Why Windows Home Server is awesome…

I forget I even have it.

I don’t think there can be any better recommendation for a backup solution.  My computers are all backed up daily, and I don’t even know it happens.

On top of that, there’s so much more that can be done with WHS.  A list of some things I use my WHS for:

  • Storage. I keep smallish hard drives in my PC’s (most of them are around whs_places250GB) and then put big honkin hard drives in my WHS.  Each of the indicated places in the screen shot on the right (take from Explorer in Windows 7) points to storage on my server.
  • Reliability.  You can selectively enable folders on the WHS to be “duplicated”.  What this means is that every file in that folder is stored two times…on seperate hard drives.  This is done transparently to the end user so you don’t have to worry about knowing which copy is the newest.  The benefit is that if a hard drive dies (it will), your important data is not lost.
  • Reliability, Part Deux. In addition to the safety of data stored on the server, the safety of each of my computers is important as well.  If your hard drive in one of your PCs dies, or you royally screw up your system messing around, or some sort of malware just totally infests you, WHS makes it easy to restore your system.  You just pop in the restore cd and reboot your computer.  As long as your BIOS is set to boot from CD (if not, it’s an easy thing to turn on), the restore cd will take over and let you pick a backup from your WHS to restore.  By default, WHS keeps one backup for each of the previous 3 days, one for each of the previous 3 weeks, and one for each of the previous 3 months.  I set it to keep a just-fresh-from-a-new-OS-install backup so it’s easy to go back to that point.
  • Development. I do a bit of hobbyist programming.  Because many of the things I write depend upon a MySQL database, I installed MySQL on my WHS.  This allows me to test my scripts on my local LAN.

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