Windows Home Server team readies next 'UR1' release

Windows Home Server team readies next 'UR1' release

Summary: The first version of Windows Home Server (WHS) is barely out the door, but Microsoft already is readying another set of fixes to launch in November, as well as the next "minor" release, which it is calling "UR1," for Update Release 1.

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The first version of Windows Home Server (WHS) is barely out the door, but Microsoft already is readying another set of fixes to launch in November, as well as the next "minor" release, which it is calling "UR1," for Update Release 1.

Windows Home Server team readies next ‘UR1? releaseThe WeGotServed site served up a great Q&A last week with a few of the top execs from the WHS team. In what's becoming a trademark of the Windows Server team, the WHS officials were forthcoming with helpful guidance on what to expect from the team. Todd Headrick, WHS Product Planner, shared the following tidbits:

  • The WHS team, like the Windows client and server teams, is alternating major and minor releases, going forward. The first release (rolling out in the coming weeks here in the U.S.) is "major." The next release will be a minor one.
  • The minor release is code-named URI, or Update Rollup/Release (choose your own "R" word) 1. No due date on this one ... yet.
  • The next interim fix/feature pack update is due out in November 2007. Microsoft just made its first WHS fix/feature pack, designed to supplement the first WHS release, available in September. Microsoft is pushing these updates to users via Windows Update.
  • The team has started planning for the next "major" WHS release. No word yet on features or due dates.
  • Some of the features and functionality that debuted in WHS (like Drive Extender) potentially could make their way back into other future Windows releases.
  • Will Microsoft add 64-bit XP and Vista PC support to WHS? XP x64: No plans, "due to the tiny installed base." The team is coding and testing an x64 Connector for Vista PCs, however. No date yet on when that will ship.

In response to a question "we've been asked about more than a few times," Microsoft hasn't ruled out completely the idea that Windows Media Center and WHS could become integrated into a single product, Headrick said.

"Time will tell – and please don’t infer that 'time will tell' means yes," Headrick said. "There are a tremendous number of complex issues that need to be resolved to make this simple question become a reality."

Topics: Software, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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24 comments
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  • Question to the WHS Team...

    Why isn't WHS integrated into Vista like it is in Linux?
    D T Schmitz
    • Have you used Vista?

      Vista has most of the features of WHS, but they are different products. WHS is intended for appliances. Although you can run WHS on a PC type machine, this is not the intended market. WHS devices, at least as I have seen them described, are more like a smart NAS than a PC, something small that you can place anywhere to handle file storage, automatic backups, and media server duties. They will not typically have a keyboard or display, but be configured and controlled remotely with a web interface, and interfaced with set top boxes for the TV. I have seen some interesting Linux based boxes, like the Mvix, for example, but they don't have the same feature set.
      itpro_z
      • No I haven't

        Hey, Thanks for the info itpro_z!
        D T Schmitz
  • RE: Windows Home Server team readies next 'UR1' release

    I really don't like the use of "team" in press information. Just a pet peeve of mine.

    How about team leader XXXXX says......
    DaveLG526
  • RE: Windows Home Server team readies next 'UR1' release

    I fail to see the use of this OS. Frankly. It's barely more than a glorified NAS, with less functionalities than MythTV.
    Meaning that you'd get more mileage, more client platforms support and lower price from a PC with MythOS installed.
    As such, I really wonder why updates to WHS are of any use.
    Mitch 74
    • WHS Use

      There have been a few good blogs on this OS and I think pros/cons have been pretty well covered. Speaking for myself, I ran an early beta on a spare box, setup 3 household computers and my work laptop through the connector...and incredible...it just worked great!

      All machines backed up consistently. Central file server removed all concerns of, "which machine is that latest batch of photos on". Remotely connected to that file server through web to access my data from anywhere. XBox connected and served video on first try. Added additional capacity in a blink with external USB drives. All data mirrored and protected. And the spare box just sits in a closet with no peripherals.

      All this in one evening of following simple directions that anyone owning multiple PC's and capable of networking them can handle. And that was an early, obviously incomplete beta.

      You cannot underestimate the value to be able to do all these geeky things to a potential market who has no idea about the non-Microsoft OS's.
      NoFlamesPlz
      • About the patch

        Whoops, I got caught in the same trap that most of the replies on this blog fall into. Adding 2 cents about the subject and forget to comment on the topic.

        As I said earlier, I ran an early beta of this but sorely wished for patches. However, while in beta, you kinda have to start from scratch with each new release which was something I wasn't willing to do until the final version.

        Now that I am anxiously awaiting my DVD, it is amusing that it will need to be patched while being brand-new. Hey, all the better I say. Sure, you have typical administrative issues to deal with, but remember the audience. This is not like worrying about how a patch will affect your corporate apps. I think it more akin to the patches you get on the XBox every time you pop in a "new" old game. Yep, I may be a bit naive but I feel the gains that are pushed in the patches outwiegh the potential problems.

        Cynicism is all and good, but wow, the idealists out there need to let up a bit.
        NoFlamesPlz
      • Not that what you say is untrue.

        But the same and even more or less can be done with other devices.
        (but do not have MS's name & marketing clout)

        For example,

        HP's Media Vault.... a low power Plug-n-Play appliance that has the same basic functionality and works with Linux & Mac as well as Windows and also operates as a multifunction Print server and is expandable
        http://h71036.www7.hp.com/hho/cache/415173-0-0-225-121.html
        http://reviews.cnet.com/external-hard-drives/hp-media-vault-mv2010/4505-3190_7-32104818.html

        It probably runs on Linux (or something not MS) and this is just one example, several other OEM's large & small have these.

        Then there are things Like LinuxMCE
        http://linuxmce.com/
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinuxMCE

        Or

        ClarkConnect
        http://www.clarkconnect.com/

        Or even

        Just Setting up a "dd" cron job on your Linux desktop or server to an external drive.


        Yes MS has name recognition but all the others really have better benefit & value.
        LazLong
        • A couple of points

          One, HP is one of the early adopters of this product. Don't know how that will affect their other box.

          Two, I haven't yet seen shipping units with pricing, so your comments about other devices offering "better value" is a bit premature.

          That said, the market is wide open for devices of this type. I now have several hundred GB of video on my PC, and would love to offload it to an appliance that would connect to my TVs through a simple, inexpensive set top device. I have yet to see the solution that I am looking for.
          itpro_z
          • In Responce.

            On Point One.
            I do not know either, but I would hazard a guess it will purposely replace this device, which is still & has been available for more than a year or two.

            On Two
            Neither have I, yet I have read of the possible prototypes (as the HP variant) and it using a more powerful & power hungry CPU and that plus its ver of Windows would or "might" make it more expensive both in initial cost & overall use. I could be wrong as it has yet to be seen, but I've heard estimates in the $500~600 range. (Of course there will be rebates & other marketing)

            Like I said there are the HP Media Vault, Seagate Mirra and many others that are available now or still.

            (there are also Linux mods for Mirra)

            There are also variety of Linux Devices & Servers
            See:
            http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT4936596231.html
            Specifically
            http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT5690634012.html
            And
            http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT2016997232.html

            and of course things like
            VLC (can be used with Win/Mac or Linux)
            LinVDR
            MythTV
            LinuxMCE
            Bacula

            and a ton of other tools either stand alone or that can be used in concert to make whatever you need.

            There is quite a bit out there if one is not stuck on only MS and for that matter WHS has limitations of only being administered via XP SP? or VISTA and only connecting to Xbox 360. (w/Media extender)

            With the others you are not limited to one platform or ecosystem.
            But if WHS fit your needs... Go for it...but it is not the Only or the Best for every situation. and that is what I had meant by better benefit & value other than just cost.. Which can go either way.

            I use an old Modded Xbox as the settop box and via the TV can get to LinVDR & VLC Media servers & the Web. Although a PS3, laptop or even a Network aware Settop box/IRD would work.

            Lot of Options if One is Into it..
            LazLong
          • True

            I am not sold on WHS, but do see a market for it. I have been looking at various solutions, such as the Mvix, which is Linux based, but would like to see two things: One, the inexpensive and simple LAN based set top box, and Two, a standalone media server appliance that is remotely administered. Something like a smart NAS interfaced to the set top box. The backup feature I don't care about, as I already backup my files in a variety of ways. I don't want another PC cluttering things up, just a NAS sized box that I can stick anywhere and forget. I have seen several of those, but where is the cheap set top box? I don't want an XBox 360 just for media play (I game on my computer, not the TV). I do want HD capability, but also want SD capability for my older sets.

            In the end, I'll probably go with something like the Mvix, which is at least small enough to carry around, and somewhat combines the server with the set top capability.
            itpro_z
          • Only You know what your need......

            Want, interest, situation & Budget may be.

            That Mvix (MX-760HD) seems to fit (most of) your desires?
            Seems at first just a little pricey since you have to add an Hard Drive, yet seems to have a great deal of functionality & what you may want.

            Not entirely clear on how it may "serve" to others (nodes/clients)
            (probably doable (routed) from your main box/switch?)
            or is a fancy client/node?

            I still have to read all of the user guide. PDF
            http://www.mvixusa.com/support/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=viewdownload&downloaditemid=13

            I hazard a guess you have multiple TVs (nodes) to which you wish to give access?

            Just TV access or your network & Web as well?
            As to TV, multiple sources/services & channels?
            To how many, concurrently?

            I only ask as that may change some of the possible solutions.
            But there are various inexpensive (& Not) "things" new & used and on Epay
            Will look and respond later
            also what is too expensive?
            LazLong
          • That's the problem

            What I want doesn't seem to exist yet. The Mvix is small, versatile, connected, and upgradeable, but not really a server. I could connect it to my PC and download content to play at the TV, but it doesn't interface with any other devices, so I would have to carry it from room to room. By the way, Newegg has bundles where you basically get a free hard drive, making the price attractive.

