The End is Nigh

Six years ago, along with 10,000 other people, I started testing the beta of the first version of Windows Home Server. When it was formally released in November 2007, I bought the software and built my first home server. I repeated this cycle for the next version of Windows Home Server: trying the beta, and then buying the product. Despite my many rants about the shortcomings of Windows Home Server 2011 and Microsoft’s lackluster support, overall I’ve been very satisfied with the product. It does its job of taking automatic backups of itself and our other computers in the house, and is the central storage for our collection of music, film, video and recorded TV programmes.

However, it was clear that Microsoft no longer loved Windows Home Server, and it was no surprise when Microsoft announced in July 2012 that there would be no next version of WHS. That means, according to Microsoft’s Product Support Lifecycle rules, that WHS 2011 will continue to receive mainstream support until April 2016.

That notwithstanding, Microsoft has also just told its band of enthusiasts in the WHS community of users that as from April 2014, WHS will be fully retired as an award expertise and technical interest. They do seem in an awful hurry to dispose of all trace of Windows Home Server.

It’s a great pity – despite all the song and dance about the move to Cloud services, I am still firmly of the opinion that there is a place for a server in the home. Online streaming where I am in the rural Netherlands is neither fast enough, stable enough, nor cheap enough to be considered a viable alternative.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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4 Responses to The End is Nigh

  1. Mark says:

    I never understood Microsofts insistence on getting rid of WHS. They don’t have any other product in the space and the “cloud” is completely out of the picture for the terabytes of data I have. It seems like a natural extension for Win8 and the Storage Spaces.

    Any thoughts on what you will use to replace it?

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Not at this point. I have a couple of years grace before the need to replace it becomes pressing. Something might have emerged by then, or perhaps Microsoft will have a fire sale on Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

  2. Peter Ferguson says:

    I changed to 2012 essentials over Christmas and by NOT joining the domain I find it exactly like using WHS2011 except that it is faster, more stable and has a far better metro like interface. I like you only use it as a backup and media server. If you have a TechNet subscription the cost of W8, Office and the Server is not too pricey. With the subscription you get access to other useful software. I have found the DaRT (Microsoft Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset) invaluable over the years.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Thanks, Peter. Personally speaking, I feel a bit uneasy about using TechNet and MSDN subscriptions in this way. Microsoft has strict conditions about not using software in these programmes in “production”, but only for “testing”. I have a feeling that Microsoft’s lawyers would happily view my using WS2012E as “production”. Microsoft has also recently tightened up the conditions such that if a subscription expires, the ex-subscriber is supposed to cease all use of the software. I know it’s highly unlikely that Microsoft would pursue home users, but still, It’s not a road that I wish to go down, although I know that many folks do.

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