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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."

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Windows Home Server
By mlmoorex on 7/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Windows Home Server
By omnicronx on 7/17/2007 5:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
No they arnt, does server03 combine hds into one, does server 03 have a client side addon thats easy to use? does server 03 have webaccess to your streamed files and folders? does server 03 have any of the other addons a normal home user and not a business user would use?

I think not.. Ms said it is based on 03, so it should not surprise you it has all the features of it. I have absolutely no use for Server03 but i could see myself using this quite a bit.

RE: Windows Home Server
By mlmoorex on 7/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Windows Home Server
By mlmoorex on 7/17/2007 8:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever used server 2003?

RE: Windows Home Server
By cochy on 7/17/2007 10:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
Uh no you can't. Windows can mount a disk inside a partition but it can most definitely not create or manage storage pools . Something WHS does. This Linux LVM or Solaris ZFS.

RE: Windows Home Server
By cochy on 7/17/2007 10:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
This Linux LVM or Solaris ZFS


Man and I previewed it thrice...need sleep

RE: Windows Home Server
By ninjit on 7/18/2007 1:11:33 AM , Rating: 1
Look up "Dynamic Disks" for windows.

Not exactly equivalent to a storage pool on other OSes, but pretty much it.

RE: Windows Home Server
By JCheng on 7/18/2007 2:43:05 AM , Rating: 2
WHS storage tech is different than dynamic disks. WHS is (optionally) redundant and you can add *and remove* disks at any time. Each individual disk is standard NTFS so even if the WHS system volume dies, in the worst case you can always mount each disk as a normal NTFS drive and get your files back.

RE: Windows Home Server
By ninjit on 7/18/2007 1:11:33 AM , Rating: 4
Look up "Dynamic Disks" for windows.

Not exactly equivalent to a storage pool on other OSes, but pretty much it.

RE: Windows Home Server
By rainwalker on 7/18/2007 4:04:18 AM , Rating: 2
So if it's based on Windows Server 2003, how much of the "power-user" capabilities does it carry over? I'm pretty to new to the server side of things but I've recently been looking into hosting a personal webpage from home. I briefly considered Windows Server 2003 and just downloaded Ubuntu Server Edition but have really been leaning towards using an extra copy of Vista Business to "serve" my small-time needs. I know the central feature of WHS is to serve files around the house and afar but would it have enough capability to host a personal web page?


RE: Windows Home Server
By mindless1 on 7/18/2007 5:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
I would think /noob/ capabilities not power user capabilities. Your present win95 or newer Windows system could already do quite adeqately at serving a personal webpage. A "power user" is going to pick the server app they want for the job.

If someone really needs a home file and webserver, this product has merit, but mostly it's just the same trend MS had shown all along that they just built in what you could already install on some other version of windows to get the job done. It could be see as good or bad depending on your needs, if you needed to buy another OS license (wanting to run windows) anyway, it makes more sense than if you alreay had any of the semi-modern OS which can do the job.

As for the storage capabilities, what's the big deal? Raid is commonplace these days and at worst add-on cards are down around $15.

No Standalone Sales
By deeznuts on 7/17/2007 1:47:46 PM , Rating: 2
It's being reported from other sites that MS will not be selling this standalone but can only be bought with a server from one of MS' partners.

However, when I go read the press release from MS' site, it says no such thing and I can't imagine MS not selling it by itself, imagine how many out of date computers out there that can run this program. It could be a huge seller.

RE: No Standalone Sales
By darkpaw on 7/17/2007 1:52:00 PM , Rating: 2
They were originally only going to sell it to hardware vendors, but the demand for an OEM copy was quite high so it will be sold as software only as well. No retail pack I believe, just a typical MS OEM disc.

RE: No Standalone Sales
By Brandon Hill on 7/17/2007 1:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
Sider declined to provide specific release dates for either the system builder version -- standalone software that will allow users to install WHS on older PCs -- or the various hardware products. But he did confirm that an evaluation edition would be available with the eval timing out after 120 days.

RE: No Standalone Sales
By deeznuts on 7/17/2007 1:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're right. Another poster pointed me to this:

Probably shoddy reporting.

No plans for retail software?
By Spivonious on 7/17/2007 1:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'd love to buy a copy of this to stick on the file server I already have, but it looks like I'll either have to buy some new hardware to go with the OEM copy or buy a whole new machine with it preinstalled.

