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Coming Home to Windows Server, Part 20

Sep 8, 2009 10:37 AM, By Eric B. Rux


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It seems like it was just yesterday that we were talking about Windows Home Server Power Pack 2. Now it’s time to discuss Power Pack 3, and guess what? You get to participate! Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain.

The Windows Home Server Team has been busy trying to not only fix the little goofs in the software, they are also working to keep the product relevant in the ever changing world of personal computers. In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft is going to release a much anticipated version of its flagship product, Windows. Called Windows 7, this major upgrade to Vista will be released in October. With this new desktop product, Windows Home Server needs a few tweak to make everything fit together.

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Don’t get me wrong, Windows Home Server (WHS) is completely compatible with Windows 7. You can still backup and recover from WHS, connect to a Windows 7 workstation from through WHS’s remote services feature, and access all of your centrally stored files, etc. But Power Pack 3 (PP3) will make the integration even nicer.

For starters, PP3 will let Windows 7 know that you really are backing up your PC. Out of the box, Windows 7 will continue to remind you to back up your PC (using the built-in Windows 7 backup utility), even though WHS is taking care of the job for you. Once PP3 is installed and your Windows 7 client receives the new WHS connector software, this gap between backup utilities will be closed. Even though you are not using the built-in Windows backup utility, Windows 7 will understand that it is being backed up.

If you use your Windows Home Server in concert with a Media Center PC, you know about the improvements that PP2 brought to the table. Power Pack 3 extends this even further and now includes TV archiving support and even tighter integration with Media Center.

When you read the release notes for this Power Pack (or this article), you’ll notice that integration is a key theme. This is true for the next feature as well: Windows 7 Libraries support. Instead of having to search in multiple locations for your movie and music files, this new addition puts your local and remote media in one handy place—the Windows 7 Library.

The last major feature upgrade involves better support for those smaller laptops, called netbooks. These small, lightweight portable devices have taken the PC market by storm. (They’re selling like hotcakes). Unfortunately, the Windows Home Server Console doesn’t show up very well on the smaller screens. Power Pack 3 fixes this problem.

If you want to help test this new Power Pack (and use some of these features before your neighbors get it automatically this fall), all you have to do is sign up and download the latest PP3 beta. Keep in mind that it’s probably not the best idea to run this software on your normal, everyday Windows Home Server. You’ll want to use a test unit instead. But what a great opportunity to use and provide feedback on software that hasn’t even been released yet. I’ll be running PP3 through its paces, and will let you know what I find.

Until next month, have fun with your Windows Home Server!



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