Next Windows Home Server adds Mac support

Among the features in the new test version are support for machines running Mac OS X Leopard or higher, remote Web access, support for add-ins, and alerts.

Microsoft on Monday released an updated test version of its next home server product, code-named Vail. Notably, the server software can now manage and backup Macs, in addition to Windows PCs.

Microsoft announced the update to Vail, along with the availability of a test version of its new Aurora small business server on its server Web site.

Aurora, which is apparently also getting Mac support, is designed to allow businesses to handle some tasks, such as print server functions on a local server while also tapping into Microsoft's hosted Web services for other tasks, such as e-mail. Microsoft detailed its plans for Aurora at last month's Worldwide Partner Conference.

Windows Home Server, meanwhile is pitched as a way for multi-computer homes to backup and manage their systems. Until now, though, that has largely meant multi-Windows PC homes (although HP has offered some Mac support with its line of MediaSmart servers that run the existing, shipping version of Windows Home Server ).

"Mac support is a customer requested scenario in Windows Home Server," Microsoft community program manager Jonas Svensson said in a statement. "We are glad to be offering it in the upcoming version of Windows Home Server and look forward to getting early feedback from users."

Among the features in the new test version of Vail are support for machines running Mac OS X Leopard or higher, remote Web access, support for add-ins, and alerts.

Microsoft has not said when to expect final versions of either Aurora or Vail.

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