RE: No plans for retail software?
By tdawg on 7/17/2007 1:54:46 PM , Rating: 2
Although I'm not sure if a hardware purchase is still required to purchase OEM software (at least from recent Newegg experience), you could always just purchase a cheap usb thumb drive at the same time to satisfy a hardware requirement.

Try it if you want
By darkpaw on 7/17/2007 2:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
You can still download RC1 from

They're running a contest too for best add-in. I've played around with a few things, but dev work isn't my field really. Theres already some pretty cool plug-ins available for download though.

By PAPutzback on 7/17/2007 2:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't just a file server. It also acts like a webserver. You can enable remote access then go thru the control panel and it will create a website for you at Thru this website you can access all of your files you have in shares. By default it creates a photo, video, music, public and software share.
The next great thing about it is when you start to run out of space you just add another drive and it adds it to the pool your d: drive just magically gets expanded no raid utilities or disk managment software to mess with.
You can enable folder duplication on specific folders and if you should loose a drive with a share that is protected you still have a copy of the data.

There are a few addins already. One allows you to have specific photo folders avaiable to online users. So granny can login and see all the photos you put in her folder with out going thru flickr or another host. So no limit either on how many photos you want to put up. There is another option that will synch up with flick and post them there if you want.
Then there is the backup tool that backs up every pc on your network that runs the connector software. So every night your entire system is backed up. Dont' worry about all your space going away if you have many pcs. It won't duplicate files. So if you have 3 xp machines then chances are the os and the programs that run on each machine that are the same will only backup once.
Then there is the addin that lets you remotely wake up your home machines and remote desktop in if they are capable. How nice is that. I use it to fire up my box when I need to update money.
I see alot more addins coming down the road, especially with MS having contests for the best addin.
SageTV has already created an addin for streaming TV recording to Sage Clients.

This is the first version. I think once they build some media center control into it then it will really take off.

Give me a few cable card tuners and I'd be all over it.

By wannabemedontu on 7/17/2007 5:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone have an idea what something like this would cost? Maybe a 1 - 2TB setup?

By deeznuts on 7/17/2007 7:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
"MS recommends 64-bit Processor, but not required"

Why does MS recommend a 64-bit proc, when the code is 32 bit? Is it because MS is assuming all consumer 64 bit processors are actually faster (starting with the AMD Hammer) and therefore that, and not the 64 bit capability, will make it run faster?

By mcnabney on 7/20/2007 1:51:06 PM , Rating: 2
I culled this from a PC Magazine article about the new O/S.

Backup functions will be available to all XP users, but remote file access will be limited to Windows XP Professional or Windows Media Center Edition 2005.

So they are crippling the abilities for the millions of MS XP Home users out there. Since this is a server designed for the HOME the requirement of XP Pro is all I need to ignore this product. I was happy with my NAS anyway.

On technet yet?
By OrSin on 7/17/07, Rating: -1
RE: On technet yet?
By Brandon Hill on 7/17/2007 1:49:04 PM , Rating: 5
You might want to read up on Windows Home Server before you dimiss it outright ;)

RE: On technet yet?
By darkpaw on 7/17/2007 1:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
I tested it pretty heavily and have to say I'm really looking forward to getting the release copy. The backup functions alone are worth the price and it does a very nice job of turning an old system into a very nice storage server. Everything but the backup can be done using Linux, but it is considerably more complicated. For the target audience (home power users) this product could be a big hit.

I've been running Windows SBS 2003 for my home server for years and I think I'll be replacing it with this and selling my SBS license since I don't use the exchange or sql server. It does everything needed with better disk management and a terrific built-in backup tool.

RE: On technet yet?
By omnicronx on 7/17/2007 4:01:51 PM , Rating: 3
Ya i tested the release candidate, and i found the features great. as you said the backup utility is just great and i am using it as we speak. Each user can setup their settings differently from their desktop. using the integrated rdp tool was easy and no monitor is required to run whs, which is cool because you can stick your server anywhere as you can tell ms designed it to be used with rdp (you just click on an icon on your desktop and it opens the rdp client to your server automatically)

All in all, if Microsoft adds mce support this would be a slam dunk product because i still have to use vista to run my extender.

RE: On technet yet?
By MonkeyPaw on 7/17/2007 5:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
...and it does a very nice job of turning an old system into a very nice storage server.

