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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 tdawg on 6/13/2007 1:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
I see it that way as well. However, for households that don't have people ready to build their own servers for central storage and data access, this will probably be pretty helpful. Imagine setting something up for your family that ties together one or two PCs and a laptop and allows all of them to access data from a central store, coupled with the ability for you to remotely access the server to fix problems, etc.

I imagine this device will be used for more "simple" server setups than could be achieved by most people here. That and it does seem to include some decent features. I guess we'll just have to see.

RE: I expect...
By crystal clear on 6/13/2007 2:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
If you don't want a hardware server solution from Microsoft, just build your own.

That prompts me tell you that -I converted my PS3 to a Linux server (experimenting on weekends)

"Yellow Dog Linux v5.0 utilizes the IBM 64-bit 3.2 GHz Cell processor to provide a powerful state of the art Linux server for Sony PLAYSTATION¨3."

RE: I expect...
By SmokeRngs on 6/13/2007 5:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
I see it that way as well. However, for households that don't have people ready to build their own servers for central storage and data access, this will probably be pretty helpful.

I agree that this would probably be the main use for this. However, MS and whoever uses this to manufacture pre-made boxes are going to have to sell the idea aggressively. While it may be useful, for people to buy another computer so they can share files between all computers in the house they will need reasons.

I'm not putting down the product, but a new market will basically need to be created to make this viable in the long run. Some people already have a setup similar to this and it may be a hard sell to get them to purchase this as they already have a solution. This is also a small group and won't have the numbers to make something like this a success. I think the target audience for something like this will have to be the average consumer. That group is large enough to make this a profitable endeavor. I think it will take a lot of advertising to get it mainstream, though.

I base most of my comments on pre-built boxes that have this installed for the OS. I don't see this OS being a big seller at the retail level.

This should bring about some interesting hardware solutions. I would assume it won't need much processing power so the hardware requirements other than drive space should be light.

I wonder how long it will take before a box like this becomes an accessory on Dell's website.

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