Windows Home Server users are gifted today with yet another system update, adding some small new stuff to the operating system. Your Home Server now gets an SSL certificate for remote access (you’ll have to re-run setup to get it). Also, they’ve added a Delete All button to delete all home computer backups on the server and shipped improvements to the Shared Folder and Server Storage componenents.
Windows Home Server, despite being finalized in late August/early September, got its official launch day on Monday, as Microsoft introduced the product and the first Home Server PCs to the marketplace. Here’s the press release, announcing the retail release of HP’s oft-delayed MediaSmart Server, which is available now for pre-order and should hit stores within weeks, as well as these systems:
- Available in Europe in late 2007, the Fujitsu Siemens Computers SCALEO Home Server 1900 offers 1TB capacity across two hard drives, Gigabit Ethernet and advanced power management features.
- Iomega Corp. today unveiled new details about its home server product due in early 2008, the Iomega HomeCenter Server, which will ship with one 500GB hard drive and four â€œeasy-swapâ€ drive bays for storage expansion.
- Available in early 2008, the Life|ware Life|storage will offer enterprise-class capabilities to consumers, including Life|ware Entertainment and Automation Server software for home management.
- The MAXDATA Belinea o.center, which will also be available in Europe soon, is energy-efficient, offers advanced management and media functions, and allows up to four hot plug SATA hard drives.
- Also available in Europe later this year, the Medion Home Server comes with up to 2 TB of storage capacity and will offer universal plug-and-play media streaming based on PacketVideo PVConnect software.
- Available now, the Tranquil PC T7-HSA Tranquil Harmony Home Server is a small, quiet and energy-efficient solution with 500GB and 1TB options.
- On sale today, the Velocity Micro NetMagix HomeServer is a small, sleek unit that can be situated in a horizontal or vertical position, starting with 1 TB of expandable storage capacity.
Engadget has pictures of Medion and Iomega’s Home Servers (and some others), and they look really slick. I’m looking forward to seeing these things in person, and how good the reviews are. The Home Server blog points out that the HP MediaSmart Server is topping Amazon, with the 500 gigabyte version, selling for $570 (thirty dollars off), running as #1 in Computers and PC Hardware, and the 1 terabyte version, selling for $710 (forty dollars off), running #2 in the category.
Microsoft has just made available a free trial of Windows Home Server. The 120-day evaluation disk will only cost six dollars to ship, and give you four months to see if Home Server brings you enough benefits. If it does, the full version will be completely worth whatever it costs, though I’m not sure if you can buy the license from Microsoft or if you just need to head to Newegg. Either way, if you wanted to see whether the hype is a good fit for your house, pick it up now.
What will you receive?
Windows Home Server Installation DVD
Windows Home Server Connector CD
Home Computer Restore CD
Are you ready?
This software is intended for evaluation purposes only. In order to preserve your existing data, you must backup prior to installation. The setup process for server installation will erase any existing data.
Microsoft is holding some webcasts helping users learn more about HP’s MediaSmart Windows Home Server, the flagship Home Server hardware product that will be arriving one of these days. HP will demo the server, plus Rob Enderle, Rick Doherty, Paul Thurrott, and Ed Bott will be talking and answering questions from the audience about the marketplace and why home servers are needed.
Here are the times and scheduled industry experts for the live webcasts:
- Thursday, November 8th
4:00-5:00PM (PT), 7:00-8:00PM (ET)
Rick Doherty – Envisioneering
- Friday, November 9th
1:00PM-2:00PM (PT), 4:00-5:00PM (ET)
Rob Enderle – The Enderle Group
- Tuesday November 27th
10:00AM-11:00AM (PT), 1:00PM-2:00PM (ET)
Paul Thurrott – Supersite for Windows
- Thursday, November 29th
8:00AM-9:00AM (PT), 11:00AM-12:00PM (ET)
Ed Bott – ZDNet
Microsoft put up a Flash site running you through a house that’s been all tricked out, thanks to Windows Home Server. The house has an HP MediaSmart Home Server, home automation control on the living room lamp, backup for all its photos, streaming to an Xbox 360 and a wifi synced Zune keeping the boombox fresh with new music. There are videos and simple explanations of all the Home Server advantages, so check it out.
(via the Home Server blog)
The Windows Home Server blog discovered a nice bonus when one of their guys hooked up a new DirecTV high definition DVR set-top box: The boxes stream music and photos from Windows Home Server. If you’ve got a DirecTV HR-20 box and a Home Server hooked up to your home network, a new beta service developed with Intel will stream to your TV from the Home Server, and possibly from any Windows Media Connect-compatible client.
While it isn’t as good as a Media Center Extender, it is an easy way to get some extra streaming hardware if you are already a regular DirecTV customer. If enough products people are getting for other reasons work, with no effort on the user’s part, with Home Server, then Home Server becomes a lot more valuable.
Four Windows Home Server tidbits:
First off, Home Server is on sale right now at OEM resellers, with Newegg selling it for $190. ClubIT has it for $180, ATACOM for $173. If you’ve been looking to build a Home Server, now’s your chance, especially since Microsoft’s hardware partners have been, to say the least, unreliable.
