Microsoft Enables Windows 8 Beta on Windows Home Server
- By Kurt Mackie
- March 27, 2012
Windows Home Server (WHS) users can connect with the Windows 8 "consumer preview" beta, Microsoft said this week -- with a few conditions.
Using the Windows 8 beta with WHS is "not recommended or fully supported" and
is just for testing purposes at this point, Microsoft said. The company lists the caveats in some
Microsoft wiki pages for WHS 2007 and WHS 2011. The caveats also
apply to using the Windows 8 beta with Windows Small Business Server
2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.
WHS 2011 has four known interoperability issues with the Windows 8
beta, according to a Microsoft blog post. The top concern is to
have .NET Framework 3.5 enabled on Windows 8, which is needed to avoid
an "unexpected error." The power setting for client backups
won't work right. Thumbnails in the picture folder won't display
correctly when used with remote access. Lastly, there's a credentials
issue with share folders that have joined a home group.
Windows 8 beta testers need to download a connector first before
trying out Microsoft's wiki suggestions, it seems. Theo van Elsberg, a
moderator in a Microsoft forum post,
suggested that WHS 2011 users need to download Windows 8 client
connector software first before adding .NET Framework 3.5. In a We Got Served forum, it's stated that
this connector is available through the Microsoft Connect WHS portal.
WHS 2007 has two issues when linking up with the Windows 8 beta. For
instance, a Windows Live ID credential "may not be recognized by
Windows Home Server." Microsoft provides a workaround for the
problem by providing instructions for adding an account to the Windows
8 client via the "credential manager." A second issue has to
do with OEM client software not installing. Microsoft suggests
installing particular .MSI files before the connector to address that
It looks like Microsoft at least is planning for Windows 8 and WHS
to work together in the near future, or whenever Windows 8 gets
released. Speculation exists that Windows 8, because of its storage
improvements, could serve as a replacement for WHS altogether. Most of
that speculation centers on a storage virtualization technology in
Windows 8 called "storage
spaces." Windows 8's storage spaces feature allows mixed disk
media to be used and creates pools of storage that can be expanded by
simply adding disks on the fly. Storage spaces is described as a more
sophisticated mechanism for pooled storage than WHS's former
"drive extender" technology, which Microsoft has deprecated.
According to Microsoft, storage spaces in Windows 8 was not intended to
be a replacement for WHS's driver extender technology.
If it does turn out to be possible to use Windows 8 instead of WHS,
some features might end up on the higher priced side, defeating the
whole low-cost home server concept. For instance, some editions of
Windows 8 will include a "DirectAccess" technology that lets
users remotely connect within a corporate network. However, Windows
Server 8 and Active Directory Domain Services will be required to use
that DirectAccess feature, according to Microsoft's "Windows 8
Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business" document (PDF).
WHS users do have a low-cost remote access management option called
Windows Phone 7 Connector. A release candidate version of the
connector was released in June and version 1.1 came out in July. The connector allows
users to manage WHS remotely using their phones.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.