Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 13th Jun 2007 10:31 UTC, submitted by Gary Driggs
Windows According to Microsoft's beta tester site for Windows Home Server, they "will be notifying all applicants this week that they can now access the Windows Home Server RC build in order to download the software." Folks in the beta program can already access the latest release but others may join by completing this participation survey. Ars has more.
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You don't seem to understand the product.
by jrronimo on Wed 13th Jun 2007 17:13 UTC in reply to "Home Server for what?"
jrronimo
Member since:
2006-02-28

While remote access to files certainly is a feature of WHS, the -main- feature is its backup capabilities. Think of it more like FreeNAS ( www.freenas.org ), but a Microsoft release.

WHS automatically backs up your home computers, for one. It does so in a manner that does not use very much space on the Server itself -- I have 1 TB in my WHS and between 3 computers totaling ~1.5 TB of data, I use ~300 GB, I believe. Should any of these computers lose a drive, I can put a new drive in the system and recover it as if nothing had ever gone wrong.

WHS provides a centralized place to share files among your home computers. You can dump your wedding pictures on it and everyone at home can browse it, easily. You can turn on 'Folder Duplication' (on a per-share basis) so that should you lose a drive in the Server itself (assuming it has more than one), you don't lose your precious pictures or your 20 GB of smooth jazz music.

WHS gives you remote access to not just the files you share on it, but to your computers themselves (for those with OS' that support it -- XP Pro does, but not XP Home; Vista Business/Ultimate but not Home Premium). You just open up your WHS webpage and you can log in and have your full desktop. It's like VNC but uses MS' Remote Desktop instead.

WHS has a service by which you can acquire a DNS name. Similar to DynDNS or No-IP, WHS keeps your *.livenode.com address up to date with modem IP changes. It also automatically configures your router for all this, provided it supports uPNP.

WHS is NOT a webserver. It's a means to back up your computers with little to no human interaction. It's a way to store and share files and provides a means to access them remotely. It's not a new Windows release for end-users and it's not based on Vista. It's a highly modified Server 2003 release that is intended to be purchased pre-installed on hardware. It will be available for box-builders like you and I as an OEM release, but that isn't the commonly intended function.

Yes, these are all features that are available with other programs -- FreeNAS, VNC, Apache, etc. -- but it's bundled together in an easy-to-use fashion such that Real People with a 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM old doorstop laying around can set it up and use it.

From my own experiences with it, I can honestly say that WHS is probably the best Microsoft product released in a very, very long time.

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