Windows Home Server release candidate rolls out

Six months ago, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced Windows Home Server—an OS whose purpose is to bring functionality like automated backups, centralized storage, and online file sharing to home users who own and use multiple PCs. The folks at Redmond have now finished work on the first release candidate build of the upcoming operating system, and the fruit of their labor is available to both existing beta testers and new sign-ups. The former will receive an email with instructions on how to get the latest build, while others can register for the release candidate by completing a survey accessible through this page.

The final version of Windows Home Server is expected to roll out some time in the second half of this year. Pre-built home server systems based on the operating system have already been announced by HP, Gateway, and LaCie, but other system vendors may yet hop on the Windows Home Server bandwagon before the OS’s release.

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    • FroBozz_Inc
    • 14 years ago

    I signed up for the beta. Sounds interesting.

    • sirdigalot
    • 14 years ago

    sounds like a poor mans SMS

      • Norphy
      • 14 years ago

      Assuming you’re talking about MS Systems Management Server, it isn’t really.

      SMS is a tool primarily for system asset management, software deployment and patch management. WHS is geared more towards central storage, backup and remote access.

    • Spleen
    • 14 years ago

    Let me preface this by saying that I am currently using a Debian Sarge installation for my personal storage system at home. I love it and have no problems with it. I am also in the beta group for Windows Home Server (WHS) and have been, so far, impressed.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my take on things:

    WHS is aimed at the average American family with 2.6 kids and a dog. You don’t even have to know what a server is to set it up. It is simple and straight-forward.

    You can add discs to it of any size or type, and you just wind up with more free space in your storage pool.

    It uses SIS (Single Instance Storage) to save space. Multiple copies of the same file are only saved once, other copies are instead “pointers” to the single file.

    Full system backups of all PCs in the home are automated. A simple boot CD and the WHS is all that’s required to restore a machine to it’s previous state.

    Multiple layers of redundancy can be added to any (or all) folders so that their contents are automatically distributed across multiple drives. That way, if a drive fails, your data is safe.

    There’s lots of other things that add up to an impressive package, but these are my personal favorites and what is driving me to think about replacing my Debian box once WHS is released.

    I’m sure I’ll get my fair share of knocks for these opinions, but I must admit, I think M$ has finally got something right. They truly appear to have listened to what the users want/need.

      • Bevill
      • 14 years ago

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. One thing also worth noting is that it works flawlessly with XP Home which can be quite the pain of networking. I also used PCLOS for my server but after using the CTP there’s no question which one I’ll be using in the future. The bonus is that I don’t have to worry about my wifes system getting backed up and it took her 30 seconds to show her how to use Term Services to shut the box down.

      • Generic
      • 14 years ago

      Probably a stupid question, but…

      Does WHS offer a “Previous Versions” option for files?

      At work our network is set up such that each file gets backed up nightly, and on top of what the IT folks can do, drones such as myself can revert any file we might overwrite by accident to the version backed up the night before.

      I assume this is Windows Server ’03 at work, but it’d be the bee’s knees if WHS had a similar option.

        • Severus
        • 14 years ago

        You’re describing Volume Shadow Copy, which is built in to Server 2003, Vista and I’m about 99.99% sure is also built into WHS.

        • Spleen
        • 14 years ago

        not a stupid question at all. Yes, WHS does support that feature (Volume Shadow Copy).

        A nice Wiki about WHs is available here: §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Home_Server<]§

    • smilingcrow
    • 14 years ago

    Come on geeks, I mean guys, not everyone wants to take the time to get to know Linux just to set up a home server. I personally think life is too short to bother, so this is another option for people that think likewise. As for the question of stability, this isn’t meant to be mission critical, it’s just a home server; relax.

      • Corrado
      • 14 years ago

      Theres nothing to learn to install debian and make it work. You install a base debian, and apt-get smb, and apt-get webmin and go from there.

        • smilingcrow
        • 14 years ago

        “You install a base debian, and apt-get smb, and apt-get webmin and go from there.”

        Exactly my point; what is apt-get webmin and apt-get smb?
        I know how to write Windows applications but I have no idea how to do what you suggest. Imagine what Joe Public will make of it. A lot of you Linux people are too far removed from the real world to understand usability issues.

          • Anomymous Gerbil
          • 14 years ago

          Hear hear.

        • LoneWolf15
        • 14 years ago

        Oh, and then it just auto-backs up all the systems on your network, and automagically grows RAID arrays when you add drives with no complex steps, right?

        Um, no. I think there’s a bit more to the setup with Debian than that. And Windows Home Server is set up to do quite a few things, with a rather short set of easy steps. Nothing against Debian, but once you’ve installed a copy of WHS next to a Debian box, look at what WHS can do, then document what it would take to do the same things on Debian, and then compare in ease-of-use, and see who wins.

    • Bluekkis
    • 14 years ago

    <opinion>
    No sane people use windows in a server.
    </opinion>

    Besides who would even pay for server OS for home usage with all the Linux and BSD distros out there, not to mention quickly emerging OpenSolaris based distros. Hell even Solaris 10 is free to download and use if you want real corporate level unix system.

      • Severus
      • 14 years ago

      “No sane people use Windows in a server”.

      You are aware that there’s probably no more than 1-2% of all companies who have an IT infrastructure on such a scale that they require a dedicated server who are /not/ using Windows servers? Like it or now, Windows Server makes the IT world go round.

      A better troll would have been “No sane person puts Windows in their DMZ” which is an old IT adage which is also no longer true 😛

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 14 years ago

        I think it’s more accurate to say that most medium-large companies have both. Where I worked over the summer, the AD and exchange and network storage was handled by windows servers. However, many of the behind-the-scenes stuff and the web sites and all of the programming was done on red-hat servers. It was probably a 70/30 share.

        Honestly windows vs. linux is a stupid debate as both sides have areas that they do better than the other. Yes you can come pretty close to emulating all the functions of the one on the other, but that doesn’t change the fact that some do it better/easier/more efficiently.

      • SGT Lindy
      • 14 years ago

      Man your clueless.

      As of two weeks ago…..Windows owns 38.8 percent of the server market, Linux 12.7 percent.

      §[<http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS5369154346.html<]§ I guess there are lots of insane people.

        • eloj
        • 14 years ago

        Please tell me how they counted the number of linux servers. Wait, they only counted sales did they? Guess that means all debian servers of the world counted as 0 then.

        I couldn’t care a rats ass how many servers RedHat manage to *sell* (ie “market”)

        That you have to have separate Exchange Servers, two or three separate SQL Servers, separate DHCP-server, multiple separate Domain Servers, etc, etc. to get basic availability probably helps too 🙂

        (don’t assume I don’t understand redundancy, that would be a mistake)

    • Corrado
    • 14 years ago

    <3 debian.

    • eloj
    • 14 years ago

    Man, I can’t wait to throw out my trusty debian server and pay through the nose for an OS and non-free software.

    <blink>

    <crickets>

      • Peffse
      • 14 years ago

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 14 years ago

      I think you’re entirely missing the point. No, I b[

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