Microsoft releases Windows Home Server 2011

The new version of Windows Home Server has officially been released, with the product due to reach TechNet and MSDN subscribers in early April and start showing up on computers in May.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read


Microsoft has officially released its new Windows Home Server 2011.

With the release to manufacturing, Windows Home Server 2011 is now slated to reach MSDN and TechNet subscribers in early April where they can download the software via their subscriptions. The latest version should also start to pop up on computers in May, according to Microsoft, which said that manufacturers have already been working with the new home operating system.

The official version of Windows Home Server 2011, codenamed Vail, comes almost a year after the beta was released and close to two months since the release candidate made its debut.

Using the same core operating system as Windows Server 2008 R2, the new version is designed for people who need to juggle multiple PCs, home networks, and an ever growing amount of photos, music, videos, and other hefty content. Running Windows Home Server on a dedicated PC, users can set up network shares to access all their data, back up their networked PCs, remotely access their files, and stream their music and videos. The software offers a central dashboard for people to run the various administrative tasks.

Windows Home Server has suffered a couple of setbacks in recent months.

The previous version offered a much-beloved feature called Drive Extender, which let people extend or "pool" multiple disk drives into a single large volume as they added new storage. But claiming that the drive extender technology "was not meeting our customer needs," Microsoft gave it the heave-ho from the new version late last year. Though Microsoft added a feature called the Move Folder Wizard to move content between different drives, the loss of Drive Extender may turn off many potential users of Windows Home Server 2011.

Microsoft also lost one of its key Windows Home Server hardware partners late last year when Hewlett-Packard, known for its robust MediaSmart Windows Home Server servers, announced that it would no longer make computers for the Home Server operating system. The loss of HP leaves a few key manufacturers, such as Acer, who'll be building dedicated boxes for Windows Home Server 2011.

Windows Home Server 2011 will be released in 19 languages, according to Microsoft, including English, French, Chinese, Russian, and Korean.