Microsoft created Windows Home Server a few years ago. You’ve probably never heard of it though. It doesn’t have the sexiness that Vista was supposedly going to have—or Windows 7 is reputed to have. It’s not flashy or sporty and not advertised in commercials (or really anywhere at all).
But, it is probably the best (or one of the best) operating systems that Microsoft has ever put out. And it may be one of the best operating systems in general. This is coming from someone who likes Linux and Windows. And this is mainly aimed at the consumer markets (which is what Windows Home Server is aimed at).
Windows Home Server only requires a 1 Ghz processor (32 or 64 bit) and 512 MB of RAM (although I would recommend at least 1 GB). Once you’ve installed and updated it, you don’t need anything attached except drives. I originally installed it on an AMD Athalon XP 1800+ computer (that I built in 2003) and moved it over to an E-Machines W3400 desktop.
You install the connector software on the rest of the computers on your network. Then configure the backup options on each computer and move your files over to the server. It even provides you with some default locations for your files (and you can create more folders). Once you’ve moved everything around and configured everything, WHS sits there and does it’s job.
WHS will back up every computer on the network (that has been configured). It checks to see if the computers have antivirus/antispyware installed and checks for critical updates on the computers. If one of your computers fails, or you need to upgrade it’s hard drive, WHS provides you with the most recent image of what the computer looked like (up to the last backup).
It really IS a centralized location for everything. I’ve got my recorded tv saved to the WHS. I also save my iso files and all of my installers there. So, if I choose to wipe this computer, I can reinstall everything from WHS (or restore an image). And I have my music stored there. No more having to make sure my desktop is running, so my laptop can listen to music or watch videos.
If you have computers that meet the requirements and are basically sitting around collecting dust, then this is an option for you. You can buy external USB drives (as many as you have USB ports available for) and add internal drives to it. Then just install WHS and set everything up.
Have a great day:)