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.

Reply Parent Score: 5

TBPrince Member since:
2005-07-06

Agreed. This is "just" a budle of useful services coupled into an appliance with ultimate goal to make simple hardware devices.

Anyone having a LAN in your house should instantly understand how good this could be. Well, actually even if you have a single PC (expecially if that's a portable PC like notebooks or laptop) might find it very handy.

It's a good product: I would buy it (if I ever knew how much it will cost ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 1

jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

"It's a good product: I would buy it (if I ever knew how much it will cost ;-)"

HP has mentioned full WHS systems w/ 1TB storage for under $1,000. Google HP MediaSmart for more info. No one knows what retail price will be for just the OS, though it'll be a good idea to purchase an OEM supported system until MS gets the kinks ironed out of the installation routine.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Microsoft puts it like this: "OEMs will set the final pricing for their products, depending on the storage capacity and additional capabilities." They're just making the software that will let others build the toys.

Since the average home user won't be willing to pay $1000 (much less the many thousands a full-scale industrial recovery/backup server could cost) for a machine that basically does nothing until something goes wrong, OEMs will almost definately try to keep the price down.

What I want to know is whether or not we'll be able to have two WHS boxes on a network. Not right away, of course but if you buy a new WHS-box every so often and the old one still works, will they be able to work together so your backups are twice as redundant?

Reply Parent Score: 2

CPUGuy Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, it's a pretty nice setup, wonder how much it will cost...

Of course the .Mac upgrade coupled with Leapord's backup features does exactly the same thing.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Rayz Member since:
2006-06-24

Of course the .Mac upgrade coupled with Leapord's backup features does exactly the same thing.

I don't think it is quite the same. From what I understand, the 'Back to Mac' stuff will allow you to access and copy files to and from your Mac. So I imagine that your home mac disk will appear on the desktop of whichever Mac you are running it from.

The WHS thing is more of a remote desktop function, so you can do anything on your computer (copy files, run applications) as though you were sitting in front of it.

That's how I understand it anyway.

The other difference is that the remote access for WHS is free; to do the remote thing with Apple will require a .Mac account which will set you back $99 a year.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Jawbreaker4Fs Member since:
2006-05-11

"(for those with OS' that support it -- XP Pro does, but not XP Home; Vista Business/Ultimate but not Home Premium)"

Why release Windows Home Server that doesn't work with the "Home" versions of their operating systems?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Supreme Dragon Member since:
2007-03-04

"Why release Windows Home Server that doesn't work with the "Home" versions of their operating systems?"

Because MS is a loathsome monopolist that abuses customers. I am sure the Windows Home Server EULA will be totally reprehensible. People should be seeking higher quality alternative products.

Reply Parent Score: 0

jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

Windows Home Server works just fine with those OS'. You just can't use the remote desktop feature of them. That's a limitation built into the 'Home' line of OS' because that is how Microsoft works, haha.

The backup features work perfectly, though.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

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).

I mean that the OS needs to support Remote Desktop, not Windows Home Server. All Windows versions XP on up can be used with WHS. Anything that supports SMB can access its shares.

I apologize for the miscommunication, but don't blindly hate on the product just yet. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

WHS is NOT a webserver.

I've read, however, that they're looking into including IIS and company in later releases.

What will happen to the Internet as an industry when PC users find it's cheap to buy their own server, and want to host their own websites and webservices on their own machines?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Rayz Member since:
2006-06-24

I am not so sure that they would allowed to do that. Surely that would count as leveraging from their existing monopoly.

Reply Parent Score: 1

islander Member since:
2007-04-11

Sounds good from your post.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

I was accepted into the beta program when they opened it up to testers and each version has gotten better. I've been really impressed with how it works and the ideas behind it.

I wouldn't be surprised if future versions (Windows Home Server 2010 or whatever) weren't as good, but they're really on the ball this time, if you ask me.

Reply Parent Score: 1