Windows Home Server, 2007-2012

As I’m sure most of you heard, Windows Home Server is no more. Microsoft this past week announced the Windows Server lineup, and both Windows Home Server and Windows Small Business Server Standard were not on that list.

In a Frequently Asked Questions document, alongside the announcement of Windows Server 2012 Essentials (more on that soon), Microsoft answers the question of “Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?”

No. Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.

I can’t say that I’m surprised by this decision. I’ve known about this for a few months now. However, it is disappointing.

Microsoft is right though. Windows Home Server is heavily adopted in home based businesses, and used in small businesses primarily for PC backup in conjunction with Small Business Server. What Microsoft saw as its primary market never fully materialized. Not many OEMs built a hardware product around it, marketing by the OEMs that did was iffy, and you could hardly find it in a brick and mortar store.

In some ways, the market killed the product. Not because the product sucked but because the feature set was championed by small business. This then led to Small Business Server Essentials, which really was Windows Home Server (minus Media Streaming) + Active Directory (what a lot of people wanted originally), and some hooks for integrating with Office 365. [Side note: Windows Home Server when it was designed initially used Active Directory, but it was cut after looking at the home market and finding that most home users were using Windows XP Home Edition.] There was also a NAS type version of Windows Home Server 2011 as well called Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. Why I call it a “NAS type version” is because it’s designed to be an embedded product (similar to an HP MediaSmart Server), it supports up to 25 computers, and can be joined to existing domains.

Small Business consultants used to install Windows Home Server but when Small Business Server 2011 Essentials arrived they moved to that because it provided a compelling feature set. With Active Directory and Group Policy they could manage customer networks with ease. The integration module for Office 365 meant that businesses could use cloud-based services with ease. Create a new account on the SBSe server and have that user automatically created in the Office 365 tenant.

Another nail in the coffin for Windows Home Server was the removal of Drive Extender.  I can’t tell you how many people I heard from that threw their arms up at that point and said they were done and moving to something else. However, now with Storage Spaces in Windows 8 / Server 2012 users can perform Drive Extender like tasks with ease.

Soon I’ll be able to talk more about the replacement to Windows Home Server, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but until then I want to leave you with a thank you.

I want to thank the Windows Home Server community as a whole. Having been around the product since it was announced at CES in 2007, I’ve watched the community mature and develop over the last five years. During my time at Microsoft the part I loved most was interacting with the community through the beta program newsgroups, the forums, or at different events. Outside of Microsoft, I’ve loved blogging and writing the SharePoint on WHS guide. The thank you emails and the emails of encouragement are what keep me at it.

Expect a flurry of posts and other goodness about Windows Server 2012 Essentials in the coming days / weeks / months / years.

Until then may your children always ask, “Mommy, why is there a server in the house?”, and may your server continue to Stop Digital Amnesia.

Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Resources

Today, Microsoft have released the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 release candidate (or Release Preview) builds to the public for testing and feedback.

I’ve compiled a list of the downloads that Microsoft has made available. If anyone has anything to add, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

Windows 8 Release Preview – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate – http://www.tomontech.com/2012/05/windows-server-2012-release-candidate-now-available/

Windows Assessement and Deployment Kit – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29929

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28972

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate now available

Today, Microsoft have made available the Release Candidate build of Windows Server 2012.

Here are the download links for English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese:

English: http://care.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/winsvr2012rc/6/D/7/6D72B71B-AB11-4C93-969D-83DBC5C1972F/8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_SERVER_EN-US-HRC_SSS_X64FRE_EN-US_DV5.ISO?lcid=1033&cprod=w8svrtn

French: http://care.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/winsvr2012rc/3/3/3/33303107-59F4-40F1-ADFB-FD6E4B0F3E12/8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_SERVER_FR-FR-HRC_SSS_X64FRE_FR-FR_DV5.ISO?lcid=1036&cprod=w8svrtn

Spanish: http://care.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/winsvr2012rc/2/C/C/2CC04B95-CADC-413F-83C4-61F508EEE522/8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_SERVER_ES-ES-HRC_SSS_X64FRE_ES-ES_DV5.ISO?lcid=1034&cprod=w8svrtn

German: http://care.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/winsvr2012rc/2/E/2/2E20F438-CB79-4295-9B6B-6FCC2FD4D09E/8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_SERVER_DE-DE-HRC_SSS_X64FRE_DE-DE_DV5.ISO?lcid=1031&cprod=w8svrtn

Japanese: http://care.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/winsvr2012rc/7/A/B/7ABBC7E6-53B8-4FE7-9DC1-7B1769A671E3/8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_SERVER_JA-JP-HRC_SSS_X64FRE_JA-JP_DV5.ISO?lcid=1041&cprod=w8svrtn

Fix for “Computer Monitoring Error” in WHS 2011, SBSe 2011, and Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

If you use Windows Home Server 2011, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, or Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, and you’ve seen alerts that say there is a “Computer Monitoring Error”, Microsoft has a fix. There are various reasons that this alert can appear, and this is a fix for one of those reasons.

