Every time I get all excited and add another computer to the setup at home I get in trouble.

It means more cables (the Media Center is a big culprit there) or another remote control (Media Center and Xbox360 are in the bad books there), something new to learn (that happened when we went to Vista and Office 2007 as well) or (my personal favorite gripe) yet more flashing blue lights.</p> <p>Luckily our newest addition to the family isn’t going to cause those sorts of upsets for a couple of reasons.</p> <p>First of all because the server is designed to be headless it’s going to live in a cupboard (just as soon as we drill a hole in the floor to drop the Cat5 cable down to the crawlspace) and because it’s pretty transparent in operation no-one will really know it’s there until it saves the day.</p> <p>So what the heck is Windows Home Server? That was the question I asked when I first had a look at what was at the time called “Q”. I couldn’t see what was so special about a headless box that I could back stuff onto - after all I had a Maxtor NAS that could do it already didn’t I?</p> <p>But because I can’t help myself when there’s something shiny to play with I grabbed my spare desktop machine, flattened it and installed the first of several betas. After a pretty painless configuration process I had a box sitting happily on the network with the router configured to its liking and both the house PCs, the Media Center and my laptop running the Connector client. Everyone had access to the shared storage for personal data, music, pictures and movies and backups were running happily.</p> <p>We slowly moved a lot of the video content for the Media Center off the various external USB drives that I used because we’d run out of space on the internal drives to the box upstairs.</p> <p>A few weeks went by and we didn’t really think about it. It was great having all the media in one place again and we moved the SlimServer software from Storms machine to the WHS box and no-one noticed any different (apart from Storm who got a few more responsive machine and better web browsing because she wasn’t sharing her WiFi now the SlimServer was on the wired segment).</p> <p>Then my work laptop had a bit of a moment and had to go for surgery. Now I’ll admit that I’m not the king of backups - in fact I’ve not actually done anything apart from random files here and there since we got to the US - so I expected life was going to be painful. Not so. Grabbed my old laptop, installed the connector, connected to the Windows Home Server, mapped the backup and drag’n’dropped the files I needed.</p> <p>An insiders perspective on development of Windows Home Server can be found on the WHS blog on TechNet and a glossy overview on the Microsoft site. If you want some more in-depth documentation check out the various Getting Started and SDK guides.</p> <p>Yes, there is an SDK and folks can develop add-ins to extend the capabilities of the WHS configuration. I’m using WHIIST but check out the list at WeGotServed for more great add-ins. They’re also keeping a list of OEMs who will be shipping units you can buy and put in your own cupboard later this year… meantime you can discuss the possibilities and future directions at the WHS Forum.</p> <p>We still need to drill that hole so we can hide the wiring but Windows Home Server is staying…. and I’m looking forward to what v2 will bring ;)</p>