We Got Served has a list of Windows Home Server add-ons, including one that lets you install anything as a service (so it runs without a logged in user), a download manager, a Windows Mobile connecter, a Windows Mobile wifi music streamer, a Recorded TV manager for use with Media Center, and a Tivo connecter, among others.
There’s a new toolkit for Home Server, a console add-in which helps you troubleshoot the server, tweak Remote Access settings, run server storage diagnostics, reset and erase the entire backup database, tweak backup notifications, send log files, run a command prompt, and troubleshoot your connection to the server.
Finally, I’m just about ready to load up my server, with the RAM I’ve been waiting on finally bought last night. I’ve got the RTM software lying on my desk, ready to be installed, and it should be fun reviewing Home Server and seeing what this baby can do. I’m excited at the possibilities.
TechData is selling Windows Home Server OEM software at its lowest price yet, just $161. Of course, they won’t have it in stock until late this month, and they don’t expect more than fifty copies, so try some other places if you’re in a rush:
- $185 at eCost
- $189 at Newegg
- $179 at Compumusic
- $199 at PCs for Everyone
- $181 at Alvio
- $165 at CostCentral
- $169 at Chumbo
- $166 at Monstronix
- $172 at FadFusion
- $167 at Unistorage
- $165 at Etech4sale
Find any better prices?
I actually just got my copy of Home Server from Microsoft, and I’ve got the perfect computer for it. Problem is, it’s light on RAM, so if anyone has some 168-pin non-ECC RAM, sticks of 512MB-1 gigabyte that they don’t need or would like to sell me for cheap (or trade for DVDs and others stuff), it’d be a huge help. Use the contact form and please let me know.
Microsoft shipped the anticipated first update for Windows Home Server, which enhances the usability, out-of-the-box experience, firewall issues, remote access troubleshooting, help with creating user accounts, and improvements in backing up computers that disconnect from the network. They even removed the need to enter the product key if Home Server shipped with your computer and removed the need for a reboot the first time your restore a single file.
They’re also talking about Update Release 1, the next update for Home Server. They will be alternating major and minor releases, with the current release a major one and URI being a minor one, expected for November. Read more about it from Mary Jo.
The winners of the first Code2Fame contest for Home Server add-ins were announced, with Andrew Grant picking up first prize for Whiist. Whiist lets you put HTML pages on a Home Server and run it remotely as a regular web server, and drop photos into a folder to be able to view them over the internet. Second prize was a service for backing up your Home Server to Amazon S3, and third prize was an add-in that pulls text, audio or video from RSS feeds for sharing to Home Server connected devices.
Microsoft has gone and hired Doug Berrett, developer of WebGuide. WebGuide is an amazing piece of software that lets you access Windows Media Center (XP or Vista) from a web browser, letting you watch live TV and recordings, schedule new recordings, access music and pictures, all over any internet connection, and do pretty much the same thing through Windows Mobile as well. It’s amazing, and it is now 100% free!
Microsoft hired Doug to work on Media Center development (though not related to the things WebGuide does), so he wrapped up development and removed the $18 price tag. Active development of WebGuide is over, which is a shame, so hopefully someone will think about doing open source updates, though the software is pretty excellent already. Download WebGuide now that it’s free and see what the fuss is about.
Interestingly, there is a recent beta of WebGuide for Windows Home Server. Hopefully Doug will let someone else complete the project, because that is too damn useful to not be finished.
(via Download Squad and Neowin)
Microsoft announced that a significant update to the Windows Home Server operating system is currently being prepped for delivery via Windows Update before the end of the month. Even though Home Server hasn’t been sold to any users yet, Microsoft was able to identify a number of improvements to the usability and user experience of Home Server that it can ship quickly, so new Home Servers and installed servers will be gifted with these improvements.
Weâ€™ve identified a number of ways to make the product even better since the initial release. As with most Microsoft products, updates to Windows Home Server will be automatically available throughout the lifecycle of the product and the WHS team is working on an update that will be available in September. These updates will enhance the usability and improve the out-of-the-box experience of home server solutions.
PC World quotes Microsoft, which says:
Microsoft says the updates include fine tuning of the out-of-box experience with added prompts and dialog boxes guiding consumers through the setup process. Other enhancements include more reliable remote server access, automatic router and firewall setting tools, and enhancements to synchronizing features.
HP, a company that seems to always have all sorts of problems, has announced that it will delay its MediaSmart Home Server by an extreme amount in order to deploy the update. This is almost certainly an excuse the company is making due to some sort of screw-up on its part, masking problems with its hardware by blaming Microsoft’s update, deciding to delay hardware due to a simple software update for three to five months.
If I were Microsoft, I would be extremely angry at HP right now. Microsoft’s promotion for Home Server the last half year could have been called a big commercial for HP, which was its flagship hardware partner. HP’s awful delay decision is going to severely hurt Home Server and make it harder to succeed. Luckily, it will hurt HP even more.
