Monday, April 26, 2010

Windows Home Server Vail Arrives to Public

The latest version of the popular, Windows Home Server by Microsoft named “Vail” was unveiled today to the public.  We Got Served has several nice writeups to learn all about the new features and see a walkthrough of Vail.

Feature-wise I wasn’t shocked, but definitely dissapointed that Microsoft again left out Media Center functionality.  Here’s what WeGotServed had to say about this omission:

Let’s get one big elephant out of the way to kick off. Despite a lot of community requests, (and I know there’s been a lot of discussion within Microsoft regarding this) Windows Media Center has not been integrated into Vail. At this point, there is no in-box TV tuner support and TV guide service other than you’d expect to find in the underlying Windows Server 2008 R2 platform.

This continues to be a head-scratcher for me.  Seems like an obvious thing Microsoft could add to WHS and add value to MediaCenter at the same time.  But again they left SageTV as the only HTPC software that had a true-WHS/HTPC solution for Windows Home Server users.

The new features include:

  • Windows Home Server Dashboard  which is basically a new UI for the old Windows Home Server Console with mostly the same functionality.
  • Launchpad – a new, quick-access functionality that is very Windows 7-like giving you quick access to backups, remote access, shared folders etc.
  • Alert Viewer – A way to view alerts on all PCs in the system.
  • DLNA Compliant Media Streaming – A great addition to WHS is DLNA-compliant functionality for streaming your media.
  • Homegroups functionality – think Windows 7 homegroups here.
  • Add-in installation improvements
  • New SDK with improved add-ins

The beta is now available for download.  Sign up & get your beta download here:


Check out We Got Served for a great overview of all things WHS Vail:

What’s New in Windows Home Server Vail?

Preview/Walk-Through of WHS Vail

The official announcement is at the Windows Home Server Team Blog 

Let me know what you think about the new featureset in Vail – is the HTPC omission a big deal?  Anything you’re excited or disappointed about with Vail?