Saturday, June 16, 2007

Windows Home Server for beta test

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the first release candidate for its upcoming Windows Home Server product.

The trial software is available as a 1.4 GB download to users who sign up to beta test Windows Home Server, according to a blog post on Microsoft's Web site.

Microsoft originally previewed Windows Home Server at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A pared-down version of Windows Server 2003, the product is aimed at consumers who wish to connect multiple PCs, gaming consoles, and other digital devices within the home. The software will support up to 10 Windows XP- or Windows Vista-based PCs, according to Microsoft.

A number of vendors are planning to release Windows Home Server-compatible hardware when the software ships in the fall. Hewlett-Packard, for instance, recently announced plans to introduce a home server based on processors from Advanced Micro Devices.

HP's MediaSmart server is intended to link PCs and digital entertainment devices while providing users with a range of file sharing, back-up, and security features.

To coincide with the roll out of Windows Home Server, Microsoft has launched a contest through which users can develop add-ons for the product.

Under what Microsoft is calling the Code2Fame Challenge, developers whose software becomes part of Windows Home Server can win prizes of up to $50,000, according to Microsoft.

Finalists will be flown to the company's headquarters in Redmond, WA to demo their creations in front of a panel of judges, American Idol-style.

Microsoft said that more than 100,000 users have signed up to beta test Windows Home Server to date.

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