Right you are. I ran the release candidate on a P3 1.0ghz with only 512mb RAM. Install took forever, but once you have the system configured, it's very efficient. During backup, I would still manage near 95-98% speed on my 100Mbps home network.

RE: On technet yet?
By VooDooAddict on 7/18/2007 3:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
I've got the RC but I've been too busy with work to try it.

I'm looking forward to placing it on my "old" Dual Xeon box. I just hope I can get the existing raid array drivers to work with it.

By Gul Westfale on 7/17/07, Rating: -1
By darkpaw on 7/17/2007 2:04:40 PM , Rating: 2

Its a file server, it doesn't care what kind of files you put on it. It doesn't play anything, stream anything, or do anything besides manage/backup/replicate files unless you load 3rd party plug-ins.

By Gul Westfale on 7/17/07, Rating: -1
By darkpaw on 7/17/2007 2:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yah, store (not stream) music and photos. Its more like a NAS then an external HDD. It performs replication across multiple drives, will create full backup images of any Windows XP or Vista 32 system on the network (64 bit still wasn't supported last time I downloaded an update), and setups shares automatically (good for the home user crowd).

Its designed to be a smart NAS with capabilities to load 3rd party programs to do things like streaming, but that stuff is totally left up to other developers. Thats why they originally were only going to sell it just to hardware vendors.

By Gul Westfale on 7/17/2007 2:18:07 PM , Rating: 1
thank you for the explanation.

i thought with a name like "media server" it allows you to stream all your music/movies to every PC on your network...

two things i still don't get though:

1. if it is basically NAS then why not buy a simpler (probably cheaper) NAS device instead?

2. why does MS not include some kind of streaming software if streaming is the one thing that would set it apart from NAS devices? and if i can load these streaming apps onto any cheap, used system then why would i need to buy this media server machine?

By PAPutzback on 7/17/2007 2:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I don't understand the purpose of streaming when any extender can just connect to the file.

It is based on Windows 2003 and in the Add/remove components there is the Windows Media encoder. So perhaps someone will make an addin for streaming. Is that for playing over the net. I guess I don't have a need for it. All my MS boxes just point to the share and add the files to their libraries.

By jacarte8 on 7/17/2007 4:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
Wow... out of 100 comments, only 2 or 3 actually knew what they were talking about. Why comment on something you know NOTHING about?

It can be used to sync with an XBox, just like a Home Premium box. It is used for centralized file storage and easy access, in addition to ridiculously easy backups. If you don't understand why you need these things, you probably haven't ever had a hard drive crash/burn on you...

By omnicronx on 7/17/2007 4:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
It can be used to sync with an XBox, just like a Home Premium box

what the hell are you talking about?

By rushfan2006 on 7/17/2007 4:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that whole "DRM" thread I found quite amusing...comment after comment on why you need this product or what it actually does.

Meanwhile I'm thinking to myself "don't these people understand what a SERVER is?". I may be taking thigns for granted a bit because perhaps not everyone on this site is in the IT field -- but geez guys the name itself pretty much explains even if you only know just a hint of what a server is - "Windows Home Server".

By Gul Westfale on 7/17/2007 4:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
well i'm making comments because i don't know exactly what it is, not despite it.
i have been building PCs for 7 years now, and although i am running 3 of them at home right now (on a wireless network) i have no idea why anybody would need a server that does not actually stream any content to the other machines. thus my questions.

i think a server is a machine that serves data to other machines, be it for backup data or movies, or whatever. like this website, i request a page and it sends me the data over the internet to my computer. if i could do this at home but with movies instead of webpages that would be nice, and if MS can make it easy and uncomplicated that would be nicer still; but apparently this machine above does not do that.

so can one of you guys that use this explain what it is for exactly and why on earth you need it? sorry to sound like a dumbass but i really have no clue. wasn't media center already supposed to work as a movie streamer?

By gramboh on 7/17/2007 5:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
The server machine hosts the files.

The client machine connects and plays/"streams" the files. The client machine is responsible for decoding etc. So it is doing what you are asking.

The reason people want this is so that they can access files/media from a central server in their home on various desktop/notebook/media PC's. It's also useful for backup as mentioned in this thread.

I host all my media files on my desktop PC and then use a modified Xbox to stream them to my TV. Similar idea.

By arazok on 7/17/2007 5:56:52 PM , Rating: 5
OK. I see where you're coming from, so I'll attempt to clarify.

You are correct that a Web server delivers web pages to the requestor. Media center will stream a movie to your TV.

