| By Woody Leonhard |
As a card-carrying member of the ‘Association of Windows Victims,’ I never believe Microsoft’s hype about software that’s still sitting in the hopper.
But I’ve been playing with the beta version of Windows Home Server for quite a while, and even though the final product isn’t due out until the end of the year, I’m impressed.
Not another Windows Server, puh-lease
When I first heard that Microsoft was working on a version of Windows Server that’s dumbed down to be used by mere mortals, I let out a groan. Literally. Years ago, that was the original premise behind Windows Small Business Server — a version of Windows Server for people who don’t wear white lab coats.
I don’t want to burst any bubbles here, but if you think that the typical Windows user can handle Small Business Server (SBS) solo, you’ve been drinking too much Kool-Aid. I worked on the first beta versions of SBS, and I carry the emotional scars to prove it.
Why in the world, I wondered out loud, would Microsoft slash away at Windows Server again, this time trying to convince folks that a typical home user could make heads or tails of it? I mean, installing Exchange Server on your home network is like parking the QE2 in your driveway. The average home user needs Windows Server (and its ubiquitous security holes) like a jogger needs a wheelbarrow.
So it was with great trepidation, and more than a little skepticism, that I installed an early beta of Windows Home Server on my own home network. I came away more than a little amazed. If you haven’t heard much about WHS yet, you will. If you don’t think you could possibly use a version of Windows Server in your home, you may change your tune when you see what it does — and what it doesn’t.
The six pillars of WHS
Forget for a moment that Windows Home Server is based on Windows Server. That will put you in the right mindset. Think of the WHS computer as a black box that you plug into your network’s router and promptly forget. No monitor. No keyboard. No Active Directory with LDAP attribute objects that keep you on the phone with your network consultant at a hundred bucks an hour, or pulling out your hair for hours on end. Just a box.