back to article Windows Home Server fixes bugs with Power Pack 2

Microsoft has rolled out the latest update to Windows Home Server (WHS) with today’s release of Power Pack 2. The minor update comes loaded with fixes for known bugs as well as a handful of tweaks to the product’s feature set. Microsoft has made improvements to remote access configuration, enhanced functionality for computers …


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  1. Jon Brunson

    Too expensive

    Make it free, and then you might be able to take a small slice of the Linux Home Server market.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Finally fixes bugs!?

    You say "Update Finally fixes bugs" and "The minor update comes loaded with fixes for known bugs"

    Yet the the only bug you can refer to is the news worthy one fixed by the last update some months ago. Have you even looked at (or are you even interested in) what this update actually consists of?

    If it had been an iPhone update you'd have been wetting your pants.

  3. Robert Taylor

    @Jon Brunson

    Actually, if you compare the specifications of several of the "Home Server" appliances out there you'll discover that devices such as the HP EX470 are *cheaper* than linux alternatives (make sure you compare like-for-like - the linux home servers tend to be very underpowered on the CPU front).

    Personally, I have had two linux home servers in the past (one a home-built machine, the other an appliance) and both have corrupted the entire storage beyond repair when attempting to extend the storage (thank god for backups). WHS has not corrupted any data, even pre SP1.

    Of course, you can re-purpose old hardware and put linux on them as a home server - that's obviously cheaper. I prefer the appliances due to their low running costs though (around 45W instead of the typical PC consumption of 350W+)

  4. soaklord

    @Jon Brunson

    Too expensive? Have you seen what you can do with a Windows Home Server? Could you please show me where I can find a linux distribution that will allow me to:

    Run an iTunes server like Firefly

    *Do nightly backups of my windows(and now Mac) machines

    *Allow me to use said backups to install on to larger hard drives when I upgrade

    *Give full access via VPN and web access if desired

    *Act as a print server

    *Act as a file server for Media Center Extenders (act as a file server period)

    *Allow for storage without having to worry about drive partitions

    *Allow for plugnplay addition of hard drives with instant addition to drive pool

    And here's the key point... Do all of the above without hours of setup time. While I am no sysadmin by trade, I am not completely computer illiterate and I still couldn't get a free linux distro to do all of the above after a month of learning curve. WHS was set up, running, and giving me peace of mind within 3 hours. The cost of time far outweighed the cost of money when it came to this particular project.

    Final note... You are getting most of the functionality of SBS 2003 for less than $100. That's not that expensive.

    Alright, bring on the freetards flaming my lack of linux Lenny skillz. I tried your dogma and found that it kept crapping all over my network. Mine's the one with WE GOT SERVED on the back.

  5. JC

    @ Robert Taylor

    With more flexibility, you have more chances to make your own mistakes.

    Kit without the windows tax is inherently less expensive, what you do with that kit is your decision, informed people know you can run new systems using less power and have it cheaper, it is not a choice of shiney new WHS versus some old box.

    Oh, and you are deluded. my 30W single-drive fileserver is modern, but even my gaming rig doesn't use close to 350W so get your facts straight.

  6. Tim99 Silver badge

    @Robert Taylor - Linux server

    At home, I use a previous version of the Excito server

    The new one costs less than 300 quid for 500GB. It works as a mail server, Apache web server, MySQL server, torrent server, print server and file server. It also runs Firefly, so we have all of our iTunes music stuff on it. The best bits are that it uses about 10Watts, is much smaller than the HP, is almost silent, and (in my opinion) looks a lot nicer.

    As it runs Debian, I grant you that you might need to know a bit of Linux to get the best out of it - We use rsync to back up everything from three client machines (Delta Copy should work for Windows clients).

    If you want to do a monthly bare metal backup/restore of a Windows PC look at Partimage and SystemRescueCD - It is very fast, and reliable.

  7. Cameron Colley

    @ soaklord

    Have fun with windows. But don't go running to anyone when yhou have problems.

  8. Simon Breden

    ZFS NAS: The safest option

  9. soaklord

    @Cameron Colley

    I have had my share of problems. But I find that I can run to a windows community just as fast as a linux community. And that the WHS community is VERY quick to help.

    And for the author of the article to say adoption was lackluster w/o mentioning that WHS wasn't on Technet or MSDN until the last couple of days, it wasn't part of the action pack until Oct 2007 is rather... telling.

    To be fair, the linux community was very helpful as far as they could be while I was pursuing that route, but I found the constant maintenance and breakage just too time consuming.

