Will You Buy a Windows Home Server?


To me, the most interesting thing to come out of Bill Gates’ CES keynote last night was the announcement of Windows Home Server. On paper, it’s enticing…simple setup and maintenance, one central location for all the files in the house, remotely accessible, print server, diagnostics of all home computers, expandable, central backup.

Jesse Lewin describes the unit:

As a small, headless box that lives on your network and in your closet, a Windows Home Server can quickly grow the pool of storage from which all of your shared files for each of your users lives. The backup engine in Windows Home Server also silently backs up the entirety of each machine connected to it every night. And because the data is always online, using the built-in remote access abilities, you’ll also be able to access your data from any machine on the planet.

For a house like mine, filled with technology that is a mix of leisure and business, a home server that promises to be plug & play easy seems almost too good to be true. There are already many options for servers and Media Center devices. What makes the Windows Home Server attractive is the apparent ease of use. High end geekery for the masses. I only wish it was platform independent for those of us who have both Macs and PCs in the same home.

Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite has a more detailed analysis of the launch announcement.

When these boxes start shipping from manufacturers like HP this summer, would you consider buying one? Do you think the technology will take off?



Like many things companies are offering these days, I don’t feel this is aimed at the hardcore geek set. As this thread points out, this isn’t the first solution to the problem and those that are capable might already have a solution. I have a mediocre solution currently. However, what this does is create an overall awareness of the potential to the masses. I know many, many, many people who could use something like this and do not have anywhere near the capabilities of creating their own, linux or not. I also think the tiny business (2-10 employees) will clamor all over this thing. Again, i see the benefit of this as not that it’s the first to market, but the first to mass-market this idea. And when customers start seeing the benefits of having a centralized storage repository, that does backups and makes data available to all, even more pre-configured, plug-and-play options will become available. I’m all for Buffalo Technologies, or WD, or whomever to start packaging their hardware with open source alternatives to M$FT. Microsoft’s offering will create awareness and I believe, demand. Then, lots of options for us Mac folks will become available as a result. THANKS UNCLE GATES, I APPRECIATE ALL THIS DOES FOR ME.

Adam Riggs-Zeigen

As someone that has zero linux experience this machine is entincing to me. Although I am not geek enough to build my own, I still understand the benefit of having a location where all of my pictures, videos and music can be centrally stored, remotely accessed, and automatically backed up. And I am willing to be there are others out there like me.

The question, then, isn’t how good is the idea, it’s how good will the execution be. Microsoft isn’t know for their ease of use so all of this is moot if its a painful experience to use.


Really, all that is exciting about this is that MS is the vendor. It’s been done before, and will continue to be, and there is no reason to care whether it is running a copy of MS server, Linux, or some other OS.

In that regard, it is a big concession from MS that the importance of the OS is dead or dying. The real question is why have all the bloat of Windows server to do something that could be easily done with Linux? Ultimately it comes down to whats the cheapest way to get the job done and I think in the long run gigantic proprietary OSs are not going to be the answer.


“So Microsoft packages a NAS with backup software into a nice shiny package and you are ga ga??!!! Give me a fracking break. These types of solutiuons already exist and some are low cost. Like Michael I have a home built NAS using the BSD based FreeNAS.”

Yup, I second that and have been using other methods (which could prove to be better) like FreeNAS for some time now. And SaMBa has never let me down in the past for my media which separates home from business server software.

Samba…Samba. Samba (in a chacha voice)….

CyKiller ranks it pointless!

Judi Sohn

Arseneault, for me it will come down to the OEM and what the community does with it. Would I buy an HP product? Llikely not. But I think the right company could do something really special with this technology, and it’s the beginning of what I hope is a trend of considering home data just as valuable as enterprise data. If it’s about plug & play client/server that isn’t entirely centered around audio/video, I want to know more. If someone can make a platform independent version, then I’m clearing room in my closet for it right now. ;-)


I’m also in the Linux/Mac camp for home computing, but coudn’t help but find interesting this offer from Microsoft. The feature set is right, the fact it’s headless is a big plus and the reported form factor adds to the coolness of the features announced.

What remains to be seen is whether it’ll suffer the same fate as other MS announcements in the past and become nothing more than a glorified Win98 pocketpc.

No, I won’t buy one, but if this is the start of a trend for other OSes in terms of providing a pre-configured home server, count me in. especially in this day an age where we archive thousands of high Mpx photos, home video footage and Gbs of MP3s… it just makes sense to go client/server… sigh… history repeats itself…

Judi Sohn

I know this won’t appeal to those that are already comfortable setting up their own servers, Linux or otherwise. But something like this may just bring things like central file systems and redundant backups to the mainstream once and for all. How many people are working from home with a flawed backup system? Too many to think about. That’s the part that I found interesting, even if I wouldn’t buy one for myself.


i dont see any interesting thing in that “home server” i am happy with my linux box, there is no place for windows in my house :-P

Island in the Net

So Microsoft packages a NAS with backup software into a nice shiny package and you are ga ga??!!! Give me a fracking break. These types of solutiuons already exist and some are low cost. Like Michael I have a home built NAS using the BSD based FreeNAS.


Although it overall sounds promising, I don’t want to pay for something like this when there are many good “geeky alternatives” around.

I already run a Linux-thing in the closet (old hardware that’s been beefed up w. storage).

The server is available throughout the house as well as the rest of the world.
It’s used for file storage, print, music and a couple of other things
So, in comparison to the Microsoft-thing, I’m only missing the backup-part…which I think I’m pretty much capable of handling myself…

Conclusion: I think I’ll pass (again) on (another) “great” offer from Microsoft.

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