HP unveils Windows Home Server systems

Hewlett-Packard Co. began taking preorders today for its MediaSmart Server, the first system from a major manufacturer powered by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Home Server (WHS) software. MediaSmart, which won't ship until later this month, is priced at $599 with 500GB of storage, or $749 with a terabyte of disk space. Those prices were identical to the listings leaked by Amazon.com in late August.

Other servers running the new operating system will ship later this year and into early next, including units from Iomega Corp. and LaCie Ltd., Microsoft said as it announced the official launch of WHS today. WHS, loosely based on Windows Server 2003, made its debut at last January's Consumer Electronics Show and entered public beta about a month later. It provides automatic backup, data restore, file and printer sharing, and remote Web-based access for up to 10 Windows XP or Vista PCs on an Ethernet or wireless network. Microsoft has hammered hardest on the automatic backup feature.

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