Power Pack 1 available for Windows Home Server

The Windows Home Server team released Power Pack 1 today. It's been a long road for the Home Server team and I have to imagine, a pretty big learning experience. We always want to release the best software we can but being part of the beta audience for Home Server within the company, I could see the true commitment and devotion to making this the best release possible. That team deserves a huge congratulations for a job really well done. And now we get to enjoy the results 🙂

If you want to install Power Pack 1 right away (and why wouldn't you?), head over to the Microsoft Download Center and grab yourself a copy. Follow the instructions to install it. If you want to wait (but you don't want to, do you?), PP1 will be installed on your server via Windows Update in August. Either way, once you install it you'll have all of benefit from all this stuff:

  • Windows Vista 64bit support

  • Shared folder backup to hard disks (more below on this one)

  • Connector software auto-update (really helpful if you have more than a couple clients)

  • Segment Remote Access users (allow some to access computers only, some to access shared folders only, both, etc)

  • Drag and drop file uploads and download multiple files more easily in Remote Access

  • Improved power management

  • A fix for the data corruption problem

  • Lots of other improvements

I've been running PP1 for quite a while and it's been rock-solid on my server. Aside from the 64bit support I've used all of the features listed above and they've made life a lot more simple. I actually used Home Server to transfer data more securely to and from my tax guy this year - it was simple enough for him to log in, see only the things he should see, get the data and transfer. Nice!

Something I've wanted since Home Server was released was a local backup. I've been using Jungle Disk to back up my shared folder data to the Amazon S3 service, which is nice, but I only really want to use that in the event of a catastrophic failure. It'd be much simpler (and faster) to be able to restore from a local copy of the data. Power Pack 1 lets you install a hard disk (external disks are better in my opinion) and indicate that it's a back up drive. You can then select the shared folders you want to back up and back them up to the drive. If you use an external drive, you can then dismount and remove the drive and store it in a safe place. I know some people at work use multiple backup disks and keep a disk 'offsite' (usually by taking a disk to work). This way they always have a safe copy of the data, including a copy not in the same location. Right now I just have a single 250GB external disk that I back up to regularly and use the Jungle Disk backups as an insurance policy if the house burns down. I didn't get this kind of data redundancy even at my last job. After all, family pictures are more important than budget files, right? 🙂

Head on over to the Windows Home Server blog for the official announcement and be sure to get a copy of Power Pack 1.

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