First Update for Windows Home Server Released

Windows Home Server (WHS), Microsoft's first-ever server for home use, gets its first update today.

WHS is designed to be an entry-level server for home users with multiple computers. It provides a central repository for documents, photos and other data, with centralized backup and management. It's made to be simple to set up and operate.

WHS, first announced to the world last January, was released to manufacturing on July 16. There was no official "launch" of the product. Since WHS is available through system builders, it's up to the OEMs to determine when WHS servers will be commercially available.

As of today, there appear to be very few available. None of the main system builders scheduled to have WHS products -- including Hewlett-Packard Co., Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Gateway Inc., Iomega Corp., LaCie Ltd. and Medion AG -- have WHS available, and a search turned up no WHS servers for sale. Microsoft's own WHS Web site also has no listings yet for resellers of the servers. Tech support for system builders became available on Aug. 27, so it's apparent that product should be coming soon.

Microsoft's WHS blog listed the updates to functionality:

  • "A text message has been added to the "Windows Home Server Update" step of the home server setup explicitly instructing users to not reboot their home servers.
  • The installation of the Windows Home Server Connector software can fail due to firewall software installed on a home computer. The Windows Home Server Connector software and corresponding help files have been updated to help further identify and troubleshoot issues with firewall software or incorrect proxy server settings on home computers.
  • Remote Access configuration steps and corresponding help files have been enhanced to help a user better understand and troubleshoot issues with their home network router/firewall and broadband provider's offering.
  • Based on feedback from our customers and partners we have made changes to provide additional guidance on creating user accounts and passwords on Windows Home Server. The User Accounts tab in the Windows Home Server Console has been improved to provide additional information and user education about user accounts and passwords to first-time users of the product.
  • Network interruptions may occur in a home network environment because of some connectivity problems. This update enhances the backup technologies in Windows Home Server, helping customers backup a home computer if a network interruption occurs.
  • The file system driver installation required to mount a backup on a user's home computer incorrectly reports that it requires a reboot to complete installation. A text message has been added to the Opening Backup dialog to ignore the reboot request.
  • Our OEM hardware partners pre-configure and pre-activate their offerings with a Windows Home Server product key. In the initial release, users were asked to enter a software product key, which was an unnecessary step. Customers who purchase non-OEM built systems will still be required to enter their software product key."

The update is available through Windows Update, and the blog entry indicates that OEMs and distribution partners have gotten the update.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].