About several months ago, I have participated Windows Home Server Beta Test. It's a Windows 2003 tweaked for home use as its name. It works pretty well--duplicating data, organizing, and backing up all PCs in home network. However I don't know if it's worth $199 or more--as rumors. $150 should be very interesting price point for this OS though. Yet what I really like in Home Server is:-
1. Automatically backup all of your PCs in the network: automatically means truly automatic, you don't have to do anything--just leave the computer on, the home server will communicate with all PCs and synchonize the hard drive to its storage--all data really. If you are one of the fan of Norton Ghost, I bet you will love this Home Server because not only backup automatically, but also restore pretty easy and fast too--using Windows Home Server CD and boot it in the program. Then choose which partition is the one. After 20-25mins, it's like time machine.
2. Remote access to any computer in home network; this feature is really useful not only sharing the file over the Internet but also making the remote connection to *any* PC on home network too. This really makes people so convenient to do whatever they want like they sit in front of their own computer at home. Kudos to Microsoft for livenode.com domain (eventually changing to homeserver.com for RTM version and later) to synchronize the home network IP intelligently, so we don't have to use DynDns or No-IP anymore :-P
These two features above are what I really like about WHS; however, there are what I don't like as well--maybe it's what it should included in WHS.
1. Backing-up-over-network really makes other works get slowly and waste a lot of time. I don't know whether I am exaggerate or not but I really feel it. So I set WHS to back up other computer around 1am - 3am which is not effecting my work. There is still a problem left which is you have to pay your electrical bill more a bit :-P If WHS can wake other computers and shut them down automatically, it should be ideal. Just to wake up it should not be a problem much but to shut them down after finished backing up might be a bit hard. I hope there will be a solution for this soon.
2. Requiring such a complex password. This is what I really hate about WHS. Since it requires all computers to use the same user and password as the ones in WHS, all users in desktop and laptop have to have complex password as well. That's really suck idea for home network! I don't care about security much in home network because I want all my family to use computers easily--I don't think my mom will try to remember such that complex. This rule is just not suitable for most ordinary people :-P I don't think everyone at home is computer geek though.
note: there is a way to trick this as well but it's just not practical >> link here
3. I really like WHS included Media Center!! The thing is I don't want to leave all my PCs on, so this solution should be great idea; maybe it's just only working on recording by schedule; it doesn't have to broadcast live TV on this machine. Therefore, it will not handle that much load. Media Extender will come to play another rule Oh, please I really like to have this.
note: there is SageTV 6.26 RC - Stream Digital Media from WHS now; I will try and tell about it soon
All in all, there is a place for Add-in programs, I hope there will be programs that fulfill the lacking features very soon! So far so great, Windows Home Sever! This is really nice idea of organizing computers in your home. While I'm using RC right now, I always check and hope for OEM to hit NewEgg at the right price! Another thing is Home server products from any vendor should be really interesting, I can't wait to see it!'
check out more info at http://mswhs.com/