothing difficults about that.


Option #1: Preparing Existing HDD

Alright, we need to divide the hard drive into 2 independent sections – the 1st one goes for all common file types: the software, multimedia, OS and etc., and everything you normally store on your computer. The 2nd section will go exclusively for video surveillance. Why are we doing it like this – when we set up the video recording from the cameras onto the HDD – the system reserves all the available free space for its needs, for the videos, but we want our files to remain untouched. To the point.

By analogy – I have a 2TB hard drive under F letter and I have some files on it. These are 15 GB there, one of my project’ files, and I don’t want them to be removed. So that’s what I do: I go to file explorer, locate “My Computer” → right mouse click on it and “Manage.”. Then I go to “Storage” → “Disk Management” → locating my F drive. It’s 1800 GB., and now I want to split them into 2 volumes, the 2nd of which I will assign for the video surveillance.

Right click on it → “Shrink Volume”. Now we are dealing with the size of new drives, that is – to allocate the space between them. The number on top is the total available space, and I want to get exactly 2 disks of the same size, so I divide 1 907 726 by 2 and getting the 953863.

I enter the output number there in the field → press “compress” → we’re done here. We have separated exactly the half of drive and now we need to turn this section on. Right mouse click and “Create a new volume”. Size – nominal, not modifying, the same it was. We assign it a letter and now “Format” – either way without formatting it just won’t work, these are the rules → wait a bit and done. Now “My computer” to check, and on the output we have 2 separate drives, made out of 1 solid, where I have my files left on the first main one, and the 2nd one is empty. And from this point we can safely use it as a separate drive for the video surveillance files storage, and let’s get to that part.


Further On – Creating Server

From this point you have a vacant hard drive in your computer, that you can allocate for the videos recording from your CCTV system. For Hikvision it will look like this: we need 2 tools – the main one for managing the entire system, IVMS-4200, and the most important – a Storage Server, namely the tool we use to arrange a server on the computer. It is installed either as the additional item when you install IVMS software, or can downloaded separately. So, first of all, we launch the Storage Server on a PC. Right after you downloaded and installed it – the only thing it will ask you to do is to activate it, which is just to come up with a password, and that’s it – it will start instantly and will be ready to work, nothing else needs to be done.

The server is running now and I launch the IVMS → go to the “Device Management” tab. Here I hve a camera that I use for all my performances. And now we need to add the server we have created a step back to the list of our devices. Click “Online Device” and get a list of online devices → locating “Storage Server” → checking the box left to it and pressing “add” → name it whatever you want → the standard username is “admin”, the password is that one that you created a minute ago when were activating it. Now the device is online and can be found in the top list.

Click on the cog icon and you’ll be directed to server’s settings → go to storage item → and here our very 2 drives appear, which we have made from the whole one, and created in the previous stage. In my case I have drive “E” completely empty and ready to go. I put a tick left to it and pressing “format”. Trust me It won’t work if you skip this step, because what is happening now – the server reserves all free disk space for itself. These are the rules.

Then it will ask if you want it to restart, and of course we agree. Now go back to the server and you will see that the status changed to “normal” if done right. Put a tick left to it and “Save”. That’s it. Now we literally have a video recorder on our computer, and all that’s left to do is to enable the recording itself.

To do this – go to “Storage Schedule” item down in the “Device Management” section, and select the camera you need. For me it’s DS-2CD2423G0. Open its recording settings, press on it, and the item in the middle – open it and select the Storage Server, and the next button is the recording schedule. Select the recording profile, simply set-up the recording template you need, I am choosing non-stop continuous recording, and for me all hours and all days are getting filled with blue color, meaning a continuous type of recording. OK, save, and that’s it for settings.

Now let’s check if we did everything correct – go the Remote Playback tab in the IVMS, select the camera, and you will be able to see the recorded video archive, that started recording like a minute ago, just when we turned it on. There you will be able to see recorded timeline. In fact – this is it, but there’s a thing I recommend to do, it’s not necessary, but still I advise you to – go to settings of remote playback and select to “show only recording from the server” and save. Just to be sure that there is no any confusions.


I’m confident it’s a thing. Even if you have just a home video surveillance system. You have a stationary computer and you need just a simple video recording. And you don’t even need to purchase the NVR anymore. For the pros though, this is, of course, just a quick guide to create a server with storage for video surveillance on a PC with no any advanced functionality. And nevertheless, there are many applications for such a scheme. And if you don’t want to deal with all this stuff – in our Pipl Systems Store we will assemble a perfect video surveillance system for you with cameras, video recorder and storage and etc.

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