HP MediaSmart Server  (Source: Hewlett-Packard)
Microsoft sets fall retail launch date for Windows Home Server

Microsoft's Windows Home Service has been released to manufacturing (RTM). The announcement came roughly one month after Microsoft delivered a Release Candidate version of the softwareto testers.

Over 100,000 people tested the "coolest version of Windows ever" according to Windows Home Server General Manager Charlie Kindel.

Windows Home Server can be used on any home network and can be used to store music and photos, provide automated network backups for connected PCs and provide secure remote access from anywhere in the world.

Windows Home Server is based on Windows Server 2003 and will be available as a standalone OEM software package to be installed on compatible PCs (Microsoft recommends using a 64-bit enabled processor, but it is not required) or as an all-in-one hardware solution.

In the latter case, hardware solutions such as the HP MediaSmart Server have already been revealed to the public and will ship within the coming months. Other launch partners include Fujitsu-Siemens, Gateway, Iomega LaCie and Medion.

"It started with a vision that an always available device on the home network was an essential ingredient of a Microsoft platform for the home," said Kindel. "At first there was only one of us, then three, then five... We put together a plan for a plan and executed. The result was an ambitious, yet pragmatic product plan that would deliver real value to consumers."

Microsoft has cited "early fall, late September and early October" for the retail launch of Windows Home Server-based hardware. HP's MediaSmart Server will lead the charge with the others following in lockstep.

"We'll keep moving forward," said Windows Home Server Senior Product Manager Joel Sider. "There will certainly be future versions of WHS."

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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