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.