Windows Home Server is quite possibly one of Microsoft's most unheralded operating systems. Many speak longingly of Windows XP, jokingly of Windows ME, disappointedly of Windows Vista, and hopefully of Windows 7. But seldom discussed is the little-known and little-used operating system designed to be installed on a home server and act as a central depository for serving media and other files, as well as a place to backup your home systems' files. For those who have used it, many praise Windows Home Server's functionality and performance--especially since Microsoft has made some significant updates to the OS recently. (Windows Home Server is actually based on Microsoft's Windows Server 2003.)
It is possible to purchase the Windows Home Server OS and install it yourself on your own rig: you can download or order a free 120-day trial of the OS from Microsoft here. Many users, however, choose to buy home servers with the Windows Home Server OS already installed. Hewlett-Packard (HP) was the first such vendor to provide a system with Windows Home Server pre-installed, with its MediaSmart Server series. HP was soon joined by a short list of other system vendors, including Niveus and Velocity Micro. A number of the existing Windows Home Server offerings are moderately priced, with several selling for well below $1,000. But until HP's just-launched, $399.99 (MSRP) HP MediaSmart Server LX195, none of them made it down into the true budget level.
HP MediaSmart Server LX195 Review