Microsoft has rolled out the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) edition of the near-final Windows Home Server (WHS) to 100,000 testers as one of the last milestones before the software shows up in turnkey systems this fall.
RC1's 1.4GB package was posted on Microsoft's Connect site and is available for downloading by the product's 100,000-plus beta testers. Microsoft also opened the doors to new testers, who can register for the release candidate online.
Windows Home Server, which is based on Windows Server 2003 code, will drive the dedicated home storage and backup systems that OEMs such as HP plan to sell this fall. Up to 10 Windows XP and Vista machines can link to the server, which handles automatic backup; disk, folder and file restore; file and printer sharing; and remote web-based access to any system on the network.
Prices for HP's MediaSmart Server, as well as those for other vendors' planned Windows Home Server hardware, have not been set. Recently, Microsoft also announced it would sell Windows Home Server as software only to system builders so users will be able to recycle older hardware as a server.
Because RC1 does not support in-place upgrades from earlier editions - Microsoft warned testers as much last month in an email - they're being urged to back up all unduplicated data on the server before reinstalling the release candidate.