            My perfect system, though, would be a small appliance type server, hidden away in the basement, with a TB or so of storage (upgradeable, of course), that accepts external hard drives for backup, and works with small, inexpensive set top boxes for play back. I could put those in every room that I wanted. Finally, it would be nice if I could interface it with a digital recorder on my satellite receiver, allowing me to transfer recorded content to the server. Talk about video on demand!

            Really, is that too much to ask for?
            itpro_z
  • Another version of Windows to have at home????!!

    Are they trying to drive people away???

    I have been a devoted Microsoft OS user and advocate, but this just makes me want to use linux. What features of the other home versions will microsoft pull out in order to force users to buy Windows Home Server??? Come on!!!?
    I have an idea let's come up with the Windows Super Home Server edition that includes things like file and sharing, music and video streaming, other neat home network features and works better for people with bigger houses. Come on!!!!
    Brakiss
    • Uneducated opinion?

      Based on your post it appears that you know nothing about WHS. Why don't you go and research what it is before you start complaining about it. If your to lazy too I'll give you a quick and incomplete summary. WHS provides automated complete PC backups with quick and simple methods for recovery in the event of PC failure. This is something the average consumer *needs* that they don't have.
      mmadink
      • you must be right

        For some reason I thought you could schedule backups through Vista or use the 'Backup or Restore Wizard' in XP.

        And I also thought system restore and creating a windows repair/recovery disk was an available option within XP and Vista itself.

        My assuption is these work within Vista and XP as they are present. But what you're telling me is this is all new in WHS, so 'my bad'.

        I will now close my stupid unedumacated mouth. But go ahead and fork out another $$$ for all that extra functionality smart guy.
        Brakiss
        • Uh.. Think it through for a second...

          [b]For some reason I thought you could schedule backups through Vista or use the 'Backup or Restore Wizard' in XP.

          And I also thought system restore and creating a windows repair/recovery disk was an available option within XP and Vista itself. [/b]

          There are indeed options to back stuff up in XP and Vista (and, for that matter EVERY other version of Windows since 95)... BUT... How often do they actually get used? Seldom to never.

          Why? Because it's a hassle. Where exactly are you going to back your 40, 60, 80, 120 or larger hard drive to?

          Floppies? You've got to be a masochist.
          CDs? Ditto the floppies.
          DVDs? Let's see.. 10 DVDs to back up a 40 GB HD. 20 to do an 80 GB drive. You've gotta be fairly well off, not to mention have NOTHING better to do.

          Plus, none of those media are natively supported by the Windows Backup apps.

          So you say, a removable hard drive. Ok. That's doable. But how often are you going to sit down and actually DO it. It still takes a LOT of time.

          Enter Windows Home Server. You install the client. You let it do it's backup in real time. Eventually, it will make a full backup of your hard drives. Plus, it's got a remarkable feature that NO other backup strategy has - it backs up only ONE copy of any given file. So if you're backing up 5 machines, and each one has a copy of say, VBRUN600.DLL, there's only ONE copy of the file taking up space on the WHS backup drive.

          In addition to that, it's got the ability to restore a complete system from the bare metal. If your hard drive takes a dump, pop in the boot CD, fire it up and it will restore the hard drive over the network.

          Neat huh... Show me a Linux solution that can do that.

          In addition to that, you've got the drive addition trick thing - plug in any drive and it automatically adds that volume to the pool available to the network. No more multiple drives. Just one shared volume.
          Wolfie2K3
          • Dag nab it... hate when that happens...

            Really hate it when I hit the wrong button...

            Now where was I..? Oh yah.. The drive thing.

            You complain that WHS doesn't have the functionality of MythTV. Nor should it. It's an appliance. It's suppose to be set up in a corner somewhere and allowed to do it's thing. You're not supposed to be recording and watching TV on it.

            WHS's purpose is to be cheap insurance for when your main computer's hard drives spin their last and drop dead. It's there to do the mundane, DULL and UGLY job of backing your systems up - something MOST people don't do enough of.

            So sure... Beat the guy over the head because he dared say your opinion was uninformed. Your lack of knowlege on the subject already spoke volumes..
            Wolfie2K3
          • Small point...

            I agree with what you said about the backup, multiple drives, etc, but it is also a media server. Store your media content on it, and you can access it from an XBox or soon to be available set top boxes for playback on your TV. I have several hundred GB of media content on my PC that I would love to offload to a small appliance server in the basement or somewhere and access from my TV (or PC) for playback. I won't know until these things actually ship, but they sound interesting to me.
            itpro_z
          • ummm......i didn't say anything about mythTV?

            I must be uninformed. I don't ever remember mentioning anything about mythTV?

            But to paraphrase WHS is glorified backup software?
            Brakiss