Server Technologies:Windows Home Server

I started using Windows Home Server about a year ago. I’ve found it to be very useful and helpful on my network at home. My home server hosts my network printer allowing easy access and driver installs on any system on my network.  I also keep all archived TV episodes on there providing quick connectivity and easy storage for my Windows 7 Media Center PC. Here are a few more main features:

  • Automatic system backups: With the installation of the connector software on your home PC’s your WHS will back them up on a nightly basis.  The backup process keeps 1 monthly backup for 3 months, 1 weekly backup for 3 weeks and the nightly backups for 3 days (default settings).  The backups are designed to allow bare metal restores of your PC’s.  If any of your computers die, stick in the restore CD and you can restore directly from your home server.
  • JBOD type hard drive setup:  All Hard drives that are installed in the home server are dumped into one pool of disk space.  This allows you to mix and match any size hard drive, internal or external.  It still maintains redundancy but on a per folder basis.  If a folder is setup to duplicate, the server makes sure there is a duplicate copy of all contents within the folder.
  • Automatic web access and Dynamic DNS:  If you want to use the feature, WHS can setup a dynamic Domain name and keep it in sync with your home IP address allowing you to access your server files from anywhere in the world.
  • Unified file repository:All your files as well as your families files can be accessed directly off the server over the network. Permissions can be setup per user or you can setup a general guest account.

Home servers come pre-packaged or home brewed. You can pickup a Home Server disk off Newegg or you can look for a pre-built, pre-installed WHS package.

If you want to give WHS a free try, head over to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/eval.mspx and try it out.  Microsoft provides a free 30 day trial.

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