Windows Home Server will automatically back up your home computers to your home server and allow you to easily restore the entire computer or an individual file or folder to a previous point in time. The Windows Home Server Backup solution uses an innovative system to back up only the data that has not already been backed up before. Even if you have several copies of the same data on different computers, the data is backed up only once on your home server and your home server keeps track of what data was stored on each home computer on each day. This makes it very efficient in terms of the time it takes for backups to complete and also the amount of space that is used on your home server.
Automated Daily Backup of your Home Computers
Computer backups are automatically configured when you install the Windows Home Server Connector software on your computers. Backup is performed automatically on a daily basis for every configured computer. Normally there is no need to change any settings. If you want to change settings for a home computer you do it through the Windows Home Server Console application by Configuring the Backup of a computer to exclude certain hard drives or folders on a given hard drive (e.g. Recorded TV folder on a Vista Home Premium computer).
Restore an Entire Home Computer
Restoring a home computer to a previous point in time is easy. If you want to restore your computer to a previous point in time, you would boot the home computer from the Home Computer Restore CD. The computer will connect to your home server and provide a simple wizard for restoring a single hard drive or multiple hard drives from a backup of that computer that is stored on your home server.
Restore Individual Files and Folders
You can also restore individual files or folders by selecting a home computer and a specific backup of that computer from the Windows Home Server Console application. A Windows Explorer window will be displayed with all of the files and folders that were backed up for that computer on that day. You can easily drag and drop individual files or entire folders from this Windows Explorer window and store them on your Windows Desktop or any other location on your home computer.
I have been running Windows Home Server in my house for some time now. The sum total of all of the used disk space in my house is close to 400 GB across my 3 PCs. And, I have multiple backups for these 3 PCs so that I can restore any PC to yesterday, last week, last month or the day of the first backup created by Windows Home Server. The sum total of disk space used for all of these backups on my home server is 186 GB, as there is a lot of similar stuff across these 3 PCs. Magic? or just some great software solving the home computer backup problem one household at a time.
The Windows Home Server initiates the backups of your home computers every night, by default it starts backing up your PCs shortly after midnight (this time is configuable). If one of your PCs in plugged in but in sleep mode, the home server will 'wake it up', back it up, and then let it go back to sleep. If it is only on battery power, we will choose to not backup that PC. We don't plan on trying to wake up machines that are powered off, while it is possible in some cases, it is not 100% reliable and it will be hard for consumers to figure out how to configure their PC for these capabilities.