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Microsoft moves one step closer to the RTM for Windows Home Server

Microsoft's Windows Home Server is progressing nicely and has achieved Release Candidate stage. Microsoft states that the new build will be available to over 100,000 beta testers along with people who wish to sign up now and test the software.

For those not familiar with Windows Home Server, it is a software application that can be installed on any PC in a home network to allow other networked computers access to files. Users can also have secure web access to files from anywhere in the world with a secure Internet connection.

There will also be hardware products branded as "Powered by Windows Home Server" that simply plug into your home router to provide access to files. Microsoft likes to tout that new internal or external devices added to a Windows Home Server device won't be treated as F:, G:, H:, etc. Instead, total available space will be increased by the size of the hard drive added and divisions between physical hard drives will be transparent to the user.

The first question to spring to many potential users mind is how a Windows Home Server is different from a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Microsoft responds with:

More than just storage, Windows Home Server uniquely provides pre-defined shared folders, such as "Music" or "Photos" making it easier to organize and find your files. Windows Home Server also features simple storage extensibility, and built-in search capabilities... Also, in a Windows Home Server device with two or more hard drives, you can elect to duplicate folders. This prevents you from losing any photos, music, or other files stored in a folder that has "duplication" enabled, if a hard drive fails.

Pricing for Windows Home Server devices will be set by OEMs and will be available in the second half of 2007.

You can head over to the Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows to get an overview of Windows Home Server.

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RE: I expect...
By bkm32 on 6/13/2007 11:44:47 AM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind, MS is responsible for making the PC easily accessible to the public. This means that most people who use a PC don't have to necessarily understand "what's going on", and they like it that way. The PC is now like a hammer--a tool anyone can use.

This new product is no different. In fact, it's good to see MS getting back to their roots--making difficult technology easily accessible. I just hope it has some type of Media Center features like, DVR capability, web TV-tuner capable, video streaming to extenders, even a nice home security and automation functionality (turning on the lights while away on vacation and such).

That's the stuff people really need made easy for their home network, which right now is a small market that someone will have to grow. Apple is trying with their AppleTV, Tivo, even AT&T. This is a new and exciting market that has DSL-like growth potential.

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