Back in July of 2007, Microsoft released its first iteration of Windows Home Server (WHS). Over the three years that followed, Microsoft has updated the product with three Power Packs, each of which has provided significant functional improvements. And of course, some WHS partners, most notably HP, have also contributed to making WHS more usable and functional via a series of machine-specific enhancements and other add-ons.
Windows Home Server "Vail", the next major version of this product, will be based on the current generation Windows Server platform (Windows Server 2008 R2) and will share a number of features and capabilities with Small Business Server and Essential Business Server. Unfortunately, Microsoft has been tight-lipped about Vail and the quality of information we have today is lacking, to say the least. Fortunately, a recently leaked build of Vail – tagged build 7360 – has shed some light on what the WHS team has been working on.
Others have written quick overviews of this leaked Vail build. But while anyone can find a torrent, download, install and then make a quick YouTube video, I think I can provide something quite a bit more detailed… and useful. Using some home-baked tools I used for gathering information for "Windows 7 Secrets," I was able to mine Vail for its actual capabilities. Here’s what I have thus far: