Review: Windows Home Server is a powerful networking tool

For once, Microsoft hasn't 'dumbed down' a software package, says Preston Gralla

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Backing up data is one thing; restoring it is another. Some backup programs do a reasonable job of backing up your data but make it exceedingly difficult to restore it. Here, the backup built into WHS shines. It's a simple matter of clicking a few buttons and then using Windows Explorer to browse to the files you want to restore. And you can easily restore those files to any PC connected to WHS, not just the one from which the files were backed up. Restoring files is essentially a two-step process. First select the backup from which you want to recover a file (shown in the first figure below), then browse through that backup to find the files and folders you want to recover (shown in the second figure below).

To recover files or folders, first select your backup ...
 
To recover files or folders, first select your backup ...
... then browse, using Windows Explorer, to the files you want to recover and drag them to the location where you want to copy them.
 
... then browse, using Windows Explorer, to the files you want to recover and drag them to the location where you want to copy them.

File sharing and media streaming

Most PCs are holding plenty of big media files -- music, movies, videos and photographs. But the difficulties of configuring every individual PC properly to share those files with other PCs can be time-consuming and confusing. Wading through permissions and sharing rights is no one's idea of a good time.

But WHS makes it a snap. It sets up shared folders for music, photos, videos and software, as well as a Public folder for miscellaneous files. Simply drag any file to the appropriate folder from a PC, and they'll be available to anyone on the network. (See the figure below.)

WHS makes file sharing a snap.
 
WHS makes file sharing a snap.
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