Review: Windows Home Server nearly ready for prime time

A typical household with two adults and three children can easily have three or more computers. Since each of the users wants access to the Internet, their PCs are likely to already be connected to a router -- but sharing media files and other data among the computers often remains an arduous task. What's more, many users have enough difficulty finding the time to manage their own computer -- updating antivirus software, configuring the firewall and keeping downloaded files in order -- that they pay little or no attention to the other PCs in the house. And that means few of them get backed up regularly, if at all.

Enter Windows Home Server (WHS), announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in January. WHS is a platform for storing, sharing and protecting data from multiple home PCs. Additionally, it can stream media, provide remote access and monitor PCs on a home network. The basic concept is simple and logical, and any household with more than one PC already wants one...though they may not know it yet.

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News source: Computer World

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I think its cool. Practical for families. Imagine a windows home server machine with wireless power and internet connection the size of an ipod or zune sitting in your desk drawer or your car. Just there working away serving media. :nuts: Gate's talk of cable over ip to me = home server as your uber tivo pushing content essestially. Everyone will want one.

I can achieve this with Media Center.. plus alot more. All I'm missing out on is a little program which makes sharing folders easier :S

I'm pretty dang skeptical but then again I don't really have a use for this. Maybe if you have 3 or so computers... but at the same time, if you get a server then you have 3 or so computers to maintain PLUS a server system. Hmmmm.... not sure how that is suppose to simplify things for Joe-low-tech. Maybe I don't understand the "technology" very well.

Um, including one computer per family member these days, laptop(s), windows mobile devices, windows media devices, X-box, etc. I don't really give a rat's arse what Microsoft is "aiming it at", but what this product can do for ME so that I don't have to be blackmailed into buying an uber-priced Windows Server with CALs just so I can share and use NTFS drives without restriction. :)

Everybody with fewer requirements can just share all of this off an XP drive anyway.

But if they really MUST jack us off on this, maybe they can offer a Windows Home Server Pro that has 25 shares? That would make it MORE useful than an XP share and still priced more attractively (I assume) than any version of Windows Server. That would cover most needs for the forseeable future, as far as I can tell.

"...but sharing media files and other data among the computers often remains an arduous task."

???

It is? :S

Even my mom and dad know how to share mp3's, documents and photos without using a special OS for it.
Just use a folder on the desktop that goes to a shared document folder on another computer.

I can somewhat agree more with the protection and backups though...
And perhaps it's going to be simpler to set up a network here than setting up Internet Connection Sharing and stuff in XP.

Jugalator said,
Even my mom and dad know how to share mp3's, documents and photos without using a special OS for it.
Just use a folder on the desktop that goes to a shared document folder on another computer.
Yeah, but can they can set it up, themselves? Just about anyone can understand the concept of sharing and access the share if it's already been setup for them, but it's another thing for non-techies to actually know how to create a share on one computer and then know how to set up the link on another. I'd be super impressed if my parents figured all of that out without ever asking me, and they've been using computers for 25 years.

It shows promise, I am testing it right now, but several bugs need to be ironed out first. I do like some of the features though - automatic backup of each networked computer, (a dream of mine when wife's pc or kids pc fails), as well as the run of the mill server functions.

I don't like the fact though that it insists on erasing the contents of a previously filled disk to use it as storage, I have an 80 gig for backups of music and family photos, and of course, it would erase them if I installed it on the server. I know there is a workaround, but I don't want to mess with atm.

The appearance could use some polishing I agree with the "mish-mash" of features, but being a beta, so be it. It is far better than some of the linux server installations I have played with which have no GUI.

Why the hell does that matter? This is meant to be a closet computer, and you only need to go into the Remote Desktop to change settings.