Please note that you might still see the alert after the update is installed. If it still appears, please go to http://connect.microsoft.com and report a bug. You’ll need to upload logs to the bug in order for the team to properly diagnose and produce a fix. The log collector tool is available from http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27567. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the page to install the tool on your server and any affected clients.

You receive the warning “Computer Monitoring Error” in Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials after you install Update Rollup 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2685867

You receive the warning “Computer Monitoring Error” in Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials after you install Update Rollup 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2686867

You receive the warning “Computer Monitoring Error” in Windows Home Server 2011 after you install Update Rollup 2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2686857

Known issue with Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Home Server 2011

There is a known issue between Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Home Server 2011. The connector installation requires .NET 3.5, however, Windows 8 Consumer Preview ships with .NET 3.5 turned off. This is an easy fix and will enable the connector to install successfully.

1. From the Start Screen, select Desktop

2. Click the Windows Explorer icon (next to the Internet Explorer icon) on the taskbar.

1

3. Click on Uninstall or Change a Program on the Ribbon (may need to expand the Ribbon first)

2

4. Click Turn Windows Features on or off

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5. Check the box for .NET Framework 3.5, and click OK

4

6. You’ll be notified that Windows needs additional files to install the requested feature. Click Download files from Windows Update.

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7. Windows will download required files and when done click Close.

That’s it! Now, you can install the Windows Home Server 2011 Connector as you would on any other computer.

Windows 8–Developer Resources

Thought I’d pass this list along for anyone wanting to get started with Windows 8 and Metro style.

Developer downloads

Content

URL

Details

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Download

http://bitly.com/WIN8cp

Windows 8 Consumer Preview download (web installer or ISO’s), videos, and FAQ’s.

Developer downloads for Metro style apps

http://bitly.com/metroDwnld

Visual Studio 11 Express and the Windows 8 SDK + all the extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.

Design assets for Metro style apps

http://bitly.com/MetroUX

100+ Photoshop files with common controls, shell components, tiles, icons, animation clips, color wheel references, and more.

Metro style app developer content

Content

URL

Details

Windows Dev Center home

http://bitly.com/DevCtr

Links to Metro style app, Desktop app, Hardware, and IE development.

Metro style app development home

http://bitly.com/MetroCtr

Links to key resources for designing, developing, and selling Metro style apps.

Product guide for developers

http://bitly.com/PGwin8

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Developers.

Official documentation

http://bitly.com/MetroDocs

Comprehensive docs, articles, quickstarts, roadmaps, tutorials, checklists, developer agreements, and whitepapers covering all aspects of app design, development, and selling:

· Getting started

· Planning apps

· Designing UX for apps

· Developing apps

· Packaging apps

· Debugging and testing apps

· Selling apps

· API reference

· Concepts and architecture

· Language reference

· End-to-end apps

Design resources

http://bitly.com/DesignUX

Design principles, UX design patterns, detailed UX guidelines, downloadable design assets, assessing usability.

Selling apps in the  Windows Store

http://bitly.com/W8Store

Windows Store markets, developer agreements, and checklists to prepare.

Developer downloads for Metro style apps

http://bitly.com/DwnldsMetro

Visual Studio Express and the Windows 8 SDK + extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.

Metro style app samples

http://bitly.com/MetroSmpls

Over 200 official samples from Microsoft are available in multiple programming languages. You can copy code inline, upload new code, rate, and leave comments.

Developer forums

http://bitly.com/MetroForums

Developer forums for Metro style apps covering designing, developing, and selling apps.

Blogs for developers

Blog Name

URL

Details

Building Windows 8 blog (B8)

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/

An inside look at how, what, and why different features of Windows 8 are being built. This blog is written by Windows President Steven Sinofsky together with members of the Windows engineering team.

Windows Store blog for developers

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsstore

All about doing business in the Windows Store. Members of the engineering team who’ve built the Windows Store write posts along with Antoine Leblond, Vice President of Windows Web Services.

