Having access to a server offers network users all sorts of options and possibilities – with the minor caveat that building and maintaining one is really an exercise for only the geekiest to undertake. Eliminating this problem was the driving force behind Windows Home Server, which was announced back at CES 2007 then developed quietly behind closed doors, until now. After much anticipation and no public beta, it’s finally available… sort of.
Hewlett Packard became the first vendor to put out hardware preloaded with Windows Home Server on Monday with its MediaSmart Server. Although it can pre-ordered through major online retailers now, it won’t ship until later in November. A 500GB version of the HP MediaSmart Server goes for $599, while one with double the storage capacity – 1,000GB or 1TB – can be had for $749.
Windows Home Server gives users access to the features of having an ordinary server without needing the expertise to deal with it. They can share media files, set it to automatically perform backups every night, use it to detect viruses and malware on networked machines, and even stream media to other connected devices like an Xbox 360.
Those who want to try to Windows Home Server for themselves before investing in a machine can order a 120-day free trial from Microsoft.