Windows Home Server "Vail" Launched In Beta

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News Posted: Mon, Apr 26 2010 2:33 PM
Windows Home Server is right there with Windows CE atop the list of"Microsoft's most under-appreciated operating systems." The OS has beenaround for a few years now, with HP's line of MediaSmart servers beingthe closest the system ever came to hitting the mainstream. A lot haschanged in the way people view media and consume content since WHSfirst launched, and it's about time Microsoft took it upon themselvesto give the software an update.

Today, that's exactly what is happening. The new version of WindowsHome Server has been revealed (code name "Vail"), and it promises tobring a bevy of new changes that'll surely appeal to anyone interestedin using a Windows-based system to effectively manage their media.Currently, the company is still actively developing the final product,but four major changes are apparent today:
  • Extending media streaming outside the home or office
  • Multi-PC backup and restore
  • Simplified setup and user experience
  • Expanded development and customization tools for partners

The company is making the public Beta available to download today, butit's only for 64-bit users. That's intentional, and moving forward, itsounds like 64-bit will be the supported architecture. Microsoftcautions users to install this on a secondary machine in case things goawry, and installation of Vail will require users to completely wipetheir machine first. Speaking of a machine, you'll need at least1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Also launched today is thenew SDK, which gives developers and partners even more ways tocustomize the OS and add new functionality and services to Windows HomeServers. If you have a spare machine laying around and want to dig intomedia management, why not give it a try? Microsoft's looking forward tothe feedback as they trot towards a final release.

Before we go too much further, however, we want to pass along a couple of very important hardware-related tips on installing the Vail Beta:

  1. InVail, we’re moving to a new underlying server platform that will onlyrun as a 64-bit OS. We do not recommend running Vail on a 32-bit PC orexisting Windows Home Server systems (even 64-bit Home Server systems)because there may be compatibility issues with some OEM drivers.
  2. Since it is still in ‘beta,’ please install the Vail code on a secondarycomputer as opposed to existing Windows Home Server v1 OEM systems (noteven 64-bit systems) If you do install the beta on an existing system,you may experience a number of problems, including the inability to runWHS v1 add-in applications (even those provided by OEMs). Installing ona secondary machine will help ensure the best possible user experience,and we would like your feedback on what this scenario is like.
  3. Installation of the Vail OS on a PC will also require users to wipe all data from that PC or device.
  4. Thehardware requirements for Vail call for a 1.4 GHz x64 processor, 1 GBRAM, and at least one160 GB hard drive. Full details and additionalrequirements will be posted on the Microsoft Connect download site.

Also,if you are a developer, this beta includes a new software developmentkit (SDK) that gives developers and partners even more ways tocustomize the OS and add new functionality and services to Windows HomeServers. Download the SDK here.

Soafter you check out all of the great features in this public beta,you’ll probably want to know when the final version of Vail is going toship. We’re not ready to discuss delivery dates yet. We want to shipthe best possible product, and as that old commercial went (sort of),“we will ship no Windows Home Server before it’s time.”

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We have a 12 part Vail Preview Deep Dive online today over at We Got Served. If you're interested in joining the beta, find out what to expect...

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Apr 26 2010 4:41 PM

>> right there with Windows CE atop the list of "Microsoft's most under-appreciated operating systems."

Who could under-appreciate Windows CE?!? That was the wonderful OS that MS said would make the Sega Dreamcast the ultimate gaming platform, right?

(The Dreamcast, which was discontinued after Microsoft released their own game console... which didn't use WindowsCE).

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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realneil replied on Tue, Apr 27 2010 10:09 AM

I CE what happened,.......

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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acarzt replied on Tue, Apr 27 2010 4:05 PM

In the video it mentioned media being available over the internet from you server.

I can see a lot of user getting their hands on this... not knowing what they doing... and have all of their media publicly available for everyone lol

I see a lot of unwanted media leaks coming soon lol

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moethelawn replied on Tue, Apr 27 2010 11:58 PM

My friend downloaded Vail at work and found out the hard way that he needed a 160GB hard drive.  Sadly being that we work at an IT department, we didn't have such a drive lol.  But supposedly you can stream videos to your Xbox 360 with this which is why he wanted to try it out.

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I just hope they make it more stable then their last outing! I guess we will have to wait fro the people who actually use it to give us that answer.

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