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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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I am using WHS and love it
By operaghost on 6/13/2007 3:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
I have been using WHS since the beta started and I love it. I have anywhere from 3-5 computers in my house on a given day.

The biggest use is the automated backup. Every day each of my PCs gets automatically backed up to the WHS box and the Shadow Copy keeps the size of these backups very small. Previously I used Ghost for all backups. This is much simpler.

I also use it as a media server. So I keep a ton of video and audio files on it that I can access from any PC or my Xbox360.

The remote access feature is nice too. While on vacation I was able to login and grab some files that I wanted. This isn't usually a big need for me.

Adding a new hard drive or replacing a drive is a breeze. There are no drive letters and all of the data space is pooled. I had a hard drive fail (Iknew it was bad, but risked it anyway) and all I had to do was tell WHS to disconnect (or unmount, I forget the wording) that drive. It took a few moments make sure all data was duplicated and then removed it from the pool. I pulled the drive out and replaced it with another larger drive and told WHS to add it. Again after a moment it formatted and made the drive available and I had more space. Very very easy.

All in all, there really isn't anything new in the pieces. Previously I could share media using WMP and backup using Ghost. But the sum of these pieces is impressive. I just hope the price isn't ridiculous.

The install of the Beta was a bit picky, hopefully this RC is better.




"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer











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