What Could be Added to Windows Home Server?


A podcaster has posted what he thinks should be included in WHS. The 8 minute video can be viewed from above or from here with details on what he thinks are the potentially missed opportunity with Microsoft’s Windows Home Server product.


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  1. Matt S says:

    I see what the podcaster is driving at here, but the majority of what he says is around family safelty settings. Alot of this IS available, although not through WHS but Windows Live using OneCare Family Safety (http://get.live.com/familysafety/features). I have to admit that I am not really familiar with the technicalities of Active Directory as I am a user rather than an IT pro, but the idea of using the WHS to control the home network and user accounts, whilst interesting, seems to be a little way from what the WHS aimed to do – connect people to their info from anywhere, provide an always on media store and to keep everyones PCs backed up and safe whilst being easy to use and providing a platform for add-ins.

    There are perhaps some featues missing, and perhaps an active directory would have opened up more possbilities but the WHS can’t be all things to everyone, it needs to be focused on a single, or relativley few needs, and address these well, and as mentioned the biggest complaint here about family safelty is one already addressed by Microsoft with the Windows Live Suite already.

  2. Nathan says:

    Although the features he mentioned he would of liked included sound like brilliant ideas, i think it would moving away from where the product is aimed for.

  3. TheJudge says:

    I’m sure there are a lot of “unused” options within WHS. But the primary reason to release WHS is to give the masses a way to manage all of their “life data” i.e. picture, music, movies etc. To be a single storage location so all pc’s in the house can access this data from one place. Then back it all up each day.

    On that note, I hear a lot of statements like, “I don’t understand what MS is thinking. WHS is so dumbed down. It should have xxxx and XXX!” Since it does not have these things then WHS is junk or a stupid idea. WHS or any OS is not everything for everyone out of the box. Stay with me…

    No, like any OS there are ways to “Tweak” the system in line with one’s technical ability and one’s own special needs. Meaning, you buy the generic plain label box of cereal and then you add your own sugar and sliced fruit to make it tasty. Problem is that if I need a gourmet kitchen to make a bowl of tasty cereal, then I’m not going to bother with it. It has to be reasonably easy….

    Now, WHS is in its INFANCY at this point in time… Companies will need until next summer to come up with products and programs and set up info that can be easily implemented by say…my parents or hell…even me. LOL.

    Honestly, I have not seen anything out yet that even interests me other than what WHS came with…. Sure I’ve tried some programs and add-ins, but I’m down to Whiist, HomeBase and WHS tool Kit. I have Handy Backup running for remote FTP backups. I also built two first gen xbox’s with the XBMC softmod to stream my movies, pics and music to my TV’s and stereo! At this point, I have no other needs for WHS. It is GOD!

    As for the podcaster’s ideas…..He’s passionate and feels these things are a must have for WHS. I personally don’t have a need for a single one of his proposals. I don’t share his urgency. But that’s ok! That is what’s cool about this gig. You make WHS what YOU want and need it to be.

    So, SELL me on something cool that WHS can do for me that is a Must Have! Sell me on some ideas that are easy to implement that I can’t live without and not need to be an IT pro to implement…. I’ve heard all kinds of ideas and complaints, but honestly…I’ve not been sold yet. Come up with some cool clothes to put on this infant!

  4. Great comments guys. At the end of the day WHS was made for the guy or girl who are note tech savey. But as you all say, add-ins and add ons expand the funtionality and for me, I am more than happy.

  5. Rick B (RB 1) says:

    Agreed with above posts, WHS is a designed to be a consumer product basically an appliance/device. Not a server/computer (even though it is). Microsoft are trying hard to drive adoption of this system and to do that it has got to appeal to the average none techy user. This guy’s answers one of his own questions in the video, regards it not having active directory/domain….. Windows XP Home, Vista Basic, and Home Premium they don’t work with domain servers and it is unlikely they will be dropped or changed as Microsoft has invested too much money… XP has a few years left in it yet and Vista has only just been released that is why Active Directory won’t happen for one of many reasons.

    For me WHS is a great platform and device which provides central data storage, back up and media serving, and I for one am excited about the possibilities for this in the future.

    Only bad thing I can say about WHS at this time is I can’t walk past the HDD Drives in the local PC store with out thinking shall i buy another to break the 2TB mark? 😉

    Cheers & Happy home serving
    Rick (RB 1)

  6. Ian E. says:

    Despite the above, don’t customers want to customize their software to do what they need it to do?

    It appears the above comments are mostly Microsoft fanboi types, because the comments pertain to marketing WHS, rather instead of providing a real product solution we are all still needing…

    First, all end users will be at different levels, different needs and different situations. You know, Microsoft Windows Vista is sold as starter edition, basic, home premium, business, ultimate edition and so forth…

    Now think, here comes Windows Home Server, but you actually get is an older Windows 2003 Server code, not Server 2008…

    And the WHS console and add-ins are just that, second thoughts added in!

    Why should anyone pay $800 USD, for a stay at home server? Plus the cost of a desktop, laptop, second desktop or more, totaling how many thousands of dollars to share a digital photo, mp3 and text files?

