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First look at Windows Home Server

A deep look inside the pre-beta next-generation version of Windows Home Server.
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1 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The preliminary logo showing the codename of "Vail" with no other particular details.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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2 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Strictly speaking you're not meant to use the computer as a workstation, hence the warning.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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3 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Once you remove the warnings and check the Windows version, you discover that it's basically Windows Server 2008 R2 under the hood - which in turn is Windows 7 with "server features".
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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4 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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5 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The splash screen displaying the logo and the operating system codename.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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6 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The dashboard is all you should use for Windows Home Server, which has stark resemblance to the previous edition.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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7 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Remote Access allows you to access your Windows Home Server outside of the home by configuring a domain name and your router to allow it. Not all ISP's allow remote access though.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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8 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Depending on your ISP, this could be a very easy thing or an entirely pointless exercise. Check with your ISP first.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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9 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Getting your domain name setup with Windows Server Solutions Dynamic DNS allows you to have a free *.homeserver.net address. I configured mine with zd-zaw2whs.homeserver.net which has since been disabled.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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10 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
With this being a pre-beta operating system, not all functionality has been implemented yet. However we get an insight as to what may be coming later along down the line.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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11 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
User accounts are based on a family setting. Here you can see "Zack" being the parent, and the "Child" being the child, and allowing different access to different things - allowing the parent to be the administrator and not the child, obviously.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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12 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
HomeGroup is integrated to the server to allow Windows 7 libraries to be collated into documents, music, videos and other things.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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13 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Email alerts and reports will be implemented later on down the line, to ensure that the administrator is kept up to date with any going's on of the server and network.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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14 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Some basic features are not implemented yet, but will be shortly in future versions of this edition.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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15 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The draft specification of backup is in place, allowing you to backup the entire server to a portable or external hard drive. More work is needed though.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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16 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Windows-like properties are still available in this edition to make it clear to the administrator where the storage levels are, along with sharing permissions.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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17 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The check and repair offers many warnings at this stage, especially in regards to data loss. However gives the user an option to check the entire drives for errors and mismatches.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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18 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The check and repair offers many warnings at this stage, especially in regards to data loss. However gives the user an option to check the entire drives for errors and mismatches.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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19 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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20 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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21 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The server settings gives an overall look at the main points of the server, from general time/date settings to remote access, and media streaming settings.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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22 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The alert viewer acts like Windows 7's action center - alerting the administrator or user to issues which might put the server in danger or jeopardy.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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23 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The login screen hasn't changed much, but this is what you will see once you access your server through the homeserver.net web address from an outside location.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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24 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The home screen has many similarities to Windows Live Home (http://home.live.com), which makes the interface more welcoming and comforting to the first time user.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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25 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
You cannot use Firefox to access remote desktops, only Internet Explorer. Yet in this edition, remote desktops don't seem to be working yet. Could be down to a faulty installation though, of course.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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26 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The home screen can be changed and dragged and dropped to manipulate it to how you like. Hopefully in due time, you will be able to change the background and other elements of the home screen with your own customisable "gadgets".
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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27 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The shared folder management screen is easy and simple to use, offering you most of the features that Windows would ordinarily give you except in a web interface.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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28 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
If you are working remotely or want to upload files to your home computer or shared folder, you can easily browse and upload, or drag and drop if you are using Internet Explorer.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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29 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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30 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Downloading files from your remote location is very easy. Depending on the speed of your server's upload connection, it might not be instant, but it gently tells you when and what is going on as it happens.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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31 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The web interface also has an in-built right-click menu, making the transition from Windows to the web far more fluent.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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32 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
From first glances, the pictures area doesn't seem that massively different to SkyDrive...
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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33 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
... but once you get the message to install Silverlight, this makes you wonder what it has in store for you. Even if you cannot install Silverlight, the interface still works in a web-based xHTML fashion.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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34 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
But the effects of Silverlight are made clear when you are greeted with an almost-PhotoSynth array of photos and options.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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35 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
You can scroll through, pause or play the slideshow, modify certain bits of the picture through the web, shuffle the photos and go full screen.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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36 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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37 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Once you go full screen, it allows you to give an almost-PowerPoint like slideshow from your browser, anywhere in the world.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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38 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Again, music looks relatively boring and with little difference between the old and new Windows Home Server, but all is made clear when you select a track and hit Play.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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39 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
A popup window will appear in Silverlight, and offer you an interface that looks very similar to Windows Media Center. A playlist, music controls, and a background which is a collation of all of your music, that you can select and click on.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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40 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
You can add music to your playlist as it appears in the background, and save it as a playlist.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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41 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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42 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
As you can see, when a song appears in the background that you take a liking to, you can hover over it and it displays options on screen - playing it now, or adding it to the queue.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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43 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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44 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
You can have all of your media display in a nice, linear style with your ratings, durations and many other bits of meta data.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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45 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
If you type in a song or file name, the live search engine behind the scenes will display the results as you type.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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46 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Video offers very much the same dull first-hand experience, with the exception of a small play symbol when you hover over the thumbnail.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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47 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Once you do, a popup will display and there you have your video playing as and when it can buffer in sync with your server's upload speed. Quality depends on the bitrate and codec of the file, not the network speed.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.
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48 of 48 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
South Park - a classic episode, and the Silverlight player acts a lot like Windows Media Player.
For a first look at Windows Home Server "Vail", check out Mary Jo Foley's coverage on the All About Microsoft blog.To see a high-def video of the Windows Media Center-like features of the remote access web interface, view it here.

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