I'm skeptical ifMicrosoft's Windows Home Server will be a success story for Microsoft. It is based on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 but created with simplicity in mind. Many households have more than one computer and Windows Home Server is intended to be of use for those households. It provides remote access, sharing, streaming and storage solutions for home networks.
Some of the key features are simplicity of use, backup capabilities, a single store pool that works without drive letters and content that can be shared with other computers and devices including the Xbox. This can be useful but I personally don't need a Home Server to do most of these things.
But that is me and others might think different. A good way to see if Windows Home Server is useful for you would be to order a 120 day fully functional trial version from Microsoft. The only catch is that you have to pay money for it. Europeans pay around €7 which means that users from the United States will probably pay $10 for the package that will be send to your location.
It's not a bad bargain especially if you think this could be useful for you. One DVD and two CDs will be shipped actually:
Windows Home Server Installation DVD
Windows Home Server Connector CD
Home Computer Restore CD
The requirements for installing Windows Home Server are:
Computer with 1 GHz Pentium III (or equivalent) or faster processor
512 MB of RAM or more
70 GB or larger ATA, SATA, or SCSI hard drive as the primary hard drive and any number of additional hard drives of any size
DVD drive—your home server must be capable of booting from this drive
VGA or higher-resolution monitor for software installation
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device (needed only during initial home server software installation)
100 Mbps or faster Ethernet network interface card
And finally the requirements to run it:
Internet broadband router/firewall device with a 100 Mbps or faster wired Ethernet connection for your home server
Windows Home Server assumes that your home computers get their IP address from the router/firewall device on your home network
Broadband connection (fees may apply)
What I like is the option to schedule regular backups from all computers connected to the network. All of this can be done with each computer manually as well but it sure eases the burden to do all of this from one central computer.
The more difficulty task is to find the hardware to run the homeserver. You could use an old computer that meets the requirements for this, but if you do not have an old one you might have to buy one. Several manufacturers already announced home servers especially for Windows Home server.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.