Windows Home Server Beta Screenshots

A Neowin member, who wishes to remain anonymous, has kindly submitted a few screenshots of one of the latest beta's from Microsoft, Windows Home Server. WHS is a toned down version of Windows Server 2003, aimed at the general consumer market with the intent of making it easier to share content amongst all the PC's in a household with incrased focus on sharing, backups, and simplicity.

These early shots exhibit the basic functionality premise, though they do contain some minor graphical errors.

Screenshot: Welcome Screen | New User Permissions | Shared Folders
Screenshot: Server Health | Server Resources | Server Storage

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Gee i wonder though, will there be the same security limit on the sys file tcpip.sys? you all know the one that makes it where u can only connect to 10 IP's at a time? cause on XP i got a patch tht changed it to 50 IP's. it was great. Also who in here runs vista? I am running Vista Ultimate on a P4 HT box running 3.8GHz w/ 4 GB's DDR2 w/ 3 900 GB HDD's and a Nvidia 8600 GT Essential Vista. Care to share ur specs?

Morpheus

Can someone please tell me how long it took to get your invite?, l submitted the form but have heard nothing as of yet and would love to try it out

Just tried installing it in VirtualPC (just to test before installing for real on another machine) and no matter what I tried to name the server, it kept telling me that the name was already in use on the network. Hopefully that won't happen when I install it for real.

A better backup idea is to install Acronis True Image 10 and a eSata external drive, ethernet is just to slow for backup purposes. Maybe gigabit would be ok but how many people have a gigabit router?

True Image + eSata seems a lot less complicated then trying to run a whole another machine. I bet it is cheaper as well.

I am going to have to disagree with you on this. True Image is a wonderful program, but I have many clients run it using a simple USB2 hard disk (for most jobs you do not need an external SATA solution). Still, you do have a point. While WHS is likely going to be connected to the network by a ethernet cable (100MBps should be fine...54 is probably not), the same can not be said for the clients. If you want to be more serious about backups you are likely going to have to use a 802.11n setup. Still, one should be able to backup up most solutions just fine (just a little slower).

My backup solution, smart sync pro. Don't get me wrong, acronis is great but I don't like filling up my network storage with large images which contain lots of system files. I take an image after installing the OS, apps and upgrades, burn it to DVDR then just use smart sync to backup my data to a network share. Only problem is that apps installed after the image have to be reinstalled after restoring from an image.

linuxamp said,
My backup solution, smart sync pro. Don't get me wrong, acronis is great but I don't like filling up my network storage with large images which contain lots of system files. I take an image after installing the OS, apps and upgrades, burn it to DVDR then just use smart sync to backup my data to a network share. Only problem is that apps installed after the image have to be reinstalled after restoring from an image.

That's why having partitions is still a GREAT idea:

C: Windows XP
D: Windows Vista
E: Windows Vista x64

M: Media Files (MP3, Simpsons, Futurama, Daily Show, etc)
L: Downloads
O: Documents


S: Acronis Backups

Doing Incremental backups with Acronis keeps the image sizes small and updated, having separate partitions makes it a breeze to reinstall windows.

The purpose of WHS is not just for backups, but a central location for data in a home with multiple computers. Also, you can access the data anywhere the computer has a connection (including the internet). Last, the OS is designed to be self managed; you shouldn't have to manage the server anymore than supplying quotas, users, schedules, etc. It's designed to be put in that corner of your house you never need access too and forgotten. Think of WHS has a NAS with many more features

I wonder if there is really a market for such a product. Most geeks already have a 2003 or nix server which can do so much more than WHS and others probably only need a basic NAS device. It'll still probably sell well because M$ is great at creating demand for products we don't need.

To be honest, I stopped listening when I read M$. When will people grow up?

I think there is plenty of interest in the market for a product like this. How many households have more than 1 computer and currently do not have any kind of backup plan in place? I'd guess a pretty high number of homes. If a family is not lucky enough to have a geek in the house then they very likely don't have a good backup plan neither.

