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Microsoft Releases Windows Phone 7 Connector RC

Microsoft has made available the release candidate (RC) of the Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector add-in, which allows Windows Phone 7 users to remotely manage and access Windows home and small business servers.

Using the RC, Windows Phone 7 users can perform remote server management tasks, as well as stream certain media files from the server to their phone.

For example, users can set up server alerts to display on their phone, as well as schedule actions to be performed that are associated with those alerts. The phone can also be set up to change passwords, manage server user accounts or display user backup status.

In addition, music without Digital Rights Management (DRM) protections can be streamed to the phone, along with videos that use codecs supported by Windows Phone 7. Pictures stored on the server can be accessed on the phone, or users can take photos with their phones and upload them to the server.

The RC version of the Windows Phone 7 Connector add-in is intended for testing purposes only. Microsoft doesn't recommend using it in production environments. It's being offered as a free server-side add-in that will work with Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. It does not work with Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard edition, according to an IT pro forum post.

The first step is to install the server add-in, which can be downloaded via the Microsoft Connect portal for Windows Home Servers 2011 here (requires Windows Live sign-up). Next, a Windows Phone 7 Connector app needs to be installed and linked via the Windows Phone Marketplace portal page. Microsoft describes this process at its Connect page and provides three URLs there that will link to the Windows Phone 7 app, based on server type used. Those URLs should be used because the Windows Phone 7 Connector app RC can't be found by searching the Windows Phone Marketplace page, Microsoft explains.

When Microsoft releases the final Connector product, the server add-in will need to be removed first to set up a clean install of the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version. However the phone app will get automatically updated when the RTM is available, according to Microsoft's deployment notes on the Connect page.

The Microsoft Connect page also notes that "For Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, we also offer media streaming from your server directly to your Windows Phone," although no explanation is provided.

The Windows Phone 7 Connector add-in apparently was first introduced at the Computer Electronics Show in January, according to a Home Server Land blog post. Notes on how to set it up are provided at a We Got Served blog post.

Microsoft offers support via a Windows Home Server 2011 forum page here. Other resources are available at Microsoft's Windows Home Server page.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.