    That’s a high cost!

  7. Hi Rick B (RB 1) ,
    Thanks for your comments. I agree the 1TB drives look wonderful in our local computer store but sadly my wife pulls me away.

  8. Hi Ian E,
    I spent approx. £400 ($800) on my Home Server and pleased I did. Like the majority of us, how many of us back up once a day and WHS has saved me from disaster twice now.
    MS also sated that they used the 2003 base code as it was tried and tested and said they MAY use the 2008 code in a future version.

  9. Rick B (RB 1) says:

    Philip, Welcome on the comments and I appreciate the work you do on this site, Thank You.

    Ian E… Just because I and a few others have posted Pro WHS comments does not make us Microsoft Fanboi’s and we are not marketing WHS.

    Yes I am (and i assume others here) are fans of Microsoft products and are enthusiastic about new ideas / software from them, but also look at other soloutions and technologies on the market.. rarther than blindly buying the next Microsoft product just because of the name (Give us some credit). I looked at NAS devices and building my own server , either using Windows server 2003 SBS or other and even linux, but I decided to go with WHS because of its features and simplicity for a family server.

    It appears to me that these people posting on forums and blog… saying this is missing and that is missing are missing the point some what. Yes someone more IT savy may want Active Directory and domains etc this is fair enough.. WHS is targeted to the mass public who have a few PC’s at home but may not want to or know how to deal with complicated server setting/options.

    WHS is great for what it is advertised to do… and its easy to set up as a consumer device in the home, after all this is what it will be classed as A Device in the home rarther than a server.

    Now its not a perfect product, I for one would like to see it monitor windows XP client machines more closely like in Vista.

    Anyway I’ll put an end to this long post, 😉 Ian E I appreciate that you may want more from WHS, that is your choice but then you have other options to look at for your purposes Server 2003 SBS etc.

    Thank You, and have a Great Xmas/New Year.

    Rick B (RB 1)

  10. TheJudge says:

    Rick B,

    You nailed that point. I’ve stated the same thing over…and over….and over again to posts similar to Ian E’s post.

    It seems that people just don’t get the centralized storage deal…or network pc backups….or remote access….but why? I get it. My mother gets it. It’s perfectly crystal clear. It works too. Plus, it’s already saved my bacon once when my laptop HD fried.

    Sure, WHS could have an email server, but why? My ISP does a darn good job already and I’m not an IT specialist. It does not have every possible add in known to mankind. But why should it, when I can add what I need later. That’s like saying, “I just bought a new XP machine, but it sucks cause it did not come with Photoshop, Acrobat 9, Winrar, Enemy Territory, Pacman and Firefox. I should not have to add (buy) those things. They and 100 other programs should be there already.” Wow, that’s odd to me.

    Cost? I have a $1000 laptop, a $1000 PC I built 3 yrs ago. I built my OEM WHS using a 7 yr old mobo, 1.3 ghz cpu and ram sitting in my basement (Or Ebay for $100). I added two 500 gb WD drives for $200 and the OS $189. So my server cost….$500 and has all the benefits what WHS offers and it cost less than 1/2 of just one of my pc’s! Worth every American dollar I paid too. WHS does A LOT for the money.

    And they thought Wilbur and Orville were crazy too in 1903. Planes? Who needs planes? Or what about the president of Xerox in the late 1970’s, “Personal Computer? Who will ever need that? Scrap that project!” What about skeptics of the telephone? MP3 Player? The list goes on and on. We are evolving. If we use a central server at work…it’s only a matter of time before we need one at home too. Paradigms are made to be shattered. I’ll quit now…LOL.

  11. Hi TheJudge,
    Thanks for your contribution. Planes, Computers – What are they!

  12. Dillion M. says:


    Why a centralized storage deal sucks. Consider how you already got a computer, so you go out and buy yet another to share your files. That’s a high cost. If your sharing your files on your WHS, it means your sharing to another computer, or your just copying the same files from your PC twice.

    If in the event your sharing your files to a different PC you can do that without WHS using your PC now. And if you actually need a separate storage, you can save yourself a huge amount of money, headaches and trouble to just get a wireless hard drive that can also backup your PC.

    WHS sucks (whatever you want to call it) to transfer files as compared to an external eSATA or USB 2.0 method. And the bonus using a wireless hard drive is you get to take it with you, unlike your WHS.

  13. Karen H. says:

    Why is everyone assuming you need a separate computer that only runs server code software to just share files? This software code can be written in your operating system instead, as anyone leaving their PC turn on is the same thing without needing to pay yet another bloated costware headache.

    Already Windows OS transmit and receive packets of data over the Internet. A server also do that same darn thing. The big different Microsoft wants everyone to assume is in that you need two different computers to do the same thing.

    For all those buying a new high end computer, to just run vista and then go out and buy WHS using a slow CPU, less ram memory, your actually insuring you limit your sharing and speed to share your files at a high cost low value appliance.

    As for $2500 American dollars just to share files twice is ridiculous when you can do it once with your PC in half the time.

    Spending more money isn’t the answer…

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