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Discovering Windows Home Server 2011

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Want to better protect, organize, and access up to 10 PCs at home or work? Eric Geier discusses the new features of Windows Home Server 2011, which can help you do just that.
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Microsoft’s Windows Home Server platform helps families and home-based businesses better protect, organize, and access up to 10 PCs. Based upon Microsoft’s enterprise-level Server platform, it gives the average user at home some of the powerful server functionally without having to be an IT expert. It enables centralized backup, health monitoring, file sharing, printer sharing, media streaming, and remote access.

Windows Home Server 2011, the second release of the product, will be in stores sometime in 2011. At the time of this writing, the Release Candidate edition is publically available via the Microsoft Connect beta program.

In this article, we’ll review the history of Windows Home Server, and review the system requirements and new features coming in the 2011 release.

Edition History

In November 2007, the first release of Windows Home Server hit stores, based on the enterprise-level Windows Server 2003 SP2 OS. It sells for about $100 for just the OS software that you can install yourself onto a compatible PC or $350 and up for pre-configured systems loaded with the software.

Between the release date and 2009, three major updates released, called Power Packs, similar to the service packs seen in regular Windows. This first Windows Home Server edition supports only a 32-bit processor on the PC that runs the server. However, the Power Packs added support of 64-bit processors for client PCs running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

In February 2011, the Release Candidate of the second versions, called Windows Home Server 2011 (code named “Vail”), was released. This release is based on the enterprise-level Windows Server 2008 R2 OS. It only supports the higher-performing 64-bit processor for the computer running the server. However, 32-bit and 64-bit is supported for Windows Vista and Windows 7 client PCs. Only 32-bit is supported for Windows XP client PCs.

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