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Since Windows Home Server is a new addition to The Windows Blog, we thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a refresh on what exactly Windows Home Server is and what it can do for you.
Windows Home Server was designed for households and home-based offices that have more than one personal computer. It was created to help you simplify your digital life, and provide an easy way to access your media and files from any computer, inside or outside your home. The leading benefits of Windows Home Server will help you “Share, Protect, Organize, and Grow” all of your digital content on up to 10 PCs through three basic services. These include automatic PC back-up, restoration ; document and file sharing ; and remote access capabilities. Windows Home Server software will typically be sold with new server hardware from companies like Acer and HP.
The great news about this product is that you don’t have to be computer savvy to set it up or to use it. To get your home server up and running, it only takes three easy steps: plug in the power, connect an Ethernet cord, and install the Windows Home Server connector software.
Starting to sound pretty cool? Let’s take a closer look at each of these features.
Let’s pretend that you just got back from an amazing vacation and uploaded all of your new photos to one of your home PCs. Now, your family is over and wanting to see them, but you forgot which computer and folder you put them on. Instead of spending the time it takes to search through multiple locations, you could be using Windows Home Server and enjoying your picture slideshow. Windows Home Server provides an effortless way to organize and manage all of your media including the vacation pictures. After installation, a pre-defined set of shared folders will be shown: Photos, Music, and Videos. Windows Home Server will organize your family’s files and media, by storing them in one of the shared locations. Since all of these files will be stored in a central place, they can easily be found and accessed from any computer on your home or office network. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter which computer you put your pictures on since you can see them on any computer that is connected to your Home Server. Furthermore, if you enable user access, everyone on your network will have the ability to add and view media that is located in the Shared Folders.
I think we have all experienced the feeling of losing important files or pictures we love, and it is absolutely devastating. Everyone is aware that you should regularly back-up your computer in order to prevent loss of these valuable things. However, how often do you really find yourself doing it? With Windows Home Server, you will no longer need to run around your house with USB hard drives doing manual backups. Instead, Windows Home Server enables you to rest easy knowing that all of your irreplaceable videos and pictures are safe with Windows Home Server’s daily, automatic image based back-up and restoration feature.
The ability to restore individual files or even your entire computer is what makes backing up significant. Restoration can include accidentally deleted files (documents, music, pictures, videos), or complete computers. If your vacation pictures or crucial financial information accidentally get deleted, they will not be lost forever since you can restore to a previous point in time. You can also increase protection of certain files with Windows Home Server with since you have the ability to duplicate your shared folders. When you have more than one hard drive in your Home Server, your memories and files can then be stored and copied across multiple hard drives.
Windows Home Server helps families and small offices centralize and connect their digital experiences. It provides an easy and reliable way to store, access, and share whatever is most important through remote access. Like other features of Windows Home Server, remote access is fast and simple to use!
When using remote access, Windows Home Server lets you stay connected with friends and family. Once installed, your Home Server will automatically assign you an uncomplicated web address such as “yourname.homeserver.net”. You will then be able to share pictures, music, and documents through the password protected web address. From this site, you can upload media to the Shared Folders on your Home Server when using PCs that are not on your home network. This will give your friends and family the ability to log in through the personalized web address and download any pictures or files that you may have there. It is also simple to locate, view files, and even run applications from your home PC just as if you were sitting in front of that computer.
With Windows Home Server, storage space grows as your digital life grows. The ability to increase the number of drives in your Home Server is one of the biggest innovations for Windows Home Server. You can very easily add internal or external hard drives of any size so that you will have an unlimited amount of storage for your collection of files, photos, and videos. Once you have two or more drives plugged in, the server will see this additional storage as one large drive instead of many individual drives. This will result in a much easier process when locating and storing files since you will only be searching through one virtual drive.
*Acer Aspire easyStore H-340
Your Home Server is also fully expandable meaning you have the option to download extra features to help customize your Home Server. The development community has created “add-ins” for Windows Home Server that extends its capabilities in fun, exciting, and useful ways. There are currently over 100 add-ins available for download including “Whiist” for photo sharing, and “Lights Out” for power conservation.
For more detailed information about Windows Home Server, check out the product guide at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/support.mspx.
To purchase and learn more about Windows Home Server, please visit www.microsoft.com/windowshomeserver.
Okay, just starting to read the article. Looks interesting. :)
Really it should support AD domain controller role then I'd get it right away.
7flavor, why would you need Active Directory / Domain functionality in the home? With Windows 7, HomeGroup, etc you shouldn't need that. And Windows Home Server offers some pretty neat server-side user management for server access (remote access and local access).
You guys are doing a fantastic job with WHS. I've been using a DIY WHS for a couple of weeks. I liked it so much that I just bought the HP EX485 and have been recommending WHS to everyone instead of simple NAS devices for their home storage. TBH the key to WHS success will be the systems vendors like HP putting out solid products like the EX485 at VERY reasonable price points ($450 on Amazon.com!). No, I don't work for HP. :-) Keep up the great work!
This all looks great, and I really want one- however the biggest issue I face living in the UK is the massive gap in terms of available hardware- Fujitsu Scaleo, HP Mediasmart - none of them are available for sale. It leaves either self building or Tranquil PC (but not overly keen on them).
Any chance of getting some hardware available for us in the UK?
Beyond peace of mind/backups, one of my favorite aspects of WHS is that I don't have to go through the time consuming process of editing and uploading video or deal with online video sharing limitations such as a cap on the length (ex. 10 minutes) of the video. Sharing home videos via WHS is a time/money saver and enables scenarios just not possible with online video share services.
eddyr, we working actively with hardware manufacturers to bring more home servers to the UK soon. Look for new products later this year.
Steven, thanks- I look forward to it! We don't often get so left behind when it comes to technology in this country like days of old, but there's a real lack of available equipment for WHS at the moment so I'm glad to hear that'll change.
The new Acer machine looks great, perplexing it's available in Europe but only a couple of countries inc. Germany!?
Oh please HomeGroup is no match for Active Directory. I already have a dedicated domain controller at home but I am also thinking about buying a Home Server so if the two can run on the same PC, that would be great. Btw HomeGroup isn't even available for XP and Vista PCs and it is limited to sharing files (that too of limited filetypes).
Here is says that the newest HP Windows Home Servers cannot back up computers remotely: h71036.www7.hp.com/.../565653-0-0-225-121.html. Is this the case for the Acer easyStore as well (and all Windows Home Servers)? Also, could one conceivably VPN to the Windows Home Server every so often to backup content?
Is this a preferable way to run a home server than just running a computer with Windows 7 and operating homegroups? Is it just a more cost effective way?
sblesser, there are a number of threads regarding Windows Home Server + VPN at social.microsoft.com/.../WindowsHomeServer.
1349, great question! Look for a post in the near future regarding Windows Home server and HomeGroup that should help answer your question.