News, Windows Home Server

What’s New in Windows Home Server Vail Preview Refresh?

You’ve read the news, and you know it’s coming. Whilst you’re downloading the new preview of Windows Home Server Vail, or if you’re considering whether to download it or not, here’s the lowdown on what’s new.

Native Support for Apple Mac

The big news is that Windows Home Server Vail will natively support computers running Mac OS. This includes the use of Windows Home Server as a target for Time Machine backups, as well as a Mac Launchpad and the same remote web access experience as provided for the PC. At this point, there does not appear to be access to the Windows Home Server Dashboard.

2010-08-15_09.59.44 2010-08-15_10.04.122010-08-15_10.25.202010-08-15_10.00.09

New Dashboard Design

Blue is out, and green is in for the new Windows Home Server Dashboard and Launchpad which has a refreshed colour palette. Log-in screens have also picked up typographic and other design elements seen in Microsoft’s Windows Live and Windows Phone 7 UI, notably the typeface and arrow designs.



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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • Rychek

    The known defects are a little disconcerting, but the updates show promise. I'm not sold on the visual design (I like blue better than green), but I have yet to actually use it.

    Alerting options and video streaming quality options are a great plus as well.

    Can't wait to get home and download it.

  • Rychek

    OSX support is a nice touch though I doubt it will benefit me. What are the odds of OSX for PPC being supported?

  • WeeHappyPixie

    I really do not like the green. I wish they stuck with blue. If they do decide to go with the green though at lease make it a user selectable choice. Skins would be nice.

  • JohnCz

    While I can't comment because I have no installed the technical preview, I am still left wishing for deeper integration with Windows Live.

  • Brother4AnotherColor

    Good riddance to blue. It's such an ugly color, I wish it never existed. All these years starting up Windows, I'm greeted with the overwhelming evil that is the color blue. And combined with gray or silver, it's enough to make me vomit. Now with the Media Center interface, the blue is so overwhelming as to cause my blood to leak out of my ears, eyes and nose while the sadistic startup music plays as if to mock my pain. I hate thee which is blue. Die, blue, die!

    But the green is nice. Although I'd prefer red or orange, please. Thank you.

    • McQ

      Colour issues? Attacked by a rainbow once upon a time?;)

  • Personally prefer the blue to the green. I'm guessing "green" is the new "home" color (Media Center anyone?) while blue could be reserved for enterprise (ala Aurora?)

  • Hasan

    I think the green is a nice welcome change.

  • Simon

    will it support media center for Xbox360?

  • hp

    Apparently drive extender is changed. All your old data from previous preview is inaccessible. Hope everyone backed up! I suspect this will happen again before the release, which is disconcerting not to know how this very experimental portion. Of whs2 will operate (especially ability to access data on hardrives outside of whs2 if server crashes).

  • hp

    Ps already big bug with servers with over 1tb data. Make sure to see KB article.

  • Ron

    Will Recovery finally find and recognize the home server from a Realtek onboard network (built-in on most motherboards) or continue to just allow backups TO the server but not restoring FROM the same server? I have to install a separate NIC or NIC dongle (on laptops) to do any restoring with all 6 computers with Realtek.

    • Hopefully the move to Windows Server 2008R2 will dramatically improve in box driver support

    • Thestewman

      How to restore when the server cannot be found

      I developed a routine to make all the 32 bit and 64 bit Realtek drivers work.
      Someone should add this to the WHS Wicki so it is easy to find

      The WHS PC Restore procedure in the User guide does not work for the following Realtek NIC and all 64 bit machines


      Here is what you must do.

      Download the Vista (WinServer 2008) Driver instead of the WinXP (WinServer 2003) Driver

      Here is how I modified the Windows Home Server procedure so that it WORKS for any of the above Realtek NIC

      Using the Windows Home Server Dual Boot Computer Restore Disk (Release Date 7/16/2008), the NIC drivers for the Realtek family of network cards will need to be manually updated using the Vista (WinServer 2008) Driver.

      The Windows Home Server restore CD will indicate the "NIC driver for the restore CD is present";
      however, this driver WILL not work and there will be no network connectivity.
      The solution is to download the drivers from the Realtek site and install them during the restore using
      a USB key as outlined in the process below.

      Note: Just passively placing the drivers in a folder on the USB key including the drivers from a previous backup as instructed in the Restore Disk User guide will not work as the existing drivers are already loaded. You must follow the steps below.

      1. Download the network drivers from the Realtek Website:

      a. Download the Vista (WinServer 2008) Driver.

      Note: I actually downloaded all the Windows XP and Vista drivers (4 differentSets) and deleted all the
      drivers marked 64 bit

      2. Extract all the zip files onto the ROOT of a USB flash without a folder and plug the USB flash into the client PC.

      3. Apply the downloaded NIC driver with Windows Home Server Restore CD

      a. On the detect hardware screen, select the appropriate time/currency format and keyboard/input method

      b. Detect hardware dialog will detect the Realtek network device RTL8168C/8111C Family PCI-E
      Gigibit ethernet NIC NDIS 6.0 but it will not be usable because of hardware and driver incompatibility.

      c. Manually update the driver from the USB flash

      i. Select the “Show Details…” button

      ii. Press the “Install Drivers…”

      iii. Push “Scan” button to scan for new/updated d rives

      iv. A dialogue box will pop up:

      "Drivers were found for your hardware. Click OK to see all detected hardware."

      vi. Select OK

      d. Verify that you have updated the Network driver.

