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.

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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:

11 thumb5 Windows Home Server Vail Preview: Launchpad Deep Dive

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.

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Logging in brings you to the main Launchpad screen.

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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:

Backup

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

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Remote Access

Access Windows Home Server’s remote website.

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Shared Folders

Open Windows Explorer to view your shared folders.

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Server Dashboard

Log in to the Windows Home Server Dashboard.

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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