Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Windows Home Server v2 Leaked - Screenshots

Thanks to @maryjofoley for the heads-up this morning, I got a scoop that was bigger than Apple's "Party like it's 2005" launch of the iBezel iFrame iPad. Windows Home Server, codename "Vail" CTP4 has been leaked to teh intertubes. I have installed the bits, and I can relay with certainty what you can expect, based on my initial experiences.

  • Built on the RTM bits of Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Will come in 2 flavors, HOMESTANDARD and HOMEPREMIUM
  • Requires an x64 Processor.
  • Requires a minimum of 160GB primary hard drive.
  • Server "Desktop Experience" is installed OOB (meaning Aero, Media, etc).
  • Built-In HomeGroup Support (unlike WS2008 R2)
  • WHS Console is now the "Dashboard", and has a cleaner Add-In model (all pages are now AddIns).
  • There will be an online catalog for add-ins hosted by Microsoft.
  • While there is a "Recorded TV" option in the folders, there does not presently appear to be deeper media integration. That may come in later builds.
  • It *appears* that WHS now backs itself up.

All this is pretty exciting, but it is readily apparent that this is still a work in progress. Many items are still marked "Not yet implemented". My installation was also a bit wonky, so here are some things you need to know.

  • Presently, it appears that the setup process DOES NOT like you changing the name from the default "SERVER". If you already have a WHS box with "SERVER" on your network, I would recommend you turn your existing WHS box off while testing, and then shut your test box down while running your live WHS.
  • After you restart a couple times, you'll be greeted with a yellow ASP.NET error screen. Hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, select Task Manager, right click on the only open application and select "Minimize". Then, right click your network connection and select "Troubleshoot". Once the connection is fixed, click on the Setup app in the taskbar, right click the error, and select Refresh. The install should then proceed properly. It will trigger another restart, and then you'll have to do this at least one more time.

Based on everything I've seen, WHS v2 will be one of the most exciting releases to come out of Microsoft in a while. I'm going to keep playing with it, and report back anything else I find. Oh yeah, and see my screenshot gallery here (see below for a couple highlights).

 

Posted on Jan 27 2010, 02:04 PM by Robert McLaws
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Comments

  • sbrown23 said:

    This is MUCH more interesting news than that other event that took place this morning.  Really looking forward to WHSv2.

    January 27, 2010 2:42 PM
  • Have they addressed the big gaping hole of WHS not being able to regularly backup itself?

    January 27, 2010 2:50 PM
  • Michael, yes I believe so. I just added a screenshot that shows the WHS box itself showing up in the Backup tab.

    January 27, 2010 3:46 PM
  • Paul Smith said:

    Any word on this still being compatible with Hyper-V?  I use Virtual Server on my existing WHS box to run my SBS2003 server.  So being able to put virtual machines on the new version is pretty important, especially 64-bit virtual machines so I can get a newer version of Exchange. :-)

    January 28, 2010 10:17 AM
  • Windows Now Windows Home Server, codename Vail (also referred to as WHS version 2), has been in private

    January 28, 2010 12:04 PM
  • Seth Diaz said:

    @Paul Smith

    I did the same thing for a while (VS2005 on my WHS) but eventually, I converted over to Hyper-V (and subsequently R2) on the host and just run my WHS machine in a VM. It works great for WHS, I can (and do) use 64-bit guests and the performance meets my expectataions. I noted that WHS as a host seems to be a little bit slow on disk accesses and this impediment translated into less-than-optimal performace of the guests on VS2005, but when I switched WHS to a guest on Hyper-V, it's slow disk access doesn't impair my other VMs. Also note, for performance reasons, I use passthrough disks for WHS and a separate disk for the Hyper-V host and other guests.

    Looking forward to a new version of WHS; It's been rock solid and saved my bacon a few times.

    January 28, 2010 12:27 PM
  • Hyper-V will run on this box, but you have to manage it through Powershell, as Microsoft has added code that prevents Server Manager from running.

    January 28, 2010 2:13 PM
  • John Hindman said:

    Any chance of a mini-Exchange for email?  It would be nice to be able to access the same inboxes from any of the two laptops and desktop on my peer-to-peer home network.

    January 28, 2010 2:22 PM
  • Nothing in the box, but nothing preventing you from running one, AFAIK.

    January 28, 2010 2:23 PM
  • Jason said:

    A couple of observations:

    1)It automatically maps your shares when you login to the console itself, one of which is a share for computer backups.

    2)If you browse to \Program Files\Windows Server\Bin\ and notice the names.  The are no longer WHSXXX but they are WSSXXX.  One of the names is WindowsServerSolutionsxxx.

    January 28, 2010 4:07 PM
  • Joe Chin said:

    I've been watching the Windows Home Server market for a while. It looks to be successful and Microsoft is aiming for version 2. Today, the screenshots of the next edition have been leaked. You can view them here. Some notable...

    January 29, 2010 2:36 AM
  • Mysterchr said:

    Wow apparently you got bombairded with spam...I like the idea of new home server edition, but I really like the idea that John Hindman had about adding a "mini-exchange" or as I like to think of it Exchange Express. Also wanted to ask if anyone's gotten this to work on xen? I know someone said it works with virtual machine but sometimes something will work with one and not the other.

    February 1, 2010 10:11 AM
  • Jemm said:

    Any news about domain support? At least joining a domain environment would be welcome :)

    February 2, 2010 3:16 AM
  • PhilS said:

    Will HP provide an upgrade path for EX485/487? I've installed Vail on a spare drive on my desktop.  When I move the drive to the headless EX485, the blue light keeps flashing and I can't remotely connect. How to I force a rescan of plug-and-play devices at bootup w/o monitor and keyboard?

    February 2, 2010 11:26 AM
  • Cral Bill said:

    I converted over to Hyper-V (and subsequently R2) on the host and just run my WHS machine in a VM. It works great for WHS, I can (and do) use 64-bit guests and the performance meets my expectataions. I noted that WHS as a host seems to be a little bit slow on disk accesses and this impediment translated into less-than-optimal performace of the guests on VS2005, but when I switched WHS to a guest on Hyper-V, [url=http://www.top10brand.com]cheap watches[/url] it's slow disk access doesn't impair my other VMs.

    April 19, 2010 2:35 AM