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Windows Home Server Simplifies Digital Life for Families

Microsoft Windows Home Server and the HP MediaSmart Server help families store, protect and share music, video, pictures and other personal information

During his keynote at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates unveiled plans to launch a new consumer product for families: Windows Home Server. Slated for availability later this year with the HP MediaSmart Server, Windows Home Server will allow families with multiple PCs to easily protect treasured images, music, personal documents and videos; centrally store that content; and access it from outside the home.

PressPass spoke with Steven VanRoekel, director of Microsoft’s Windows Server Solutions Group, and Maureen Weber, general manager, HP Personal Storage Business, to discuss how Windows Home Server and the HP MediaSmart Server hardware will provide a unique set of benefits for digital households.

PressPass: How will consumers benefit from Windows Home Server and HP MediaSmart Server?

VanRoekel: The quantity of digital information that consumers have today is increasing like never before. The prevalence of digital cameras, digital video recorders, MP3 players and other devices is creating massive quantities of information that is stored in these “islands” of data around the home. Usually, the person who takes the picture, downloads the music, et cetera, has that information stored on their PC, and if the hard drive fails or something bad happens, that information is effectively lost.

Windows Home Server and the HP Media Smart Server will help families with two or more PCs in the home connect those islands, providing a central place where they can easily store, access and share that information.

Windows Home Server will also come with a set of shared folders that are predefined for content such as photos, music, videos, et cetera – and customers will also be able to create their own folders. So for example, a customer could create a folder to which all tax documents would be backed up. They could then securely access those folders from the desktop of any computer in the house. Likewise, they could copy all their photos to the photo folder, all their videos to the video folder.

And Windows Home Server will automatically protect those treasured images, music, personal documents and videos by centrally backing up all the machines in the house as well. For example, if a parent or sibling accidentally deletes an important file or document, or a selection of photos of the newborn, customers will be able to easily recover those materials by accessing the most recent backed up file containing the original document or group of photos.

Weber: As Steven said, Windows Home Server connects data and digital media collections so users can access them all from any computer in their household. From a hardware perspective, the HP MediaSmart Server has elaborated on that scenario with HP Photo Webshare, a feature that enables consumers to securely share photos with friends and family directly from the server – and friends and family can likewise share their photos on the same Webshare. Photo Webshare also enables consumers to easily create separate albums so they can control how broadly any group of images is shared. Music lovers will appreciate the ability to centralize music from family members’ computers to the HP MediaSmart Server, even preserving playlists. Now family members will be able to access all the music from any computer in the house.

Not only does the MediaSmart Server provide greater convenience in organizing and accessing information, it also provides increased peace of mind by enabling users to back up all this information on a separate hard drive that sits inside the server. This complements Windows Home Server’s ability to automatically back up information. And because this drive is separate, it increases the security of the information in the event of any sort of hardware failure.

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Microsoft, Windows, Home Server, Digital Life, Press Pass, Release

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