In theory, these Windows Home Servers (the prebuilt ones) are going to be priced relatively low enough that it shouldn't be tough to justify the cost of a device like this when you weigh the safety you get from it. This device is like a NAS on crack. The remote desktop access, remote file sharing, and media streaming add enough features to this to make it a lot more interesting than a simple NAS. Personally, I was hoping for some form of Exchange with Outlook Web Access to be included, but that is just me. I still think this is a good deal considering how easy and powerful it can be.

xxdesmus said,
To be honest, I stopped listening when I read M$. When will people grow up?

Damn dude, you stopped reading after M$? You missed a LOT ha ha. Sorry, I forgot this is newWIN not Slashdot. Okay it was a bit immature but nobody would understand if I used M% or M#.

Sorry, I forgot this is newWIN not Slashdot.
No, you probably didn't. It's very hard to confuse the two.
Okay it was a bit immature but nobody would understand if I used M% or M#.

Then why not skip the immaturity and just use "MS"?
But of course, it's your choice to use ancient jokes or not.

What I can't understand or justify is why this slightly new UI type thing need 512MB of memory or more and wont work on 256MB as server 2003 enterprise works fine on 256MB yet this new feature doesn't really can't get to grips with this.

This is meant to be headless. IT is ment as sort of a nas device. Also used to automatically make backups of every pc on the network. Also to monitor the health of the pcs . stuff like that.

This is not meant to be an everyday os. You will basically install this on a comp and put the pc somewhere. You should only need to access the pc via remote desktop.

Most of the stuff should be able to be accessed through a client on ur other pcs.

Dont complain on how it looks.

majortom1981 said,
This is meant to be headless. IT is ment as sort of a nas device. Also used to automatically make backups of every pc on the network. Also to monitor the health of the pcs . stuff like that.

This is not meant to be an everyday os. You will basically install this on a comp and put the pc somewhere. You should only need to access the pc via remote desktop.

Most of the stuff should be able to be accessed through a client on ur other pcs.

Dont complain on how it looks.

So basicly I can run clarkconnect and get the same functinality + more... all for free or shell out a few hundred for this? nah.... heh =)

jago_lfn said,
So basicly I can run clarkconnect and get the same functinality + more... all for free or shell out a few hundred for this? nah.... heh =)

Advertising again are you?
And when had $100s become "free"?

RealFduch said,

Advertising again are you?
And when had $100s become "free"?

Eh? no one said nothing about free money. I'm just stating the fact that you can get clarkconnect FOR FREE from their web site, COST NOTHING to use and run AND has alot more function than the M$ server which they WILL CHARGE MONEY for. I have nothing against M$, in fact i love xp64 to death, I just dont understand why they keep unloading stuff like this on the public. Now if it was say a free download from their site or if it came already installed on a NAS device then yeah more power to M$ but just for building your own server and running this? nah....

It's much easier to set up and use. It's meant for home users, as you can tell by the name.

Probably nothing you'll be interested in, if you already have Server 2003 x64.

At least if they are using Server 2003 as the codebase they would make the UI fit in with that. This looks like it should be on a Longhorn Server codebase.

Yes, you have to format all the drives that are in the server.

This isn't meant to be installed on a dual boot or anything like that. This is meant to be on a box that is dedicated to nothing but WHS.

For testing purposes, just unplug any drive you don't want to format...that idea is pretty obvious.

TimRogers said,
I wish I hadn't missed the application for this :(

Didnt stop you downloading it illegally from Winbeta though did it.

Sheppard said,

Didnt stop you downloading it illegally from Winbeta though did it.

And I take it the whole world could give a ****?

No, of course not.

Why are people moaning about the scheme!? The only time you will use it is when you are adding a drive, removing a drive, or configuring shares!

Anyway if you are remote controlling it you don't want hi-res icons and complicated imagery lagging out the connection. Leave the pretty UI to Vista and keep home server simple!

As RevitXman said, it's a SERVER!. There is no need for themes are styles. Windows Classic is just fine, however I'm sure they will tidy up the icons for release.

digitalsoft said,
just got my invitation aswell, though seeing those screenshots and that lack of finish im not sure i want to do it now >.<

Repeat after me: beta. B-E-T-A. Go ahead, you try it now. Give Microsoft a break, it's a *drumroll please* beta.

