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Understanding Windows Home Server for Windows 7

Windows Home Server (WHS) is a feature-packed addition to your Windows 7 world that has a great track record of not being buggy. To get the most out of WHS, it's important to understand what it can do for you.

WHS was created to help manage households and home offices with multiple computers. Unlike a simple network, the WHS is designed to interact with your PCs on a different level. Essentially, it provides you with most of the advantages of a network administrator without your having to pay for one (or worse, having to manage it on your own).

Windows Home Server acts as both a server and a network administrator, helping you keep your entire
Windows Home Server acts as both a server and a network administrator, helping you keep your entire network organized.

WHS does just six things, and it does them well.

  • Backup: WHS automatically backs up all the data on all your computers. No setup wizards required. The backup program is smart enough to make sense of even the most complicated file organization system. And, the backup is stored in a convenient Zip format in an accessible location.

    The WHS backup routines go way beyond the Windows 7 backup because WHS backs up everything. The WHS backup program is so good that you can survive most hard drive crashes with all your data intact as of the last backup point. And by all, we mean everything, including programs, settings, and other pieces that the Windows 7 backup doesn’t catch.

    If you have WHS, you don’t need or want to run the Windows 7 backup.

  • Shared folders: WHS creates shared folder locations where people using the network can stick stuff. You can go to any computer on the network and see the same set of files in these shared locations. WHS shared folders work wonderfully, automatically, almost magically with Windows 7 libraries.

  • Disk management: WHS takes care of all the disk management functions for you. Volumes and folders are extended as needed, and you don’t have to lift a finger.

    The WHS machine will let you know if it starts running out of disk space. If it nags you, just install another drive and it’s absorbed into the collective: without you worrying about any of the details.

  • Remote access: You can set up the WHS to allow you to log in to any computer on your network from any browser, anywhere in the world.

  • PC health: WHS constantly monitors all the computers on your network and gives you a concise, centralized “health report” that stays on top of the current status of patches, virus signature-file updates, and available hard drive space.

  • Streaming media: WHS acts as a bridge to help you stream media from a Windows 7 PC to an Xbox 360 or other Media Extender device, such as a Linksys DMA 2200 or an HP MediaSmart TV.

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