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Windows Home Server CTP

April 24, 2007 14:37:30 +0300 (EEST)

Sam Gentile pointed out the CTP of the new Windows Home Server. I can't believe I'd not seen this before -- the original press release is from January. There's a good description and series of previews on Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: start with the first Windows Home Server Preview and follow the links on the right for the rest. The Wikipedia article is also a useful summary.

The feature list is largely unsurprising -- or to put it another way, just what you'd want. The centralized backup from all client PCs, kick-started by the server, is a nice touch. Disk usage is kept manageable by Single Instance Storage: if the same file exists on several PCs, only one copy is made. One of the issues with backing up all clients is the timing. WHS is set to complete the backups at night, and sets the clients to wake up then. It looks like this is on a timer in the BIOS, rather than Wake on LAN (which is cooler but hard to get working).

I've looked at various kind of NAS devices (e.g. NSLU2), and also at the Mac Mini, for use as an always-on server at home. Having a Topfield 5100 as our media centre (digital TV, MP3, photos) and a Wii as our games console and TV internet browser works great on the home entertainment side, but it would be nice to have something more integrated on the computing side of things. With a Win95 laptop for my son, a Win98 laptop and Ubuntu desktop for my wife, an XP desktop for me, and a couple of PC carcasses to look after, I don't want to tempt myself to waste more time configuring anything clever.