News, Windows Home Server

Windows Home Server Vail Preview: Launchpad Deep Dive


WARNING!  Windows Home Server Vail Preview is an early test build of the next version of Windows Home Server.  As such, it is not in any way, shape, or form ready for you to MOVE any important data from your current Windows Home Server (or other machine) to a Vail powered machine.  Doing so without proper backups elsewhere may put that data at great risk of being lost forever.

When you install the Windows Home Server Vail Dashboard, you’ll notice a number of  new icons on your desktop.


Shared folders sounds familiar.  The dashboard is the new name for the WHS Console.  But what is that Launchpad thingy?

When you start your client computer, or when you double-click on the Launchpad icon, you are greeted with the following:


This is the Launchpad, which you cannot use until you have added yourself as a user in the Vail Dashboard.  Once that little task has been accomplished, enter your name and password in the appropriate places. Before logging in, click on the Options item where you can decide if you want the Launchpad to remember you and your password then click on the arrow.


Logging in brings you to the main Launchpad screen.


From here, it looks pretty obvious what the Launchpad is, or what it does.  Quite simply, it is a simple launch window where you perform common tasks for a Windows Home Server-connected computer. Let’s run through them briefly:


Start a manual backup and configure power management settings for automatic nightly backups.


Remote Access

Access Windows Home Server’s remote website.


Shared Folders

Open Windows Explorer to view your shared folders.


Server Dashboard

Log in to the Windows Home Server Dashboard.


That is about as deep as it gets for the Launchpad. It’s not designed to replace the dashboard, but rather provide easy access to the most popular tasks.  This would be a great item to make into a Gadget, wouldn’t you agree? It would be great to be able to add and remove tasks from the Launchpad too – maybe in Windows Home Server v3!

If you’d like to discuss Windows Home Server Vail Preview, our beta forums are the place to hang out! We have a dedicated forum for the Launchpad and specific forums for other Vail feature areas. Check them out!

Discuss: WGS Forums

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Hello. I’m from the heartland of the U.S. Lots of corn and beans, although Iowa is a lot more than just farmland. It also has a few computer enthusiasts (no, not me!). I’ve been around PCs since I got my 1st PC XT aloooong time ago. WGS is one of the first sites I found centered around WHS. And the best. Every once in awhile, I do get away from the KB and enjoy time with and my wife and our 4 kids. And I do have a day job.
  • Hmm the Launch pad seems a little pointless to me, hopefully it will be optional on install.

    I can't see the need for it, ahen you can fire up the addmitidly worse looking console (I know why they changed the lay out… to be more consumer friendly) or surely right click on the task tray icon. Just my ealry thoughts.


    • Hi Rick,

      Given the launchpad is extensible, I think it'll become a lot more useful when we get new/different links in there….


  • jkieffer72

    or put this on one of those small 7" touch screen LCD's….

  • Yup I think it could turn out to be very cool.

  • ViRGE

    Launchpad desperately needs a "launch minimized" option. Right now if you want it to launch with Windows so that you can keep an eye on your server's health, Launchpad fully launches as a windowed application instead of staying in the system tray like the WHS Connector does. Having to close Launchpad on every boot gets annoying fast.

    • Don C

      What I do with Launchpad is once logged in, change the settings to NOT launch with Windows. The icon will be in the taskbar and it still will report errors if that is what is needed.

      Then if you do need something you can log into Launchpad/Dashboard from the icon.

  • Nick

    I would assume the purpose of this is to provide a way for users with a non-administrator password (needed for dashboard/console) to access those features that matter to the user and won't need administrator access to the server. Nice. Still, it should be an optional install.

  • Ted T

    yeah try to get rid of this bugger, good luck, it now just slows my incredibly long start up as it is. I tried to Google how to remove it. no joy


  • billw11

    let VAIL fail. V1 isnt fixed yet… just what i need , more annoying fix this fix that warnings… how about something useful? like a WHS app for smart phone or tablet !!!? common tasks easily accessed ! friggin web access always down the minute i leave home… put a permanent WHS console link to a V1 console – IP doesnt change so why do i need a failing webpage for access?
    a direct connection to the server console as an APP with a constant link would be more beneficial than a webpage that gives me warnings im not allowed to access server from that location ….
    they want a new phone?
    have it connect nativily to those who have home servers

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