Saying that Windows 8 is a major shift in strategy for Microsoft is pretty obvious at this point. Between the Metro interface, complete dismissal of the start menu, focus on touch screen devices, and myriad other changes; this is not the Windows of the Bill Gates era. One change which hasn’t received much discussion is the idea of Windows 8 being Microsoft’s next iteration for not only Windows 7, but for Windows Home Server.
One sure sign that Windows Home Server has gone mainstream: You can buy Lenovo’s IdeaCentre D400 at Walmart. The D400 is remarkably similar in looks and features to Acer’s Aspire easyStore, which you’ll also find on the big-box retailer’s website (yes, HP’s MediaSmart Server LX195 is there, too).
Intel’s Atom 230 processor appears to be the CPU of choice among mainstream home-server builders, since Acer, HP, and Lenovo have all tapped the 1.6GHz chip. Lenovo pairs it with 1GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory (the motherboard is capable of addressing 2GB of memory, but there’s only one slot). The D400 ships with either one or two 1TB drives; the machine we reviewed was outfitted with two (thereby enabling Microsoft’s Drive Extender Technology to automatically duplicate shared folders across multiple drives). That leaves two internal, hot-swappable, 3.5-inch bays for future expansion.
LaCie is hitting CES hard right out of the gate announcing a new LaCinema device, network server, and Wuala USB drives. The new LaCinema Mini HD is a DLNA compliant media player capable of 1080p output via an HDMI port. The Mini HD has an internal hard drive that can be loaded up with content over the network or by way of the USB port. It will support 802.11n Wi-Fi and most codecs including DivX, MKV, and AVC.
Next up we have a network server that LaCie is just calling Network Server.It will support five drive bays, gigabit Ethernet, and runs Windows Home Server. Customers will also have access to LaCie’s Wuala backup technology, but no details were available at the time.
Finally we have the new line of CoolKey and WhizKey USB keys (that actually look like keys). They are only USB 2.0 instead of SuperSpeed USB like many devices we’re likely to see around the CES floor this week. LaCie did sate the drives would be capable of 30MB/s transfers and are waterproof. They will be available in sizes up to 32GB. They also come with 4GB of Wuala web storage for two years.
Your PC’s hard drive is probably packed to the platter’s edge with hundreds of ripped DVD videos, gigabytes of digital photos from your camera, and tens of thousands of songs. And that’s not even counting the high-definition digital video from your last family vacation that you’re still planning to unload. But with terabytes of media just gathering dust on your desktop PC, you risk losing years of aggregated files when your hard drive inevitably gives out (don’t even think about backing it all up to the cloud). Our solution: Keep all your data backed up on a Windows Home Sever. More than just a generic NAS box, Windows Home Server maintains backups, streams media files, and works as a file share across your home network. And the best part is that you can build one yourself—we’ll show you how!
We’re going to get this out of the way up front. If you’re looking for raw speed, the MediaSmart isn’t for you. We’ve tested faster NAS boxes, but we’ve never tested a network storage device that delivers the same level of functionality as this little Windows Home Server-based wonder.
We’ve long encouraged our readers to embrace the power of a dedicated home server—we love the flexibility an always-on rig provides to host media, important documents, and other vital data. But, it’s not a simple proposition—XP isn’t particularly well suited to server duties, and setting up and maintaining Linux can be a challenge. That’s where Windows Home Server steps in.