Windows Home Server Now Available in U.S.

Nearly two months after it debuted in other countries, Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Home Server (WHS) software is now selling in the U.S. at prices ranging from US$165 to $189. Ready-to-use servers running the new operating system, however, are still weeks away from release.

Web-based retailers such as Buy.com and Newegg.com are taking orders, and in some cases shipping, the system builder version. Newegg.com, for example, lists the OEM edition -- the only package that will be sold unbundled from hardware -- as in stock and priced at $189.99. Others, including Buy.com, list the OS for less, but are currently backordered.

The OEM edition has been awaited by users who beta-tested the operating system because it is the only way to upgrade their existing home-built servers. Even so, some aren't happy with the pricing. "You have got to be kidding," said a user identified as nykman on the Microsoft forum dedicated to the software.

"The price is way too high for OEM software," said redlineboss in a different thread. "I'm waiting for it to drop to $150."

WHS, which connects up to 10 Windows XP- or Vista-powered PCs for automatic backup, disk restore, file and printer sharing and remote Web-based access, first went on sale two months ago in Australia and New Zealand at prices between$149 and $199. The OEM edition has also been sold in the U.K. for several weeks.

Most users, however, will obtain the OS in custom-built systems from manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Gateway Inc. and Iomega Corp. HP, the first to announce it would sell a server powered by WHS, pushed back the launch of its MediaSmart Server to later this year so it could incorporate a minor update of the software. Two weeks ago, Microsoft patched several bugs in WHS, and made changes at HP's request to smooth the server setup and management for first-time users.

This story, "Windows Home Server Now Available in U.S." was originally published by Computerworld.

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