Windows Home Server testing uncovers nearly 2,400 bugs

Announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show and expected to ship this summer, Microsoft Windows Home Server is currently in the beta stage. Developers have been inundated with bug reports for the consumer server software; according to program manager Chris Sullivan the group has received nearly 2,400 bug reports so far, about 495 (about 21%) are classified as "active" (still under investigation, pending a response or waiting to be investigated). Of the bugs that have been addressed, Sullivan said that only 15% have actually been fixed. The remainder are issues that are in the server by design (13%), not reproducible (21%), will be postponed to later versions (11%) or likely won't be fixed (7%). Yeah, I realize that doesn't add up to 100%, the rest were probably duplicates or something else.

Home Server won't be sold separately; it will be only available via OEM purchases. Microsoft is expected to release the OS before the back-to-school selling season starts in July and August, with a release to manufacturing deadline set for late June. The software, based primarily on Windows Server 2003 code, will connect to systems running Windows Vista and Windows XP for file sharing, media playing and backup; and to Mac OS X and Linux machines for file sharing. Microsoft did not respond to a call asking for a status update on development, and whether the summer release schedule still holds.

News source: ComputerWorld

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I'm testing this software, and it's not as buggy as people make out. It's stable, I think a lot of it is pretty feature complete, but there are obviously a few things at the present time that are being worked on, but it's still very functional. It's beta2, people... remember, even most programs go through betas and then release candidates before they're considered "gold". Of course I'm running it on fairly common chipset/hardware and not bleeding edge, but it's pretty good even at the level it's at now. It's limited by what's installed with SBS2003 R2, but you can still install xp/2k drivers like you can with Win2K3.

On a system that the restore disc can see the HDD and NIC, the restoration process is pretty darn foolproof. I've restored several pcs at home and it works great. Backups are pretty hands-off, and happen at night unless you manually initiate them. I connected a HP Laserjet 3200 to the server's parallel port, and it installed the drivers by itself, then started mapping the printer at the client pcs without any prompting or intervention. It was really slick.

Some of the "bugs" center around issues/requests like:

  • Client software not making appropriate connection to server or not updating the trayicon status in a timely fashion
  • backups failing for various reasons, from network disconnects and connectivity problems on local LANs.
  • not being able to remove client pc's from the server in any obvious fashion.
  • warning levels inappropriate for things like missing a backup for 2+ days
  • various requests for functionality like MCE integration, proxy (ISA) integration, WSUS integration (which I think will not be even considered until version 2 if at all)
  • installation issues on various hardware
  • restore issues because of driver concerns
  • permissions issues that cause other wierdness
  • Not being able to better manage backup frequency

Most of these are pretty easily fixable, in my opinion. It's showing promise. It's not quite there, but it's gonna be cool when it is.

Pretty good summary you have there. Network Health seems to be a real nagger, if a client fails a backup doesn't seem to be a way to manually remove the error message. Definitely some wierdness with the access permissions at this point. Workgroup dependancy on the default "workgroup" or do a server search to manually find the folders if you don't have the client software installed (this is where user permissions are really wierd, no logon, access denied in WHS, but you can still get full access to files). The WHS Console needs a tool to change the Workgroup name rather than going through the standard setup on the 2003 server.

Cracks me up how people think only MS products have bugs just because Neowin likes to point that out and barely any other company's software products.

And the pseudo-nerds who think Mac OSX and any Linux distro is bug-free have probably never looked at any of these products' bug lists or participated in bug-hunting.

And lastly, the people who compare a web browser to an OS in regards of bugs should shut down their system and return it.

Is it a common bug to have Guest access set to No Access or Read-Only but all the folders show up in network neighborhood with full access rights. Does logging in to the WHS Administrative Console automatically give you admin priviledges on the Shares? Seems you would want a seperate login for folder access.

The remainder are issues that are in the server by design (13%)

Looks like Windows Home Server also has many things that are broken by design, just like Vista

Don't you have a bridge to crawl back under, troll.

The "design" issues they are referring to are more cosmetic than anything. Right now it is a combination of 2003 server with some Vista thrown in.

When you have 300+ reports on stuff like the design of Icons on the server (which is suppose to be monitor-less), yea, I'd say that 12% "by design" is about right.

