Windows Home Server

I signed up on Microsoft Connect to beta test Windows Home Server RC1 (WHS). For what it does, it’s a great piece of software. It’s based on Windows Server 2003 but with a very simple user interface for home users. Each PC (Vista or XP SP2) on the network gets the Windows Home Server Connector installed. The software finds the server and automates the backup of each PC.

Windows Home Server Console

The front-end on each client is Windows Home Server Console. It displays the computers on the network and their backup status, User Accounts, Shared Folders, Server Storage and Network Status.

During installation, WHS destructively formats all the disks used on the server and creates network shares, e.g., video, photos and music, that are all available to each client. Each user account has their own personal folder and basic permissions – Full, Read and None can be set on each folder. With at least two hard disks in the server, the ability to have redundancy for shared folders is available.

Windows Home Server Xbox 360 Media Extender

WHS also has the ability to share stored media with an Xbox 360, and does this very well also.

Remote access via the web is also available, and the WHS software will automatically configure PNP 2.0 routers.

The one application that’s missing in WHS that would make it a killer home app is Windows Media Center. The media hub software is built into Vista Home Premium and Ultimate Editions and XP Media Center Edition (MCE) but not in WHS. I have the WHS PC hooked up to our Sony KV-36FV1, so I want to use it as a Media Center. Unfortunately that means I can’t use Windows Home Server.