Improvements to the setup, interfaces, and add-ins include:
- Easier Setup: Now you can install the Windows Home Server Connector software on client PCs via the web browser, instead of having to pop in a CD on every PC as with the previous release of Windows Home Server.
- Dashboard Offers Better Control: Replaces and enhances the Windows Home Server Console, your main control panel to configure the Windows Home Server. See Figure 1 for an example.
- Easier to Access: A new interface, called Launchpad, is now available on all of the client PCs, such as Figure 2 shows. It provides simplified access your files and other Windows Home Server features.
- Enhanced Add-ins: Microsoft has made it even easier for developers to create add-ins for Windows Home Server, thus you might see even more add-ins become available.
- Backup the Backups: Enables you to back up the client PC backup database, including offsite or online storage, in case something happens to the Windows Home Server.
- Computer Backup Archiving: Lets you easily save a backup of a computer and restore to a new one; great when upgrading or transferring to a new PC.
- Mac OS X Support: Now there’s support for Mac OS X client computers. You can use TimeMachine on the Mac to set up automatic backups to the server or restore files from the server. Macintosh Launchpad also lets you use Remote Web Access and third-party applications.
Figure 1 This is an example of where you can access the Computers and Backup status and settings on the Windows Home Server Dashboard.
Figure 2 Example of the new client interface of Windows Home Server.
Enhancements to the backup features include:
Improvements to the remote access of your files, music, photos, videos, and other content via the Internet include:
- Enhanced Remote Access: Better customization, gadgets, add-in extensions, mobile access, and shared folders.
- Remote Streaming: Lets you stream your multimedia (videos, photos, and music) over the Internet to access it from outside your home. You don’t have to download the content first, such as with the previous version.
- Personalization of your Remote Access page: Gives you the ability to customize the default picture and logo of the page you and others see when remotely accessing your content on the Internet. You can also add links to other sites. See Figure 3 for an example.
Figure 3 Example of the web page you and others can see when remotely accessing the Windows Home Server via the Internet.
Connecting to your media has also gotten easier with the following enhancements:
- “Play To” Pushes Content to Devices: Now being DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible, it supports the “Play To” feature. This lets you play content to other DLNA-compatible devices (TVs, stereos, your Xbox 360 and more) from the Windows Home Server.
- HomeGroup Support: Supports the new HomeGroup feature of Windows 7, which helps simplify sharing on a home network.
- Enhanced Streaming Support: Supports streaming of more content than the previous version. If a device you’re streaming to doesn’t support the content, the Windows Home Server will automatically convert the video or audio files to a compatible format.
The Windows Phone add-in enables interaction with the new Windows Phone 7 mobile platform:
- Streaming Content: Lets you access and stream your videos, photos, and music to your Windows Phone 7 smartphone. View or play content stored on your Windows Home Server in the palm of your hand.
- Sharing Content: Enables easy upload of photos on your smartphone to your shared folders on the Windows Home Server.
- Monitoring Alerts: Receive alerts of issues that arise on your home network, and try to repair them from your smartphone.
Improvements to the storage functionality include:
- Shared Folder Data Migration: Enables you to more easily move shared folders on the server from one drive to another. This can help when organizing your files or if a drive becomes too full.
- Previous Versions: Lets you easily restore an accidently changed or deleted file or folder from a previous version.