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Monday, April 26, 2010
Beta Version of New Windows Home Server Code Name "Vail" Available

Microsoft has been working on the next version of Windows Home Server. The beta of this next version (code name "Vail") is now available.

It can be downladed from the the Microsoft Connect site. (English language builds are available now).

Although Microsoft is still in the midst of development work (and things may change), Vail includes feature improvements in four key areas:

- Extending media streaming outside the home or office
- Multi-PC backup and restore
- Simplified setup and user experience
- Expanded development and customization tools for partners

Microsoft also passed along a couple of important hardware-related tips on installing the Vail Beta:

1. In Vail, Microsoft is moving to a new underlying server platform that will only run as a 64-bit OS. The company does not recommends running Vail on a 32-bit PC or existing Windows Home Server systems (even 64-bit Home Server systems) because there may be compatibility issues with some OEM drivers.

2. Since it is still in 'beta,' install the Vail code on a secondary computer as opposed to existing Windows Home Server v1 OEM systems (not even 64-bit systems) If you do install the beta on an existing system, you may experience a number of problems, including the inability to run WHS v1 add-in applications (even those provided by OEMs).

3. Installation of the Vail OS on a PC will also require users to wipe all data from that PC or device.

4. The hardware requirements for Vail call for a 1.4 GHz x64 processor, 1 GB RAM, and at least one160 GB hard drive.

This beta also includes a new software development kit (SDK) that gives developers more ways to customize the OS and add new functionality and services to Windows Home Servers. Download the SDK here.

Microsoft did not disclose when the final version of Vail is going to ship.

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