Microsoft to unveil Windows Home Server at CES

Microsoft is definitely going to talk — at long last — about its plans for Windows Home Server (code-named Quattro) at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, according to my sources.

But what will this product be? That's still murky. Will it be based on the Windows Server core? Or be some kind of Windows-Vista-based system? Or more of a package of Vista Ultimate plus some Media Center Extenders, plus a router? Will the Windows Home Server systems be AMD-based? Intel-based?

I've heard from a couple of folks that, contrary to initial belief, Windows Home Server will be a Vista-based system, not a Windows Server-based one.

When Microsoft Server and Tools chief Bob Muglia let it slip in an online chat back in June 2005 that Microsoft was contemplating a "home-server" SKU, he made it seem that it would be Windows-Server-based. Muglia also told chat participants more than a year ago:

"We are always looking for new opportunities where server technology can be leveraged, and the home definitely represents an exciting new area that we are looking at along with many others. Much of the great storage, replication, and management technology would be great in a home," Muglia said. "We have seen many people install Small Business Servers at home, which really works quite well."

Months before Muglia mentioned Microsoft's mullings, blogger Rick "One Man Shouting" Hallihan outlined his suggested feature set for a Windows Home Server product. Such a product "would be a scaled back and customized version of Windows Small Business Server, running on specialized hardware, and it would simplify home networking to the point where everyone could enjoy the benefits of modern network management," Hallihan blogged, back in January, 2005.

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Kind of makes sense for MS to do this.

I have two home computers, two laptops, a PDA and an XBOX at home. All are networked in one way or another. I also have about 100 GB in music ripped to one computer. I always have problems when one computer's configuration changes (file permissions, etc.) and it always requires a change on the 'server'.
Given that IIS7 in Vista is .Net 2.0 based and does not have the 10 connection limit of XP's IIS5.1 (it seems that Vista is not crippled in server ability actually) it would be trivial to convert Vista to a simple home media server.
I can see it now- a 'media extender' (funny name considering...) recording a tv show to the server and having that show viewed on another extender (or multiple extenders) elsewhere in the house. There would be no problems with DRM since all the connected devices are local to the server (i.e.: same subnet) and authenticate locally (local and remote IP are the same so no RDP or other remote access unless the remote device has previously been authenticated locally).

Licenses would need to be based on the connecting device. So, you'd buy the home server and every device that connects to it would have a license to connect. A CAL built into the device, so to speak- the Xbox , other home computer, PDA, etc. comes with a license to connect to ONE home server. That means I couldn't take my laptop over to 'Ed's' house and copy things.

One home server could also be granted rights to control media on other devices on the local network and serve those out to other devices- music shared from computer 'b' could be made to be discovered on computer 'a' (the server) and sent to the xbox.

I'm getting giggly just thinking about it.

good luck on that front MS , i for one will always use a linux based OS for running home servers , not just because they are solid stable and pretty easy to set up , but because its free and wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg for the licence like an MS home server