Last December, I posted a story to my personal blog titled "Windows Home Server is actually useful!" where I had an opportunity to benefit from the power of Windows Home Server's home computer backup and restore capability myself. In that case it was all about "protecting time".
Another example where it can help save time is when you want to put a new/larger hard drive in a home computer. I wrote about how to do this here about a year ago before we even shipped.
Yesterday, like the idiot I can sometimes be, I accidentally killed the partition on the second drive in my main work desktop machine. A developer and I were trying to get a USB key formatted in a particular way and I was using DISKPART.EXE to do the job. DISKPART.EXE is a very powerful, but potentially dangerous tool provided with Windows for working with disk partitions. It's a command line tool that will do precisely what you ask it.
In my case I asked it to delete the partition of "disk 2" and it did it's job. However, I *meant* to delete a partition on disk 3.
Disk 2 is drive D: on my system and it's a 1TB drive that I use for source code enlistments and "extra" backups of all my old stuff. It has about 700GB of data on it. Most of that 700GB is easily replaceable, but some of it is old documents and things from old projects that I am not sure are archived anywhere else. Oops.
I got that bad feeling in my stomach for just a moment. Then I remembered that this computer is backed up by the Windows Home Server in my office. I simply started the Windows Home Server computer restore process, picked the most recent backup, told it to restore the D: drive, and then went home. 700GB of data will take quite a few hours to restore, even over a gigabit network, but I knew it would be done in the morning. And sure enough this morning the process had completed and I had my drive back exactly the way it was before I screwed up.
This is an example of how Windows Home Server's home computer backup and restore capability can "protect data".
There is nothing else out there that even comes close to it's ease of use and power. Kudos to "Q team" for delivering such a kick-butt solution! (If you want to understand this technology at a deeper level we've got a technical brief here).
You may think I'm biased. I am. But I'm not alone in my opinion of this capability. Check out this post from another "Charlie" over on the x(perts)64 blog.
If you have not tried Windows Home Server yourself, what's stopping you? You can download a free 120 day eval version (sign up for the public beta of Windows Home Server with Power Pack 1 to get the latest bits) to install on a frankenmachine or a VM and get hooked. Or you can buy one of the great OEM products available and skip that step :-).