Windows 8 app developer blog (D8)

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsappdev

Explores best practices for coding and designing Metro style apps.  It is written by the team of developers who are building Windows 8.

IE blog

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/

Windows Internet Explorer Engineering Team Blog.

Inside Windows Live blog

http://windowsteamblog.com/
windows_live/b/windowslive/

The engineering being Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, and Windows Live.

Visual Studio Blog

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/

The official source of product insight from the Visual Studio Engineering Team.

The Windows Blog

http://windowsteamblog.com/

Consumer and general interest topics.

Test Lab Guides for Windows Server “8” Beta

Microsoft have released a series of guides to build Test Labs to check out various new features in Windows Server “8.” I’ve included a list below to some of the guides.

Test Lab Guide: Base Test Lab Guide for Windows Server “8” Beta – This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) provides you with step-by-step instructions to create the Windows Base Configuration test lab, using computers running Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows Server “8” Beta.

Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate High Availability Printing in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta Printing and step-by-step instructions for extending the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration to demonstrate High Availability Printing.

Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Test Lab Guide Base Configuration to demonstrate Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization.

Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate ADDS Simplified Administration in Windows Server “8” Beta – This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) introduces Active Directory Domain Services Simplified Administration and provides step-by-step demonstration of new AD DS Administration features in Windows Server “8” Beta.

Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DirectAccess Single Server Setup with Mixed IPv4 and IPv6 in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Unified Remote Access and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Base Configuration test lab to demonstrate DirectAccess deployment in a single server deployment with a mixed environment of IPv4 and IPv6
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DirectAccess Simplified Setup in an IPv4-only Test Environment in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta Remote Access and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Base Configuration test labto demonstrate Remote Access deployment using the Getting Started Wizard.
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Test Lab Guide Base Configuration to demonstrate Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrating DHCP Failover in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta DHCP Failover, and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Base Configuration test labto demonstrate DHCP Failover setup.
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) in Windows Server “8” Beta – This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) introduces Active Directory Domain Services Virtualized Domain Controllers and provides step-by-step demonstration of this new feature in Windows Server “8” Beta.
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Windows Server “8” Beta Print and Document Services – Introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta Printing
Test Lab Guide: Deploying RD Licensing – Use this test lab guide to install Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) for Windows Server “8” Beta.
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta IP Address Management (IPAM), and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Base Configuration test lab to demonstrate IPAM setup.
Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server “8” Beta – This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server “8” Beta DNSSEC and step-by-step instructions for extending the Windows Server “8” Beta Base Configuration test lab to demonstrate DNSSEC operation.

Tip: Windows Server “8” Beta – Prevent Server Manager from starting at logon

If you’ve installed Windows 8 and the Remote Server Administration Tools, you’ve probably noticed that Server Manager loads each time you logon. I find this to be fairly annoying. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for now.

In Server Manager, click the Manage menu

image

Click Server Manager Properties

image

Check the Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon box and click OK.

Hopefully this is fixed between Beta and RC. I may bug it anyway.

Windows Server “8” Beta released

This morning, Microsoft announced the release of the Windows Server “8” beta. Windows Server “8” is the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2 and is a member of the Windows 8 family.

Microsoft has four pillars around the release of Windows Server “8”:

– Windows Server “8” goes beyond virtualization – With this release, Microsoft is building an infrastructure capable of running much more than a simple virtual machine. Features are being built in that enable new public and private cloud based scenarios.

– Windows Server “8” brings the power of many servers and the simplicity of one – New features are added that enable users to take better advantage of commodity storage, provide simplification to server management, and provide uptime in a better and more cost-effective manner.

– Windows Server “8” is designed for every app and every cloud – Server “8” will enable flexibility in deploying applications on-premise or in the cloud or a combination thereof using similar tools and frameworks. Windows Server “8” will be highly scalable and elastic providing for better density and efficiency, as well as providing a better platform for hosting providers.

– Windows Server “8” enables the modern workstyle – Server “8” enables enterprises to offer access to corporate data and applications on any device while providing a secure and seamless experience no matter where users are in the world.

Microsoft’s Bill Laing has a post for more on Windows Server “8” that I highly suggest reading.

If you want to download and evaluate Windows Server “8”, click here

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Server “8” Beta

In the interest of speed, here are the download links for Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server “8” Beta.

5MB ESD Download link – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISOs – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso

RSAT Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview – http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28972