Microsoft has finally unveiled the next generation Windows Home Server Codename “Vail”. This version is based on Windows Server 2008 R2 unlike the previous version which was based on Windows Server 2003. Windows Home Server is an excellent operating system which allows you to manage your home network, computers, back up and stream your media and other sensitive data. So far, there hasn’t been a better competing product against Windows Home Server in the market.

Windows Home Server VailThe new features in Windows Home Server “Vail” are:

  • Media Library on WHS website allowing for streaming.
  • Customise WHS Website.
  • 64bit only
  • Homegroup integration. (great for Windows 7 users!)
  • New launch pad application.
  • Improved backup (both server and workstations).
  • Runs on Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Improved alert centre.The important thing to notice before thinking of trying out Vail is that you’ll need a 64 bit processor to test it. Here are the complete requirements of Vail:
    • 1.4 GHz x64 processor.
    • 1 GB RAM
    • At least one 160 GB hard drive.
    • Product keys are not required for this release.
    • NTFS is the only supported file system.
    Supported Networking Configuration:

    a. Your server computer must be connected via a network cable to a router.

    b. The router should be a UPnPTM certified device, but it is not required.

    c. The router should be in the 192.168.x.x subnet, but it is not required.

    Windows Home Server Vail

    To find out more about Vail, check out this review by MS Windows Home Server blog. You can also check out the video below to see it in action:

    The Windows Home Server Blog has provided some hardware related tips on installing Vail Beta:

    • In Vail, we’re moving to a new underlying server platform that will only run as a 64-bit OS. We do not recommend running Vail on a 32-bit PC or existing Windows Home Server systems (even 64-bit Home Server systems) because there may be compatibility issues with some OEM drivers.
    • Since it is still in ‘beta,’ please install the Vail code on a secondary computer as opposed to existing Windows Home Server v1 OEM systems (not even 64-bit systems) If you do install the beta on an existing system, you may experience a number of problems, including the inability to run WHS v1 add-in applications (even those provided by OEMs). Installing on a secondary machine will help ensure the best possible user experience, and we would like your feedback on what this scenario is like.
    • Installation of the Vail OS on a PC will also require users to wipe all data from that PC or device.
    • The hardware requirements for Vail call for a 1.4 GHz x64 processor, 1 GB RAM, and at least one160 GB hard drive. Full details and additional requirements will be posted on the Microsoft Connect download site.

    Head on over to Microsoft Connect if you want to give Vail a test drive!