WHSBack in January when CES was underway, we mentioned Windows Home Server, but haven’t really had much else to say about it since then. To refresh your memory, Windows Home Server works without interaction to simplify tasks among the computers in your home. Units are headless and embedded only.  This means that interaction with it is entirely client software based, or done over SMB. It would manage backups, and supports full disk images and versions. 

It’s set to get released to the manufacturer on June 22nd, and would come as a hardware/software package, or just a software package to system builders. WHS has three main purposes:

  1. Automated Computer Backups – Home Server will sit in the middle of your house and completely backup the entire hard drives of every computer connected to it, automatically.  Lose anything, even an entire computer, and you will be able to restore it.  You will even be able to restore older versions of files, taking advantage of a valuable feature in Windows Vista.
  2. Access everything from anywhere – With a Home Server, you will be able to access all of your files from any computer, inside or outside your home, as well as accessing your home computers from outside the home.  You will centrally store your files to make them easier to access at all times.
  3. Grows with you – Home Server will be designed to make it easier for users to expand its capabilities, especially making it easy to add more hard drives.

Here’s your chance to get in on the beta. Last Monday, they announced that you could take a survey  which will put your name it so that when they’re ready to expand the beta, you could possibly get invited. The Beta program started with 1000 Microsoft employees, and is now moving on to Beta 2. This is a software only Beta which means that you would need to have a system capable of being a dedicated machine for testing purposes.

As of Wednesday, they already have 20,000 people that have registered. To get involved, there are a few requirements.  First, you need to have two or more PCs.  Secondly, you need a broadband connection and router.  Third, you’ll need a spare PC or server that can be dedicated to Windows Home Server Software.

If you meet all of those requirements, you can find the survey here. After filling it out, you’ll have to sit tight and wait to see if you’re one of the lucky chosen ones that gets to be a Beta tester. Until then, here are a few screenshots of WHS from Neowin. From left to right: Welcome Screen, New User Permissions, Shared Folders, Server Health. (Click to enlarge)


Windows Home Server     WHS Permissions     WHS Shared Folders     WHS Health