On September 25, Microsoft is releasing publicly to customers its first update for Windows Home Server (WHS).
Microsoft already delivered the WHS update to Hewlett-Packard and its other OEM partners. Now it is pushing it out via WIndows Update to the relatively small number of customers who already have WHS systems.
Microsoft released to manufacturing the WHS code in July. The September 25 update -- which will be the first of what will be a series of ongoing product updates -- "will enhance the usability and improve the out-of-the-box experience for customers," according to a blog posting on the Windows Home Server blog.
Among the new functionality and features in this first update:
- The addition of a text message to the WHS Update step of setup, warning users not to reboot their WHS while updates are being downloaded
- An update to the WHS Connector Software and corresponding help files to help identify and troubleshoot issues with firewall software or incorrect proxy settings on home computers
- An update to Remote Access Configuration steps and corresponding help files for troubleshooting home network router/firewall and broadband providers' offerings
- More guidance around creating user accounts and passwords, including the improvement of User Accounts tab in the WHS console to provide additional information
- Updates to improve the backup technologies in WHS, so that users will be able to still back up their systems if a network interruption occurs
- A change to the product-key activation process. Initially, users were asked to enter their software product keys, which Microsoft has decided was an unnecessary step. However, customers who purchase "non-OEM-built" systems will still be required to enter product keys when configuring their WHS systems.
HP decided to push back the roll-out of its first WHS product in order to include this update in the MediaSmart Servers. No firm rollout date yet from HP, other than the WHS units will ship in time for holiday 2007.
Update: As my blogging colleague David Berlind notes, some of these WHS updates are pretty geeky and sysadmin-like to be pushing out to the supposedly non-techie audience at which WHS is aimed... At least the descriptions of what the updates include are on the geeky side. The actual updates seem aimed at simplifying users' experiences.)