HP Windows Home ServerAfter 3-years in the making Windows Home Server has been sent to manufacturing. It was tested internally by 1,000 Microsoft employees which eventually grew to more than 100,000 public Beta testers. It was supposed to be sent to the manufacturer on June 22nd, but it apparently suffered from some minor delays.

So why would you want to use Windows Home Server? Here are four reasons that Microsoft has outlined:

  1. Protect the things you care about
    Keep all those digital memories safe for future generations with features like automatic daily backups and full system restore.
  2. Connect with your friends and family
    Share your photos, music, movies, and other files from a single, central location that everyone in your home can get to. Friends and family can see and share any files you want, whether they’re in another room or another country.
  3. Organize everything all in one place
    This smart hub helps your family organize all your shared files in one place. Windows Home Server cuts down on clutter and brings order to digital chaos.
  4. Grow into the future
    You can add more space easily whenever you need it, so no more hard choices about what to keep and what to delete. And new products and services will be added as Windows Home Server keeps growing and getting better.

The biggest benefit that I see is having a central backup solution for all of your important documents, photos, and videos. Right now I’m running a copy of Windows XP Home to retrieve and backup documents from three other computers. Having a designated Windows Home Server computer, such as the HP MediaSmart Server pictured above, would make doing things like this effortless.

I also like that you can access your files from anywhere using a custom web address that you setup, which would look something like cybernetnews.homeserver.com (where cybernetnews is the username you choose). At that address you would be able to access and manage your homeserver, and I find doing that a little complicated in consumer-based versions of Windows.

The operating system will first be available to the OEM partners (Fujitsu-Siemens, Gateway, HP, Iomega, Lacie and Medion) who will make devices that use Windows Home Server. These devices are said to be released later this year just in time for the holidays. Maybe Santa will put a Home Server in my stocking! :)

Also, in the next few months there will be a 120-day evaluation version as well as a system builder version (for those of you building their own Home Server). So we’re still several months away from seeing this in the hands of consumers, but it’s getting there!

News Source: Windows Home Server Blog [via All About Microsoft]