Ever since the original Windows Home Server hit the market back in 2007 it has had a strong following. In addition to being the central filestore for your household, it allows remote logins from the internet (if enabled) and even backs up all of the computers in your household.
The latest version, WHS 2011, was released earlier this year and although many saw it as a downgrade due to the removal of Drive Extender, Microsoft is continuing to add new functionality that is unavailable with the original version. This week they provided a release candidate for a Windows Phone 7 application that allows you to not only stream media from the server but also allows you to manage the server from your phone.
The application allows for easy streaming of unprotected MP3s (including album artwork) directly from the server. JPG and PNG files can be displayed on the phone and saved for later viewing in the built-in Picture Hub. Video can also be streamed but while they can all be discovered, there is a limited set of codecs supported for actual playback. In addition to media playback, the tool also has a Live Tile that can display the health of your network, how much storage is remaining on your WHS, as well as the name of the server you’re receiving the information from.
Despite the promise of functionality, it looks like many users are having difficulty getting the new application to work properly on their phone. While the tool has yet to be officially released, most people would expect that a release candidate should be able to work relatively smoothly. Since WHS appears to be an important product for Microsoft, we would expect the tool to improve with time.