  10. Mark

    Linux vs Windows

    I think I must have awoken in a parallel universe. Linux losing and corrupting data? Software RAID 5 using mdadm on Ubuntu works perfectly. rsync backs things up. The likeliest route to failure for a Linux server is

    1. A user who doesn't know WTF they're doing.

    2. Hardware failure.

    I have never in my life had to do so little maintenance on a machine since I setup my Linux home server. It just sits there and works. I wasn't a Linux geek but a bit of time searching the ubuntu forums yields great results.

    WHS should be used by those who want point click and problems. It's MS and you know where that gets you in the end. If you want zero knowledge computing you should have paid extra and bought into the Apple universe. It's built on a *nix/BSD base and far more secure.

    For the record mine is running firefly, webmin, <bittorrent variant>, SAMBA and anything else I choose to add for free. I also stopped running desktop Windows due to the maintenance overhead.

    I just can't see how backing up data from a flakey bug riddled malware attracting OS to a machine running a different OS from the same vendor really makes sense. At least XP/Vista to Linux offers protection against the spread of malware. You just know the "access your data anywhere" part is going to end in tears.

    Before anyone points out it's based upon Windows Server 2003 sp(?) - I know, but the primary reason their server OSes tend to be more secure is that they don't have home users dicking about on them. This one does so all bets are off.

  11. Anthony

    Re: Linux vs Windows

    So you are saying Windows 2003 is probably OK, but users will cock it up when the screw around with it? As opposed to Linux which a user can equally cock up as they have even less idea what they are doing? Oh the RAID failed ... it must be the users fault ...

    If the user really doesn't know WTF they are doing surely they should actually be using WHS as it works out of the box (and is pretty secure) without any messing around? You've got to realise, it is actually a tiny minority of people who give a flying fuck about how these product work.

    Sure soaklord is silly to say "but can linux do this?", of course it can. But to come and critisize a WHS service release without knowing anything about it, let alone using it, just seems a bit sad. There is nothing wrong with Linux, but WHS also does a very very good job at backups and can also do the other stuff mentioned (at not much cost and all with it's 'silly' point-and-click interface).

  12. Jon Brunson

    I think I started something here

    I have one (serious) question I'd like to ask:

    If you've got a home server, what are you backing up from your desktop machines? Surely all your data is on the server? Otherwise what's the point?

    Everything of mine is on my server box; pictures, music, video, documents, everything. The only think I can think of which I'd need to back-up from my desk/laptops is saved games from the likes of Spore, Half-Life, or whatever. Am I alone in this? Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing something?

  13. Scott K

    @Jon B

    Maybe you are putting all your trust in one box :) just a thought what backs up the backup?

    And WHS is great at what it does shame I have to keep messing about with it to get it running right, powerpack 2 might help me get it stable though :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ONLY advantage Windows has...

    over Linux/BSDs is the abundance of technical books written to walk a user through doing just about anything possible with a Windows server. Well, I lied, most people are more familiar, comfortable, with the Windows interface.

    I, for one semi-technically literate person, have been moving to Ubuntu while I'm very patiently picking away at OpenBSD.

    It is, however, my belief that most home users are not interested in using anything more difficult to set up than clicking a few icons and having a product just work. So, for WHS or any other server OS to get any kind of market penetration it will have to be that easy to use OR at least marketed as such.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    WHS - Good Product!

    I have WHS running here. Wouldn't be without it. If you leave client PC's switched on (usually overnight, but you can set the backup window to anything), it will wake the PC's one by one and perform a backup. That includes laptops if you have a roaming PC which you carry around.

    It's a smart backup too. Only one copy of any file on the client network is backed up. It then keeps a database of where that file is used, so the footprint for (say) 5 PC's is hardly bigger than the footprint required for one.

    And if one of your client PC hard drives goes pop, install a new hard drive, boot from supplied CD, and it will rebuild the entire PC across the network from the latest backup straight onto bare metal. No faffing around inserting tapes or CD's.

    Microsoft might puff and blow a bit, but they've done a great job. And Paris because I wouldn't want her to do a puff job.

  16. Jon Brunson

    @Scott K

    I back-up my server about once a month to a USB-Drive which I keep at my parents. I imagine the same should go for anyone else - no good backing-up your desktops to a server in the same physical location. Although hardware failure is more likely, I'm more worried about a fire wiping out my entire life-times collection of photos than a disk failing.

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