In this post I will provide a detailed explanation of the new features of Windows Home Server 2011 (code name Vail). I will also explain the benefits of these features for WHS 2011 user.
1. Silverlight Based Remote Access
- Accessibility Convenience
The Remote Access feature has been made Silverlight based and allows remote streaming of media content via the internet. This allows users to access their media files from anywhere via the cloud. Home users can benefit from this feature by viewing their personal videos, pictures, etc without the need of downloading them.
- Remote Streaming
WHS 2011 has been enhanced to provide Remote Streaming (using Remote Access). Below are the supported formats.
- Supported Formats:
MPEG-4, 3GP, H.264, ADTS, AVI, MPEG-2, AAC, MP3, LPCM, and MPEG-1. MPEG2 and AC3 support is planned to be provided in the final release version, however, it is not currently available for the beta version.
- Supported Extensions:
MP4, .M4A, .MOV, .3GP, .3G2, .AAC, .AVI, .M2T, .M2TS, and .MTS
2. Advanced Media Connectivity
- DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance)
Windows Home Server 2011 now provides more advanced media connectivity options such as DLNA streaming functionality. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) Certified devices allow products to upload, play and render content. Some of the widely used DLNA devices include: gaming consoles, Wi-Fi enabled , wireless speakers, digital cameras and the like. WHS users with the help of their TVs, stereos, Xbox 360 (in Windows Media Center Mode) and similar devices can automatically find the home server (using the home network ) and stream videos, music and pictures.
- Home Group Support
Home Group allows family households with multiple computers to print, share and access their files with ease. With the addition of Windows Home Server 2011 to a Home Group, users can now have a centralized storing server for their content.
- Streaming And Encoding Support
Windows Home Server 2011 has a wide range of codec support, allowing users to stream a broader range of media content than its predecessor. The home server transcodes any video or audio file(s) to other formats and resolutions when the content is not playable. The supported codes include: 3GP, AAC, WMV, AVCHD, MPEG-4, and WMA. Most AVI, DivX, MOV, and Xvid files are also supported.
3. Backup Options
A new feature of Windows Home Server Vail is that users can create a backup database of connected PCs’. This means that you can backup a system to the home server. Moreover, when the connector software is removed from an old PC, users are given the choice to backup data from that system to the home server. This Computer Backup Archiving feature can be used to saved content to a centralized Windows Home Server for a decommissioned computer. However, such computer(s) are not included in the 10 computer backup limit.
4. Dashboard and Launchpad
- Better Control
The Dashboard has replaced the Windows Home Server Console and is the new controlling unit of the operating system. From the Dashboard, users can perform all the tasks required to manage and maintain the server. This includes, accessing content, creating users, network management, backup, managing and performing streaming, as well as Remote Access options. In fact you can even access the Dashboard remotely.
- Shared Folders And Status Updates
Every folder now displays its own synchronization status, alerts, and reflects its status update.
The previous version of WHS became famous for its Add-ins feature. In the new version, several improvements have been made to the SDK to provide developers the opportunity to build even better applications. Some of the new capabilities include the following:
- Win forms based OR WPF ( Windows Presentation Foundation) based control tabs.
- Ability to add more data to the existing tabs, such as task, columns, details and the like.
- Common tasks and community links can be added from the home page.
- Home page is extensible: Add common tasks and community links
Categories and tasks can be added to the Launchpad
- Users can add their own link in an online service section, create new items in the menu bar, as well as create new gadgets for the home page.
- The SDK can help users build their own set of providers via the new framework known as “Provider Framework” .
- Templates and Samples can be included to help add-in developers.
You can download a trial version of Windows Home Server 2011 from Microsoft’s website (link given below).