Windows Home Server 'Vail' preview leaked

January 29, 2010 // 9:53 a.m.

Tags: #app-store #home-server #microsoft #vail #windows #windows-home-server #windows-server #windows-small-business-server

A pre-release version of Microsoft's next edition of Windows Home Server - currently working under the codename 'Vail' - has been leaked to file-sharing sites.

As reported over on ZDNet, the Community Technology Preview Release 4 of Windows Home Server 'Vail' - released to a select group of testers by Microsoft prior to a public beta testing period - has found its way on to file sharing sites, giving the public a sneak preview of the features that will find their way into the next edition of Home Server.

Promising "simple file sharing, remote access, home computer backup, expandable storage through Drive Extender, and media streaming both inside and outside the home," the newest feature to be highlighted in this release is - believe it or not - an app store.

Described as "an application catalog and product-wide extensibility model," the marketplace - styled, it would seem, on that available for smartphone devices - will offer "new services such as anti-virus, online sharing, and home automation [which] can be seamlessly and easily added to the solution."

Right now the current versions of Windows Home Server already have an add-in feature, however the installation method is convoluted and finding new add-ins that you want is a chore of creative internet searching. It should also encourage smaller developers to take on making new add-ins that can generate revenue for themselves.

The system requirements for the software are interesting: available in a 64-bit edition only - at least for now - you'll need at least a 2GHz x64 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a storage device of at least 120GB. Vail offers no support for any file system beyond NTFS, but has had a version bump to its code base - bringing it up to Windows Server 2008 R2 level. The 2GHz CPU seems the biggest kicker here, as many WHS boxes are built on Intel's Atom technology that exclusively sits under this frequency threshold.

While the new version certainly brings a bit of innovation to the table - and hopefully leaves some of its predecessors foibles behind - notable in its absence is any mention of small business support and more intelligent data security. Previously, Microsoft has mentioned its desire to re-brand 'Home' Server and make it the entry-level Windows Server product for both home and small business users - bumping Windows Small Business Server one rung up the ladder.

For its part, Microsoft is staying quiet on this leak and refusing to offer any suggestions of an official release date for OEMs or system builders.

Can you see this latest version of Windows Home Server taking off, or is it a solution looking for a problem? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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