Don't view this as a machine that will DO anything. In a sense, it does nothing. It enables other machines to do things with the content stored on it, and at the same time keeps it safe. Vista, XBox etc all do this to an extent, but they aren't as simple to use as this would be.

Imagine these two scenarios (I use Vista as an example, this could apply with XP as well):

1) You have a Vista PC hooked up to your network. ALL of your movies, music, pictures, work files sit on your Vista box. You may use your XBOX to connect to the Vista box to stream (Note the XBOX does the streaming, not Vista) music/video to your TV, or browse pictures from your laptop downstairs. In a sense, Vista IS your home server. Everything is on it, but you are using other computers to access it.

A few problems with this:

a) The Vista box must be on 24/7 to ensure access on demand. Some people, like myself, hate this idea because our main PC's are also our gaming rigs and suck juice with all those video cards etc.

b) Imagine you run out of hard drive space. You add another drive. Those drives are distinct. You now have one full drive, and one empty one. Where do you put your new files? On the second drive. Now they are fragmented, hard to find, and messy.

c) Backups. If a drive fails, that's it. You're done. You either have to have a RAID setup, backup your files to DVD, tape, whatever. Pain in the ass.

d) Accessing your Vista box from a remote location over the internet is nearly impossible unless you're a techie.

2) You have a WHS. ALL of your movies, music, pictures, work files sit on your WHS box. You may use your XBOX to connect to the WHS box to stream (Note the XBOX does the streaming, not WHS) music/video to your TV, or browse pictures from your laptop downstairs. Everything is on it, but you are using other computers to access it.

a) This box will be on 24/7. Not such a big deal because it has no video card, CD/DVD drives, sound card, keyboard, mouse, and only needs a low-end CPU. It will be easier on your hydro bill.

b) Out of hard drive space? Just add another drive. WHS will automatically add it to the pool of available space. At no point to you know, or care, about where the data is among all your HD's.

c) Backups - WHS automatically makes backups and stores two copies on two different drives. If a drive fails, no big deal, it's on another HD. This is what RAID does, but you don't need to even be aware of that.

d) Accessing WHS over the internet should be easy using MS Live. Not sure how this works, but I'll take their word for it.

By Gul Westfale on 7/17/2007 6:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
i see, thanks arazok!

i thought it's the server that does the streaming, and thus the DRM questions.

By PitViper007 on 7/17/2007 8:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
Great explanation. The only thing that I would add is that it does all that in a way that just about anyone could work it. I run a 2k server in my home to do what this does, but admittedly, I'm an IT tech. It's my job so I understand it. Most people wouldn't know what to do with a full fledged server, but have the need to get to their data from the multiple computers that are in many homes now. WHS makes business-like capabilities easily usable to your average home user. That's what I love about it.


By mindless1 on 7/18/2007 5:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well you might be amused but there is a reasonable concern. DRM has the intention of limiting access to media. A file server IS accessing media, but cutting off access at server side instead of client side. Granted it's not the traditional method of interception but who says things don't ever change? I'm not trying to spread paranoia here but finding new ways of limiting use is in our future even if not today.

By omnicronx on 7/17/2007 4:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are a bit confused what an extender does, mce streams the file to your extender, the extender does not download it from the pc to play. The only thing downloaded to the extender in the case of MCE is a small version of the mce shell so that it looks the same on your extender as your pc.

Infact anytime you run an mp3 or mpeg (or avi, wma.. etc.. etc..)off of another computer you are streaming, unless you copy the file to your computer first to play

By TomZ on 7/17/2007 4:45:43 PM , Rating: 1
Infact anytime you run an mp3 or mpeg (or avi, wma.. etc.. etc..)off of another computer you are streaming, unless you copy the file to your computer first to play

No, if you play one of those files off a network share, you are using standard network file protocols, not "streaming" protocols. The application may blur the distinction, because it has the ability to open both, but they are different.

By OrSin on 7/18/2007 9:50:13 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry but the other guy is right. More media extenters the streaming is down from ther PC. They just dont connect to a share and pull it off. Now some devices do just access a share but Xbox and most "extender" use the PC to process the file then strema it to the device. That why transcode works. And that why you needed MCE in the past or Media player 11 now.

My 360 needs an extender.
My AVD box needs an app (forget the name) running on a PC
My Medigate dont need anything but a share.

So you see it depend on what you are doing.

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