Backup Bliss and Other Features

Well I am eternally grateful to Anthony Borton (of www.abtaining.com.au) who sent me a private beta invitation last week for Windows Home Server. {See previous post.) Open Beta 2 sign up is now available at http://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer.

I was disappointed I could not install WHS on some older machines I had available but I took the opportunity to buy a purpose-built server box from local supplier FS Computers. Over the weekend I installed WHS beta 2 (an absolute breeze) and quickly brought 6 other machines into full backup mode. I have 2 internal 320 GB drives and one USB 300 GB drive giving me .9 TB in all.

The backups are very intelligent and don’t copy temporary, paging and hibernate files. The first full backup takes a while but subsequent daily incremental backups are very quick and happen in the early morning hours. To restore from a backup the full backup image is mounted as a new folder allowing very convenient selective copying with Explorer. Building the mount image is slow but hopefully not needed very often. Large numbers of versions are stored by default and this can be tailored to your own use.

Shared folders for music, photos, videos and so on are automatically set up and duplicated by default. Streaming services for media are also built in so networked media extender devices are supported. I am still to exploit this fully at present.

WHS is turning out to be an ultra smooth backup and sharing solution. I also feel sage in that I can now fully restore whole computer images should any box crash. I am really impressed with WHS so far.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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