Thursday, March 1, 2007

Testing Windows Home Server

I was fortunate enough to be invited to beta test Windows Home server.  This is the new Microsoft product that looks to provide centralized storage and backup for the ever-growing number of home networks.  I have been too busy to do much with it so far but here's what I can tell you so far.

  • The connector will complain that it can't install on Vista x64.  To fix this, simply move the .DAT file that is on the connector cd to your desktop and change it's extension to .MSI.  Then, open an elevated command prompt and run the MSI file.  It will install without trouble.  I did notice some oddity about shared folders so I'm not guaranteeing that it works perfectly but so far it's been ok here.
  • At first it seems like a lot of noise about nothing when you see the shared folders appear on your desktop.  I was thinking "crap, I can do that with XP".  Well, not so fast.  These shared folders support a technology called Folder Duplication.  This is like software RAID only much easier to setup.  As you copy or modify files in that shared folder, WHS will make sure that a copy of you file exists on other physical drives in the computer.  That way, if one disk goes down, you can just stick in a new disk and WHS will suck it into the disk pool.  Not rocket surgery (thanks Jim!) but nice.
  • It's a stripped down build using the Windows Server 2003 code base.  Things like the control panel are missing but you can install hard drives that are not part of the disk pool and you can install applications (though there is some concern that they might interfere with WHS).  I installed a couple of printers, one of them a multi-function OfficeJet.  I then proceeded to use the scanner wizard to scan in some photos.
  • IIS is present so you can install a web site to view your photos or video while away from home.  I really would like to see Microsoft include a default web site with gallery functionality with the final product.


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  2. Windows Home Server, code-named Quattro, is a home server operating system from Microsoft. Announced on 7 January 2007, at the Consumer Electronics Show by Bill Gates, Windows Home Server is intended to be a solution for homes with multiple connected PCs to offer file sharing, automated backups, and remote access.

  3. Like many of you enthusiasts out there, I’ve had the chance to play around with the Windows 7 Beta over the past few weeks. While I’ve certainly been impressed with its stability, ease of use and overall ‘smooth’ operation, what really struck home its value to me as a media fanatic – and relevance to Home Server - was reading a recent post on Gizmodo on the ‘Play To’ feature found in the upcoming operating system.

  4. Windows Home Server is a product from Microsoft, introduced at CES this past January, scheduled to be released around the holiday season of 2007. WHS is designed to be a “headless” network appliance, meaning there will be no monitor, mouse, and keyboard attached to the system.

  5. retro modern furnitureFebruary 12, 2009 at 6:39 AM

    Either Microsoft is always severely understaffed or developers can’t stick around for more than one release cycle. Nevertheless the coolest and most under-appreciated product from Microsoft - Windows Home Server is looking for a software development engineer to work on a couple interesting features for the next major release. And there’s nothing better that recruits the brightest and the best than a job posting that teases like this one posted today.


  6. Windows Home Server is part of a long-term vision by Microsoft to create a new platform for the home. Launched in 2007, Windows Home Server helps families and home-based businesses with multiple computers to organize, share, and automatically back up photos, videos, music, and other important documents. There have been recorded sales of Windows Home Server in over 50 countries. With over 130,000 registered Microsoft Connect users, there is a strong and vibrant community of enthusiasts helping to improve Windows Home Server software.

  7. Microsoft is looking for Windows Home Server guinea pigs to test a public beta of a patch to a major corruption bug that has blighted the product since late last year.

  8. Los Angeles lawyersFebruary 16, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Windows Home Server, known by the code-name Quattro, is designed to enable families with multiple PCs connect their home computers, digital devices and printers so they can easily store and access their digital media and documents. HP has announced the first Windows Home Server-based product, dubbing it: MediaSmart Server. Those interested in joining the beta test can apply on Microsoft Connect. A new Windows Home Server blog has also been created to supply more information.

  9. The idea is to make network-attached storage easy and fun, providing means to organize content automagically and present it either as a plain-jane drive or with a sexy web-based front end. At the backend, you'll be able to plug in drives without affecting how the clients "see" it, allowing multiple partitions to appear as a single share, and so on.

  10. Following the unveiling of Windows Home Server at CES, on Monday Microsoft announced that the public will be offered a chance to try it out.

    Microsoft announced that the company is opening its Beta 2 of Microsoft Windows Home Server to the public to beta test. Prospective testers can register at this Microsoft site, and discuss their experiences with Microsoft experts at the beta forums.

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