The Windows Home Server was first unveiled last January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The software is designed to provide a secure way to back up information for consumers with multiple computers and a home network. It also allows for remote access to information.
"It's about not only being simple, but unbelievably reliable," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in about the device in his opening keynote at WinHEC.
In an demonstration during Gates' keynote, senior product manager for Windows Home Server Stephen Leonard demonstrated how the appliance can be used with Windows Vista to maintain multiple PCs. It also functions as a web server, allowing relatives or traveling family members to access the network and view files over the web.
Leonard even presented Home Server as a 21st century "naughty step", using the administration features to remove the music privileges of a misbehaving child.
Windows Home Server is currently in the beta 2 stage. The first devices are scheduled to ship this fall.
The company has also published a software developer kit for the platform that allows third party developers to create additional applications. Security vendor F-Secure is preparing to release anti-virus software and Iron Mountain is preparing an information management suite to protect user data.
Past episodes of WinHEC were dominated by the Windows Vista operating system. But with the launch of the operating system earlier this year, Gates' keynote this year was notebaly short on news.
Gates unveiled that the comapny's upcoming server operating system would be named Windows Server 2008, but that merely www.vnunet.comwww.vnunet.com. The software was previously known by its Longhorn codename.
"We know it's a surprise for us to pick something so straightforward," Gates joked.
The Microsoft chairman also talked up the Vista operating system, boasting that the software had surpassed expectations by selling more than 40m copies within the first 100 days after the launch.
Gates touted that the software has been adopted at twice the rate of its predecessor, Windows XP. In its first five weeks, Gates said, Vista matched the install base of any competing OS.
"We've really been amazed at the customer response. We knew that Vista would become the standard version of Windows, we knew that the industry would be stepping up, but what has happened in those first hundred days has been beyond expectations," he said.
- A video demonstration of the Windows Home Server software and hardware reference designs is available on www.vnunet.com's CES Blog