Microsoft announced Thursday its latest update to the Windows Home Server, the Power Pack 3. Originally, this upgrade was planned to be rolled out prior to the launch of Windows 7, but it was.
Power Pack 3 is much like a service pack to Windows Home Server, which is a special version of the Windows operating system designed specially for network-attached storage devices, such as the HP MediaSmart servers.
Judging from a few Windows Home Server-based NAS servers we've reviewed, Windows Home Server significantly helps new consumers familiarize themselves with network-attached storage devices by providing a similar management console, features, and file system support to those of the Windows operating system for desktop computers.
According to Windows Home Server Team's blog, the Power Pack 3 will be available next Tuesday in all shipping languages (including Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish). The pack will be free and can be downloaded via Windows Update.
If you plan to manually download it, the Power Pack 3 requires Windows Home Server with Power Pack 2 already installed. However, if your NAS server is connected to the Internet, Power Pack 3 will be automatically installed as part of automatic updates. Make sure you turn this feature on.
The major improvement the Power Pack 3 delivers is support for Windows 7, especially in the realms of backing up and media playback. The breakdown:
- Windows 7 Libraries integration: Now users can access Windows Home Server shared folder from within Windows 7 libraries.
- Windows 7 Action Center backup warning suppression: Windows 7 Action Center now recognizes Windows Home Server as a legitimate backup solution and stops warning you that a backup has not been set up.
- Windows 7 power settings: Windows Home Server can wake a Windows 7-based computer to do a backup, then put it back to sleep once the backup is done.
- Windows Search: Power Pack 3 includes Windows Search 4, which improves query search times, indexing times, and reliability. Files encrypted with EFS are now supported.
- TV archive: Windows Home Server can automatically archive recorded TV by moving your recordings from a Windows Media Center computer to your home server in the format of your choice. This is actually a very handy feature if you want to play back recorded TV shows to multiple devices, including portable ones.
For the complete details of what you can get from the Power Pack 3, check out the release documentation. It seems if you move to Windows 7, the Power Pack 3 upgrade is a must for your Windows Home Server-based NAS servers.