There is a decent community of people who have been eagerly awaiting Home Server, and they won’t wait for January to get an HP. These people are going to buy Medion, MaxData, Chili Green, or they’ll just build one themselves. HP isclaiming the delay will be 75-120 days, which could make the holiday season (87 days away) but they are just as likely to miss it, based on this performance. Christmas is 112 days away, and a few days before that is a miss as well.
Next time around, pick someone more reliable than HP, like Asus.
Current estimated Home Server hardware delivery dates:
|Chili Green||October 2007|
|Fujitsu Siemens||November 2007|
Newegg has announced it will be selling Windows Home Server within mere weeks, and that depending on wholesale costs, it will probably retail for about $179-$189. That’s pretty much matching the low end of the pricing on international sites, though higher than I had hoped. I thought the U.S. usually got a lower price?
So, now that it’s almost here, are you buying Home Server and building a system (or turning an old system into something far more useful? If you plan on it, drop me a line and let me know of your plans. I’d love to feature the process here.
HP’s MediaSmart Server is the first one to be listed for sale, with Amazon, PCMall and others listing it. The sites have removed the price, but before they did, it was listed at $500 for 500 gigabytes and $750 for one terabyte of storage space.
Some specs on the system:
- 500 gigabytes storage for HP EX470 MediaSmart Home Server, 1 terabyte for HP EX475 Mediasmart Home Server
- Processor: 1.8GHz AMD Sempron 64-bit processor
- Hard drives: SATA 7200 RPM
- Warranty: 1 year parts/labor
- USB: 4 ports, one on the front
- Drive bays: 4
- Expansion capacity: Up to 6 terabytes
- Dimensions: 9.7 x 9.2 x 5.5
- Weight: 1 pound
- RAM: 512 MB of DDR2
- Network: Gigabit Ethernet
- One eSATA port
- Software (in addition to Windows Home Server operating system): HP Photo Webshare for photo sharing and sending to Snapfish for printing
The pricing of Windows Home Server hasn’t been released, and it never officially will be. Officially, there is no retail version of Home Server, just the version made for the system builder/OEM channel. Sellers of that version will probably not say what they paid for it, and Microsoft isn’t telling, so different stores will come up with different prices for the install disk.
What we do know is that a few places are selling Home Server, and this is what they are charging:
- $264 New Zealand, or $179.76 in US dollars, plus GSTax.
- $287.23 New Zealand, or $195.62 in US dollars, including GSTax.
- Â£75.94, or $150.32, not including VAT. Â£89.23 including VAT, or $176.62.
- â‚¬131,67 to â‚¬150 from eight suppliers, or $176.98-201.62.
- $229.96 Australian dollars, or $180.31.
How much will you pay? I can guarantee it won’t be higher than $175, except at price gouging online stores, and I expect the price to be $150 at most places. If the Europeans are getting a raw deal, then $125 might even be possible. At those prices, turning an old computer into a Home Server is going to look like a great idea.
The date has finally been cast down: August 27. That is the day Windows Home Server, the hotly anticipated new operating system for home media sharing and backup, will be released. While I doubt you’ll be able to walk into stores and grab a copy, online stores that stock OEM (PC manufacturer) versions, like Newegg, may have it for sale not long after. I’d love to finally know how much the damn thing costs.
If you’re planning on getting a Windows Home Server in a few months, you’ll be pleased to know the community is already hard at work creting add-ins for the operating system. We Got Served has a list of eleven already, and some are really cool, like the ÂµTorrent one, that lets your Home Server download from Bit Torrent networks, keeping the work off your main PC.
There’s also a TiVo publisher, which sends music, videos and photos to a TiVo in the house, Photosync (which we’ve talked about), which automatically uploads photos on the Home Server to Flickr, and WebGuide, which lets you stream your media from a Home Server, and can connect to Media Center machines to stream Live and Recorded TV over the internet.
Microsoft has shipped Windows Home Server, its operating system for boxes that sit at the center of a network and manage backups, security and remote access, and has done so with no delays whatsoever. Microsoft shipped an entirely new version of Windows Server, on time and apparently in great shape, and systems running off Home Server should be available to purchase this Fall, including two new manufacturer partners in Iomega and Fujitsu.
Credit for Home Server has to go to Charlie Kindel, who has been pushing for Home Server since 1999. According to the announcement blog post, when Home Server was greenlight 2 1/2 years ago, it was Charlie’s fourth attempt to get the project moving, hence the code name “Quattro”. Two and a half years to develop and test a new server OS is just amazing work, and it shows the strength of the team that built Home Server. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Rick Hallihan has a list of four Home Server add-ons some one just has to code before systems start shipping, including the truly brilliant idea of automatic backups of any USB memory stick that is plugged in, instantly and without any setup by the user.
Softpedia claims that Windows Home Server should be going gold in either August or September, just 1-2 months away. They base their assumption on the fact that the Home Server add-on contest, Code2Fame, ends August 31, and that it is supposed to coincide with the final release, as well as the Release Candidate of Home Server that came out 23 days ago. Not sure how right they are, but it could be.
I can’t wait to see Home Server systems being sold, and to try it out myself. My wife’s new PC is almost ready to go live, and I’m going to have it run half as a Media Center, half as a Home Server. Should be a fun exercise.
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