I think they plan to implement x64 client support at a later date. There is a method that you can copy the whssetup.dat file and rename to whssetup.msi and double-click and you can configure the 32-bit client on x64. I got the client application to successfully install but the system backup feature does not function using the 32bit app on XP x64 SP2. However, you can now manage the Home Server from XP x64

Chugworth said,
The bug I found is that it doesn't offer support for 64-bit clients, which makes it worthless to me. :(

Well, the vast majority of cliants are still 32bit, so you have to support that market first and make sure it works like it should before you move on to 64bit.

Chugworth said,
The bug I found is that it doesn't offer support for 64-bit clients, which makes it worthless to me. :(

It's not a bug, that's a missing feature. They stated there isn't 64bit support yet, that means it doesn't have the functionality.

If it had 64bit support that didn't work, *then* it would be a "bug".

"Microsoft is announcing Windows Home Server at CES 2007 on January 7, 2007. The product will enter a private beta in late February or early March 2007 and will be released publicly in the second half of 2007. Microsoft will make WHS available in two ways: Bundled with new WHS hardware and software-only, the latter so that enthusiasts can install the system on the hardware of their choice."

from paul thurrotts site

I thought it was going to be embedded operating system on devices without I/O systems. The beta version operates like typical server so you can install it and report bugs but that will be changed for the actual devices it will be deployed on. You would have to install the client software and remotely administer the machine on your LAN. Thus the OEM licensing.

family guy said,
Yea, I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that you could by a copy seperately (Retail not OEM)

It'll be available for us DIY geeks as a separate package, not everyone will have to buy a server to get it.

so I guess it is safe to assume this is OEM only?? that is too bad I know alot of enthusiasts including myself who would have loved a retail version.

dude, RTFA

Home Server won't be sold separately; it will be only available via OEM purchases.

Also, it's still possible to buy an OEM copy if you know where to look (just look at all the people using OEM copies of Vista).

LOL..... another quality Microsoft release. :laugh:

Has Apache even had that many bugs in all the years it's been out? 2400+ bugs in a simple application has got to be a record.

Bwizzel-B said,
LOL..... another quality Microsoft release. :laugh:

Has Apache even had that many bugs in all the years it's been out? 2400+ bugs in a simple application has got to be a record.

lol? Apache is an HTTPd; WHS is an operating system with a lot more than a HTTPd. Comparing the two is like comparing a printer to a speaker.

2,400 bugs isn't that many, at least not when you have a piece of software doing so much ...

RootWind said,
Though to be accurate, it is 2400 bug reports, not bugs. I would say the testers aren't trying hard enough.

Did you even read past 'bug reports' in the article?

Chris Sullivan the group has received nearly 2,400 bug reports so far, about 495 (about 21%) are classified as "active” (still under investigation, pending a response or waiting to be investigated). Of the bugs that have been addressed, Sullivan said that only 15% have actually been fixed. The remainder are issues that are in the server by design (13%), not reproducible (21%), will be postponed to later versions (11%) or likely won't be fixed (7%). Yeah, I realize that doesn't add up to 100%, the rest were probably duplicates or something else.

Bwizzel-B said,
LOL..... another quality Microsoft release. :laugh:

Has Apache even had that many bugs in all the years it's been out? 2400+ bugs in a simple application has got to be a record.

troll!

it's a beta release, the sole purpose is finding bugs. Ofcourse after google products, not many people know the meaning of beta.

For the record, since you bring up Apache, it's in the same catagory as IIS6 from MS. And if you look at the two, when it comes to security patches, Apache, since 2003 has had alot more then IIS6.

RootWind said,
Though to be accurate, it is 2400 bug reports, not bugs. I would say the testers aren't trying hard enough.

Exactly, 2400 bugs reports doesn't equal 2400 bugs... In fact, the beta program specifically says to bug everything you can, because you never know whether or not someone has reported it already, but it's better to post a duplicate than to miss a bug entirely.

lol? Apache is an HTTPd; WHS is an operating system with a lot more than a HTTPd. Comparing the two is like comparing a printer to a speaker.

2,400 bugs isn't that many, at least not when you have a piece of software doing so much ...

Home sever is a severly crippled OS that has only one purpose. It's almost like a home friendly version of netware.