Update 9-June-2008: A public beta release of Power Pack 1 is now available. For details, see "Windows Home Server gets a big bug fix (and much more)."
This morning at CES, Microsoft announced plans to release a minor update to Windows Home Server, to be called Windows Home Server Power Pack 1.
The odd name (not a service pack, not a feature pack) reflects the unusual contents of this update, which will bundle bug fixes with a handful of new capabilities, including these three frequently asked for features:
- x64 Connector software Probably the most eagerly awaited feature is an update to the Home Server Connector software that allows it to install on systems running 64-bit editions of Windows Vista.
- Server backup features The Power Pack allows Home Server owners to designate an external USB drive as a backup device, allowing them to back up the server's contents.
- More control over backups On both 32- and 64-bit systems, a new option in the Connector software allows users to control whether the system will wake up from sleep to run a scheduled backup task. This option is especially useful for notebooks that are temporarily disconnected from the network.
Power Pack 1 is scheduled for release in the first half of 2008. Since I'm in Las Vegas right now, I can legally place my bet on April or May as the most likely ship date. You can take very short odds that the update won't ship before a fix for the data corruption bug that Microsoft acknowledged last month. A fix for that bug is in development now, but no one at Microsoft is willing to commit to a release date yet.
A release candidate build of the Power Pack software is in the hands of a limited number of beta testers now. (No public beta is planned.) I've had a chance to install it on a test machine in my office, where it's been running well. I've used it to back up and restore Vista x64 systems with no ill effects.