Microsoft home server rumours grow

Rumours that Microsoft is planning to unveil a home media server at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are starting to intensify. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is expected to show off a device that stores and distributes digital content between devices in a house, acting as a server and storage appliance.

The stand-alone device could act as a storage or back-up appliance as well as a networking hub. It is believed to allow PCs, wireless devices, Media Center PCs and set-top boxes to link up on the same network. The pending launch is further supported by the fact that several industry analysts declined to discuss a Microsoft media server citing "confidentially agreements".

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News source: vnunet

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16 Comments

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If this is going to be a stand alone device....could it be a multimedia alternative to a NAS?

I have been looking for something like this. A NAS that stores all my music/videos/backups and yet has an interface to access all of it.

Could be interesting....if they do it right. Hate to see this go the way of their networking devices.

So its like Slingbox pretty much? Microsoft, stick to your software roots, look what happened to your line of routers! LOL, and almost the same to say with Zune, I hardly hear anything ever about it. I hear the iPod term used everyday on TV.

I would love to have a simple server that is a little bigger than my router, that I access via an ip address. then I could throw it in the closet with my fios equipment and not have to worry about the noise or anything.

*Sniper101 waits for something to go wrong like everything bill gates touches in the tech world*

No one can miss the Media Center and dont forget Vista mishaps XD

I'm already doing this with my XP Pro Server to 1 degree or another. I'd still prefer to have my full dedicated Server and switch/routers as i have alot more services running. Http/Ftp/Proxy/Dns/Game server and so on.

If done right the built in functionality would be kinda useful.

There is no such thing as XP Pro Server.

Anyways, this has real potential depending on what features they include and what price point they try to hit.

Ideally it would include a basic version of AD and a basic version (perhaps 5 users) of Exchange, roaming profiles, easy to setup automated backup, and obviously standard file server/web server stuff.

If they can manage all of this while keeping it at or below $500 I think they will have a a great product on their hands.

xxdesmus said,
There is no such thing as XP Pro Server.

Actually, you can run XP Professional as a server. You just have to be old-school in your definition of "Server."
There are some very basic IIS services built into Windows XP Professional: They're not installed by default, but they're there nonetheless. It's not Win2K3, but it is a file server and a webserver. (You just wouldn't want to use it as one).
Don't believe me? Go to Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel. Select "add/Remove Windows Components." Fifth item from the top is "Internet Information Services (IIS)" Yep, it's a webserver.

Much like a muzzleoader is a gun.

xxdesmus said,
Ideally it would include a basic version of AD and a basic version (perhaps 5 users) of Exchange, roaming profiles, easy to setup automated backup, and obviously standard file server/web server stuff.

If they can manage all of this while keeping it at or below $500 I think they will have a a great product on their hands.

You forgot the part about finding home users that could actually use those features!

But of course such a server would be a great learning tool if, as you point out, they can hit the right price point.

Croquant said,

Actually, you can run XP Professional as a server. You just have to be old-school in your definition of "Server."

This is precisly what my organization used to do for a server: our only XP Pro machine sitting there turned on all the time for an application server.

Octol said,
You forgot the part about finding home users that could actually use those features!

But of course such a server would be a great learning tool if, as you point out, they can hit the right price point.


If you want a good explanation of how Exchange, AD, and roaming profiles could be useful then read this:
One Man Shouting - Windows Server Home Edition

3 main points that virtually any family could use (as long as it's easy enough to setup):

1. Email Collection & Backup – There would be a customized implementation of Exchange running on the server. It would collect mail for all of the users and make it accessible locally. If you have 4 different email accounts, this server will make them all available in one place. Hotmail, POP3, etc. Give me options to leave mail on the server, maybe even have a “keep remote mailbox size under xx MB” setting, especially useful for Hotmail accounts. Include licensing for the latest version Outlook for all clients.

2. Profile Management – We’ll call this Roaming Profiles for Dummies. Basically, anytime a new machine is joined to the network, you’ll be given the option of selecting which profiles you want synchronized with this machine. Each user in the household will have their own profile, which will include their settings, favorites, and all of their documents. The documents will be implemented with remote storage. Recently used documents will be available on the local hard disk. Other documents will have to be retrieved on-the-fly from the server.

3. Domain user management & group policy – Ok, you’d have to get the marketing geeks to come up with some home-user friendly names for these functions, but basically it would allow you to set up new profiles, and manage computer use based on group policy. Example: Kid’s can’t login after 8:00PM, No Internet access on Saturday, etc.

See? This stuff could totally be useful in a home environment, and this is ignoring any of the media sharing features that will likely be included.