Just got my Beta Invite ID Sooooo happy im going to test this for sure,
plus with my new 8MB connection and a Spare PC to install this on its going to be nice :)

Edit: Just one thing confusses me is it Server 2003 with a app bundled with half xp icons and Vista icons. Where's all the product keys gone

Sniper101 said,
:D Just got my Beta Invite ID Sooooo happy im going to test this for sure,
plus with my new 8MB connection and a Spare PC to install this on its going to be nice :)

Edit: Just one thing confusses me is it Server 2003 with a app bundled with half xp icons and Vista icons. Where's all the product keys gone :(

You can get the product key through the connect site. Just click the request product key link

While I have no doubt MS will fix it all up to look neat and tidy for release, what does it really matter? This is a SERVER!

TCLN Ryster said,
While I have no doubt MS will fix it all up to look neat and tidy for release, what does it really matter? This is a SERVER!

Exactly! The only design you should REALLY be concerned with is the client console... WHS is designed to be a network device, not an everyday OS.

I cant wait until the beta is out for us...my desktop needs a reload, and I would love to see what home server has and how well it works...thats all my desktop really does for me now a days anyway

Check your mail!
There should be a mail that starts with

"Greetings from the Windows Home Server Team

You have been approved to be in the Windows Home Server Beta program."

by now.

PTX said,
Check your mail!
There should be a mail that starts with

"Greetings from the Windows Home Server Team

You have been approved to be in the Windows Home Server Beta program."

by now. :)

Thanks for the reminder!! I just checked my mail today and I got in!!

Its concurrent connections, and its only a security measure which was implemented on XP SP2 & Vista. It can be turned off with a registy key. I expect home server would allow many more concurrent connections by default.

excalpius said,
Does it break the concurrent shares limit of 5/10 for XP and Vista? If it does, this could be compelling.

XP MCE did that already.

Autoexec, you are confusing the concurrent open connection (server shared) issue with tcpip connections (re: levellord patch). I'm talking about the MAXIMUM of 5 simultaneous open file shares on XP Home/Vista Basic (10 for XP Pro and Vista Premiums, I believe). And, Joel, everything I've found online says that MCE has the same limit.

These are HARD CODED limits into the OS and cannot be disabled with a registry key. The artificial limits were put in place to force people to buy MS Server OS builds if you wanted to share a drive with more than 5/10 users.

So my point is simply that some of us have more than 10 PCs (or PC-like devices) that we'd like to share data with in our homes. NAS devices don't have these limits, obviously, but they don't work with NTFS formatted drives, etc.

Currently the only way around this is to run a copy of Windows Server, which is ridiculously overpriced when all you want to do is share your music/media drive with your family.

Sooooo, back to my question, does this Home Server finally do away with this arbitrary restriction or is it really just XP Pro level file sharing in a box?


excalpius said,
Autoexec, you are confusing the concurrent open connection (server shared) issue with tcpip connections (re: levellord patch). I'm talking about the MAXIMUM of 5 simultaneous open file shares on XP Home/Vista Basic (10 for XP Pro and Vista Premiums, I believe). And, Joel, everything I've found online says that MCE has the same limit.

These are HARD CODED limits into the OS and cannot be disabled with a registry key. The artificial limits were put in place to force people to buy MS Server OS builds if you wanted to share a drive with more than 5/10 users.

So my point is simply that some of us have more than 10 PCs (or PC-like devices) that we'd like to share data with in our homes. NAS devices don't have these limits, obviously, but they don't work with NTFS formatted drives, etc.

Currently the only way around this is to run a copy of Windows Server, which is ridiculously overpriced when all you want to do is share your music/media drive with your family.

Sooooo, back to my question, does this Home Server finally do away with this arbitrary restriction or is it really just XP Pro level file sharing in a box?

Well, being based on Windows Server 2003, these limits should not be present! Try watching the Channel 9 and 10 videos on MSDN.

"Well, being based on Windows Server 2003, these limits should not be present! Try watching the Channel 9 and 10 videos on MSDN."

Well, those limits exist in Windows Server 2003, in that you have to pay for client licenses, etc. for any connections over 10/25/50, depending on the version of OS you buy, etc.

So, what I EXPECT is that MS has hard coded this to 10. What I hope for is that they haven't hard-coded it. Anyone have an answer to this?

excalpius said,
"Well, being based on Windows Server 2003, these limits should not be present! Try watching the Channel 9 and 10 videos on MSDN."

