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Windows Home Server | An introduction to Windows Home Server

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“So what exactly IS Windows Home Server and why would I want (or even need) a ‘server’ in my home or small office? “

Thanks to HP for pic.

Great Question!

As our lives have become more and more digitized in the way we create and store files,  music, photos, and video, there have been a few solutions out  there to create a centralized storage location for this data to enable the home (or small office) user to access them from any location. While many of these solutions are simply NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices that support the UPnP protocol to facilitate the sharing of media over a LAN, there are a few solutions that stand apart from these rather basic devices.

One of these solutions, and my favorite at this point in time, is Windows Home Server (WSH).  WSH is much more than a NAS solution, providing the following services:

  • Media Server: Store and organize digital memories and media in one central location. Stream the digital content to Media devices.
  • Backup Software: Home computers backed up daily, automatically
  • Data Recovery: Simple restore of lost files or even entire hard drive contents in a few steps.
  • Document Management: Complete access to files from both inside and outside the home
  • Remote Access: Share photos and home videos with friends and family with the built-in secure and personalized website address.
  • Add-ins: Easily extend the capabilities of the Server using software add-ins. Expand storage capacity easily as your needs increase.

From this brief summary, we have just begun to barely scratch the surface of the power behind Windows Home Server.  The ability for each workstation or laptop within your home to be able to have access to ALL of your media in one central location via Windows Media Center (or any other UPnP compatible media player) is certainly a cool trick, but it’s when you really get into some of the add-ins that are available to WSH like “My Movies” for example, that things really start to shine!  Combine that with the ability to simply install new hard drives to your server as your collection grows and have WSH automatically add them into the system, duplicating the data across multiple drives (creating redundancy), and you can see how this truly is a robust system! Lest we forget, you also have the ability to have each one of your windows based computers backed up nightly to the server.  If you lose a hard drive, you simply boot off of a special CD and restore your system to the most recent backup!

So while having a “server” in your home may seem a bit over the top for some people, I hope we’ve been able to put your mind at ease at least enough to consider integrating Windows Home Server with the rest of your home technology!

Keep checking back with us because we are about to blow the top off of the Home System Integration world and show you how to do things like build your own WHS, or…at the very least, buy one (HP MediaSmart pictured above) and be able to install it yourself!  We will share with you the shortcuts and lessons we’ve learned while playing with WSH as we also count on you submitting your ideas, shortcuts, and any other brainstorms!

Stay tuned….

[via Microsoft]

About the Author

BillyPut simply, Tom (a.k.a Billy) loves technology! He’s been involved in the IT world since leaving the Navy in 1992 and has moved his way up to the top on the systems engineering side. After taking a short deviation into home automation, he’s never been able to shake his love for creating an environment of complete integration at home. If there is a way to make the various systems in his home more seamless (even if they weren’t originally meant to talk to each other) he’s up to the challenge of figuring out how to make it work!View all posts by Billy

Setup & Integration of Home Technology: Home Theater - Home Server - HTPC - Home Networks