      You should now see your specific NIC hardware listed in the “Detect Hardware” dialog screen as
      Realtek PCIe GBE family Controller.

      Continue following the restore disk prompts

      Stew Gordon

      • IThorne

        I think I just fell over the same problem. Just re-built a Vista 64 bit desktop, but Vista crashes when I try to restore from my WHS machine. I never tried using the WHS restore CD, presumably you need a CD drive on your WHS machine and when you siad about putting the USB stick into the client PC, I assume you meant the WHS machine. Correct?


        • Phearce

          No, you don't plug the USB into the server.

          First, WHS comes with three discs: an install DVD; a client connector CD; and a client restore CD. To restore a client, you boot off of the restore CD.

          During the restore, you'll see a summary where there'll be a list of network device, and a list of hard drives. I don't have the screens in front of me, but there's a "Details" button and a "Scan" button. This is all covered in detail in the WHS manuals.

          At any rate, the steps above will allow you to put the *correct* Realtek driver on the USB key, which you'll use during the restore.

          TIP: I made a single USB key with all the client PC's drivers. Also, find a USB stick which is small enough to store inside the WHS DVD/CD case so you'll always be ready.

  • Billy

    I like the green!

  • bobby

    do u still have to have bios set to pst on this one

  • Ender

    That's it? Mac support and a new dashboard design and everyone is excited? What is the world coming to?

    • Scoob101

      The world is coming closer to RTM 😉

  • Jeff

    Has anyone tried to do a server reinstall over the previous version of the public preview?

    • DE has a breaking change between the last preview and this one – it's going to need a fresh install.

  • Michael

    was wondering that also jeff, luckily didnt have much on the server so a "new installation" was alright from my perspective.

  • snowdins

    Thank you for this! I love the new addition of the Mac support. That is kick ass!

  • audiophile

    What about FLAC support for audio streaming!

  • Squirt

    The real question is have the changed the default file system to NTFS so that a system failure will still leave you will the ability to place the drives in another machine to extract the data?

    • JesterEE

      They have stated in the past they are not going that route. I'm not a MS developer, but this is a fundamental change that is probably deeply rooted in the core of the operating system and not something that can be changed because the feedback isn't stellar. If you want to stick with that solution, you are stuck with WHS v1. Though it might be nice to stick the drive in another computer for recovery, I don't really see what the big deal is. The whole point of the WHS is so you don't have to do that. Just fix the server … your data will still be there.

      As it is, IMO anything WHS does for recovery is instantaneously better than any other redundant storage. Try breaking up and rebuilding a RAID or Drobo array on a failed device … this perceived issue is a drop in the bucket in comparison.

  • James

    Blue to green and OSX support, that's it? Really?! What about internal changes?

    • ithorne

      My thoughts exactly. These changes appear to be merely cosmetic. I need fixes for the fact that Connector keeps telling me my Virus scanner isn't working, just because I use AVG. And I have a problem that my Vista 64bit client crashes when I try to restore data from my WHS machine. These are problems, skin colour is nothing. Skins would be a good idea though, because I also hate green.

  • fcas

    Will it stream to iTunes by itself?

  • linux

    Everyone that uses this crappy software needs to spend two days with Linux and you will never go back. Stop being lazy and learn something new and free. Stop being sheep. Everything this program can do, Linux can do better. If you argue the point, then you don't know what Linux can do for you. Sheep

  • Rob

    Will they make it for users to install on a home server without a screen or keyboard

  • MJP

    Hi Guys,
    Reading a lot about colour, does it really matter that much…?
    I would like to see technical progress on NTFS as highlighted by Squirt. etc……..

    • bobc

      My lx195 just died and I took the drive out, dropped it into another computer and grabbed all the files fine…no issue It's NTFS, and the folders are actually under data:DEshares (not the data:shares) location. (pulling from memory here).

  • Jimbo

    Still more work to be done on it, deadline is mid-November for a December 7th release date.

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  • Seth

    are we really talking about blue vs green? I would think there are more relevant discussion topics?

  • fritzman

    I'm assuming that because it is based on Server 2008, that it will only be available as a 64-bit O/S, so finally we will get to run more ram… assuming (again) that this will be a significant benefit.

    I haven't tried the versions released so far, but am keen to hear when it might be released.

  • Gavin

    I just tried this, and got everything working except to add domain.
    It tries to connect to godaddy to make changes, but never finishes.
    I manually set up the remote a record at go daddy to point to the home server, and I can connect through dynamic dns to my home server, but can't make the domain name change on the home server.

    Other than that, I love this. The interface is much nicer.
    I just checked from work that I can log on to the home server.

    Really cool

  • barkinglama

    backing up my mac mini will be good but the method of data duplication is confusing me.

  • wantrealfeedback

    Wow, you guys are easy to please if all you care about is the color…

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  • Rob

    I love how everyone ignored the Linux post. If you want Linux go to a Linux based storage solution website such as Amahi. Why waste your time here ‘Linux’?

  • tsandco

    Yes, like no more Drive Extender!!!

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