Well, those limits exist in Windows Server 2003, in that you have to pay for client licenses, etc. for any connections over 10/25/50, depending on the version of OS you buy, etc.

So, what I EXPECT is that MS has hard coded this to 10. What I hope for is that they haven't hard-coded it. Anyone have an answer to this?

I believe it is a hard code. It's desgined for small inhouse environments. If you need more connections, I'd go for SBS...

parithon said,

I believe it is a hard code. It's desgined for small inhouse environments. If you need more connections, I'd go for SBS...

Not rearlly an option! SBS *base* cost is cheap but it only come with 5CALs meaning you can only have 5 authenticated connections at once. If you want to connect MORE than 10 *just for file sharing* you need to purchase another 5-10 CALs and because the SBS licence includes SQL Server and Exchange licences so your be looking at lots of money.

The other option is to spend a fortune on Server 2003 and buy the cheaper licences either way it works out to the same cost. Its either that or purchasing a copy of Windows Server Warez Edition and setting the number of CALs to 50 if thats possible.

I always found it ironic how microsoft get away with charging you a server licence, a workstation licence for every indivdual PC and then feel the justification of charging you AGAIN for a licence to allow the two to talk to each other.

Precisely, I'm just talking about file sharing here. Not Exchange, etc. etc. If there was ANYTHING that supported unlimited shares on a LAN and NTFS read/write, it would be a winner.

Home users do not need all the rest of it, just file sharing without artificial restrictions, and they DON'T need a MS server class product with CALs etc.

SHEESH!

Let me guess. Apple doesn't have this restriction. Ahem.

excalpius said,
Does it break the concurrent shares limit of 5/10 for XP and Vista? If it does, this could be compelling.

If all you want is file & print sharing, set up a Linux server. If you want an application server, you could set up a Linux server and run VMWare on it.

What MS is doing here with the artificial 5/10 connection limit belongs in the 1990s. It is a ripoff.

if you read the article its based on windows 2003 code which is currently at sp2 release candidate stage, a newer standalone build 2845 is available, but 2825 was the last offered to testers on an integrated cd.

im downloading now... my main pc is not connected directly to the router though... i guess ill have to move it

I think it looks pretty good. If I had a house I'd probably throw one in. Since I'm in college though I don't have my own house. Although I definately wouldn't mind putting one in my townhouse when I get one.

linuxamp said,
Then you need WDS Windows dorm server.

:cheeky: I thought we already had Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (Warez) Edition for that

xxdesmus said,

:cheeky: I thought we already had Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (Warez) Edition for that

When I was on campus, we had one of those nice Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Warez edition things too. The best part is when we were helping the campus IT staff diagnose a network issue that left our sever inaccessible to half the campus, he asked us what windows version we were running... we immediately said "Windows Server 2003 Enterprise". He just looked at us for a second, and didn't say anything. Then we all started laughing.

You had to be there.

cyberdrone2000 said,

When I was on campus, we had one of those nice Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Warez edition things too. The best part is when we were helping the campus IT staff diagnose a network issue that left our sever inaccessible to half the campus, he asked us what windows version we were running... we immediately said "Windows Server 2003 Enterprise". He just looked at us for a second, and didn't say anything. Then we all started laughing.

You had to be there.

i think we would. lol is lacking in this post

Really? I wonder how bad the older one looked. Actually, its not all that bad, I hope they change the visual style to fit in with the UI though. Other than that it looks great.

Swordnyx said,
Really? I wonder how bad the older one looked. Actually, its not all that bad, I hope they change the visual style to fit in with the UI though. Other than that it looks great.

Why would you want a "visual style" on a server? Stick with classic if you ask me.

RealFduch said,

Why not updated Windows 2007 Server?

They decided to use Windows 2003 because "Longhorn" is still under development and because their market goal is for computers running Pentium 3 class processors. It's designed to be a box sitting in your closet; a networking device like your router...

TCLN Ryster said,

Why would you want a "visual style" on a server? Stick with classic if you ask me.

i think he means part of it looks more vista-ish and the rest looks like a default classic 2003. i suspect he wants it to be more classic just like you.