Windows Home Server integration with Windows Vista

Windows Home ServerWindows Home Server will not only integrate seamlessly with Windows Vista but will also facilitate advanced use of the operating system’s capabilities. Microsoft
has not as yet revealed the technical details of Windows Home Server, but
according to HP’s Preliminary Datasheet for the MediaSmart Server, powered by WHS, the product will support Windows Vista and Windows XP as far as backup is concerned.

Windows Home Server will enable users to remotely access their machines only if they are running Windows XP Professional, Media Center Edition 2005 or Windows Vista Ultimate across the computers on home network.

“Windows Home Server will also support the remote desktop features in select versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP, so customers can access their home PCs and applications as if they were actually sitting in front of them,” revealed Steven VanRoekel, director of Microsoft’s Windows Server Solutions Group. File sharing will be enabled via Windows Home Server for Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional SP4, Mac, Linux.

“Windows Home Server will help customers make the most of Windows Vista’s enhanced capabilities for accessing, creating, finding and enjoying digital entertainment. And because Windows Home Server is an always-on device, customers will also be able to store all the music from their Zune media player, stream that music and other digital media to devices in the house, such as the Xbox 360 sitting in the den, or third-party products that play streaming digital media stored on a customer’s home server,” added VanRoekel.

According to Microsoft, the security and the back-up features of Windows Vista will be enhanced via the Windows Home Server. Moreover, the product will report the health status of all the computers running Vista connected to the home network. Windows Home Server will alert the home administrator if the virus protection or the Windows Updates are disabled, or if a computer has not been backed up for a certain period of time. Additionally, Windows Home Server also features restore capabilities allowing home administrators to turn an operating system back in time.

“Customers will also be able to easily add an internal hard drive or connect an external USB or FireWire hard drive to Windows Home Server to increase the amount of storage for all of their photos, music and videos,” said VanRoekel.

Windows Home Server preview

Windows Home ServerIt’s not too often you get a new version of Windows, so when Bill Gates announced Windows Home Server tonight we had to learn what’s what. Here’s the rundown of the facts on Windows Home Server, as told to us by Microsoft:

  • Units are headless and embedded only — you cannot buy WHS and put it on an old PC.
  • There is no common web interface. Interaction is entirely client software based, or done over SMB.
  • It cannot directly stream media to Media Center Extenders, but it can stream media directly to Windows Media Connect-enabled devices.
  • It does not use RAID, but instead uses a RAID-like drive pooling system with built-in redundancy. Expanding capacity is as simple as adding additional drives internally or externally via USB. We can’t say for sure, but we have a feeling if you were to unplug that external drive, your data wouldn’t go with it since it’s probably spanned across the array.
  • The client software, which is installable only on Windows PCs (duh) monitors PC health, manages backups, and supports full disk images and versions. If your computer crashes hard you can pop in an restore CD and it’ll pull the disk image over the network.
  • Your WHS device gets registered with your Windows Live account and is made easily-findable by authorized parties (i.e. you and anyone you designate) while on the go. You can even connect to it via Live and pipe a Remote Desktop connection to a PC on your home network through this Home-finding Live feature.